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COVID-19 Legal Issues Related to Paid Sick Leave For California Employees

On Behalf of | Apr 13, 2020 | Employment Law

Some of the regulations related to paid sick leave in California require clarification in the ongoing coronavirus crisis. To help ensure that employees in California know their rights in this regard, we are providing a few pertinent questions and answers.

If I have COVID-19 illness, can I use my California paid sick leave?

Yes, if you have paid sick leave available, your employer is required to provide such leave and compensate you under the state’s paid sick leave laws.

If I self-quarantine to prevent spreading of coronavirus infection, will my California paid sick leave apply?

As a California worker, you can use your paid sick leave for absences due to illness or treatment of an existing medical condition or preventative care for yourself or a family member.

Preventative care will include self-quarantine resulting from potential coronavirus exposure, subject to the condition that civil authorities have recommended it to you.

You can also exercise your right to use paid sick leave in some other related situations. For instance, if you have traveled to a high risk area or you have been in a place where there has been coronavirus exposure, you can seek paid sick leave for preventative care.

If my sick leave is exhausted, can I use other paid leave?

Yes, if your employer has a paid time off or vacation leave policy, you can choose to take such leave and get compensated for it as long as the terms of the policy allow for leave in these circumstances.

If I am quarantined, can my employer require me to use my paid sick leave?

No, your employer cannot require you to exhaust your paid sick leave. It is your choice as an employee. If you choose to use your paid sick leave, your employer can require that you take at least two hours of paid sick leave. But it is up to you how much of your paid sick leave you want to use in these circumstances.

What are my options if my child’s day care or school has shut down because of COVID-19?

You should talk to your employer to know your options. You could have paid sick leave or another paid leave available. If your employer has a minimum of 25 employees, you may be able to obtain up to 40 hours of annual leave for specific school related emergencies (including closing down of your child’s day care or school due to coronavirus).

Whether the leave you obtain in this situation is paid or unpaid will depend on your employer’s policies related to paid leave, vacation, or other time off. Your employer may require you to use your paid time off or vacation benefits before they let you use unpaid leave. However, they cannot force you to use your paid sick leave.

But as a parent, you have a right to use any of your available paid sick leave for the purpose of preventative care for your child.

Speak to a Seasoned Employment Law Attorney in California

If your employer has violated your rights as a worker during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, or has unlawfully terminated you as a worker, you may have a legal claim against the employer. Experienced employment law attorneys at Makarem & Associates are ready to fight your case for compensation. Call us at 310-312-0299 for an appointment, or email at [email protected].

Give us a call today – we know how to win these types of cases. We have a long line of satisfied clients and you could easily be one of them. You lose nothing by calling us – the first meeting with us comes with no charge. If your circumstance is viable, we will let you know and Makarem & Associates knows what a winning case looks like.