Sharing our Best Practices for Leave Management During COVID-19

While there is much uncertainty concerning COVID-19, it's clear that it’s changed the leave law landscape in a major way. We’ve seen a number of new pieces of federal, state and local leave legislation quickly enacted in response, with others still being considered. The earliest legislation included the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which included support for Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA), along with expansions of the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) and New York Paid Family Leave (NYPFL).

In the current climate, it's more important than ever to be aware of all of the policies that are available to your employees, and have systems in place to manage leaves of absence efficiently and compliantly. As the leading developer of cloud-based leave management software, and the only one that tracks over 500 federal, state and local leave rules, we have created this resource to share some of our best practices and to keep you up to date on key pieces of COVID-19 related legislation.

Before we dive into the specific laws that have been passed, we want to highlight some of the important factors that we see affecting leave case managers during this crisis:

  • There are much higher volumes of employees taking medical leaves and caring for sick family members as well as taking quarantine leaves, leading to manual leave processes being unsustainable. 
  • Employers are struggling to provide quarantine leave for employees who don't qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • Many HR/Benefits teams have witnessed layoffs themselves, leaving them with more work and fewer resources.
  • A huge number of leave administrators had to begin working remotely which is incredibly difficult without a cloud-based leave software
  • Leave laws are constantly being updated and new leave laws are being added, so for those who are managing leave manually, staying up-to-date is more critical than ever.

For everyone who is feeling these pains, we encourage you to have a look at our Presagia Leave solution. Presagia Leave is cloud-based, covers the FMLA, ADA and 450+ state leave laws, reminds you what your next steps in a leave case are based on legal guidelines, fills in your leave letters for you, and much more. We continuously update the leave rules and have already made many updates to address COVID-19 legislation.

Now, onto the leave policies... To help you gain an understanding of recent changes, the following are the leave policies you should be paying attention to! 

Please note that while Presagia manages the leave component of these policies, it is expected that a client's payroll system will manage the payroll calculations.


General Pandemic Leave Policy

This leave policy is not a law, but one that we feel should be mentioned. As the pandemic hit, most employers didn't have a formal pandemic leave policy in place and there was little to no legislation to address leave for reasons like quarantine when employees or their family member aren't yet sick, but cannot be at work. However, many employers want to be able to both provide and track leave for reasons like quarantine.

In response, Presagia's Compliance Team added a discretionary General Emergency Pandemic Leave policy in our system as a best practice for our clients who wish to allocate an employee’s time away from work due to the current pandemic. It's optional for our clients to use and is particularly useful when there isn’t any coverage available under federal, state, local or company leave policies. This policy can be applied instead and our clients can then track time and report on the impact the pandemic has had on their business.

If you haven't considered a leave policy like this for your business, you may want to speak with your legal counsel to discuss your options.


Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The FFCRA was introduced in response to COVID-19 and consists of two components. The first component, the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, is an extension of the FMLA which provides 12 weeks of job-protected, partially-paid leave to eligible employees. The other component, known as the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, provides eligible employees with two weeks of paid sick leave.

Please note that on August 3, 2020, the federal district court in New York ruled to strike down four provisions of the Act, per the state of New York’s challenge. It’s still unclear how it will affect leave, as there is a possibility the DOL will appeal.

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

Private-sector employers with fewer than 500 employees and all public-sector employers are obligated to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected, partially paid FMLA leave to employees who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days (either full-time or part-time) when the reason for leave is “a qualifying need related to a public health emergency.” In this instance, a “qualifying need” is for employees who are incapable of working from home or teleworking because of one of these reasons:

  • The employee needs to care for a child when the child’s school is closed (due to a public health emergency). 
  • The employee needs to care for a child because the child’s care provider isn’t available (due to a public health emergency).

Employees are first provided with 10 unpaid days of leave but have the option of using paid leave that has been accrued (vacation, personal, or sick leave) during this time. After the first segment of unpaid FMLA leave, the remaining FMLA leave must be paid at a rate of two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate (limited to no more than $200/day and a total of $10,000).

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

This Act covers the following employers:

  • Employers who are in the private sector with less than 500 employees.
  • Public agencies (federal/state governments, political subdivisions and schools).
  • Any other organization that isn’t a private entity (i.e. public transportation systems).
  • Anyone who is acting indirectly or directly in the interests of the employer.

All employees are eligible, regardless of how long they’ve worked for the employer, provided that their employer meets one of the above eligibility requirements.

Employers are required to provide two weeks of paid sick leave to employees (who are unable to work from home or telework) for the following reasons:

  1. Quarantine/self-isolation in compliance with an order from the federal, state, or local government, related to COVID-19.
  2. Quarantine/self-isolation as advised by a health care provider due to COVID-19.
  3. Employee is seeking a medical diagnosis because they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  4. Employee is caring for an individual (such as a family member) who has been required or advised to self-isolate because they have been diagnosed with or have symptoms related to COVID-19.
  5. Employee is caring for a child whose school/place of care has been closed, or child care is unavailable because of COVID-19.
  6. Employee is experiencing conditions as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  

Under the Act, certain health care providers and emergency responders are excluded from the definition of “employee,” allowing employers to deny these workers sick leave.

The new act provides anti-retaliation protections for employees who take this leave or issue a complaint under it. As with other similar laws, this act provides penalties for failure to pay wages.

The amount of paid leave depends on whether the employee is full-time or part-time. 

Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours at their regular rate of pay. If the employee is caring for a family member (reasons 4-6, mentioned above), they are paid two-thirds of their regular rate. 

Part-time employees are entitled to the average number of hours the employee works over a two week period. 

Paid leave is limited to $511 per day (no more than $5,110 in total) for leave taken for the first 3 reasons (employee is taking sick leave for themselves) and $200 per day ($2000 in total) for reasons 4-6 (employee is taking sick leave to care for others). 


State-Specific Leave Policies

Jump to a specific section:

California
Colorado
D.C.
New Jersey
New York
Oregon
Puerto Rico

California

California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

On September 9, 2020, the State of California enacted and immediately made effective the COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave. Bill AB-1867 codifies the existing COVID-19 paid sick leave requirements for food sector workers and establishes supplemental leave for other covered workers. Under this bill, eligible, non-food sector employers must provide this leave by September 19, 2020. This leave is set to expire December 31, 2020 or upon the expiration of any federal extension of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, whichever is later.   

The bill refers to eligible, non-food sector employers as a “hiring entity” and defines them as “a private sole proprietorship or any kind of private entity whatsoever, including, but not limited to, any kind of corporation, partnership, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, or any other kind of business enterprise that has 500 or more employees in the United States.” It also includes public entities such as one which “employs health care providers or emergency responders as defined under the federal FFCRA, that has elected to exclude these workers from the emergency paid sick leave.”

Employees are eligible for this leave if they satisfy one of the following:

  • The employee is employed by a hiring entity.
  • The employee is employed as a health care provider or emergency responder. 
  • The employee meets one of the above criteria and leaves their home or residence to work for their employer. 

Covered employees may take this leave if they are unable to work due to any of the following reasons:

  • They are subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation government order because of COVID-19.
  • They are advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to concerns related to COVID-19. 
  • They are prohibited from working by their employer due to health concerns regarding the potential transmission of COVID-19.

Covered employees are entitled to 80 hours (two weeks) of leave if they’re considered full time and either:

  • Were scheduled to work, on average, at least 40 hours per week in the two weeks preceding the date they took leave.
  • Worked or were scheduled to work an average of at least 40 hours per week before they started this leave. 

Covered employees who have a normal weekly schedule are entitled to the total number of hours they are normally scheduled to work over two weeks. The bill provides calculations and requirements for employees who work a variable number of hours. 

The Labor Commissioner’s notice of this leave must be posted in the workplace by employers. If covered workers do not frequent the workplace, employers may provide this notice through electronic means (e.g. email). 

FAQs regarding California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

California has released a Frequently Asked Questions document stating that under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), COVID-19 is now considered a serious health condition if it leads to pneumonia, results in inpatient care or the individual requires treatment or supervision by a healthcare provider. 

Employees are eligible for this leave if their employer employs at least 50 employees (within 75 miles of their workplace), have worked there for at least one year and have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the year before they can take time off. 

Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave for the following reasons:

  • For their own serious health condition.
  • To care for a spouse, parent or dependent child with a serious health condition.

Furthermore, the document clarified that employees may use their California Paid Sick Leave for a leave that’s covered under the California Labor Code section 230.8 (an existing code that provides time off for childcare/school-related activities).

Colorado

Colorado COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave

On July 15, 2020 Colorado’s COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave went into effect until December 31, 2020. This anti-retaliatory leave was created by and included in the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, which includes three new paid leave programs. The leave reasons and entitlement for this leave are in accordance with the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) component of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The purpose of this leave is to extend coverage to all employers, including those with 500 or more employees.

Employees are eligible for this leave upon hire, however there are certain exceptions (i.e.  independent contractors or employees subject to the federal Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act). This leave applies to all private employers that have an employee who works in Colorado. 

This leave can be taken for the same reasons as the FFCRA’s EPSLA.

Entitlement under this leave is also the same as the EPSLA component of the FFCRA:

  • Full time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid leave.
  • Part time employees are entitled to the average number of hours that the employee works over a 2-week period. 

As per section 8-13.3-404 (3), this leave must be taken in hourly increments unless an agreement is made between the employer and employee. 

In the event of business closures resulting from COVID-19, employers must notify employees of the following via electronic communication or a clearly visible posting:

  • That they are entitled to this paid sick leave. 
  • The amount of paid sick leave that the employee is entitled to.

D.C.

District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave

On May 27, 2020, D.C. enacted and immediately made effective the D.C. ACT 23-326 -COVID-19 Support Emergency Amendment Act (CSEA). This Act temporarily amends the D.C. FMLA (DCFMLA) and will expire on the date the COVID-19 public health emergency expires. This Act expands the coverage of job-protected leave for COVID-19.

This leave applies to any employer, regardless of the number of persons in the District they employ. The Act expands the definition of employee to include those who have been employed by a covered employer for at least 30 days before they request leave. Employees are entitled to this leave if they are unable to work during the COVID-19 public health emergency for the following reasons:

  • They were recommended by a healthcare provider to quarantine or self-isolate because they or an individual they live with is at high-risk for serious illness from COVID-19.
  • They need to care for a family member or individual with whom they share a household who is under a government or healthcare provider’s order to quarantine or self-isolate.
  • They need to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose care provider is unavailable.

An employer may require certification of the need for COVID-19 family and medical leave for the following situations:

  • If the leave is recommended by a healthcare provider to the employee, a written, dated statement from a healthcare provider explaining that the employee has such a need and an estimated duration of the leave may be required.
  • If the leave is recommended by a healthcare provider to an employee’s family member or individual with whom the employee shares a household, a written, dated statement from a healthcare provider explaining that the individual has such a need and includes an estimated duration of the condition may be required. 
  • If the leave is related to a school, place of care or childcare provider that is unavailable, a statement from the head of the agency, company or childcare provider stating such closure or unavailability may be required. This may include a printed statement from the institution’s website as proof.    

Eligible employees are entitled to up to 16 weeks of job-protected leave.

District of Columbia Paid Public Health Emergency Leave

The D.C. ACT 23-326 - COVID-19 Support Emergency Amendment Act (CSEA) also amended the District of Columbia’s Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act of 2008. The amendment adds a new section, 32-531.02a. paid public health emergency leave requirement, and expires on the date the COVID-19 public health emergency expires. 

This law applies to employers with between 50 and 499 employees and excludes employees who are healthcare providers. Eligible employees are those who have worked for their employer for a minimum of 15 days prior to requesting leave. The reasons for leave are the same reasons for which paid leave is available under the FFCRA (effective since April 1, 2020).   

Eligible employees who work full time are entitled to take two full weeks of leave, up to 80 hours. Part time employees are entitled to the usual number of hours they work in a 2-week period. 

Employees are required to notify their employers when they wish to take this leave, however, employers cannot require notice less than 48 hours before an employee’s need for leave or require any unreasonably short delay if the need for leave is due to an emergency. Employers may not require employees to provide certification for this leave, unless they use three or more consecutive working days of paid leave. 

New Jersey

Earned Sick and Safe Leave

New Jersey has expanded their Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law in response to COVID-19. The amendments allow covered employees to use their earned leave for the following reasons:

  • A state of emergency declared by the governor that has led to the closure of their workplace or their child’s school or place of care.
  • When the employee’s presence in the community or that of a family member in need of their care would jeopardize the health of others, as declared by a state of emergency by the governor, or the issuance of a healthcare provider, the commissioner of health or other public health authority.
  • The employee is in isolation or quarantine, or is caring for a family member who is in quarantine, as a result of suspected exposure to a contagious disease during a state of emergency by the governor, or the order, direction or recommendation of a healthcare provider, the commissioner of health, or other public health authority.

The amendments clarify that employees who quarantine, whether they have COVID-19 or not, are entitled to Earned Sick and Safe Leave. 

Eligible employees may accrue up to 40 hours or five days of paid sick leave.

Family Leave Act

New Jersey has made amendments to the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The amendment made on April 14, 2020 expands reasons for leave to include situations where the employee has to care for:

  • A family member whose presence may jeopardize the health of others in the community as per the issuance of a healthcare provider, commissioner or other public authority. 
  • A family member who must be isolated or quarantined because of a suspected exposure to the communicable disease, upon the recommendation, direction or order of the healthcare provider or authority. 
  • Their child, due to closure of their school or place of care issued by a public health official.  

Eligible employees include those who have been employed for 12 months or more and have worked 1,000 or more base hours during the last year. Employees who meet these requirements are entitled to up to 12 weeks of job protected unpaid family leave in a 24-month period.

Temporary Disability Benefits Law 

The April 14, 2020 amendment mentioned above also expands definitions under the New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law during a state of emergency. The amendment also eliminated the seven-day waiting period for benefits when leave is taken for pandemic related reasons. 

Expanded definitions under the amendment are:

  • “Disability” includes an illness caused by an epidemic of a contagious disease, exposure/potential exposure to the disease or efforts to prevent spread of the disease that require in-home care or treatment due to the issuance/recommendation of a healthcare provider/authority.
  • “Family temporary disability leave” includes in-home care or treatment of a family member who meets the above requirements.

Eligible employees include those who are employed by a covered employer or who have been unemployed for less than two weeks. They must also have at least 20 base weeks or earned no less than 1,000 times the minimum wage, within the 52 calendar weeks before the week their period of disability begins. 

Eligible employees are entitled to up to 26 weeks of leave every 52 weeks.

New York

New York Paid Family Leave

On March 18, 2020, New York expanded the New York Paid Family Leave in response to COVID-19. This policy applies to employers with four or more employees. Eligible employees are allowed to take this leave for the following reasons:

  • To care for a family member who has contracted COVID-19.
  • For a minor child who is under mandatory quarantine (issued by the State of New York, the Department of Health, local board of health, or any government entity).
  • If they are under a mandatory quarantine/isolation (not available if the employee is able to work remotely) issued by the State of New York, the Department of Health, local board of health, or any government entity.  

New York Sick Leave

New York also added the New York Sick Leave (for public and private employers) as of March 18, 2020, which provides up to 14 days of paid leave. Under this policy, entitlement to the paid portion is dependent on employer size and/or revenue: 

  • Employers with less than 10 employees and with a net income of less than or equal to $1 million are not required to provide paid sick leave. 
  • Employers with 1-10 employees who have a net income of over $1 million must provide their employees with at least five paid sick days. 
  • Employers with 11-99 employees must also provide their employees with five paid sick days. 
  • Employers with 100 or more employees must provide at least 14 paid sick days.
  • Public employers of any size must provide at least 14 paid sick days.

Eligible employees are allowed to take this leave for themselves or because they need to care for a minor dependent child who is under a mandatory quarantine/isolation due to COVID-19. 

Oregon 

Oregon has temporarily expanded (until September 13, 2020) the Oregon Family Leave Act's definition of “sick child” in response to COVID-19. Eligible employees may now take this leave for a child whose school has closed due to a public emergency by a public health official (whether or not the child is sick). This policy applies to employers with 25 or more employees.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has extended their Minimum Salary, Vacation and Sick Leave Act to cover employees who have exhausted other paid leave, in response to COVID-19. This leave has been in effect since April 9, 2020 and provides employees with up to five days of paid leave.  

This leave applies to private sector employees, excluding employees classified as executives, administrators and professionals. 

During a state of emergency declared by the Secretary of the Department of Health or the Governor of Puerto Rico, employees who are sick or suspected of being sick due to the pandemic are covered by this leave, after they use any accrued sick leave.


City-Specific Leave Policies

Jump to a specific section:

 

Emeryville

The City of Emeryville released guidance about its paid sick leave law in response to COVID-19. According to the guidance, employers who are covered by Section 5-37.03 of the Emeryville’s Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, (which requires employers to provide paid sick leave to all employees, including temporary and part-time employees) must allow covered employees to use their accrued leave for certain reasons related to COVID-19. Covered employees are those who work in the City at least two hours per week. 

Employees can take this leave for the following reasons:

  • Employee has to isolate or quarantine as required or recommended by public health officials or healthcare providers. 
  • Employee falls within the definition of a “vulnerable population” under the Guidance from the State or any other official subsequent updates. 
  • Employee’s business or their work location is temporarily closed because of a public health or public official’s recommendation. 
  • Employee needs to care for a family member whose school, childcare provider, senior care provider or work is temporarily closed because of a public health or other public official’s recommendation.

Employees may use this leave for themselves or for a family member, designated person or service animal who is ill or injured. They may also use leave for the purpose of receiving medical care (including preventative care), treatment, diagnosis or another medical reason. 

Employees of small businesses (55 or fewer employees within the city limits) are entitled to a minimum of 48 accrued hours. Employees of large businesses (56 or more employees within the city limits) are entitled to 72 hours. 

Leave can be carried from one year to the next, up to the caps specified above. Employers are not allowed to require employees to use their existing accrued leave before they use this sick leave. Employers are also not allowed to require that their employees find a replacement worker if they need to take this leave.

Long Beach

Similar to San Jose, Long Beach enacted a supplemental paid sick leave ordinance in response to COVID-19 on May 19, 2020. This ordinance has no set end date, however the city council will determine if and when the law is no longer required, which will be reviewed every 90 days.

This ordinance covers:

  • Employers with 500 or more employees nationally, excluding those who, either in part or in whole, are required to provide paid sick leave benefits under the FFCRA’s Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. 
  • Any individual the employer hires who performs any work in Long Beach. As noted in the law, the California Labor Code (section 2750.3) determines whether workers are considered independent contractors or employees.  

The ordinance also includes the following exclusions and exemptions:

  • Employers may exclude employees who are health-care providers and emergency responders.
  • Employers are exempt from providing supplemental paid sick leave to employees who already receive generous paid leave. Generous paid leave is defined as a minimum of 160 hours of paid leave annually. 
  • The ordinance provides guidelines for companies with unionized workers and when a collective bargaining agreement may supersede the requirements outlined.

Eligible employees are entitled to 80 hours of leave if they are full-time. Part-time employees are entitled to an amount equal to the average number of hours worked over a two-week period. The ordinance includes the calculation employers are required to use to determine the daily hours of leave available to part-time employees (i.e. daily average during a six month period or period of employment before May 19th). 

Employers can offset the amount of leave they must provide by the number of paid leave hours (excluding accrued hours) they already provided to employees on or after March 4, 2020. Reasons for using the paid leave hours must include being unable to work due to COVID-19 or any other reason outlined in the ordinance.   

Employees don’t have to exhaust sick leave or other leaves accrued before using supplemental paid sick leave hours (this ordinance is in addition to pre-existing paid leave benefits), as provided by the law. Employers are also prohibited from changing any paid time off policies on or after May 19th, except in providing the additional paid leave.     

Employees are to be paid at their regular rate of pay, but may be paid two-thirds of their regular rate if they are using leave to care for someone else. The maximum amount of pay for “personal use” is $511 per day ($5,100 total) and the maximum amount of pay for “caregiver” leave is $200 per day ($2,000 total). If an employee has unused leave and their employment ends, employers are not required to cash out their leave. 

The following reasons qualify an employee to use supplemental paid sick leave immediately (unless they can work remotely and are healthy enough to do so):

  • Employee must quarantine or self-isolate as issued by federal, state, or local order due to COVID-19, or is caring for someone who is in quarantine or self-isolation due to COVID-19.
  • Employee must quarantine or self-isolate as advised by a health-care provider due to COVID-19, or is caring for someone who was advised to do so by a health-care provider.
  • Employee is seeking a medical diagnosis because they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Employee must care for a minor child because their school, daycare or childcare provider is closed/unavailable due to COVID-19 and the employee is unable to find an alternative caregiver. 

Reasonable notice procedures can be required by employers to identify the need for leave for foreseeable absences. Employers cannot require a doctor’s note or other documentation to justify an absence.

Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles passed the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) ordinance on March 27, 2020 in response to COVID-19. On April 7, 2020, this ordinance was replaced and superseded by the Mayor’s Public Order, which went into effect on April 10, 2020. The Public Order will remain in effect until two calendar weeks after the COVID-19 local emergency period ends. 

Covered employers are those with either: 

  • 500 or more employees within the City of Los Angeles.
  • 2,000 or more employees within the United States. 

The following types of employers are exempted from coverage under the Public Order:

  • Emergency and health service providers.
  • Global parcel delivery service providers.
  • Those who provide paid leave or paid time off that equals or is greater than 160 hours of paid leave per year.
  • Businesses that relocated to or opened in the city between September 4, 2019 and March 4, 2020. 
  • Government agencies. 
  • Any business or organization that was not operating or was closed for a period of 14 days or more because of the city’s emergency order related to the COVID-19 pandemic or provided their employees with at least 14 days of leave. 

The order also provides guidelines for if and when a collective bargaining agreement may supersede the requirements outlined by the order.

Covered employees are those who perform any work for a covered, non-exempt employer within the geographic boundaries of Los Angeles. The employee must have been employed with the same employer from February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020.

Eligible employees are entitled to up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. The total amount of pay is capped at $511 per day and no more than $5,110 in total. Eligible employees who work at least 40 hours per week or are classified as full-time will receive 80 hours of paid sick leave. Eligible employees who work fewer than 40 hours per week and are not classified as full-time will receive no greater than the average of their two-week pay from February 3, 2020 to March 4, 2020.

The following reasons qualify an employee for Supplemental Paid Sick Leave:

  • Employee must self-isolate or quarantine, as issued by a public health official or health provider, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Employee is taking time off because they are at least 65 years of age or are at-risk because of a health condition.
  • Employee needs to care for a family member (not necessarily sick) but because they were recommended to self-isolate or quarantine as recommended by a public health official or healthcare provider.
  • Employee needs to care for a family member because their school, senior care provider or childcare provider is unavailable/closed. 

An employer may not require a doctor’s note or other documentation for the use of SPSL.

Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors enacted a supplemental paid sick leave ordinance on April 28, 2020, effective until December 31, 2020 (unless the Board extends its applicability). While the ordinance came into effect on April 28, 2020, employers are obligated to provide this leave retroactively from March 31, 2020.  This ordinance applies to private employers with 500 or more employees in the United States who are not covered by the FFCRA.

Employees are covered under this ordinance if they were employed on April 28, 2020 and perform work in the unincorporated areas of the county. All workers are presumed to be “employees” under the ordinance, including those classified as independent contractors, however, it does include the following exceptions: 

  • Food sector workers covered by California Governor’s Executive Order N-51-20. 
  • Emergency responders, including but not limited to: peace officers, paramedics, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, public safety dispatchers/safety telecommunicators, emergency response communication employees, rescue service personnel, and employees included in the definition of emergency responder (issued by the U.S. Department of Labor). 
  • Healthcare providers, including but is not limited to: medical professionals, employees who help to keep hospitals/health care facilities operating and well-supplied, employees who are involved in research, development and production of equipment, drugs, vaccines, and other items needed to fight COVID-19 and employees included in the definition of healthcare provider (as per regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor). 

Eligible employees may use this leave (if they are unable to work or telework) for the following reasons:

  • Employee needs to quarantine/self-isolate as recommended by a healthcare provider or public health official to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Employee is subject to quarantine/self-isolation from a federal, state or local order in relation to COVID-19 (e.g. employee is at least 65 years of age or has a health condition, such as heart disease, asthma, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease or weakened immune system). 
  • Employee needs to care for a family member who is in quarantine/self-isolation as per federal, state or local order related to COVID-19.
  • Employee needs to provide care for a family member whose school, child care or senior care provider is closed because of the public health or other public official’s recommendation. 

Under this ordinance, eligible employees are entitled to the following:

  • Employees who work at least 40 hours per week or are classified as full-time (employers calculate using an employee’s highest average two-week pay during January 1 to April 28, 2020) are entitled to 80 hours of paid leave.
  • Employees who aren’t classified as full-time or work fewer than 40 hours per week are entitled to an amount no greater than their average pay over a two week period (from January 1 through April 28, 2020). 
  • If an employee works for two or more employers, they are entitled to an amount of leave specified for employees with one employer. 

This ordinance applies in addition to any paid sick leave an employee receives under California’s existing statewide (non-COVID-19) paid sick leave law, the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act of 2014. Employers cannot require employees to use other paid or unpaid leave, vacation time or paid time off that the employer gives them before using or instead of using the supplemental paid sick leave.

Employers are obligated to provide supplemental paid sick leave upon an employee’s request in writing, which can include but is not limited to an email or text message. This ordinance also allows employers to require a doctor’s note or other documentation that supports the employee’s need for this leave, which is different from other local emergency paid leave laws that don’t require such documentation. 

Oakland

Oakland enacted a supplemental paid sick leave ordinance in response to COVID-19 on May 12, 2020, effective until December 31, 2020, unless the city extends the law’s end date. This ordinance applies to employers with 50 or more employees. Small employers with less than 50 employees are exempt with the exception of:

  • Unregistered janitorial employers.
  • Franchisees who belong to franchisors networks that employ more than 500 employees in total. 

Employees are eligible for this leave if they are entitled to minimum wage and have worked for at least two hours after February 3, 2020 in Oakland, including the Port of Oakland.   

Eligible employees may use this leave (if they are unable to work or telework) for the following reasons:

  • Employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine/isolation order associated with COVID-19.
  • Employee has been advised to quarantine/self-isolate by a healthcare provider because of COVID-19. 
  • Employee is experiencing symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis due to COVID-19.
  • Employee is caring for someone who is subject to quarantine/self-isolation due to federal, state or local order or has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine in relation to COVID-19. 
  • Employee is caring for their child because their school or place of care is closed or the child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19. 
  • Employee is experiencing symptoms similar to the condition as specified by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of Labor and Secretary of the Treasury. 
  • Employee is caring for a family member who has been diagnosed or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • Employee either: is at least 65 years old, has a health condition (i.e. heart disease), has any condition identified by an Alameda County, California or federal public health official as putting the public at an increased risk of serious illness or death if exposed to COVID-19, or has any condition certified by a healthcare professional as putting them at an increased risk of serious illness or death if exposed to COVID-19.

Eligible employees are entitled to the following: 

  • Full-time employees who work 40 hours or more per week (during February 3, 2020 to March 4, 2020) are entitled to 80 hours of paid leave. 
  • Employees who work less than 40 hours a week or aren’t classified by their employer as full-time are entitled to the average number of hours they worked over a 14 day period (from February 3, 2020 to March 4, 2020). The employer is obligated to use the highest number of hours worked during this 14 day period. 

This leave can be used in one-hour increments and intermittently and is paid at an employee’s regular rate of pay. The total amount of pay is capped at $511 per day and no more than $5,110 in total. 

Oakland also recently released frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the new law.

Philadelphia

Philadelphia enacted their supplemental COVID-19 emergency regulation on March 16, 2020, which provides guidance for employers on how to apply the city’s paid sick leave law, Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces, during the pandemic. This law covers employees who work in Philadelphia and requires employers with 10 or more employees to provide paid sick leave, while employers with nine or less employees are obligated to provide unpaid sick leave. 

Eligible employees can use this leave for the following reasons:

  • Mandated business closures.
  • Employee needs to care for a child because their school or place of care is closed.
  • Employee needs to quarantine/self-isolate (this includes employees who are immunocompromised).

For every 40 hours worked, covered employees accrue one hour of sick leave and are entitled to 40 hours of sick leave a year. 

Employees are not required to provide written notice from a medical professional in order to use consecutive leave.    

Philadelphia has provided frequently asked questions about their paid sick leave requirements during COVID-19.

Sacramento

The City of Sacramento enacted its emergency paid sick leave ordinance on June 30, 2020, which is effective from July 15, 2020 to December 31, 2020 (however the city will reevaluate the law by September 28, 2020). The Sacramento Worker Protection, Health and Safety Act requires that employers provide supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) but also allows employees the right to refuse work under certain conditions, while requiring employers to implement safety protocols and practices.

This ordinance covers employers with 500 or more employees nationally. Covered employees are those who work in Sacramento for an employer and are an employee as per California Labor Code section 2750.3. Employees who are healthcare providers or emergency responders may be excluded from this ordinance. There is no potential exception for companies with unionized workforces. 

Eligible employees may use this leave (if they are unable to work or telework) for the following reasons:

  • Employee is in (or is caring for a family member who is in) quarantine/self-isolation as per federal, state or local order due to COVID-19. 
  • Employee is in (or is caring for a family member who is in) quarantine/self-isolation because they were advised by a healthcare provider due to COVID-19. 
  • Employee chooses to take off work because the employee is considered vulnerable due to a compromised immune system or is over the age of 65. 
  • Employee is off work because their work location or the employer they work for temporarily ceases operation due to a public health order or other public official’s recommendation.
  • Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • Employee is caring for a minor child whose school or place of care is closed because of COVID-19. 

Eligible employees are entitled to the following: 

  • Full-time employees (those who work 40 hours per week or who are classified as full-time by their employer) are entitled to 80 hours of SPSL. 
  • Employees who don’t meet the above requirements are considered “part-time” under the ordinance, and are entitled the number of hours they work on average over a two-week period. This amount is calculated by the number of hours the employee worked each week during the six months preceding the law’s effective date, multiplied by two.

Employers must pay employees their regular rate of pay for SPSL. The maximum amount of pay per day is $511 and capped at $5,110 in total. The only exception is for employees who use SPSL to care for a family member, who will be paid two-thirds of their regular rate of pay. For employees who use SPSL to care for a family member, the maximum amounts are $200 per day and capped at $2,000 in total. When employment ends, employers need not cash out unused SPSL.   

If an employer provided additional paid sick leave (beyond any paid time off, paid sick leave or vacation time) afforded an employee by statute, policy or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) since March 19, 2020 for COVID-19 related matters, they can credit those hours against the number of SPSL hours they must provide under this ordinance. If it applies, the employer may use the hours they provided under the California Executive Order N-51-20 - COVID-19 paid sick leave for certain food sector workers as an offset.   

The SPSL is in addition to any other paid time off, paid sick leave or vacation time an employer provides by statute, policy or CBA. An employer is not allowed to require their employees to use other accrued paid time off, paid sick leave, or vacation time before using SPSL.

San Francisco

San Francisco enacted the Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance (PHELO) on April 17, 2020 in response to COVID-19. 

The ordinance covers employers with 500 or more employees to address the gap in emergency paid leave coverage created by the FFCRA. This ordinance applies to employees who work full-time or part-time within the City.

Employees are eligible for leave if they meet the criteria for one of the following reasons:

  • The employee is subject to an individual or general self-isolation or quarantine order related to COVID-19 by a federal, state or local level government.
  • The employee is advised to self-isolate or quarantine by a healthcare provider.
  • The employee is seeking a medical diagnosis because they are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • The employee is taking care of a family member in self-isolation or quarantine.
  • The employee is taking care of a family member due to their place of care being closed because of the public health emergency related to COVID-19.
  • The employee is “vulnerable” as defined by the ordinance. 

Eligible full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of emergency leave, and part-time employees are entitled to the average hours they were scheduled over a two week period “over the previous six months ending on February 25, 2020.”

San José

The City of San José has issued the Urgency Ordinance No. 30390 in response to COVID-19. This ordinance came into effect on April 7, 2020 and will be in effect until December 31, 2020. 

Eligible employees include those who work for essential businesses in San José within the city’s geographical boundaries. This includes businesses with less than 50 or more than 500 employees. This ordinance is meant to fill gaps in the federal FFCRA. 

Eligible employees are entitled to 80 hours of leave if they are full-time. If they are not considered full-time, they are entitled to their average hours worked in a two week period. According to a Frequently Asked Questions document released by the City, part time employees’ average hours should be calculated using their hours worked per week between October 8, 2019 and April 7, 2020.

Employees may take this leave for the following reasons:  

  • The employee must self-isolate or quarantine based on federal, state or local orders. 
  • The employee must self-isolate or quarantine as advised by a healthcare provider. 
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • The employee is caring for a minor child or adult whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19.

The rate of pay depends on the reason for leave. Employees who are using sick time for themselves will be paid their regular rate of pay, up to $511/day and not exceeding $5,110 in total. Employees who use sick time to care for another person will be paid ⅔ their regular rate of pay, up to $200/day and not more than $2,000 in total.

 

San Mateo County

The San Mateo County enacted its emergency paid sick leave ordinance on July 7, 2020, which will be effective from July 8, 2020 until December 31, 2020. The ordinance covers employers with 500 or more employees in the United States, the District of Columbia, or any U.S. territory or possession. 

Employees are eligible for this leave if they have worked since January 1, 2020 in the county’s unincorporated areas. Under this ordinance employers must demonstrate that a worker is an independent contractor and therefore is not eligible for this leave. 

Food sector workers that are covered by California Executive Order N-51-20 (statewide emergency paid sick leave measure) are excluded from this ordinance. Employers with unionized workforces may also be able to waive the law’s requirements if their collective bargaining agreement clearly states the waiver. 

Eligible employees (excluding health care providers, aviation security, and emergency responders) can take this leave (if they cannot work or telework) for the following reasons:

  • Employee was advised to quarantine/self-isolate by a healthcare provider to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis. 
  • Employee needs to care for an individual who is in quarantine/self-isolation because they were subject to a federal, state or local order, or they were advised to do so because of a healthcare provider or the individual is experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis. 
  • Employee is taking time off because they need to care for an individual whose school, childcare provider or senior care provider is closed or unavailable due to a public health or other public official’s recommendation. 

Limited leave is offered to employees who are healthcare providers, aviation security (in certain cases, defined as per the ordinance), or emergency responders. Employers can offer leave to these employees (who are unable to work or telework) for the following limited reasons:

  • Employee needs to quarantine/self-isolate to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as advised by a healthcare provider. 
  • Employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, is seeking a medical diagnosis and does not meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for criteria to return-to-work for healthcare personnel with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.”

Eligible employees are entitled to the following:

  • Full-time employees, who normally work 40 hours or more per week, are entitled to 80 hours of paid leave. 
  • Part-time employees who work less than 40 hours per week will receive an amount that is no greater than the average number of hours they work in a two week-period, which is calculated using the timeframe of January 1 through July 7, 2020. 

This leave is provided in addition to pre-existing time off the employer provided before March 16, 2020 or any paid sick leave the employer provides as per California’s Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act. Employers are not allowed to require employees to use other time off (whether paid or unpaid) the employer provides before, or in lieu of this leave.

 

Santa Rosa

The City of Santa Rosa enacted its temporary sick leave ordinance on July 7, 2020, which will remain in effect until December 31, 2020 (the city can extend its duration). The ordinance covers all private employers and applies to employers with 500 or more employees nationally (those the federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) doesn’t cover). The ordinance also covers EPSLA-covered employers insofar as the ordinance provides additional benefits. Employers with fewer than 50 employees are not obligated to provide this leave if they are experiencing severe economic hardship to employees needing to provide child care. Unlike the EPSLA, this ordinance covers employees who are healthcare providers and emergency responders. 

Under the ordinance, employees are considered persons employed by an employer who have worked at least two hours in Santa Rosa. Employers are obligated to provide this leave to every employee who performs “allowed or essential work” (i.e. work activities and services permitted in Sonoma County Public Health Officer’s orders). 

Employees can take this leave for the following reasons:

  • Employee must quarantine/self-isolate as per federal, state or local order due to COVID-19. 
  • Employee is in quarantine/self-isolation as advised by a healthcare provider due to COVID-19 or is caring for an individual who is advised to do so by a healthcare provider. 
  • Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis. 
  • Employee is caring for an individual who is in quarantine/self-isolation, or is unable to receive care otherwise, due to COVID-19. 
  • Employee is caring for a minor child whose school or place of care is closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19. 

A written note from a healthcare provider who advises the employee to quarantine/self-isolate is not required. 

Eligible employees are entitled to the following:

  • Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid leave. 
  • Employees who are part-time receive an amount equal to the number of hours they work on average over a two-week period. Employees who occasionally work in Santa Rosa receive paid sick leave hours equal to the number of hours they work on average during a two-week period in Santa Rosa.

Employers are obligated to pay their employees for leave at their regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day and capped at $5,110 in total. Employers who are also covered by the federal EPSLA must pay this ordinance’s higher rate, since there is no two-thirds rate for certain absences.  

The ordinance exempts employers who provided their employees with some combination of paid personal leave at least equal to the paid sick leave the ordinance requires, before July 7. Employers who provided some combination of paid personal leave that amounts to less than what the ordinance requires are required to make up the difference. 

Leave cannot be carried over or paid out between years. 

 

Seattle

Seattle enacted the Paid Sick and Safe Time for Gig Workers Ordinance on July 13, 2020. This ordinance ends 180 days after either: the termination of the Mayor’s civil emergency or the termination of any simultaneous civil emergency applicable to Seattle that is proclaimed by a public health official due to COVID-19, whichever is later.

Covered employers are those with 250 or more gig workers worldwide. This ordinance temporarily provides paid sick and safe time (PSST) to gig workers (i.e. those who work for online-based food delivery companies and drivers for transportation companies). These gig workers are covered if they had a work-related stop in Seattle at least once in the 90 calendar days before requesting to use PSST. 

Eligible gig workers may use this leave for the following reasons (in 24-hour increments):

  • To care for themselves or a family member who has a physical or mental health condition which can include a doctor’s appointment. 
  • To care for themselves, a family member or someone they live with for reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. 
  • To care for a family member whose school or place of care is closed. 
  • In the event that their company reduces, suspends, or discontinues operations for health or safety related reasons.  

Covered entities are required to pay gig workers their average daily compensation based on each day they worked during the highest earning calendar month since October 1, 2019, or since they started working for the company (whichever date is latest). 

PSST accrual can be calculated in one of two ways:

  1. Gig workers can be provided with one day of PSST for every 30 calendar days worked in whole or in part by covered entities in Seattle since October 1, 2019, or when they started work, whichever is later. 
  2. Gig workers can be provided with five days of PSST beginning on the ordinance’s effective date and allow for them to start accruing one day of PSST for every 30 calendar days going forward. 

In some cases, gig workers may be asked to provide reasonable verification after three consecutive days of PSST from hiring entities.

Washington

Washington recently enacted the Washington COVID-19 Food Production Workers Paid Leave Program under Proclamation 20-67. Under this Act, no food production employer in Washington is allowed to operate from August 18, 2020 until November 13, 2020, unless they offer their employees paid leave for certain qualifying events.

Covered employers under this Act are those in food production that operate the following:

  • Orchards
  • Fields
  • Dairies
  • Fruit- and vegetable-packing warehouses
  • Meat and seafood processors and packers
  • Certain farm labor contractors 
  • Other specified industries

Under this Act, covered workers include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Washington-based workers
  • Seasonal or migrant workers
  • Temporary foreign workers who meet certain conditions 

Members of an employer’s immediate family are not covered nor are workers who are qualified to receive leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). To be covered, workers do not have to be defined as an “employee” by the employer. 

Workers may use this paid leave for the following reasons:

  • Worker must quarantine or self-isolate as per a federal, state or local order in relation to COVID-19.
  • Worker advised to quarantine or self-isolate by a healthcare official or provider due to concerns related to or a positive diagnosis of COVID-19. 
  • Worker prohibited from working due to health concerns related to the potential transmission of COVID-19. 
  • Worker is seeking a medical diagnosis and experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. 

Full-time workers are entitled to up to 80 hours of paid leave, except employers must substitute it with any other immediately and similarly available paid sick leave (i.e. Washington statutory paid sick leave) if applicable. Part-time workers are entitled to paid leave equal to the hours they are normally scheduled to work during the preceding two-week period. The Act provides a calculation for workers who have a variable schedule. Each hour of the paid leave must be compensated at a rate equal to $430 for 40 hours, capped at $860 for 80 hours. 


Upcoming COVID-19 Leave Policies

New leave legislation continues to be proposed in response to COVID-19. We are monitoring the leave law landscape for future additions to this resource.


Interested in learning how cloud-based leave management software can help you manage the volume, complexity, and compliance issues associated with leave management during this critical time?

Schedule your free demo of Presagia Leave today!

Don't have time to implement full leave management software, but need help understanding the laws and legally required notices? 

While Presagia Leave is our full leave management system offering, we know that not everyone has the time or budget to implement it. If you still need help understanding the intricacies of federal, state and local leave laws, Presagia's Leave Genius is for you! 

Leave Genius is a powerful web app that leverages Presagia's Absence Compliance Engine to help you navigate federal, state and local leaves.

Here's how this easy to use leave law tool works: 

  1. Simply enter some information about your employee's request for leave, like their work location, the reason for leave and hours worked.
  2. Leave Genius then:
    • Automatically calculates the employee's eligibility for all of the federal, state and local leave policies applicable.
    • Presents you with all of the applicable laws.
    • Shows you how each law's eligibility and entitlement is calculated.
    • Provides you with all of the legally required notices in editable PDF format, and even pre-fills important information for you.
    • Packages up a summary of each leave law and how to manage it, which you can even download.
  3. A record of every request is also saved in Leave Genius should you ever need to refer back to it in the future. 

All of this is provided at an incredibly affordable price, and there's no installation required. Simply go to Leave Genius and sign up!


Our Industry Blog

If you want to keep receiving the latest news about leave laws from Presagia, we keep our blog up-to-date with all things leave and accommodation management, including COVID-19 updates, FMLA, ADA, state leaves and more. Subscribe for instant updates and check out our posts about COVID-19 below:


Interactive Leave Map

To help give you an understanding of all of the leave policies that could apply to your employees in addition to those enacted in response to COVID-19, we have created an interactive leave map showcasing all the laws across the country. Click on any state to access a comprehensive list of its types of leave legislation. The map is regularly updated to reflect the laws in your state.

Click here for a full-screen view of the map.


 

Presagia is closely monitoring the legal and business landscape to ensure the highest state of readiness to respond to any legislation changes enacted or other proposals now and on the horizon.