COVID19 Employer Information and Sample Policy

On Thursday, March 5, the EDD clarified employer and employee coverage related to the coronavirus disease 2019, also known as COVID-19. The additional support comes one day after Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency as part of California’s response to the coronavirus.

Covered employees who’ve been exposed to the coronavirus are eligible to file a State Disability Insurance (SDI) claim, and employees caring for family members who are ill or quarantined with coronavirus are eligible to file a claim for Paid Family Leave (PFL). In addition, employers experiencing a slowdown due to the coronavirus’ community impact can apply for the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Work Sharing Program.

Additionally, the California Department of Labor has published FAQs on laws enforced by the Labor Commissioner’s office related to COVID-19.

To summarize Employers:

  • Must allow employees to use accrued time off (sick and or vacation) for leave due to COVID-19 illness to care for themselves or employee’s family member.
  • Cannot require that the worker use paid sick leave – that is the work’s choice. If the worker decides to use paid sick leave, the employer can require they take a minimum of two hours of paid sick leave per day. The determination of how much paid sick leave will be used per workday is up to the employee.
  • Must pay non-exempt employees for reporting time. Generally, if an employee reports to their regularly scheduled shift but is required to work fewer hours or is sent home, the employee must be compensated for at least two hours or no more than four hours of reporting time pay. Otherwise, employers are only required to pay non-exempt employees for hours worked.
  • Must follow federal regulations requiring that an exempt employee (paid at least the minimum required salary) who performs any work during a week must be paid their full weekly salary, if they do not work the full week because the employer failed to make work available.

Attached is a sample policy to communicate the organization’s action plan addressing COVID-19. The policy follows the recommendations set by the CDC.

COVID-19 Policy Sample