Confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases have risen swiftly in California and in response, administrative agencies have released guidance to employers regarding wage and hour issues and paid sick leave.
Late last, week, the Labor Commissioner’s office provided input on administering paid sick leave in light of coronavirus. The Labor Commissioner indicated that preventative care under paid sick leave would include self-quarantine as a result of potential exposure to COVID-19 if recommended by civil authorities or if the employee has traveled to a high-risk area. However, employers cannot require employees to use paid sick leave for quarantine purposes. The Labor Commissioner’s guidance can be found here.
At the same time, California’s Employee Development Department (EDD) announced support services to employers and employees affected by COVID-19. Employees who are sick or quarantined due to the virus may file for disability benefits. Employees who cannot work because they are caring for a family member who is sick or quarantined can seek paid family leave benefits. Moreover, employees can claim unemployment insurance benefits due to reduced hours or operations shut down related to the virus concerns.
Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the coronavirus impact on the economy may apply for the UI Work Sharing Program as an alternative to layoffs. Employers experiencing a COVID-19-related hardship may request a 60-day extension from the EDD for filing state payroll reports and depositing state payroll taxes (without penalty or interest penalties).
If employers have questions regarding paid sick leave or other issues related to COVID-19, they should contact a Jackson Lewis attorney to discuss. To better support clients as they respond to this challenging public health issue, Jackson Lewis has established a dedicated “Coronavirus” team that is continually assessing risks, preparing employee communications, and providing practical advice on the workplace compliance issues flowing from coronavirus workplace concerns.