From April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, covered employers must provide employees with emergency paid sick leave for certain qualifying reasons related to COVID-19 that are outlined in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
An employee qualifies for emergency paid sick leave if the employee is unable to work (or unable to telework) due to a need for leave for any of the following reasons:
1. Quarantine or Isolation Order: The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
- This includes a quarantine, isolation, shelter-in-place, or stay-at-home order issued by a Federal, State, or local government authority that causes an employee to be unable to work (or telework) even though the employer has work that the employee could perform but for the order.
2. Health Care Provider Advice: The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
- “Health care provider” means a licensed doctor of medicine, nurse practitioner, or other health care provider permitted to issue a certification for purposes of FMLA.
3. COVID-19 Symptoms and Seeking Medical Diagnosis: The employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
- Pursuant to guidance issued by the DOL, an employer may require an employee to identify her symptoms and a date for a doctor’s appointment or test. However, the employer may not require the employee to provide further documentation or certification that the employee sought a diagnosis or treatment from a health care provider in order for the employee to use paid sick leave for COVID-19 related symptoms. NOTE: If an employee is taking unpaid leave under the FMLA, the FMLA’s documentation requirements apply.
4. Care for Others: The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order or whose health care provider has advised the individual to self-quarantine due concerns related to COVID-19.
- “Individual” means a family member of an employee or someone that regularly resides in an employee’s home. An employee may also take paid sick leave to care for someone if his or her relationship with that individual creates an expectation that he or she would care for that individual in quarantine or self-isolation and that individual depends on that employee for care during the quarantine or self-isolation.
5. School/ Child Care: The employee is caring for a son or daughter because the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed (or the childcare provider is unavailable) for reasons related to COVID-19.
- An employee may qualify for paid sick leave under this provision if his or her son or daughter is under the age of 18 or if the child is 18 years or older with a disability and cannot care for himself or herself due to that disability.
6. Similar Conditions: The employee is experiencing a substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor or Treasury.
- To date, no substantially-similar condition has been identified.
Whether an employee qualifies for paid sick leave under the FFCRA creates a fact sensitive legal analysis. We recommend that employers analyze these determinations on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Kightlinger & Gray’s employment law attorneys with any questions regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, as we are continuously monitoring new developments and guidance issued on this statute.