Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

July 24, 2020

Department of Labor (DOL)

Wage and Hour Division

It’s been some time since the DOL added to its list of Q&As regarding the FFCRA. Four more were added earlier this week and can be found here. Keep scrolling until you reach question #94. The latest additions speak to possibly requiring an employee, who has self-quarantined, to telework or take further leave until s/he has tested negative for COVID-19, as well as specifics related to furloughs.

Does your payroll team have questions regarding COVID-19 and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)? If so, the DOL also has Q&As for them too – not to worry, there are only nineteen (so far) with six added earlier this week!

With baseball season underway, the DOL has completed the triple play by also publishing FAQs regarding COVID-19 and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Of note: telemedicine visits are considered “in-person” visits (temporarily, through December 31, 2020) as long as certain requirements are met.

Women’s Bureau

The Department’s Women’s Bureau would like to hear from you as it seeks information from the public regarding paid leave (family and medical leave to care for a family member, or for one’s own health) and its effectiveness. For information regarding the request for information, click here. Written comments must be submitted on or before September 14, 2020.

The Women’s Bureau is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year – its mission is to formulate standards and policies that promote the welfare of wage-earning women, improve their working conditions, increase their efficiency, and advance their opportunities for profitable employment. To learn more about the Bureau, click here.

Colorado

Colorado’s HELP (Health Emergency Leave with Pay) rules terminated as of July 14, 2020. The Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (HFWA) was enacted as of July 14, 2020, part of which was effective immediately. The Act (SB 205) requires employers (all private employers with at least one employee working in the state) to provide paid sick leave. Here are the details:

Emergency Paid Sick Leave (COVID-19) – effective immediately

All Colorado employers are required to comply with the federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). In other words, employer size no longer matters.

Paid Sick Leave

Employers with 16 or more employees will be required to provide sick leave under HFWA beginning January 1, 2021. Beginning January 1, 2022, all employers will be required to do so.

Employees will earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, with a maximum accrual of 48 hours per year. Employers that have a paid leave policy that meets the requirements of the HFWA are not required to provide additional paid sick leave.

Leave may be taken for several purposes:

The employee:

  • Has a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition that prevents the employee from working;
  • Needs to obtain a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; or
  • Needs to obtain preventive medical care;

The employee needs to care for a family member who:

  • Has a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition;
  • Needs to obtain a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment of a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; or
  • Needs to obtain preventive medical care;

The employee or the employee’s family member:

  • Has been the victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or harassment and the use of leave is to:
    • Seek medical attention for the employee or the employee’s family member to recover from a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition caused by the domestic abuse, sexual assault, or harassment;
    • Obtain services from a victim services organization;
    • Obtain mental health or other counseling;
    • Seek relocation due to the domestic abuse, sexual assault, or harassment; or
    • Seek legal services, including preparation for or participation in a civil or criminal proceeding relating to or resulting from the domestic abuse, sexual assault, or harassment.

 Public Health Emergency:

  • The employee’s place of business has closed;
  • The school or place of care of the employee’s child has closed and the employee needs to be absent from work to care for the employee’s child;
  • A local, state, or federal public official or health authority determines that the employee’s or family member’s presence on the job would jeopardize the health of others because of the employee’s exposure to the communicable illness or because the employee is exhibiting symptoms of the communicable illness; or
  • An employee’s inability to work because the employee has a health condition that may increase susceptibility or risk of a communicable illness that is the cause of a public health emergency.

The employee needs to:

  • Self-isolate and care for oneself because the employee is diagnosed with or experiencing symptoms of a communicable illness that is the cause of a public health emergency; or
  • Seek or obtain medical diagnosis, care, or treatment if experiencing symptoms of a communicable illness or is seeking preventive care concerning a communicable illness that is the cause of a public health emergency.

The employee needs to care for a family member who:

  • Is self-isolating after being diagnosed with or experiencing symptoms of a communicable illness that is the cause of a public health emergency; or
  • Needs medical diagnosis, care, or treatment if experiencing symptoms of a communicable illness or is seeking preventive care concerning a communicable illness that is the cause of a public health emergency.

Employers are required to provide additional paid sick leave during a public health emergency. Employers must supplement each employee’s accrued paid sick leave as necessary to ensure that full-time employees receive at least 80 hours of paid sick leave; for part-time employees, employers must supplement the greater of either the amount of time the employee is scheduled to work in a 14-day period or the amount of time the employee actually works on average in a 14-day period.

Employers must notify employees that they are entitled to paid sick leave under the HFWA – notices must include the amount of paid sick leave to which the employee is entitled and the terms of its use under the Act, and notify the employee that the employer cannot retaliate against an employee for requesting or using paid sick leave, the employee has a right to file a complaint or bring a civil action if paid sick leave is denied or the employee suffers retaliation.

An Interpretive Notice & Formal Opinion (INFO) has been published; however, the required employer poster is not yet available.

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

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