April 10, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Does anyone really know how long they’ve been sheltering-in-place and working from home at this point? It feels like forever! The Larkin Company has been working from home for 4 weeks now and while it’s been an adjustment, we are happy to report that it’s been smooth sailing thus far. We are pleased that we can continue providing our customary high level of service and support to our clients regardless of the situation.

As part of our initiative to keep you as updated as possible, we will be posting a comprehensive list of State and local COVID-19 updates and stay-at-home orders. You can access both here. We will be posting updated lists every Friday.

The EEOC has also updated their COVID-19 guidance, which is in Q&A format and can be found here What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws

As a reminder, and speaking of support, our Compliance Services team is here for you. As mentioned in a previous newsletter, there is so much information coming out these days, and change is constant. If there’s something we have not addressed in our newsletters that is important to you, please let us know; we are happy to assist.

Los Angeles
The COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law that we mentioned in our April 2, 2020 newsletter was signed by Mayor Garcetti on April 7, 2020 and is effective April 10, 2020.

San Francisco
Mayor Breed is expected to sign an emergency ordinance (Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance or PHELO) that will require employers with 500 or more employees to provide paid public health emergency leave during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Key points:

  • The ordinance will remain in effect until the 61st day following enactment (unless the timeframe is extended) or the public health emergency is declared over, whichever occurs first.
  • For purposes of determining coverage, all employees of a company, regardless of where they work, should be counted.All workers are included (full-time, part-time and temporary employees).
  • Employees must have performed 56 or more hours of work in San Francisco during the 365 days immediately preceding the law’s effective date in order to be covered.
  • Entitlement: full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of leave; part-time employees are entitled to a number of hours equal to the number of hours that such employee works, on average, over a 2-week period.
  • Employers may offset the amount of leave by the amount of paid leave provided to an employee on or after February 25, 2020 for any reason the ordinance identifies.
  • This leave is in addition to any leave employers were required to provide employees (e.g. SF paid sick leave and/or leave for a non-COVID-19 reason.
  • Employees can use this leave before using other accrued time off or may voluntarily choose to use other employer-provided accrued paid time off before using this leave (but an employer may not require this).
  • Employers may not change any paid time off policies on or after the ordinance’s effective unless they are providing additional paid leave.
  • Leave is available to employees who have been furloughed and have experienced a qualifying event.

Qualifying events are defined, in part, as the following:

  1. An employee being subject to an individual or general federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.This includes shelter-in-place orders as well as employees who are members of a vulnerable population.
  2. An employee being advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.
  3. An employee experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. An employee caring for a family member who is subject to an order described in #1, has been advised as described in #2, or is experiencing symptoms as described in #3.
  5. An employee caring for a family member whose school or place of care has been closed, or whose care provider is unavailable.
  6. An employee experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the local health officer, or under the federal FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act) by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. Employers cannot require employees to take leave in increments of more than one hour.
  • Family member is defined as child, grandchild, parent, sibling, spouse or registered domestic partner.If employees do not have a spouse or registered domestic partner, they may designate one person for whom they may use this leave.
  • Reasonable notice requirements can be required by employers only when leave is foreseeable.Employers can require employees to identify the basis for requesting leave but cannot ask for health information.
  • At this time, employers may take reasonable measures to verify that employees use leave for a covered purpose; however, employers cannot require other documentation, including but not limited to a doctor’s note.
  • There are no tax credits for employers under this ordinance.

We will update you once Mayor Breed signs the ordinance. Further south down 280 or 101, San Jose has passed its own ordinance that we will explore in our next newsletter. We will also provide an update on a change Seattle has made to its Paid Sick and Safe Time law. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please reach out to compliance_services@thelarkincompany.com

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