COVID-19 Federal, State, and Local Emergency Leave Laws

In addition to the federal government’s paid emergency leave laws, California, Colorado, and New York have enacted its own COVID-19 emergency paid leave requirements. Get all the details in this article.

sick-emergency-leave

Editor’s note: This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to provide legal, regulatory, accounting, or tax advice. This article was last updated October 2020. 

The COVID-19 global pandemic has had a significant impact on the nation’s leave laws, leading to a federal law that requires 2 types of emergency paid leave for employees affected by the pandemic. Several states and local jurisdictions have enacted their own paid emergency leave requirements, often aimed at covering those employers who don’t have to comply with the federal law.

This is a listing of the new emergency leave obligations facing employers because of the coronavirus.

Federal Law

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The federal law went into effect on April 1, 2020 and requires businesses with fewer than 500 workers to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to full-time workers at their regular rate of pay if they can’t work because of COVID-19, including if they’ve been quarantined or have symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a diagnosis.

Employers must provide part-time employees with the average number of hours worked by the employee during a 2-week period.

Emergency sick leave must be available to employees immediately regardless of how long the employee has been employed.

The FFCRA also expands family leave for companies with less than 500 employees to guarantee paid leave if an employee has to care for a child whose school or day care is closed, or otherwise unavailable, due to COVID-19.

Emergency sick leave must be provided if an employee is:

  • Under governmental or healthcare provider orders to quarantine
  • Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis
  • Caring for an individual that falls under one of the first 2 categories above
  • Caring for a child whose school is closed or child care provider is unavailable, both due to COVID-19, or
  • Suffering a substantially similar qualifying condition specified by the Department of Health and Human Services

Employers cannot require employees to use other paid leave before providing emergency sick leave.

The United States Department of Labor can exempt businesses with fewer than 50 employees from providing workers with paid emergency leave “when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business.” About 12 million private sector employees work for companies with fewer than 50 employees.

Companies with more than 500 employees are also excluded from the paid leave mandate, according to a TIME article. The same article reported about 59 million people worked for companies with more than 500 employees in 2019, and 6.5 million of those people did not have access to paid sick leave.

While federal law has excluded large employers from the FFCRA’s requirements, some cities and states have approved rules mandating emergency paid leave because of COVID-19, often aimed at the large employers not under the FFCRA’s mandate.

Employers, especially those with operations in more than one city or state, should check local and state laws — including executive orders — for COVID-19 emergency paid leave requirements.

California

Under an executive order California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed on April 16, farm workers, grocery store and fast-food employees, and delivery drivers receive 2 weeks (80 hours) of supplemental paid sick leave related to COVID-19. The order applies to employers with more than 500 employees in the U.S.

Newsom’s order requires that employers provide sick leave for full-time workers who have the virus or who cannot work because of quarantine orders, in addition to leave they may already have.

By covering those who work for large employers, Newsom’s executive order fills the gap left by the recently enacted federal law that requires employers to provide emergency paid sick leave but exempted those with more than 500 workers.

The requirement to provide supplemental COVID-19 paid sick leave is in effect for the duration of the statewide stay-at-home order. At press time, the order is still in place, according to the governor’s office.

Los Angeles (city)

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti signed an emergency order on April 7, 2020, requiring employers with 500 or more employees within the city or 2,000 or more employees within the U.S. to provide paid leave to workers affected by COVID-19. The “COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave” requirement went into effect April 10.

The measure requires that covered employers provide 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave to full-time employees who perform work within the city limits and were on the payroll from February 3, 2020, through March 4, 2020. It also requires that covered employers provide a lesser amount of supplemental paid leave to part-time employees.

Employees can request leave in instances of:

  • A COVID-19 infection
  • Self-quarantine
  • Being 65 or older
  • Having certain medical conditions
  • Taking care of a family member in instances where public health officials or healthcare providers have required or recommend isolation or self-quarantine, or
  • Needing to take time off from work to provide care for a family member whose senior care provider or whose school or child care provider caring for a child under the age of 18 temporarily ceases operations in response to a public health or other public official’s recommendation

Exemptions to the measure include

  • First responders
  • Healthcare providers
  • Employers with collective bargaining agreements
  • Critical parcel delivery
  • Employers that provide generous leave
  • Employers that have a paid leave or paid time off policy that provides a minimum of 160 hours of paid leave annually
  • Businesses that started in the city or relocated to the city on or after September 4, 2019 through March 4, 2020
  • Employees of government agencies
  • Businesses or organizations that were closed or not operating for 14 or more days because of a city official’s emergency order because of the COVID-19 pandemic or provided at least 14 days of leave

The measure expires 2 calendar weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency.

The paid leave requirement is in effect until December 31, 2020, according to city officials.

Los Angeles County

On April 28, 2020, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance requiring private employers with 500 or more employees in the U.S. to provide supplemental paid sick leave to covered employees working in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County related to COVID-19.

The local law establishes supplemental paid sick leave for employees at businesses that employ 500 or more employees nationally in response to the pandemic COVID-19 public health crisis.

An employee who works at least 40 hours per week or who is classified as a full-time employee by the employer is entitled to receive 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave.

An employee who works less than 40 hours per week and who is not classified as a full-time employee by the employer is entitled to receive supplemental paid sick leave in an amount equal to the employee’s average 2-week pay over the period of January 1, 2020, through April 28, 2020.

Employers must provide supplemental paid sick leave to an eligible employee upon request, including by email or text, if the employee cannot work or telework because:

  1. A public health official or healthcare provider requires or recommends the employee isolate or self-quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  2. The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 (stipulating the employee is at least 65 years old or has a health condition such as heart disease, asthma, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or a weakened immune system),
  3. The worker needs to care for a family member (defined as the employee’s child, parent, or spouse) who is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine order related to COVID-19 or has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19.
  4. The employee needs to provide care for a family member whose school or childcare provider ceases operations in response to a public health or other public official’s recommendation.

An “employee” under the ordinance is any individual who is employed on April 28, 2020, by an employer, and performs any work within the geographic boundaries of the unincorporated areas of the County of Los Angeles for an employer.

Payment is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 altogether.

The ordinance provides that the new supplemental paid sick leave entitlement is in addition to any paid sick leave the employee may be entitled to under existing California law.

Under the ordinance, employers can require a doctor’s note or other documentation to support an employee’s request to use supplemental paid sick leave. However, an employee may begin using the leave before the employer obtains the requested documentation.

The ordinance expires on December 31, 2020.

Employers cannot retaliate against those who take advantage of the leave or request to use it.

Federal, state, and local government agencies are not employers under the ordinance.

Employers may exclude employees who are emergency responders or healthcare providers from the leave requirement.

Employees who are subject to a collective bargaining agreement can waive any or all of the law’s requirements if the waiver is explicitly set forth in the agreement in clear and unambiguous terms.

Employers cannot require employees to use other paid or unpaid leave, paid time off, vacation, or California paid sick leave, before or instead of supplement paid sick leave.

Oakland

The City of Oakland adopted a supplemental emergency sick leave ordinance on May 18, 2020 that applies to employers who are not covered by the FFCRA.

The ordinance requires that employers provide 80 hours of emergency sick leave to full-time employees. Part-time employees must be provided an amount of emergency sick leave equal to the average number of hours they work in a 2-week period.

Employers do not have to provide emergency sick leave if:

  1. The employer had less than 50 employees from February 3, 2020, through March 4, 2020. However, some janitorial and franchisee employers are covered even if they had less than 50 employees during that time frame.
  2. The employer, after February 3, 2020, provided employees with the ability to accrue at least 160 hours of paid personal time but only if the employee has immediate access to at least 80 hours of that leave. If the employee’s balance under that personal plan is less than 80 hours, the employer must provide additional personal time sufficient to bring the employee’s balance to 80 hours.
  3. The employer immediately allows employees to use 80 hours of paid personal time off for the same reasons as emergency sick leave can be used where the employer was not obligated to provide that personal time by a collective bargaining agreement, contract, or policy.

If the employee is unable to work or telework, employees may use the leave if they:

  1. Have a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19
  2. Have been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
  3. Are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis
  4. Are caring for an individual who is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order or have been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19
  5. Need to care for their child because the child’s school or place of care has closed due to COVID-19 precautions
  6. Are experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor

Emergency sick leave may also be used when the employee:

  1. Is at least 65 years old
  2. Has a health condition such as heart disease, asthma, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or weakened immune system
  3. Carries any condition identified by an Alameda County, California or federal public health official as putting the public at heightened risk of serious illness or death if exposed to COVID-19, or
  4. Has any condition certified by a healthcare professional as putting the employee at a heightened risk of serious illness or death if exposed to COVID-19

Like the FFCRA and similar ordinances, payment for leave is capped at a maximum of $511 per day or $5,110 in total.

Unlike any other rule of this type, the ordinance also requires employees who are laid off to be paid for their unused paid sick leave upon termination.

The ordinance expires December 31, 2020.

Sacramento

The Sacramento Worker Protection, Health and Safety Act (Ordinance No. 2020-00260), went into effect on July 15 and requires larger employers to provide supplemental paid sick leave to employees for COVID-19-related reasons and requires all employers operating in the City of Sacramento to comply with certain safety practices and protocols.

Unlike the safety protocol requirements, the supplemental paid sick leave portion of the ordinance only applies to employers that have 500 or more employees nationally and are not covered by the FFCRA.

Covered employers have to provide 80 hours of paid time off for full-time employees. Part-time employees receive paid time off equal to their average number of hours worked over a 2-week period.

The supplemental paid sick leave is paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay. The maximum employer obligation is $200 per day and $2,000 for the entire benefit.

Supplemental paid sick leave may be used if the employee:

  1. Is subject to quarantine or isolation by a federal, state, or local order or is caring for a family member who is subject to such an order
  2. Is advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 or is caring for a family member who is so advised
  3. Chooses to take off work because the employee is over 65 years of age or is considered vulnerable due to a compromised immune system
  4. Is off work because the employer’s work location temporarily ceases operation due to a public health order or other public official’s recommendation
  5. Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis
  6. Needs to care for a minor child because of a school or day care closure due to COVID-19

Supplemental paid sick leave is in addition to any other paid sick leave, paid time off, or vacation time that an employer currently provides to an employee via statute, policy, or collective bargaining agreement.

An employer may not:

  • Require an employee to use other accrued paid sick leave, paid time off, or vacation time before using supplemental paid sick leave
  • Require an employee to find a replacement as a condition of using supplemental paid sick leave
  • Issue any discipline or attendance points based on a no-fault attendance policy for an employee’s use of supplemental paid sick leave

In addition to providing leave for the same reasons as the FFCRA, the ordinance provides for time off because the employee:

  1. Is over 65 years old or considered vulnerable because of a compromised immune system, or
  2. Is not working because their workplace has temporarily stopped operating because of a public health order

Leave is paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay and is capped at $511 per day or $5,110 in total, except when leave is used to care for a family member. In those instances, pay is provided at 2/3 the employee’s regular rate of pay subject to a daily and an aggregate cap.

Covered employers are allowed to offset leave under the ordinance against COVID-related paid sick leave granted since March 19, 2020 and for leave provided to food sector workers under California Executive Order N-51-20.

The ordinance is in effect until December 31, 2020.

Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa’s temporary sick leave ordinance took effect on July 7, 2020. It covers private employers with 500 or more employees nationally. It also covers smaller employers to the extent the ordinance provides additional benefits for emergency paid sick leave.

Workers who have worked at least 2 hours in the city of Santa Rosa are eligible for up to 80 hours of supplemental emergency paid sick leave for the same reasons provided under the FFCRA, in addition to caring for someone who is “otherwise unable to receive care due to COVID-19.”

There is no minimum length of employment.

Pay is capped at $511 per day or $5,110 in total for all leave under the ordinance.

Unlike the FFCRA, healthcare providers and emergency responders are included.

There is no requirement that eligible employees be unable to work or telework.

Small employers, those with fewer than 50 employees, don’t have to provide supplemental emergency paid sick leave for employees needing childcare if doing so would jeopardize the viability of the business.

The requirement does not apply to government employers.

Employers cannot retaliate against employees for taking advantage of emergency paid sick leave.

The local law expires December 31, 2020.

San Mateo County

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors enacted an ordinance that expands emergency paid sick leave to employees working in the unincorporated areas of San Mateo County who are employed by businesses with 500 or more employees nationally.

Beginning July 8, 2020, employers must grant up to 80 hours of supplemental emergency paid sick leave, at the employees’ regular rate of pay with a cap of $511 per day and $5,110 in total — regardless of the reason for leave.

Employees who performed any work within unincorporated San Mateo County since January 1, 2020, excluding food sector workers covered by California Executive Order N-51-20, are eligible if they cannot work or telework for reasons listed in the ordinance.

The ordinance and the definition of employer do not apply to federal, state, or local government agencies.

The reasons for leave mirror those in the FFCRA, although the ordinance doesn’t mention the employee being subject to a local, state, or federal quarantine or isolation order.

Requests for supplemental emergency paid sick leave must be in writing.

The ordinance allows employers to deny caregiver leave for healthcare providers, certain aviation security workers, and emergency responders.

The ordinance expires on December 31, 2020.

San Francisco

San Francisco’s Mayor London Breed signed a public health emergency ordinance on April 17, requiring that large, private employers located in the city and the county provide an additional 2 weeks (80 hours) of fully paid leave to employees who are sick, unable to work because of a shelter-in-place order, have a compromised immune system, etc.

Employers must provide 80 hours of emergency leave to employees who were employed full-time as of February 25, 2020, when Mayor Breed declared a state of emergency.

For part-time employees employed as of February 25, 2020, employers must provide 1 hour of emergency leave for every hour (including hours taken for leave) that the part-time employee typically was scheduled to work during the average 2-week period for the 6 months preceding February 25, 2020.

Employers must provide emergency leave to any person who performs work in San Francisco, including part-time and temporary employees. Businesses also must provide emergency leave to any other person presumed to be an employee.

Employees are eligible for the emergency leave regardless of how long they have been employed by the employer.

Employers must pay emergency leave at the same rate at which they must pay San Francisco paid sick leave. For nonexempt employees, employers should use the regular rate of pay, excluding overtime pay, for the workweek in which the employee uses the leave.

An employee may take paid health emergency leave if he or she is unable to work for the following reasons:

  • The employee or a family member for whom the employee provides care is subject to a quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19, including shelter-in-place orders.
  • A healthcare provider advised the employee or a family member for which the employee provides care to self-quarantine.
  • The employee or a family member for which the employee provides care is experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • The employee is providing care for a family member whose school or place of care has been closed or whose care provider is unavailable due to the public health emergency.

The ordinance also provides healthcare providers and emergency responders with paid health emergency leave, with certain limitations.

Employers may not require health information or other documentation, including a doctor’s note, although employers can require employees to identify the covered basis for a requested emergency leave.

Employers may not require employees to use other paid leave before using paid health emergency leave or in increments of more than 1 hour.

Employers may not require an employee to search for or find a replacement worker to cover for the employee while the worker is on emergency leave.

Employers cannot retaliate against a worker for taking paid health emergency leave. In addition, an employer is presumed to have retaliated against an employee if it takes adverse action against an employee within 90 days of the protected activity.

The leave requirement expires December 31, 2020 according to a city official.

San Jose

The San Jose City Council passed the San Jose Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act on April 7, 2020. “Essential” businesses — businesses of 500 or more and small businesses of 50 or fewer — located in San Jose or those that have employees performing work within the city’s geographic boundaries are required to provide emergency paid sick leave to full-time and part-time employees related to COVID-19.

Full-time employees must be given 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave and part-time employees must be granted leave as the average number of hours the employee works over a 2-week period.

Employee means a person who has worked at least 2 hours within the geographic boundaries of the City of San Jose for an employer.

Acceptable uses for the leave include the employee:

  • Is subject to quarantine or isolation by federal, state or local order
  • Cares for someone who is quarantined or isolated
  • Is advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine or is caring for someone who is so advised by a healthcare provider
  • Experiences symptoms and is seeking medical diagnosis
  • Cares for a minor child because of a closed school or day care

The ordinance is aimed at filling the gaps left by the federal FFCRA.

Employees using sick time to care for themselves must be paid their regular rate of pay up to $511 per day, not to exceed an aggregate of $5,110. Employees using sick time to care for another person must be paid at 2/3 of their regular rate of pay up to $200 per day, not to exceed an aggregate of $2,000.

An employer that provides some combination of paid personal leave less than the paid sick time required by the ordinance is required to comply with the ordinance to the extent of the deficiency.

Employers cannot require employees to find a replacement as a condition of using the leave.

The ordinance expires December 31, 2020.

Colorado 

The Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay (HELP) requirement is no longer in effect. The temporary mandate required some Colorado employers to provide limited paid sick leave to employees with flu-like symptoms while being tested for the coronavirus, or those who were under instructions from a healthcare provider to quarantine because of a risk of having the highly contagious ailment. Covered employers had to provide up to 4 days of paid sick leave. The requirement was terminated on July 14 and replaced by Healthy Families and Workplace Act.

New Jersey

New Jersey lawmakers extended New Jersey’s Family Leave Act (FLA) to provide 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to an employee who needs to care for a family member regarding the transmission of a communicable disease.

Governor Phil Murphy signed the changes into law on April 14, 2020 and they went into effect immediately upon his signing the legislation. The law applies retroactively to leave taken on or after March 25, 2020. Gov. Murphy declared a state of emergency on March 9.

“The amendments to the New Jersey FLA will allow employees forced to care for family members during the COVID-19 outbreak to take up to 12 weeks of family leave in a 24-month period without losing their jobs,” lawmakers said in the bill.

They also said that the bill “expands the Family Leave Act (FLA) to include leave from employment so that an employee may provide care to a family member made necessary by an epidemic of a communicable disease, a known or suspected exposure to a communicable disease, or efforts to prevent spread of a communicable disease.”

The job protections also extend to employees requiring leave to provide care or treatment for their child if the child’s school or place of care is closed in response to a public health emergency, according to a news statement from the governor’s office.

New Jersey’s FLA applies to employers with 30 more employees. It does not apply to the employee’s own health condition.

Before the COVID-19 inspired additions to the law, covered employers had to provide employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in any 24-months for the birth, adoption, or placement in foster care of a child or to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

Permissible family leave in New Jersey now also covers:

  • A state of emergency declared by the governor, or
  • When indicated as being needed by the Commissioner of Health or other public health authority, or
  • An epidemic of a communicable disease, or
  • A known or suspected exposure to the communicable disease, or
  • Efforts to prevent spread of a communicable disease

However, the above circumstances must:

  • Require in-home care or treatment of a child due to the closure of the school or place of care of the child of the employee, by order of a public official due to the epidemic or other public health emergency;
  • Prompt the issuance by a public health authority of a determination, including by mandatory quarantine, requiring or imposing responsive or prophylactic measures as a result of illness caused by an epidemic of a communicable disease or known or suspected exposure to the communicable disease because the presence in the community of a family member in need of care by the employee would jeopardize the health of others; or
  • Result in the recommendation of a healthcare provider or public health authority that a family member in need of care by the employee voluntarily undergo self-quarantine as a result of suspected exposure to a communicable disease because the presence in the community of that family member in need of care by the employee would jeopardize the health of others.

Employers may require certification for epidemic related leave. Intermittent leave is allowed if certain conditions are met, such as prior notice to the employer is met.

The changes to the FLA also removed the restriction against providing leave to highly compensated employees. Under the new changes, highly compensated employees cannot be denied leave for epidemic-related reasons.

Other changes were also afoot in the Garden State. The month before the above-described expansion to existing leave law, Gov. Murphy signed into law on March 25 amendments that expanded New Jersey’s Earned Sick Leave Law to allow the use of accrued leave to cover employees who are under a quarantine order recommended by a healthcare provider because of suspected exposure or where the employee is caring for a family member who is subject to a quarantine order.

Specifically, the law was updated to include:

  • The closure of the employee’s workplace, or their child’s school or care provider, because of the declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor due to an epidemic or other public health emergency;
  • The determination that the presence of the employee or their family member would pose a threat to the community based on the declaration of a state of emergency by the Governor, or the determination by a healthcare provider or the Commissioner of Health; or
  • During a state of emergency declared by the Governor, or upon the recommendation, direction, or order of a healthcare provider or authorized public official, the employee undergoes isolation or quarantine, or cares for a family member in quarantine, as a result of suspected exposure to a communicable disease and a finding that the individual/family member’s presence in the community would jeopardize the health of others.

“This bill is designed to assure that workers impacted by epidemics of communicable diseases have access to leave needed to care for themselves or for effected members of their families,” New Jersey legislators said in a statement included with the bill.

Under New Jersey’s Earned Sick Leave law, all employers must provide employees with as many as 40 hours of paid sick leave a year.

The March 25 measure also expanded the law’s definition of a “serious health condition” to allow individuals access to Temporary Disability Insurance and Family Leave Insurance benefits during a public health emergency if they have to take time off from work because they are diagnosed with or suspected of exposure to a communicable disease or to take care of a family member diagnosed with or suspected of exposure to a communicable disease.

Finally, the legislation waived the seven-day waiting period for pandemic-related temporary disability benefits.

Legal experts have reminded that New Jersey’s sick and family leave laws overlap and that although the leave requirements are prompted by COVID-19, the expansions increase coverage for public health situations and are permanent additions to the state’s sick and family leave policies.

New York

On March 18, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed emergency legislation guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. Some employers in New York State are now required to provide at least 5 days of job protected, paid sick leave to employees who need to take leave because they are under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19.

Employers must provide paid sick leave under the state law in addition to any other paid time off accrued by the employee.

The amount of paid sick leave an employer is required to provide depends on the number of employees and the employer’s net annual income.

  • For employers with 10 or fewer employees as of January 1, 2020, and net income of $1 million or less in the previous tax year, eligible employees will be entitled to unpaid leave until the quarantine order is lifted.
  • For employers with (1) 10 or fewer employees as of January 1, 2020, and net income of greater than $1 million in the previous tax year, or (2) between 11 and 99 employees as of January 1, 2020, eligible employees will be entitled to 5 days of paid quarantine leave and unpaid leave thereafter until the quarantine order is lifted.
  • For employers (1) with 100 or more employees as of January 1, 2020, or (2) who are public employers, eligible employees will be entitled to 14 days of paid leave.

To be eligible for leave, employees must:

  • Be subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation for COVID-19, issued by the state of New York, the Department of Health, local board of health, or any government entity duly authorized to issue such order (a Quarantine Order),
  • Not be asymptomatic, and
  • Not be physically able to work through remote access or similar means

An employee’s job is protected, which means that employees returning from leave must be provided with the same position, pay, and terms and conditions of employment as prior to such leave.

Exceptions:

  • Asymptomatic employees under quarantine who have the ability to continue working by remote access or otherwise are not eligible for benefits
  • Employees who are quarantined due to voluntary travel to high-risk countries, as defined in the statute. Such employees are, however, entitled to unpaid sick leave and use of accrued benefits during the period of quarantine or isolation

Employees eligible for benefits under the federal FFCRA will be entitled only to the difference between the federal benefits and the benefits specified in the state law.

Leave is not available if an employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19, according to guidance.

Employees who have returned to the U.S. after non-business-related travel to a country which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had issued a level 2 or 3 travel health notice are not eligible for the law’s benefits, if the employee was provided notice of the travel advisory and still chose to travel.

Employers are prohibited from discharging, penalizing, or otherwise retaliating against any employee for taking leave under this requirement.

New York State employers are subject to local sick leave ordinances such as those in New York City or Westchester that meet or exceed the requirements of the state’s quarantine leave law.

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