Coronavirus Resources for Schools

COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave and FMLA

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™ MARCH 2020 NO. 20-04 Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FMLA Leave for Employees Impacted by COVID-19: What California Public Employers Need to Know On March 18, 2020, the U.S. Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act ("Act"). For California public agencies, including K-12 school districts and colleges, the Act includes two provisions that will immediately impact employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act ("Emergency FMLA"). These provisions become effective on April 1, 2020, and expire on December 31, 2020. Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act California public sector employees already receive paid sick leave by statute, contract or both. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act adds to these existing sick leaves by allowing employees to take up to 2 additional weeks—or 80 hours—of paid sick leave, prorated for part-time employees, for the following reasons: (1) To obey a quarantine or isolation order; (2) To abide by a health care provider's recommendation to self-quarantine; (3) To seek a medical diagnosis because the employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19; (4) To care for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order, or has been recommended by a health care provider to self-quarantine; (5) To care for the employee's minor child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19; or (6) The employee is 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. Importantly, Emergency Paid Sick Leave must be made available to employees before using other available leaves. For example, if an employee requests a leave of absence because they tested positive for COVID-19, the employee would be able to use up to 80 hours of Emergency Paid Sick Leave, before having to use any other accrued or extended sick leave.

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