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.

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Photo of Cepideh Roufougar Cepideh Roufougar

Cepideh Roufougar is a Principal in the San Francisco, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C.

Ms. Roufougar is Co-Leader of the California Advice and Counsel Resource Group. She advises and counsels management in all areas of labor and employment law, with a focus…

Cepideh Roufougar is a Principal in the San Francisco, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C.

Ms. Roufougar is Co-Leader of the California Advice and Counsel Resource Group. She advises and counsels management in all areas of labor and employment law, with a focus on identifying practical solutions to help ensure compliance with state and federal law. Ms. Roufougar positions herself as a strategic partner when providing advice and counsel about litigation avoidance, employee management issues, implementing disciplinary actions, and collective bargaining issues. Her ability to see the big picture clearly and understand her client’s businesses in emotionally charged and highly complex disputes has helped her clients financially and prevented litigation. Her clients rely on her to guide them through both short-term and long-term planning to achieve their unique goals and strategies.

Ms. Roufougar is an experienced trainer and presents seminars on a wide range of subjects, including: leave management and reasonable accommodations; preventing discrimination, harassment and retaliation; implementing and sustaining disciplinary actions; conducting defensible workplace investigations; first-line supervisor trainings; performance management/evaluations; and wage and hour issues.

Ms. Roufougar has been successful in helping her clients prevail in numerous arbitrations and administrative appeals. She has extensive experience representing employers in labor and employment disputes. She has defended employers in employment litigation matters, including claims alleging violations of the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act, FLSA collective actions, and claims of harassment and discrimination. Ms. Roufougar also conducts complex workplace investigations.

Before joining Jackson Lewis, Ms. Roufougar practiced at a well-regarded local labor and employment firm and served as in-house counsel for a local public agency.