Month: May 2020

California Coronavirus Workplace Safety and Employment Resources

Even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, we are still bound by our legal duties. Employers and workers alike still need to know their rights and responsibilities to ensure that everyone is safe and their business is run sustainably.

As businesses have been opening at various stages throughout California, here are some basic guidelines and resources that employers and workers need to keep in mind. All facilities must check off these items prior to reopening:

  1. Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan
  2. Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them
  3. Implement individual control measures and screenings
  4. Implement disinfecting protocols
  5. Implement physical distancing guidelines

Industry-Specific Guidelines in California

These guidelines are available in the state’s COVID-19 website and cover topics such as a workplace specific plan, employee training topics, and cleaning & disinfecting protocols. We have included a few guides here for your reference.

For those needing unemployment assistance, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) has resources for filing unemployment claims. Their Pandemic Unemployment Assistance page can be viewed here. If you are an essential worker and your employer has failed to follow these guidelines, they may be subject to damages and/or penalties. You have the right to file a complaint or to refuse to go work if your environment is unsafe.

According to California’s Department of Industrial relations, if you are a non-essential worker who can’t work from home, you “can use any available paid sick leave for time off work under the ‘preventative care’ provision in the law.”Employers also need to be mindful of the following legislation:

For employers and workers needing legal assistance during this time, schedule your consultation with our employment and wage & hour lawyers. We will help you understand your rights, make sense of laws that apply to your situation, and walk you through the legal process.


California COVID-19 Website

California Department of Industrial Relations

California Labor & Workforce Development Agency

FFCRA Paid Sick Leave: What You Need to Know

Has COVID-19 prevented you from reporting to work? Are you an employer whose workers got ill from the coronavirus? Has your child’s school or place of care closed because of the pandemic? If you answered yes to any of these questions, know your employer and worker options for paid sick leaves with the FFCRA.

What is the FFCRA?

As of April 1st, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) notified the public that American workers and employers will receive benefits through the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. Both of these acts are part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or FFCRA. The Wage and Hour Division of the DOL administers the FFCRA’s paid leave provisions. For legal assistance regarding paid leaves, a wage and hour lawyer can help.

FFCRA is intended to address COVID-19 workplace issues, specifically by reimbursing tax credits to private employers with fewer than 500 employees. The credits give the employees paid leave for COVID-19 specific reasons. With the reimbursements, employers can keep their workers on payroll while workers do not have to worry about choosing between their livelihood and their health. FFCRA is effective from April 2, 2020 and will expire on December 31, 2020.

What else is covered under the FFCRA?

Under the temporary rule, there are other provisions intended to support both employers and workers. These include the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA). The differences between the two provisions are listed below.


This provision requires specific employers to give up to 80 hours paid sick leave to employees affected by COVID-19. According to the DOL, these reasons may include:

  • the employee or someone the employee is caring for is subject to a government quarantine order or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
  • the employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking medical attention; or,
  • the employee is caring for his or her son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed or whose child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

If you are a worker requiring medical attention due to COVID-19, or you need to provide care to someone who has been required to quarantine, the 80 hours of paid sick leave that EPSLA offers may apply to you.


Under this provision, the Department requires specific employers to provide a maximum of 10 weeks paid and 2 weeks unpaid emergency leave (family or medical) to their employees, provided that the employee is caring for a child whose “school or place of care is closed or whose child care provider is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.” In California, the Labor Code section 230.8 also details provisions for parents and guardians in the event of school or daycare closure.

For parents who need to take time off to care for their kids because of school closure, the EFMLEA will cover 10 weeks of paid and 2 weeks unpaid emergency leave.

Who is eligible under the FFCRA?

Certain public employers and private employers with 500 or fewer employees are covered under the FFCRA. Federal employees are covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act’s paid sick leave provision. For small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, they may be exempted from providing leave if the leave requirements would threaten the business’ survival. According to the DOL, “[a]ll employees of covered employers are eligible for two weeks of paid sick time for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Employees employed for at least 30 days are eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave to care for a child under certain circumstances related to COVID-19.” California’s Department of Industrial Relations also offers state-specific resources regarding COVID-19 and paid sick leaves.

Know Your Rights

No employee should be forced to choose between keeping their jobs and staying healthy; likewise, employers who are struggling need the provisions afforded by the FFCRA. If you are a worker or employer seeking legal counsel for COVID-19 related labor issues, contact our experts at Hoffman & Forde. Our wage and hour attorneys will provide expert legal advice regarding wages, paid leaves, and relevant labor laws during the pandemic.


U.S. Department of Labor

California Department of Industrial Relations