Sharing our Best Practices for Leave Management During COVID-19

While there is much uncertainty concerning COVID-19, it's clear that it’s changed the leave law landscape in a major way. We’ve seen a number of new pieces of federal, state and local leave legislation quickly enacted in response, with others still being considered. The earliest legislation included the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which included support for Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA), along with expansions of the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) and New York Paid Family Leave (NYPFL).

In the current climate, it's more important than ever to be aware of all of the policies that are available to your employees, and have systems in place to manage leaves of absence efficiently and compliantly. As the leading developer of cloud-based leave management software, and the only one that tracks over 500 federal, state and local leave rules, we have created this resource to share some of our best practices and to keep you up to date on key pieces of COVID-19 related legislation.

Before we dive into the specific laws that have been passed, we want to highlight some of the important factors that we see affecting leave case managers during this crisis:

  • There are much higher volumes of employees taking medical leaves and caring for sick family members as well as taking quarantine leaves, leading to manual leave processes being unsustainable. 
  • Employers are struggling to provide quarantine leave for employees who don't qualify for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • Many HR/Benefits teams have witnessed layoffs themselves, leaving them with more work and fewer resources.
  • A huge number of leave administrators had to begin working remotely which is incredibly difficult without a cloud-based leave software
  • Leave laws are constantly being updated and new leave laws are being added, so for those who are managing leave manually, staying up-to-date is more critical than ever.

For everyone who is feeling these pains, we encourage you to have a look at our Presagia Leave solution. Presagia Leave is cloud-based, covers the FMLA, ADA and 450+ state leave laws, reminds you what your next steps in a leave case are based on legal guidelines, fills in your leave letters for you, and much more. We continuously update the leave rules and have already made many updates to address COVID-19 legislation.

Now, onto the leave policies... To help you gain an understanding of recent changes, the following are the leave policies you should be paying attention to! 

Please note that while Presagia manages the leave component of these policies, it is expected that a client's payroll system will manage the payroll calculations.


General Pandemic Leave Policy

This leave policy is not a law, but one that we feel should be mentioned. As the pandemic hit, most employers didn't have a formal pandemic leave policy in place and there was little to no legislation to address leave for reasons like quarantine when employees or their family member aren't yet sick, but cannot be at work. However, many employers want to be able to both provide and track leave for reasons like quarantine.

In response, Presagia's Compliance Team added a discretionary General Emergency Pandemic Leave policy in our system as a best practice for our clients who wish to allocate an employee’s time away from work due to the current pandemic. It's optional for our clients to use and is particularly useful when there isn’t any coverage available under federal, state, local or company leave policies. This policy can be applied instead and our clients can then track time and report on the impact the pandemic has had on their business.

If you haven't considered a leave policy like this for your business, you may want to speak with your legal counsel to discuss your options.


State-Specific Leave Policies

Jump to a specific section:

California
Massachusetts
Nevada
New Jersey
New York
Oregon
Puerto Rico

California

FAQs regarding California Family Rights Act (CFRA)

California has released a Frequently Asked Questions document stating that under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), COVID-19 is now considered a serious health condition if it leads to pneumonia, results in inpatient care or the individual requires treatment or supervision by a healthcare provider. 

Employees are eligible for this leave if their employer employs at least 50 employees (within 75 miles of their workplace), have worked there for at least one year and have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the year before they can take time off. 

Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave for the following reasons:

  • For their own serious health condition.
  • To care for a spouse, parent or dependent child with a serious health condition.

Furthermore, the document clarified that employees may use their California Paid Sick Leave for a leave that’s covered under the California Labor Code section 230.8 (an existing code that provides time off for childcare/school-related activities).

California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Restored 

On March 19, 2021, the State of California restored and expanded its COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave, which had previously ended on December 31, 2020. Senate Bill No. 95 went into effect immediately, however employers have 10 days from its enactment to start providing this leave. This new law applies retroactively to January 1, 2021 and it will be in effect until September 30, 2021. 

This leave covers public and private employers with more than 25 employees in the state of California.

*As per legislation, employees are entitled for this leave if they are unable to work or telework for the following reasons:

  • The employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation period due to COVID-19.
  • The employee has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine because of concerns due to COVID-19.
  • The employee is attending an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine that prevents them from being able to work or telework.
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • The employee is caring for a family member who is under quarantine or isolation order or has been advised to self-quarantine.
  • The employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed or otherwise unavailable due to COVID-19.

Covered employees are entitled to 80 hours of leave if they’re considered full time and either:

  • Were scheduled to work, on average, at least 40 hours per week in the two weeks preceding the date they took leave.
  • Worked or were scheduled to work an average of at least 40 hours per week before they started this leave. 

Part-time employees and employees with varying schedules also still follow the same rules as the 2020 law. 

*Please note that there is no requirement for length of service for the leave entitlement provided under this law. 

Massachusetts

COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave 

On May 28, 2021, the Governor of Massachusetts signed the Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave (MA EPSL) into effect until September 30, 2021, or until reimbursement funds are depleted, whichever is earlier. Under this law, employers in Massachusetts must provide 40 hours of MA EPSL to their employees who work 40 hours or more per week. 

Employees whose primary place of employment is in Massachusetts are eligible for this leave.  

Employers in Massachusetts are required to provide this leave to employees who are unable to work for the following COVID-19 related reasons:

  • The employee needs to self-isolate and care for themself because they’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • The employee needs to get a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment for COVID-19 symptoms. 
  • The employee needs to get or recover from a COVID-19 immunization. 
  • The employee needs to care for a family member* who must self-isolate due to a COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • The employee needs to care for a family member who needs a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment for COVID-19 symptoms. 
  • The employee needs to be quarantined as ordered by a local, state, or federal public official, a health authority having jurisdiction, or a health care provider. 
  • The employee needs to care for a family member due to a quarantine order as per a local, state, or federal public official, a health authority having jurisdiction, the family member’s employer or a healthcare provider.
  • The employee is unable to telework due to COVID-19 symptoms.

*Eligible family members include:

  • Spouse
  • Domestic partner 
  • Child
  • Parent or parent of a spouse or domestic partner of the employee
  • Person who stood in loco parentis to the employee when such employee was a minor child (doesn’t include a person with whom the employee has no personal relationship). 
  • Grandchild
  • Grandparent 
  • Sibling 

Under this leave, employees who work 40 hours or more per week are entitled to 40 hours of MA EPSL. Employees who regularly work less than 40 hours per week are entitled to leave in an amount that is equal to the average number of hours that the employee works per week. Employees whose schedule and weekly hours vary from week to week are entitled to leave that is equal to the average number of hours that the employee was scheduled to work per week over the previous 6-months. Employees with a variable work schedule who have not worked for the employer for 6 months are entitled to leave that is equal to the number of hours per week that the employee reasonably expected to work when hired. 

The maximum amount an employer is required to pay per employee, and the maximum amount for which the employer may seek reimbursement (provided they have the proper documents) for any one employee, is $850 (including cost of benefits).

Please note that employers may not require employees to use other types of available paid leave before they use MA EPSL. Along these same lines, employers may not require employees to search for or find a replacement worker to cover the time the employee will be away because they are using MA EPSL.  

Nevada

COVID-19 Vaccination Leave 

On June 9, 2021, the Governor of Nevada signed Senate Bill 209, Nevada COVID-19 Paid Vaccination Leave, an anti-retaliatory leave that is effective immediately until December 31, 2023. Under this law, private employers with at least 50 employees in the state of Nevada must provide paid leave to employees for the purposes of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Employers are excluded from this leave if they have a clinic on their premises where an employee may receive the vaccination during regular work hours. New employers (within their first two years of operation) are also excluded. 

The entitlement to this paid leave is dependent upon whether an employee receives a single or double dose vaccination: 

  • The employer must provide two consecutive hours of paid leave for employees who require one dose of the vaccination.
  • The employer must provide a total of four hours of paid leave (two consecutive hours per vaccination) for employees who require two doses of the vaccination. 

Employees are required to give their employers advance notice of at least 12 hours to take the leave. Employers are required to post an informational bulletin in a “conspicuous location.”

Additionally, employers cannot deny an employee the right to use the paid leave or require an employee to find a replacement for using this leave. They also can’t retaliate (e.g. firing, penalizing or deducting paid leave) or take any adverse action against an employee. 

New Jersey

Earned Sick and Safe Leave

New Jersey has expanded their Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law in response to COVID-19. The amendments allow covered employees to use their earned leave for the following reasons:

  • A state of emergency declared by the governor that has led to the closure of their workplace or their child’s school or place of care.
  • When the employee’s presence in the community or that of a family member in need of their care would jeopardize the health of others, as declared by a state of emergency by the governor, or the issuance of a healthcare provider, the commissioner of health or other public health authority.
  • The employee is in isolation or quarantine, or is caring for a family member who is in quarantine, as a result of suspected exposure to a contagious disease during a state of emergency by the governor, or the order, direction or recommendation of a healthcare provider, the commissioner of health, or other public health authority.

The amendments clarify that employees who quarantine, whether they have COVID-19 or not, are entitled to Earned Sick and Safe Leave. 

Eligible employees may accrue up to 40 hours or five days of paid sick leave.

Family Leave Act

New Jersey has made amendments to the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The amendment made on April 14, 2020 expands reasons for leave to include situations where the employee has to care for:

  • A family member whose presence may jeopardize the health of others in the community as per the issuance of a healthcare provider, commissioner or other public authority. 
  • A family member who must be isolated or quarantined because of a suspected exposure to the communicable disease, upon the recommendation, direction or order of the healthcare provider or authority. 
  • Their child, due to closure of their school or place of care issued by a public health official.  

Eligible employees include those who have been employed for 12 months or more and have worked 1,000 or more base hours during the last year. Employees who meet these requirements are entitled to up to 12 weeks of job protected unpaid family leave in a 24-month period.

Temporary Disability Benefits Law 

The April 14, 2020 amendment mentioned above also expands definitions under the New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law during a state of emergency. The amendment also eliminated the seven-day waiting period for benefits when leave is taken for pandemic related reasons. 

Expanded definitions under the amendment are:

  • “Disability” includes an illness caused by an epidemic of a contagious disease, exposure/potential exposure to the disease or efforts to prevent spread of the disease that require in-home care or treatment due to the issuance/recommendation of a healthcare provider/authority.
  • “Family temporary disability leave” includes in-home care or treatment of a family member who meets the above requirements.

Eligible employees include those who are employed by a covered employer or who have been unemployed for less than two weeks. They must also have at least 20 base weeks or earned no less than 1,000 times the minimum wage, within the 52 calendar weeks before the week their period of disability begins. 

Eligible employees are entitled to up to 26 weeks of leave every 52 weeks.

New York

New York Paid Family Leave

On March 18, 2020, New York expanded the New York Paid Family Leave in response to COVID-19. This policy applies to employers with four or more employees. Eligible employees are allowed to take this leave for the following reasons:

  • To care for a family member who has contracted COVID-19.
  • For a minor child who is under mandatory quarantine (issued by the State of New York, the Department of Health, local board of health, or any government entity).
  • If they are under a mandatory quarantine/isolation (not available if the employee is able to work remotely) issued by the State of New York, the Department of Health, local board of health, or any government entity.  

New York Paid Time Off For COVID-19 Vaccines

On March 19, 2021, the State of New York enacted and immediately made effective a new COVID-19 leave policy to provide paid leave to public and private employees being vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. This policy will be in effect until December 31, 2022. 

Under this law, employers are obligated to provide employees up to four hours of paid leave (at the employee’s regular rate of pay) per vaccine injection (although the law doesn’t specify, certain legal sources have mentioned that employees may be entitled to up to eight hours of paid leave if they receive a two-injection COVID-19 vaccine). The exception to this are:

  1. If the employee receives a greater number of hours as per a collective bargaining agreement or;
  2. The employer authorizes more hours. 

Please note that employers cannot require employees to use other available leave (e.g. vacation time or sick leave) before they use this leave. 

This leave is anti-discriminatory/anti-retaliatory therefore employers cannot penalize employees for taking this leave. 

The State of New York has also released a Frequently Asked Questions document to help guide employers. 

New York Sick Leave

New York also added the New York Sick Leave (for public and private employers) as of March 18, 2020, which provides up to 14 days of paid leave. Under this policy, entitlement to the paid portion is dependent on employer size and/or revenue: 

  • Employers with less than 10 employees and with a net income of less than or equal to $1 million are not required to provide paid sick leave. 
  • Employers with 1-10 employees who have a net income of over $1 million must provide their employees with at least five paid sick days. 
  • Employers with 11-99 employees must also provide their employees with five paid sick days. 
  • Employers with 100 or more employees must provide at least 14 paid sick days.
  • Public employers of any size must provide at least 14 paid sick days.

Eligible employees are allowed to take this leave for themselves or because they need to care for a minor dependent child who is under a mandatory quarantine/isolation due to COVID-19. 

Oregon 

Oregon has temporarily expanded the Oregon Family Leave Act's definition of “sick child” in response to COVID-19. Eligible employees may now take this leave for a child whose school has closed due to a public emergency by a public health official (whether or not the child is sick). This policy applies to employers with 25 or more employees.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has extended their Minimum Salary, Vacation and Sick Leave Act to cover employees who have exhausted other paid leave, in response to COVID-19. This leave has been in effect since April 9, 2020 and provides employees with up to five days of paid leave.  

This leave applies to private sector employees, excluding employees classified as executives, administrators and professionals. 

During a state of emergency declared by the Secretary of the Department of Health or the Governor of Puerto Rico, employees who are sick or suspected of being sick due to the pandemic are covered by this leave, after they use any accrued sick leave.


City-Specific Leave Policies

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Emeryville

The City of Emeryville released guidance about its paid sick leave law in response to COVID-19. According to the guidance, employers who are covered by Section 5-37.03 of the Emeryville’s Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, (which requires employers to provide paid sick leave to all employees, including temporary and part-time employees) must allow covered employees to use their accrued leave for certain reasons related to COVID-19. Covered employees are those who work in the City at least two hours per week. 

Employees can take this leave for the following reasons:

  • Employee has to isolate or quarantine as required or recommended by public health officials or healthcare providers. 
  • Employee falls within the definition of a “vulnerable population” under the Guidance from the State or any other official subsequent updates. 
  • Employee’s business or their work location is temporarily closed because of a public health or public official’s recommendation. 
  • Employee needs to care for a family member whose school, childcare provider, senior care provider or work is temporarily closed because of a public health or other public official’s recommendation.

Employees may use this leave for themselves or for a family member, designated person or service animal who is ill or injured. They may also use leave for the purpose of receiving medical care (including preventative care), treatment, diagnosis or another medical reason. 

Employees of small businesses (55 or fewer employees within the city limits) are entitled to a minimum of 48 accrued hours. Employees of large businesses (56 or more employees within the city limits) are entitled to 72 hours. 

Leave can be carried from one year to the next, up to the caps specified above. Employers are not allowed to require employees to use their existing accrued leave before they use this sick leave. Employers are also not allowed to require that their employees find a replacement worker if they need to take this leave.

Long Beach

Similar to San Jose, Long Beach enacted a supplemental paid sick leave ordinance in response to COVID-19 on May 19, 2020. This ordinance has no set end date, however the city council will determine if and when the law is no longer required, which will be reviewed every 90 days.

This ordinance covers:

  • Employers with 500 or more employees nationally, excluding those who, either in part or in whole, are required to provide paid sick leave benefits under the FFCRA’s Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. 
  • Any individual the employer hires who performs any work in Long Beach. As noted in the law, the California Labor Code (section 2750.3) determines whether workers are considered independent contractors or employees.  

The ordinance also includes the following exclusions and exemptions:

  • Employers may exclude employees who are health-care providers and emergency responders.
  • Employers are exempt from providing supplemental paid sick leave to employees who already receive generous paid leave. Generous paid leave is defined as a minimum of 160 hours of paid leave annually. 
  • The ordinance provides guidelines for companies with unionized workers and when a collective bargaining agreement may supersede the requirements outlined.

Eligible employees are entitled to 80 hours of leave if they are full-time. Part-time employees are entitled to an amount equal to the average number of hours worked over a two-week period. The ordinance includes the calculation employers are required to use to determine the daily hours of leave available to part-time employees (i.e. daily average during a six month period or period of employment before May 19th). 

Employers can offset the amount of leave they must provide by the number of paid leave hours (excluding accrued hours) they already provided to employees on or after March 4, 2020. Reasons for using the paid leave hours must include being unable to work due to COVID-19 or any other reason outlined in the ordinance.   

Employees don’t have to exhaust sick leave or other leaves accrued before using supplemental paid sick leave hours (this ordinance is in addition to pre-existing paid leave benefits), as provided by the law. Employers are also prohibited from changing any paid time off policies on or after May 19th, except in providing the additional paid leave.     

Employees are to be paid at their regular rate of pay, but may be paid two-thirds of their regular rate if they are using leave to care for someone else. The maximum amount of pay for “personal use” is $511 per day ($5,100 total) and the maximum amount of pay for “caregiver” leave is $200 per day ($2,000 total). If an employee has unused leave and their employment ends, employers are not required to cash out their leave. 

The following reasons qualify an employee to use supplemental paid sick leave immediately (unless they can work remotely and are healthy enough to do so):

  • Employee must quarantine or self-isolate as issued by federal, state, or local order due to COVID-19, or is caring for someone who is in quarantine or self-isolation due to COVID-19.
  • Employee must quarantine or self-isolate as advised by a health-care provider due to COVID-19, or is caring for someone who was advised to do so by a health-care provider.
  • Employee is seeking a medical diagnosis because they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Employee must care for a minor child because their school, daycare or childcare provider is closed/unavailable due to COVID-19 and the employee is unable to find an alternative caregiver. 

Reasonable notice procedures can be required by employers to identify the need for leave for foreseeable absences. Employers cannot require a doctor’s note or other documentation to justify an absence.

Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles passed the Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) ordinance on March 27, 2020 in response to COVID-19. On April 7, 2020, this ordinance was replaced and superseded by the Mayor’s Public Order, which went into effect on April 10, 2020. The Public Order will remain in effect until two calendar weeks after the COVID-19 local emergency period ends. 

Covered employers are those with either: 

  • 500 or more employees within the City of Los Angeles.
  • 2,000 or more employees within the United States. 

The following types of employers are exempted from coverage under the Public Order:

  • Emergency and health service providers.
  • Global parcel delivery service providers.
  • Those who provide paid leave or paid time off that equals or is greater than 160 hours of paid leave per year.
  • Businesses that relocated to or opened in the city between September 4, 2019 and March 4, 2020. 
  • Government agencies. 
  • Any business or organization that was not operating or was closed for a period of 14 days or more because of the city’s emergency order related to the COVID-19 pandemic or provided their employees with at least 14 days of leave. 

The order also provides guidelines for if and when a collective bargaining agreement may supersede the requirements outlined by the order.

Covered employees are those who perform any work for a covered, non-exempt employer within the geographic boundaries of Los Angeles. The employee must have been employed with the same employer from February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020.

Eligible employees are entitled to up to 80 hours of paid sick leave. The total amount of pay is capped at $511 per day and no more than $5,110 in total. Eligible employees who work at least 40 hours per week or are classified as full-time will receive 80 hours of paid sick leave. Eligible employees who work fewer than 40 hours per week and are not classified as full-time will receive no greater than the average of their two-week pay from February 3, 2020 to March 4, 2020.

The following reasons qualify an employee for Supplemental Paid Sick Leave:

  • Employee must self-isolate or quarantine, as issued by a public health official or health provider, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Employee is taking time off because they are at least 65 years of age or are at-risk because of a health condition.
  • Employee needs to care for a family member (not necessarily sick) but because they were recommended to self-isolate or quarantine as recommended by a public health official or healthcare provider.
  • Employee needs to care for a family member because their school, senior care provider or childcare provider is unavailable/closed. 

An employer may not require a doctor’s note or other documentation for the use of SPSL.

Oakland 

The city of Oakland enacted an emergency ordinance on January 19, 2021, extending and modifying their existing emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) ordinance. The amendment extends the law’s original sunset date of December 31, 2020 retroactively, until the end of the city’s COVID-19 Emergency Declaration (unless the city extends the law). This amendment takes effect immediately. Good news for employers — the EPSL ordinance remains mostly unchanged and does not require them to provide a new leave bank.

This ordinance applies to employers with 50 or more employees. Small employers with less than 50 employees are exempt with the exception of:

  • Unregistered janitorial employers.
  • Franchisees who belong to franchisors networks that employ more than 500 employees in total. 

Employees are eligible for this leave if they are entitled to minimum wage and have worked for at least two hours after February 3, 2020 in Oakland, including the Port of Oakland.   

Eligible employees may use this leave (if they are unable to work or telework) for the following reasons:

  • Employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine/isolation order associated with COVID-19.
  • Employee has been advised to quarantine/self-isolate by a healthcare provider because of COVID-19. 
  • Employee is experiencing symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis due to COVID-19.
  • Employee is caring for someone who is subject to quarantine/self-isolation due to federal, state or local order or has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine in relation to COVID-19. 
  • Employee is caring for their child because their school or place of care is closed or the child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19. 
  • Employee is experiencing symptoms similar to the condition as specified by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of Labor and Secretary of the Treasury. 
  • Employee is caring for a family member who has been diagnosed or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • Employee either: is at least 65 years old, has a health condition (i.e. heart disease), has any condition identified by an Alameda County, California or federal public health official as putting the public at an increased risk of serious illness or death if exposed to COVID-19, or has any condition certified by a healthcare professional as putting them at an increased risk of serious illness or death if exposed to COVID-19.

Eligible employees are entitled to the following: 

  • Full-time employees who work 40 hours or more per week (during February 3, 2020 to March 4, 2020) are entitled to 80 hours of paid leave. 
  • Employees who work less than 40 hours a week or aren’t classified by their employer as full-time are entitled to the average number of hours they worked over a 14 day period (from February 3, 2020 to March 4, 2020). The employer is obligated to use the highest number of hours worked during this 14 day period. 

This leave can be used in one-hour increments and intermittently and is paid at an employee’s regular rate of pay. The total amount of pay is capped at $511 per day and no more than $5,110 in total. 

Philadelphia

COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave  

On March 29, 2021, Philadelphia’s previously enacted COVID-19 paid leave law (which expired on December 31, 2020) was amended and expanded by the 2021 Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL). This ordinance contains a sunset provision, stating that the ordinance “shall expire upon the expiration of the Proclamation of Disaster Emergency of the Governor of Pennsylvania related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Businesses in Philadelphia with at least 50 employees are mandated by the new PHEL (which expands existing paid sick leave requirements) to provide additional paid time off to employees who have worked for the business at least 90 days. 

PHEL is available immediately for eligible employees. Eligible employees must meet one of the following location-based requirements:

  • The employee works within Philadelphia.
  • The employee is currently teleworking due to the pandemic, but they normally work for an employer in Philadelphia.  
  • The employee works for an employer from multiple locations with 51% or more of their time spent working within Philadelphia. 

Similar to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), employees are eligible for PHEL if:

  • The employee is caring for themselves or a family member diagnosed with, exposed to, or showing symptoms of COVID-19 (regardless of a diagnosis).
  • The employee is caring for themselves or a family member isolating because of a public quarantine order or a healthcare provider has advised them to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 related concerns. 
  • The employee is caring for a child whose school or place of care has closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19. 
  • The employee is receiving or recovering from a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Under this leave, eligible employees who work at least 40 hours a week are entitled to up to 80 hours of leave. Eligible employees who work up to 40 hours per week are entitled to paid leave in an amount equal to the average amount of time the employee works in a 14-day period. For eligible employees who have varying work schedules, leave time is calculated as the average number of hours the employee was scheduled to work over the last 90 days multiplied by 14. 

Healthcare Employee Pandemic Paid Sick Leave 

Philadelphia permanently amended Chapter 9-4100 of the Philadelphia Code, Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces Ordinance (PHFWO) by adding a new section- 9-4117 in order to protect healthcare providers. This amendment was made on September 9, 2020 and provides paid sick leave to healthcare employees who contract a communicable disease during a pandemic.  

This ordinance applies to employers who provide healthcare services and use the services provided by “pool” employees or healthcare employees. Eligible employers are required to provide paid sick leave to certain healthcare employees and “pool” employees when they are absent from work and test positive for COVID-19.

The ordinance provides the following definitions:

  • “Pool employee” is defined as “any healthcare professional, other than an employee of a temporary placement agency, who works only when the individual indicates availability for work and who has no obligation to work when not indicating availability.” 
  • “Healthcare employee” is defined as “any person who has full- or part-time employment within a healthcare organization, including but not limited to hospitals, nursing homes, and home healthcare providers.”
  • “Healthcare professional” is “any person licensed under federal or Pennsylvania law to provide medical or emergency services, including but not limited to doctors, nurses and emergency room personnel.”  

Eligible employees are entitled to benefits (i.e. compensation for lost wages for reasons which include isolation, treatment and recovery, and medical expenses) if they’ve worked for at least 40 hours for their employer or been employed for three months before they contracted the disease. 

Eligible employees are entitled to receive reimbursement for the number of days they are unable to work (e.g. isolation, treatment and recovery), which is paid at their normal rate. This amount should be equal to the number of days the employee would normally work if they hadn’t contracted the disease. 

Medical expenses related to the treatment of the communicable disease should either be fully reimbursed to the employee or the employer must provide the care needed at their facility at no charge. 

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh enacted an ordinance that provides COVID-19 Sick Time on December 9, 2020. This ordinance supplements and amends the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act (PSDA) by allowing employees to use sick time under this Act before it’s accrued, as long as the reason is related to COVID-19. The ordinance covers employers with 50 or more employees who work in Pittsburgh. 

Employees are eligible for this leave if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • They’ve worked for their employer in Pittsburgh after the effective date of the ordinance.
  • They normally work for that employer within Pittsburgh but are currently working remotely due to COVID-19. 
  • They work for that employer from various locations or from mobile locations (as long as 51% or more of their time is spent within Pittsburgh). 

COVID-19 Sick Time shall be provided to eligible employees immediately (without any waiting period or accrual requirements), once they have been employed for 90 days. Employees are entitled to use this leave until one week following the official termination/suspension of the public health emergency. 

Eligible employees (who are unable to telework) may use this leave for the following reasons:

  • The employee’s presence on the job or in the community would jeopardize the health of others (as determined by a public official, public health authority or a healthcare provider) because they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. 
  • The employee needs to care for a family member because the family member’s presence on the job would jeopardize the health of others (as determined by a public official, public health authority or a healthcare provider) because they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or showing symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of whether they’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19. 
  • The employee needs to self-isolate because they’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19, experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or are seeking a medical diagnosis, care or treatment and experiencing symptoms of an illness related to COVID-19. 
  • The employee needs to care for a family member who is self-isolating because they’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or are seeking a medical diagnosis, care or treatment and experiencing symptoms of an illness related to COVID-19. 

Employees who work full-time (40 hours a week or more) are entitled to take 80 hours of leave (unless their employer designates more time). 

Employees who work part-time (less than 40 hours a week) are entitled to take leave in an amount equal to the amount they are normally scheduled to work or the amount worked on average in a two week period, whichever is greater (unless their employer designates more time). 

For employees who have schedules that vary from week to week, employers can use a number equal to the average hours the employee was scheduled over the previous 90 days of work (this includes hours for which the employee took leave). 

This leave is in addition to time provided under the PSDA, as well as any paid leave or sick leave provided by the employer. Employees can also choose to use COVID-19 Sick Time before any other sick time that is provided to them, under Chapter 626. Employees are to provide notice when they need to use this leave as soon as they can. 

Expansion of Pittsburgh's COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave 

On July 29, 2021 the Mayor of Pittsburgh signed a new ordinance that provides COVID-19 Sick Time to certain employees working within the city. This new ordinance went into effect immediately and will be in effect for one year (July 29, 2022). Although this ordinance is technically “new,” it is closely related to and is almost an exact replica of the December 9, 2020 ordinance, Temporary COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Time Law (the “December 20 Ordinance”).

Similar to the December 20 Ordinance, the new ordinance supplements and amends the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act (PSDA) by allowing employees to use sick time under this Act before it’s accrued, as long as the reason is related to COVID-19. Similar to the previous ordinance, the new ordinance also requires employers with 50 or more employees who work in Pittsburgh to provide 80 hours of paid leave to their employees for reasons related to COVID-19.

Unlike the December 20 Ordinance, the new legislation doesn’t allow employees to use COVID-19 sick time for an additional one week following the official end of the public health emergency (which is still unknown). The new ordinance also requires employers to provide paid COVID-19 sick time in addition to other types of paid leave, as long as the employee provides the employer with reasonable notice.

Employees are eligible for this leave if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • They’ve worked for their employer in Pittsburgh after the effective date of the ordinance.
  • They normally work for that employer within Pittsburgh but are currently working remotely due to COVID-19. 
  • They work for that employer from various locations or from mobile locations (as long as 51% or more of their time is spent within Pittsburgh). 

Eligible employees may use this leave for the following reasons (as seen with the December 20 Ordinance):

  • The employee’s presence on the job or in the community would jeopardize the health of others (as determined by a public official, public health authority or a healthcare provider) because they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • The employee needs to care for a family member because the family member’s presence on the job would jeopardize the health of others (as determined by a public official, public health authority or a healthcare provider) because they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or showing symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of whether they’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19. 
  • The employee needs to self-isolate because they’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19, experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or are seeking a medical diagnosis, care or treatment and experiencing symptoms of an illness related to COVID-19. 
  • The employee needs to care for a family member who is self-isolating because they’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or are seeking a medical diagnosis, care or treatment, and experiencing symptoms of an illness related to COVID-19.

Along with these new reasons: 

  • The employee needs to obtain a vaccine or vaccine booster for themselves or a family member.
  • The employee is unable to work or telework due to COVID-19 or any of its variants.
  • The employee needs to self-isolate and care for themselves or a family member under the guidelines promoted by the Allegheny County Health Department because the employee or their family member is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or any of its variants.

Employees who work full-time (40 hours a week or more) are entitled to take 80 hours of leave (unless their employer designates more time). 

Employees who work part-time (less than 40 hours a week) are entitled to take leave in an amount equal to the amount they are normally scheduled to work or the amount worked on average in a two week period, whichever is greater (unless their employer designates more time). 

For employees who have schedules that vary from week to week, employers can use a number equal to the average hours the employee was scheduled over the previous 90 days of work (this includes hours for which the employee took leave). 

Currently, there is no guidance as to whether sick time previously taken under the December 20 Ordinance can be applied to leave under the new legislation. 

Sacramento

The City of Sacramento enacted its emergency paid sick leave ordinance on June 30, 2020, which is effective from July 15, 2020 to March 31, 2021. The Sacramento Worker Protection, Health and Safety Act requires that employers provide supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) but also allows employees the right to refuse work under certain conditions, while requiring employers to implement safety protocols and practices.

This ordinance covers employers with 500 or more employees nationally. Covered employees are those who work in Sacramento for an employer and are an employee as per California Labor Code section 2750.3. Employees who are healthcare providers or emergency responders may be excluded from this ordinance. There is no potential exception for companies with unionized workforces. 

Eligible employees may use this leave (if they are unable to work or telework) for the following reasons:

  • Employee is in (or is caring for a family member who is in) quarantine/self-isolation as per federal, state or local order due to COVID-19. 
  • Employee is in (or is caring for a family member who is in) quarantine/self-isolation because they were advised by a healthcare provider due to COVID-19. 
  • Employee chooses to take off work because the employee is considered vulnerable due to a compromised immune system or is over the age of 65. 
  • Employee is off work because their work location or the employer they work for temporarily ceases operation due to a public health order or other public official’s recommendation.
  • Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • Employee is caring for a minor child whose school or place of care is closed because of COVID-19. 

Eligible employees are entitled to the following: 

  • Full-time employees (those who work 40 hours per week or who are classified as full-time by their employer) are entitled to 80 hours of SPSL. 
  • Employees who don’t meet the above requirements are considered “part-time” under the ordinance, and are entitled the number of hours they work on average over a two-week period. This amount is calculated by the number of hours the employee worked each week during the six months preceding the law’s effective date, multiplied by two.

Employers must pay employees their regular rate of pay for SPSL. The maximum amount of pay per day is $511 and capped at $5,110 in total. The only exception is for employees who use SPSL to care for a family member, who will be paid two-thirds of their regular rate of pay. For employees who use SPSL to care for a family member, the maximum amounts are $200 per day and capped at $2,000 in total. When employment ends, employers need not cash out unused SPSL.   

If an employer provided additional paid sick leave (beyond any paid time off, paid sick leave or vacation time) afforded an employee by statute, policy or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) since March 19, 2020 for COVID-19 related matters, they can credit those hours against the number of SPSL hours they must provide under this ordinance. If it applies, the employer may use the hours they provided under the California Executive Order N-51-20 - COVID-19 paid sick leave for certain food sector workers as an offset. 

San Francisco

San Francisco enacted the Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance (PHELO) on April 17, 2020 in response to COVID-19 and is in effect until February 11, 2021.  

The ordinance covers employers with 500 or more employees to address the gap in emergency paid leave coverage created by the FFCRA. This ordinance applies to employees who work full-time or part-time within the City.

Employees are eligible for leave if they meet the criteria for one of the following reasons:

  • The employee is subject to an individual or general self-isolation or quarantine order related to COVID-19 by a federal, state or local level government.
  • The employee is advised to self-isolate or quarantine by a healthcare provider.
  • The employee is seeking a medical diagnosis because they are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • The employee is taking care of a family member in self-isolation or quarantine.
  • The employee is taking care of a family member due to their place of care being closed because of the public health emergency related to COVID-19.
  • The employee is “vulnerable” as defined by the ordinance. 

Eligible full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of emergency leave, and part-time employees are entitled to the average hours they were scheduled over a two week period “over the previous six months ending on February 25, 2020.”

San José

The City of San José has issued the Urgency Ordinance No. 30390 in response to COVID-19. This ordinance came into effect on April 7, 2020 and will be in effect until June 30, 2021. 

Eligible employees include those who work for essential businesses in San José within the city’s geographical boundaries. This includes businesses with less than 50 or more than 500 employees. This ordinance is meant to fill gaps in the federal FFCRA. 

Eligible employees are entitled to 80 hours of leave if they are full-time. If they are not considered full-time, they are entitled to their average hours worked in a two week period. According to a Frequently Asked Questions document released by the City, part time employees’ average hours should be calculated using their hours worked per week between October 8, 2019 and April 7, 2020.

Employees may take this leave for the following reasons:  

  • The employee must self-isolate or quarantine based on federal, state or local orders. 
  • The employee must self-isolate or quarantine as advised by a healthcare provider. 
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • The employee is caring for a minor child or adult whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19.

The rate of pay depends on the reason for leave. Employees who are using sick time for themselves will be paid their regular rate of pay, up to $511/day and not exceeding $5,110 in total. Employees who use sick time to care for another person will be paid ⅔ their regular rate of pay, up to $200/day and not more than $2,000 in total.

San Mateo County

The San Mateo County enacted its emergency paid sick leave ordinance on July 7, 2020, which will be effective from July 8, 2020 until December 31, 2020. The ordinance covers employers with 500 or more employees in the United States, the District of Columbia, or any U.S. territory or possession. 

Employees are eligible for this leave if they have worked since January 1, 2020 in the county’s unincorporated areas. Under this ordinance employers must demonstrate that a worker is an independent contractor and therefore is not eligible for this leave. 

Food sector workers that are covered by California Executive Order N-51-20 (statewide emergency paid sick leave measure) are excluded from this ordinance. Employers with unionized workforces may also be able to waive the law’s requirements if their collective bargaining agreement clearly states the waiver. 

Eligible employees (excluding health care providers, aviation security, and emergency responders) can take this leave (if they cannot work or telework) for the following reasons:

  • Employee was advised to quarantine/self-isolate by a healthcare provider to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis. 
  • Employee needs to care for an individual who is in quarantine/self-isolation because they were subject to a federal, state or local order, or they were advised to do so because of a healthcare provider or the individual is experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis. 
  • Employee is taking time off because they need to care for an individual whose school, childcare provider or senior care provider is closed or unavailable due to a public health or other public official’s recommendation. 

Limited leave is offered to employees who are healthcare providers, aviation security (in certain cases, defined as per the ordinance), or emergency responders. Employers can offer leave to these employees (who are unable to work or telework) for the following limited reasons:

  • Employee needs to quarantine/self-isolate to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as advised by a healthcare provider. 
  • Employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, is seeking a medical diagnosis and does not meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for criteria to return-to-work for healthcare personnel with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.”

Eligible employees are entitled to the following:

  • Full-time employees, who normally work 40 hours or more per week, are entitled to 80 hours of paid leave. 
  • Part-time employees who work less than 40 hours per week will receive an amount that is no greater than the average number of hours they work in a two week-period, which is calculated using the timeframe of January 1 through July 7, 2020. 

This leave is provided in addition to pre-existing time off the employer provided before March 16, 2020 or any paid sick leave the employer provides as per California’s Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act. Employers are not allowed to require employees to use other time off (whether paid or unpaid) the employer provides before, or in lieu of this leave. 

Seattle

Seattle enacted the Paid Sick and Safe Time for Gig Workers Ordinance on July 13, 2020. This ordinance ends 180 days after either: the termination of the Mayor’s civil emergency or the termination of any simultaneous civil emergency applicable to Seattle that is proclaimed by a public health official due to COVID-19, whichever is later.

Covered employers are those with 250 or more gig workers worldwide. This ordinance temporarily provides paid sick and safe time (PSST) to gig workers (i.e. those who work for online-based food delivery companies and drivers for transportation companies). These gig workers are covered if they had a work-related stop in Seattle at least once in the 90 calendar days before requesting to use PSST. 

Eligible gig workers may use this leave for the following reasons (in 24-hour increments):

  • To care for themselves or a family member who has a physical or mental health condition which can include a doctor’s appointment. 
  • To care for themselves, a family member or someone they live with for reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. 
  • To care for a family member whose school or place of care is closed. 
  • In the event that their company reduces, suspends, or discontinues operations for health or safety related reasons.  

Covered entities are required to pay gig workers their average daily compensation based on each day they worked during the highest earning calendar month since October 1, 2019, or since they started working for the company (whichever date is latest). 

PSST accrual can be calculated in one of two ways:

  1. Gig workers can be provided with one day of PSST for every 30 calendar days worked in whole or in part by covered entities in Seattle since October 1, 2019, or when they started work, whichever is later. 
  2. Gig workers can be provided with five days of PSST beginning on the ordinance’s effective date and allow for them to start accruing one day of PSST for every 30 calendar days going forward. 

In some cases, gig workers may be asked to provide reasonable verification after three consecutive days of PSST from hiring entities.

Washington

Washington recently enacted the Washington COVID-19 Food Production Workers Paid Leave Program under Proclamation 20-67. Under this Act, no food production employer in Washington is allowed to operate from August 18, 2020 until November 13, 2020, unless they offer their employees paid leave for certain qualifying events.

Covered employers under this Act are those in food production that operate the following:

  • Orchards
  • Fields
  • Dairies
  • Fruit- and vegetable-packing warehouses
  • Meat and seafood processors and packers
  • Certain farm labor contractors 
  • Other specified industries

Under this Act, covered workers include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Washington-based workers
  • Seasonal or migrant workers
  • Temporary foreign workers who meet certain conditions 

Members of an employer’s immediate family are not covered nor are workers who are qualified to receive leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). To be covered, workers do not have to be defined as an “employee” by the employer. 

Workers may use this paid leave for the following reasons:

  • Worker must quarantine or self-isolate as per a federal, state or local order in relation to COVID-19.
  • Worker advised to quarantine or self-isolate by a healthcare official or provider due to concerns related to or a positive diagnosis of COVID-19. 
  • Worker prohibited from working due to health concerns related to the potential transmission of COVID-19. 
  • Worker is seeking a medical diagnosis and experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. 

Full-time workers are entitled to up to 80 hours of paid leave, except employers must substitute it with any other immediately and similarly available paid sick leave (i.e. Washington statutory paid sick leave) if applicable. Part-time workers are entitled to paid leave equal to the hours they are normally scheduled to work during the preceding two-week period. The Act provides a calculation for workers who have a variable schedule. Each hour of the paid leave must be compensated at a rate equal to $430 for 40 hours, capped at $860 for 80 hours. 


Upcoming COVID-19 Leave Policies

New leave legislation continues to be proposed in response to COVID-19. We are monitoring the leave law landscape for future additions to this resource.


Interested in learning how cloud-based leave management software can help you manage the volume, complexity, and compliance issues associated with leave management during this critical time?

Schedule your free demo of Presagia Leave today!

Don't have time to implement full leave management software, but need help understanding the laws and legally required notices? 

While Presagia Leave is our full leave management system offering, we know that not everyone has the time or budget to implement it. If you still need help understanding the intricacies of federal, state and local leave laws, Presagia's Leave Genius is for you! 

Leave Genius is a powerful web app that leverages Presagia's Absence Compliance Engine to help you navigate federal, state and local leaves.

Here's how this easy to use leave law tool works: 

  1. Simply enter some information about your employee's request for leave, like their work location, the reason for leave and hours worked.
  2. Leave Genius then:
    • Automatically calculates the employee's eligibility for all of the federal, state and local leave policies applicable.
    • Presents you with all of the applicable laws.
    • Shows you how each law's eligibility and entitlement is calculated.
    • Provides you with all of the legally required notices in editable PDF format, and even pre-fills important information for you.
    • Packages up a summary of each leave law and how to manage it, which you can even download.
  3. A record of every request is also saved in Leave Genius should you ever need to refer back to it in the future. 

All of this is provided at an incredibly affordable price, and there's no installation required. Simply go to Leave Genius and sign up!


Our Industry Blog

If you want to keep receiving the latest news about leave laws from Presagia, we keep our blog up-to-date with all things leave and accommodation management, including COVID-19 updates, FMLA, ADA, state leaves and more. Subscribe for instant updates and check out our posts about COVID-19 below:


Interactive Leave Map

To help give you an understanding of all of the leave policies that could apply to your employees in addition to those enacted in response to COVID-19, we have created an interactive leave map showcasing all the laws across the country. Click on any state to access a comprehensive list of its types of leave legislation. The map is regularly updated to reflect the laws in your state.

Click here for a full-screen view of the map.


 

Presagia is closely monitoring the legal and business landscape to ensure the highest state of readiness to respond to any legislation changes enacted or other proposals now and on the horizon.