April 17, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has updated its technical assistance Q&A document, What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws

There are new FAQs regarding reasonable accommodations related to the pandemic.  Also, as we get closer to stay-at-home orders possibly being lifted or modified, there are two new FAQs regarding return to work.  More specifically, the interaction of the ADA and screening employees for COVID-19 as well as accommodations as they relate to requiring protective gear.

Los Angeles
The Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law signed by Mayor Garcetti on April 7, 2020 and effective as of April 10, 2020 has some notable differences from the ordinance passed by the City Council:

  • The ordinance now applies to employers that have either: (1) 500 or more employees within the city of Los Angeles, or (2) 2,000 or more employees within the U.S.
  • Exemptions include, in part, employers who offer paid leave or paid time off that provides a minimum of 160 hours of paid leave annually; businesses that opened in the city and business that relocated to the city during the period of September 4, 2019 through March 4, 2020 (the business could not have been a business within the city of Los Angeles in the 2018 tax year); or, any business or organization that was closed or not operating for a period of 14 or more days due to a city official’s emergency order because of the COVID-19 pandemic or provided at least 14 days of leave.
  • The ordinance remains in effect until two calendar weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency period.

New Jersey
Governor Murphy signed SB2374 on April 14, 2020 which expands the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) to include leave to care for a family member made necessary by an epidemic of a communicable disease, a known or suspected exposure to a communicable disease, or efforts to prevent spread of a communicable disease (i.e. COVID-19).  School or place of care of the child closures are also included.

Employers may require certification and intermittent leave is allowed (as long as employee provides (1) notice to the employer as soon as practicable and (2) the employee makes a reasonable effort to schedule the leave so as not to unduly disrupt the operations of the employer and if possible, provide the employer with a regular schedule of the intermittent leave request).
The law is effective immediately and retroactive to March 25, 2020. Some NJFLA reminders:

  • Up to 12 weeks of leave in a 24-month period.
  • Employees must have worked for employer at least 12 months and worked at least 1,000 in previous 12 months.
  • Family member is defined as child, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, spouse, domestic partner, or one partner in a civil union couple, or any other individual related by blood to the employee, and any other individual that the employee shows to have a close association with the employee which is the equivalent of a family relationship.
  • Covered employers are those with 30 or more employees (all employees whether or not they work in New Jersey).

San Francisco
On April 14, 2020, the Board of Supervisors passed another public health emergency leave ordinance which makes some changes to the ordinance passed one week prior.  Pertinent changes include:

  • The ordinance now applies to any person providing labor or services for remuneration who is an employee under California law including part-time and temporary employees who perform work as an employee in San Francisco.
  • “Employee” includes one who performs limited work in San Francisco if the individual would be an employee under rules governing the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance.  For example, an employee living in San Francisco and working from home or an employee who lives outside of San Francisco but performs work duties in San Francisco.  Employees still must perform at least 56 hours of work in San Francisco in a calendar year.
  • The ordinance now limits the total number of leave hours employees can take based on if and when they are scheduled to work.  The amount cannot exceed the average number of hours over a one-week period the employee was scheduled to work over the six-month period ending February 25, 2020 (including any leave hours they took).
  • Leave entitlement remains at 80 hours for full-time employees and part-time employees will receive a number of hours equal to the average number of hours over a two-week period the employee was scheduled to work over the previous six months ending on February 25, 2020 (including any leave hours they took).

The ordinance is on its way to Mayor Breed for her signature.

We will continue to keep you updated.  If you have any questions, please reach out to compliance_services@thelarkincompany.com

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