Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

August 29, 2020

Colorado

As mentioned in our July 24, 2020 newsletter, Colorado enacted the Healthy Families Workplace Act (HFWA) effective July 15, 2020 with immediate requirements. All Colorado employers are required to comply with the federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). HFWA coverage broadens as of January 1, 2021. We previously provided the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment’s Interpretive Notice– further information has since been released:

Info #6A – covers 2020 requirements

Info #6B – covers 2021 requirements

Colorado Paid Leave & Whistleblower Poster – effective July 15 – December 31, 2020

Employers can satisfy notice requirements by providing employees with the INFO or the poster. Notice may be provided electronically.

Department of Labor (DOL)

The month-long drought is finally over! The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division has thankfully released more FFCRA Q&A’s and, thankfully, they address the FFCRA as it relates to the reopening of schools. The Q&A’s (#98-100) may be found here. The gist of the guidance is as follows:

  • Hybrid/Alternate Day – While the school is open for all intents and purposes, children are alternating in-person learning with remote learning. Employees will be eligible to take paid leave under the FFCRA only on the days when their children are not permitted to attend school in person.
  • In-Person/Remote Learning Choice – Schools that give parents the option to have their child attend school in-person or learn remotely will not be eligible for FFCRA (unless, of course, the child is under a quarantine order or has been advised to self-isolate). In this case, the school is considered open – FFCRA is not available to take care of a child whose school is open for in-person learning.
  • Possible School Re-Opening – As long as the school remains closed, an employee is eligible for FFCRA to care for a child. However, if the school later determines, based on current conditions, that it will reopen, FFCRA eligibility will depend on the learning model that the school implements at that time.

Sonoma County, California

We’ve gone even longer without a California city or county passing its own paid sick leave ordinance. Sonoma County has filled the void by becoming the 10th California jurisdiction to enact emergency paid sick leave (Northern California has a comfortable 7-3 lead over its Southern counterpart).

Passed on August 18, 2020 and effective immediately, the ordinance will remain in effect until December 31, 2020 (unless extended). The law applies to employers with 500 or more employees who have worked at least two hours in the county’s unincorporated areas. Full-time employees are eligible for up to 80 hours of Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL), while part-time employees are eligible for an amount no greater than their average number of work hours in a two-week period (over the past 6 months).

Reasons for leave:

  • 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 subject to quarantine or isolation by federal, state or local order due to 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; or
  • 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.

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

Employers may require employees to follow reasonable notice procedures for foreseeable absences only. Employers may require employees to identify the basis for which the employee is requesting leave but cannot require employees to furnish a doctor’s note or other supporting documentation.

As with most other employment-related laws, employers are required to provide notice to their employees of their rights under the ordinance. However, one major difference in Sonoma County is that employers are responsible for creating the notice. Furthermore, the notice must be provided in English and Spanish.

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

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