My Employees - COVID-19 FAQs

Below are some common questions around COVID-19 and your employees, what you can do, what they are entitled to and how to keep them safe.

Important Message: The information provided below is to address the overall industry and is not tailored to be specific to each company. We highly recommend contacting your company’s attorney for any questions or issues you may have about circumstances unique to your situation.

 

Where can my employees find information about the stimulus checks?

You can direct your employees to the IRS Coronavirus Tax Relief page - https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus 

 

What if I have to let go of some of my workers temporarily until business improves?

According to the California Employment Development Department’s FAQs

Your workers can file for unemployment benefits as long as they are unemployed and otherwise eligible. Workers who expect to return to work for you within a few weeks are not required to actively seek work each week as long as they are able and available to return to work during their unemployment and meet all other eligibility criteria. The EDD will explain the requirements to your workers when they apply for benefits.

 

What can I do to protect my workers from COVID-19?

According to the California Employment Development Department’s FAQs:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidance for Business and Employers includes basic precautions like proper handwashing and cleaning, as well as making sure your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance. Visit Cal/OSHA Guidance on Coronavirus to learn more about workplace requirements.

 

Can an employee use California Paid Sick Leave due to COVID-19 illness?

According to the California Department of Industrial Relations:

Yes. If the employee has paid sick leave available, the employer must provide such leave and compensate the employee under California paid sick leave laws.

Paid sick leave can be used for absences due to illness, the diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition or preventative care for the employee or the employee’s family member.

Preventative care may include self-quarantine as a result of potential exposure to COVID-19 if quarantine is recommended by civil authorities. In addition, there may be other situations where an employee may exercise their right to take paid sick leave, or an employer may allow paid sick leave for preventative care. For example, where there has been exposure to COVID-19 or where the worker has traveled to a high risk area.

 

If an employee exhausts sick leave, can other paid leave be used?

According to the California Department of Industrial Relations:

Yes, if an employee does not qualify to use paid sick leave, or has exhausted sick leave, other leave may be available. If there is a vacation or paid time off policy, an employee may choose to take such leave and be compensated provided that the terms of the vacation or paid time off policy allows for leave in this circumstance.

 

Can an employer require a worker who is quarantined to exhaust paid sick leave?

According to the California Department of Industrial Relations:

The employer cannot require that the worker use paid sick leave; that is the worker’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. The determination of how much paid sick leave will be used is up to the employee.

 

Is an employee entitled to compensation for reporting to work and being sent home?

According to the California Department of Industrial Relations:

Generally, if an employee reports for 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.

For example, a worker who reports to work for an eight-hour shift and only works for one hour must receive four hours of pay, one for the hour worked and three as reporting time pay so that the worker receives pay for at least half of the expected eight-hour shift.

Additional information on reporting time pay is posted online.

 

Where can I find more information about my employee's rights?

You can find more informaiton about employee's rights on the State of California Department of Labor COVID-19 FAQs and the U.S. Department of Labor COVID-19 and the American Workplace page. 
 

Where can I find a COVID-19 Supplemental Unemployment Plan?

Click here to access a customizable template.
 

If I go back onto payroll with my current employer under the Paycheck Protection Plan, what should I do about my unemployment benefits?

If you are getting paid under PPP, continue to file your weekly claims but report these PPP payments for those 8 weeks.