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Sick Leave, Family Leave, Disability Insurance, and Unemployment Insurance

Workplace Safety


Sick Leave, Family Leave, Disability Insurance, and Unemployment Insurance 

 

Federal Emergency Sick and FMLA Leave  

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Expanded Family and Medical Leave Right

Summary:

  • The law requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.
  • It DOES NOT apply to large private sector employers. It ONLY applies to employers with 500 employees or less.
  • It DOES apply to governmental entities.
  • Allows employers of “healthcare providers” or “emergency responders” to exempt them from emergency sick leave. Health care providers include optometrists, clinical psychologists, midwives, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners.
  • Law starts on April 2, 2020

Emergency Sick Leave

  • Applies to employees who cannot work or telework to get paid sick time off if the employee:
    1. is subject to a coronavirus quarantine or isolation order;
    2. has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to coronavirus concerns;
    3. is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
    4. is caring for an individual described in (i) or (ii) above;
    5. is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed, or the child care provider of the child is unavailable, due to coronavirus precautions;
    6. is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by HHS in consultation with the Treasury and Labor Departments.
  • Full-time employees are to receive 80 hours of sick leave, and part-time workers are granted leave equivalent to their average hours worked in a two-week period, with the sick leave in either instance being available for immediate use regardless of the employee’s tenure at the employer.
  • Paid sick time will not carry over from year to year.
  • Workers taking leave for themselves will have to be paid at least their normal wage or the applicable federal, state, or local minimum wage, whichever is greater.
  • Workers taking time off to care for family members must be paid at two-thirds of the foregoing rate. Sick leave is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate for leave taken in categories (i) through (iii) described in the first bullet point above (i.e., on one’s own behalf), and capped at $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate for leave taken in categories (iv) through (vi) (i.e., to take care of another).
  • Employers with existing paid leave policies will be required to provide workers with the sick leave under this emergency program. An employer CANNOT require a worker to use any other available paid leave before using the sick time.
  • Employers will be prohibited from (i) requiring workers to find replacements to cover their hours during time off; or (ii) discharging or discriminating against workers for requesting paid sick leave or filing a complaint against the employer related to such.
  • This law authorizes the Department of Labor to:
    1. Exclude certain health care providers and emergency responders from paid leave benefits;
    2. Exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees from the paid leave requirements “when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern;”
    3. Ensure consistency between the emergency sick leave provisions and emergency family leave provisions described below.
  • The law will take effect on April 2,2020 and will expire on December 31, 2020.

Emergency Family Leave

  • Employers covered by the law must provide up to 12 weeks of Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for employees who have been on the job for at least 30 days, AND who are unable to work or telework because they have to care for a minor child if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or if the child care provider of that child is unavailable due to a coronavirus emergency.
  • An employer of an employee who is a “health care provider” or an “emergency responder” MAY exclude the employee from the emergency family leave provisions.
  • The first 10 days of leave can be unpaid. A worker could opt to use accrued vacation days or other available paid leave for those days. For subsequent days of leave, workers will receive a benefit from their employers equal to at least two-thirds of their normal pay rate. The paid leave is capped at $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate.
  • Generally, the employee on leave must be restored to his or her prior position; however, this requirement does not apply to employers with fewer than 25 employees if the position held by the employee on leave no longer exists due to economic conditions or other changes in the employer’s operating conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and the employer makes reasonable efforts to restore the employee to an equivalent position.
  • This law authorizes the Department of Labor to issue regulations to:
    1. Exclude certain health care providers and emergency responders from paid leave benefits;
    2. Exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees from the paid leave requirements “when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.”
  • Workers under multiemployer collective bargaining agreements whose employers pay into pension plans will have access to paid emergency leave.
  • The law will take effect on April 2,2020 and will expire on December 31, 2020.

 

State Disability Leave – have COVID-19 or Exposed

  • If you are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (must be certified by a medical professional), you can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim.
  • Disability Insurance provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week.
  • The Governor’s Executive Order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so you can collect DI benefits for the first week you are out of work. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

 

CA Paid Family Leave

  • If you are unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim.
  • PFL provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child.
  • Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

 

CA Unemployment – School Closures 

  • You may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits if your child’s school is closed and you have to miss work to care for them. Eligibility considerations include if you have no other care options and if you are unable to continue working your normal hours remotely.
  • You can File an Unemployment Insurance claim. An EDD representative will decide if you are eligible.

 

CA Unemployment – Reduced Hours or Shut Down 

  • If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, you can file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim.
  • UI provides partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own.
  • If you are temporarily unemployed due to COVID-19 and expected to return to work with your employer within a few weeks, you are not required to actively seek work each week. However, you must remain able and available and ready to work during your unemployment for each week of benefits you claim and meet all other eligibility criteria.
  • If you’re eligible, benefits can range from $40-$450 per week.
  • The Governor’s Executive Order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so you can collect UI benefits for the first week you are out of work. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

 

Resources

Workplace Safety

Summary:

Cal/OSHA’s regulations require protection for workers in healthcare settings exposed to airborne infectious diseases such as the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

  • Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standard (ATD Standard) requires airborne and contact precautions for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
  • Personal Protective Equipment PPE for COVID-19 must include, at minimum, N95 respirators or higher, isolation gowns, eye protection, and gloves.
  • A Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) with high efficiency particulate air filters must be worn during aerosol generating procedures on suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases.
  • Laboratories handling COVID-19 causing pathogens or suspect pathogens must follow the CDC Interim Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines for Handling and Processing Specimens Associated with 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

 

Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard

Cal/OSHA requires employers covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard (California Code of Regulations, title 8, section 5199) to protect employees from airborne infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and pathogens transmitted by aerosols. The ATD Standard applies to:

  • Hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, clinics, medical offices, outpatient medical facilities, home health care, long-term health care facilities, hospices, medical outreach services, medical transport and emergency medical services
  • Certain laboratories, public health services and police services that are reasonably anticipated to expose employees to an aerosol transmissible disease.
  • Correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and drug treatment programs.
  • Any other locations when Cal/OSHA informs employers in writing that they must comply with the ATD Standard.

 

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers providing care to suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases includes gloves, gowns or coveralls, eye protection, and respiratory protection.

Respirators must be labeled as certified by NIOSH and must have filters that remove at least 95 percent of airborne particles (N95) or more.

Surgical and other non-respirator face masks do not protect persons from airborne infectious disease and cannot be relied upon for novel pathogens. They do not prevent inhalation of virus particles because they do not seal to the person’s face and are not tested to the filtration efficiencies of respirators. Surgical and face masks must not be used instead of an approved respirator such as an N95 mask.

 

Employers must provide and ensure employees use PPE and respiratory protection when employees:

  • Enter or work in an airborne isolation room or area with a case or suspected case.
  • Are present during procedures or services on a case or suspected case.
  • Repair, replace, or maintain air systems or equipment that may contain pathogens.
  • Decontaminate an area that is or was occupied by a case or suspected case.
  • Are present during aerosol generating procedures on cadavers of cases or suspected cases.
  • Transport a case or suspected case within a facility or within a vehicle when the patient is not masked.
  • Are working with viable virus in the laboratory.

With some exceptions, employers must provide a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) with high efficiency particulate air filters to employees who perform high hazard procedures on COVID-19 cases or suspected cases. Such procedures include but are not limited to intubation, caring for patients on positive-pressure ventilation, and suctioning of the airway. Emergency medical services employees can use N100, R100, or P100 respirators instead of PAPRs.

 

Laboratory Operation Requirements

Laboratory operations capable of aerosolizing infectious pathogens must have a biosafety plan and a qualified biosafety officer. Additionally, employers with laboratory operations in which employees have direct contact with cases or suspected cases must comply with all other applicable parts of the ATD Standard.

 

Laboratories handling COVID-19 causing pathogens or suspect pathogens must follow the CDC Interim Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines for Handling and Processing Specimens Associated with 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment including disposable gloves, laboratory coat/gown, respiratory, and eye protection.
  • Perform procedures that may generate fine-particulate aerosols (e.g., vortexing or sonication of specimens in an open tube) in a Class II Biological Safety Cabinet (see title 8 section 5154.2 for further information on biological safety cabinets).
  • Use appropriate physical containment devices (e.g., centrifuge safety buckets; sealed rotors) for centrifugation.
  • Use work practices that minimize the risk of exposure for procedures done outside a biological safety cabinet.
  • Decontaminate work surfaces and equipment with appropriate disinfectants after specimens are processed.
  • Autoclave disposable waste.

Virus isolation in cell culture and initial characterization of viral agents recovered in cultures of COVID-19 specimens are NOT recommended at this time, except at a biosafety level 3 facility.

See the CDC & CDPH guidelines below for more specific guidance.

 

Resources: