COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Continues to Provide Relief
A little more than a year has passed since California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Executive Order on May 6, 2020, making it easier for the state's workers who contract COVID-19 to obtain Workers' Compensation benefits. And though the pandemic has ravaged our state, our country and the world, the development of three vaccines has brightened the future in many people's minds.
There is plenty of reason for hope, but workers must remain ever vigilant. With 2021 came renewed COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave benefits. As outlined by California's Department of Industrial Relations, these help protect those who don't have the luxury of working from home—nurses, Teamsters, public safety officers, retail clerks, etc.
The updated guidelines cover employees in public or private sectors who work for employers with more than 25 employees. These workers are entitled to 80 hours of COVID-19 related sick leave from January 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021, immediately upon notifying the employer either verbally or in writing.
"This extension is great for California workers, especially those deemed essential who have had to face COVID dangers head-on since the pandemic began," says Attorney Steve Scardino, a partner in the law firm of Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein, LLP (GEK). "Add to this the protection provided by OSHA's latest guidance measures that help employers and workers identify COVID-19 exposure risks on the job, and I think we are looking at a much brighter future."
Paid Leave Details
A covered employee can take leave if she or he can't work or telework for any of the following reasons:
- Caring for her or himself—as defined by guidelines from the California Department of Public Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or a local health officer with adequate jurisdiction.
- Caring for a family member—one who is quarantined due to COVID-19 or is a child whose school or childcare facility is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19.
- Vaccine-related—as defined by either attending a vaccine appointment or cannot work because of vaccine-related symptoms.
While full-time employees are eligible for the 80 hours, the specifics for part-time employers are a bit harder to calculate based on formulas that incorporate if the part-time worker has a regular weekly schedule or a schedule that varies. Specific details regarding these benefits can be found at the Department of Industrial Relations.
"As Workers' Compensation attorneys, we are on the frontlines for employees, ensuring that they receive the full range of benefits to which they are entitled should they suffer a workplace illness or injury," says Scardino. "This past year has been unique with the lethal virus striking down workers of varying ages and job responsibilities. We at GEKLAW continue to stand with our brothers and sisters, and look forward to a brighter future."