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Employment – COVID-19 Issues

Last updated May 7, 2021

Below are selected websites from reliable sources, vetted by our Law Librarians. This is not an exhaustive list of information available on this topic, but a starting point to provide you with basic information during this pandemic.

 

General Information

Disability Insurance

Paid Leave

Workers Compensation

Unemployment Insurance

Employment Discrimination

Information for Employers

General Information

The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) has prepared a resource guide covering COVID-19 Updates and Resources. See section on Employment, Healthcare, and Public Benefits.

UPDATE

April 16, 2021 – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that he has signed legislation to create a statewide policy for the rehiring of workers laid-off by the pandemic, bolstering the state’s efforts to ensure an equitable recovery from the pandemic. SB 93 requires employers in the hospitality and business services industries, including hotels, airports and large event centers, to offer new positions to qualified former employees laid off due to COVID-19 within five business days, through 2024. Read more here.

March 19, 2021 – Governor Newsom Signs Legislation to Ensure Access to Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for Workers Impacted by the Pandemic. Building on the state’s action to expand paid sick days protections for California’s workforce during the pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed SB 95, legislation to ensure access to up to 80 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for eligible employees, including those advised to quarantine or isolate and those caring for COVID-impacted family members. Read more here.

CARES Act

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. Among other things, this Act will provide emergency loans to distressed businesses such as air carriers; funds grants and technical assistance for small businesses; places limits on requirements for employers to provide paid leave; delays due dates for payroll taxes and makes other tax related rule revisions. The link below provides a summary and full text of the Act:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/3548

Summary Chart of Benefits for Workers Impacted by COVID-19 (includes eligibility information and how to file a claim for disability, paid family leave and sick leave, unemployment and workers compensation):https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/

Employment Development Department FAQ’s about COVID-19 and the workplace: https://edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/faqs.htm

FAQ’s about labor laws in California and COVID-19 (sick leave and other paid leave, questions employers can ask, and retaliation):

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/2019-Novel-Coronavirus.htm (English)

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Spanish/2019-Novel-Coronavirus.htm (Spanish)

What to do if you lose your job or hours due to COVID-19:

OnwardCA.org – resources and job opportunities for workers in California who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic:

U.S. Dept. of Labor Coronavirus Resources (workplace safety; wages, hours and leave; unemployment and general resources:

https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus

National Conference of State Legislatures

Information on the impact of COVID-19 on employment and labor issues, including licensing, sick leave, unemployment insurance and teleworking.

https://www.ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/covid-19-impact-on-employment-and-labor.aspx

 

California Lawyers Association Videos – Employment Law

California Lawyers Association has produced several informative videos on employment concerns related to COVID-19, including videos on Employer Concerns, Disability Accommodation, Wage and Hour Risks, Employee Travel, Employee Benefits, Employee Health and Safety, Labor Law Basics and more.

 

COVID-19 and the American Workplace/Dept. of Labor:

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic

 

COVID-19 and the Fair Labor Standards Act (Wage and Hour Law)/Dept. of Labor:

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/flsa/pandemic

 

COVID-19 and Employment Law Questions – National Law Review:

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/employment-law-questions-related-to-covid-19-pandemic

 

COVID-19 Information from United Farm Workers

This website provides a variety of resources for agricultural workers including health information and information about workers’ rights during stay-at-home orders, and more.

 

Covid-19 Update: Legal Information for Workers during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19 Update: Legal Information for Workers during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Worker’s Guide: Your Rights During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Los Angeles Law Library

http://www.lalawlibrary.org/pdfs/resource_lists/covid19/TheWorkersGuide-covid19-english.pdf

 

COVID-19 Related Employment Lawsuits – Jackson Lewis Employment LitWatch (tracking complaints filed in federal and state courts alleging labor and employment law violations related to COVID-19):

https://www.jacksonlewis.com/covid19-litwatch

 

Disability Insurance

Information about Disability Insurance in California and how to make a claim if you are sick and cannot work:

https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/faqs.htm

Paid Leave

Information about paid family leave in California and COVID-19:

https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/faqs.htm

California’s Paid sick leave law:

California Labor Code 245-249

The U.S. Dept. of Labor, Wage & Hour Division released a new regulation on April 1, 2020 to clarify the emergency paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Among other things this new rule clarifies that an employee may use leave time such as vacation or personal leave concurrently with the expanded leave provided by the Act:

https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/Pandemic/FFCRA.pdf

 Workers Compensation

Information about the Governor’s Executive Order approving a rebuttable presumption of workers compensation benefits for Californians who contract COVID-19 while working outside the home during the stay at home order:

Governor Newsom Announces Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Workers who Contract COVID-19 During Stay at Home Order

Unemployment Insurance

Eligibility:

https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/eligibility.htm

Filing a Claim:

https://edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Filing_a_Claim.htm

Department of Labor Guidance on Unemployment Flexibility During COVID-19 Outbreak:

https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20200312-0

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on unemployment benefit scams:

Unemployment benefits scams: How to protect yourself

For video tutorials on how to file an unemployment claim, how to reopen a claim, and how to certify for continuing benefits, in English, Spanish, and several other languages, scroll to the bottom of this page:

https://edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/UI_Online.htm

Como solicitar pagos de beneficios del UI (presente una solicitud)(Espanol)

Employment Discrimination

Job protection and employment discrimination, including discrimination based on medical condition:

COVID-19, the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and other Equal Employment Opportunity Laws- from the EEOC

Click here for more information.

 

EEOC Guidance Related to Pandemic Preparedness and the Workplace

Covering issues such as how much information an employer can require from employees who call in sick, when an employer can take an employee’s temperature, and whether an employer can require employees with pandemic virus related symptoms to stay home.

https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/pandemic-preparedness-workplace-and-americans-disabilities-act

 

EEOC Guidance Related to COVID-19 Vaccination Policies

Updated guidance document from the EEOC for employers which covers disability related issues, medical exams and issues related to COVID-19 vaccination policies.

https://www.eeoc.gov/wysk/what-you-should-know-about-covid-19-and-ada-rehabilitation-act-and-other-eeo-laws

Information for Employers

Reduced work hours, potential closures or layoffs, and payroll tax assistance:

https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

Work Sharing Program (alternative to layoffs):

https://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Work_Sharing_Program.htm

Coronavirus in the Workplace – What You Need to Know (Thomson Reuters):

https://tax.thomsonreuters.com/blog/coronavirus-in-the-workplace-what-you-need-to-know/

Information related to COVID-19 for businesses from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development:

FAQ’s Regarding COVID-19 for Employers:

Comprehensive FAQ’s from the law firm Fisher Phillips, including post-pandemic “back to business” issues:

https://www.fisherphillips.com/faqs

FAQ’s for California Employers:

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/dlse-faqs.htm

FAQ’s specifically for California Employers from the law firm Reed Smith:

https://employmentlawwatch.reedsmithblogs.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2020/05/COVID-19-FAQs-for-California-Employers-May-5-2020.pdf

FAQ’s about Federal Employment Law and COVID-19:

http://barcorefblog.blogspot.com/2020/10/eeocs-new-covid-19-guidance.html

Sample Language and Templates for Employers – Coronavirus in the Workplace 

The law firm Fisher Phillips has created some sample language and templates for employers dealing with issues related to Coronavirus in the workplace that they are making available for free on their website (including COVID-19 Talking Points for Managers, Model Announcement to Employees about Positive Test, Authorization to Disclose COVID-19 Diagnosis, and What You Should Know About Coronavirus and Your Employment)

https://www.fisherphillips.com/data-bank-templates-forms

U.S. Department of Labor

Information for employers and employees from the U.S. Department of Labor regarding the impact of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on sick leave, family leave, wage and hour issues, and more.

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic

Employer’s Guide to Addressing COVID-19

From the Marsh & McLennan insurance agency:

https://mma.marshmma.com/COVID-19_EmployersGuide

San Diego Employers Association

This association has COVID-19 Helpful links for employers that are regularly updated, including Coronavirus Frequently Asked HR Questions.

San Diego Employers Association

Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for Reopening- OSHA

https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf

Guidance for Employers from the EEOC: Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the ADA

This website answers questions about asking disability related questions of employees or prospective hires, requiring medical testing, and related issues.

https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/pandemic-preparedness-workplace-and-americans-disabilities-act