Coronavirus (COVID-19) and State Updates

July 11, 2020

California

Localities in California are at it again as three more have recently passed emergency sick leave ordinances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions or need further details, please let us know:

City of Sacramento

Beginning July 15, 2020, Sacramento employers with 500 or more employees nationally will be required to provide supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL). “Employer” means a person that operates a business in the City of Sacramento and who directly or indirectly employs or exercises control over the wages, hours, or working conditions of any employee. “Employee” means a person who works within the boundaries of the City of Sacramento. Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours while part-time employees are entitled to an amount equal to the number of hours they work on average during a two-week period.

SPSL may be used for the following reasons:

  • The employee is subject to quarantine or isolation by federal, state, or local order due to COVID-19, or is caring for a family member who is quarantined or isolated due to COVID-19;
  • The employee is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 or is caring for a family member who is so advised by a health care provider;
  • The employee chooses to take off work because the employee is over the age of 65 years or is considered vulnerable due to a compromised immune system;
  • The employee is off work because the employer they work for or the specific work location at which the employee works temporarily ceases operations due to a public health order or other public official’s recommendation;
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • The employee is caring for a minor child because a school or daycare is closed due to COVID-19

Employers may request that an employee provide the reason for SPSL but may not require a doctor’s note or other documentation.

The maximum rate of pay is $511 per day ($5,110 in the aggregate) for employees requesting SPSL for their own reason while the maximum rate is $200 per day ($2,000 in the aggregate) for those providing care to a family member.

The law also requires employers to implement certain safety practices and protocols. For more details, please refer to page 9 of the ordinance.

City of Santa Rosa

The Santa Rosa City Council passed their temporary sick leave ordinance on July 7, 2020. Employers with 500 or more employees nationally are required to provide full-time employees with 80 hours of paid sick leave (part-time employees are entitled to paid sick leave equal to the number of hours they work on average over a two-week period).

“Employer” means any person, including corporate officers or executives, who directly or indirectly (including through the services of a temporary services or staffing agency or similar entity) employs or exercises control over the wages, hours or working conditions of any employee. “Employee” means any person employed by an employer and who has worked at least two (2) hours within the geographic boundaries of the City of Santa Rose.

Temporary sick leave uses:

  • The employee is subject to quarantine or isolation by federal, state or local order due to COVID-19;
  • The employee is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 or is caring for someone who is so advised by a health care provider;
  • The employee experiences symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking medical diagnosis;
  • The employee is caring for someone who is quarantined or isolated due to COVID-19;
  • The employee is caring for a minor child because a school or daycare is closed due to COVID-19.

A doctor’s note or other documentation from a health care provider is not required.

The maximum rate of pay is $511 per day ($5,110 in the aggregate) for all sick leave uses.

County of San Mateo

The San Mateo Board of Supervisors passed an emergency ordinance establishing supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) for COVID-19 related reasons on July 7, 2020 with an effective date of July 8, 2020. Employers with 500 or more employees nationally (including any U.S. territory or possession) are required to provide full-time employees with 80 hours of SPSL. Part-time employees receive an amount no greater than their average number of work hours in a two-week period.

“Employer” means any person, association, organization, partnership, business trust, limited liability corporation, or corporation, who directly or indirectly or through an agent or any other person, including through the services of a temporary service or staffing agency or similar entity, employs or exercises control over the wages, hours, or working conditions of any employees. “Employee” means an individual, regardless of immigration status, who is or has been required by their employer to perform any work within the geographic boundaries of unincorporated San Mateo County since January 1, 2020.

SPSL may be used for the following reasons:

  • The employee has been advised by a health care provider to isolate or self-quarantine to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
  • The employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • The employee needs to care for an individual who is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19, or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19 or is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • The employee takes time off work because the employee needs to provide care for an individual whose senior care provider or whose school or childcare provider is closed or is unavailable in response to a public health or other public official’s recommendation.

Employers may request information supporting an employee’s request for SPSL as provided in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

The maximum rate of pay is $511 per day ($5,110 in the aggregate) for all sick leave uses.

Tennessee

Governor Bill Lee signed the Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (SB 2520) on June 22, 2020. The bill requires employers with at least 15 employees to provide reasonable accommodation for pregnancy and conditions related to pregnancy unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship.

Reasonable accommodation includes:

  • Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible and usable;
  • Providing more frequent, longer, or flexible breaks;
  • Providing a private place, other than a bathroom stall, for the purpose of expressing milk;
  • Modifying food or drink policy;
  • Providing modified seating or allowing the employee to sit more frequently if the job requires standing;
  • Providing assistance with manual labor and limits on lifting;
  • Authorizing a temporary transfer to a vacant position;
  • Providing job restructuring or light duty, if available;
  • Acquiring or modifying of equipment, devices, or an employee’s workstation;
  • Modifying work schedules; and
  • Allowing flexible scheduling for prenatal visits.

The law will go into effect beginning October 1, 2020.

Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The Treasury Department and the IRS have issued guidance to employers that requires them to report the amount of qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees under the FFCRA on Form W-2. Amounts paid under the FFCRA will need to be reported in Box 14 or in a statement provided with the Form W-2. Notice 2020-54 provides the details and additional information regarding tax credits can be found here.

If you have any questions, please reach out to compliance_services@thelarkincompany.com.

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