The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused countless problems for American businesses and their employees, from health crises to economic disruption and restrictive mandates applied at the state and federal levels. Many industries were forced to slow operations significantly, and many workers dubbed nonessential were forced out of work and into quarantine during the heaviest lockdown periods. Other industries, particularly the health care sector, were overburdened by the pandemic and workforces afflicted by the COVID-19 virus.
Each state developed unique methods of combatting the respective challenges faced during the pandemic. For example, in California, employers were compelled to adjust their paid medical leave policies to account for COVID-19 infection, isolation periods, quarantine, and hospital treatment. New laws also require employers to accommodate employees who must address their loved one’s health concerns related to COVID-19.
If you have encountered a problem with your employer regarding paid leave for issues related to COVID-19 medical issues or a wage and hour dispute of any kind, it’s important to know the recent changes to the laws that apply to these situations and how an attorney can assist you.
Paid Sick Leave Rules for California Employers
COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave applies to anyone who must leave home for work, and it can apply in regard to infection, mandatory isolation periods, treatment, and recovery. This paid leave can function similarly to paid time off that many employees accrue as they complete work hours for their employers. The exact amount of COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave you can qualify to receive depends on how much you earn from your employer on average each week, how long you have worked for your employer, and how much work you have completed in the prior year.
Determining the exact amount of COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave you are legally allowed to claim can be challenging. This is especially true if you must take time off to address a loved one’s medical issue rather than your own. Working with an experienced California employment attorney is a good idea in this situation. Your legal team can evaluate your situation and review the latest changes to the paid sick leave rules for California employers, helping you determine how much paid time off you can legally expect from your employer.
Benefits of Working With an Attorney
The attorneys at English, Lloyd & Armenta have helped many past clients recover from work-related injuries throughout California, and the ongoing pandemic has generated not only critical medical problems for thousands of Americans but also caused tremendous economic disruption and legal uncertainty. If you have been sick with COVID-19 and are unable to work, your employer must adhere to the latest rules regarding your paid sick leave. Any violation of these rules could lead to penalties for your employer and grounds for a civil claim for damages that may help you recover.
When you have experienced legal counsel on your side, you will be better equipped to address whatever legal proceedings your situation generates. For example, your attorney can assist you in filing a claim for paid sick leave or a workers’ compensation claim if you qualify for benefits due to an illness you acquired from work. In addition, depending on your industry, special rules may apply to your case, and you may have access to more benefits than you initially expected. For example, there are unique policies regarding food service, health care, and other sectors deemed “essential” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Your attorney can help you determine whether you have grounds for a claim of retaliation after being denied paid sick leave under the latest COVID-19 rules. Additionally, if you have sustained any type of work-related injury or acquired a serious illness through your work, you could have grounds to seek workers’ compensation benefits. The sooner you speak with legal counsel about your current situation, the better they can assist you in making informed decisions about your recovery options.
Q: Is an Employee Entitled to Pay for Reporting to Work and Being Sent Home in California?
A: In the event that any California employee shows up for work, and they are sent home, state law requires they are paid for at least two hours of reporting time pay. If you have been sent home due to COVID-19 restrictions and cannot work from home, discerning your rights and responsibilities when it comes to paid sick leave can be challenging. If you have questions about how you can use paid sick leave during the pandemic, it’s a good idea to consult an attorney.
Q: What Happens If My Employer Denies Me Paid Sick Leave for COVID-19?
A: California employers are required to file all applicable regulations pertaining to testing, isolation, quarantine, and providing work-from-home options for employees affected by COVID-19. Employers must balance their liability for paid sick leave with their operational responsibilities and use caution to prevent outbreaks among their workforces. However, employers must grant COVID-19 paid sick leave in accordance with state law or face severe penalties.
Q: What Is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)?
A: This piece of federal legislation enforces new standards for US employers regarding paid sick leave for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The FFCRA not only outlines the situations in which an employee can qualify for paid sick leave related to COVID-19 infection, quarantine, or testing but also dictates employee rights in regard to caring for loved ones affected by COVID-19.
Q: Should I Hire an Attorney If COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Is Denied?
A: If you believe your employer in California has violated the FFCRA in any way or otherwise violated your rights under state or federal employment law, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you connect with legal counsel you can trust, the more time your attorney has to help you build the most compelling case possible.
The team at English, Lloyd & Armenta has years of experience providing employment-related legal counsel to our clients throughout California, and we know the COVID-19 pandemic has interfered with the lives of business owners and their employees across the country in countless ways. If you have pressing legal questions regarding paid sick leave in California following COVID-19 infection or for addressing any other pandemic-related health issue, contact us today and schedule a consultation to learn how we can help you.