April 1, 2020

COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Rights

Coronavirus is drastically changing all of our lives. SEIU 221 is fighting to ensure you and your families are protected during these times. Knowledge of your rights is key to protecting you and your loved ones from the effects of the coronavirus. Listed below is important information on your rights. If you have any questions or concerns please contact SEIU at (858) 560-0151.

Federal Law:

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

FFCRA creates two new paid leave programs:

  1. Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act – Entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave if full time. May take this benefit before using other benefits.
    1. To be eligible must meet one (1) of the following:
      1. Subject to quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19
      2. Advised by health care provider to self-quarantine
  • Experiencing symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis

(100% pay, up to $511 daily and $5,110 total)

  1. Caring for someone subject to quarantine or with symptoms
  2. Experiencing “any other substantially similar conditions”

(2/3 pay, up to $200 daily and $2,000 total)

  1. Caring for children because school are closed due to COVID-19

(Up to 12 weeks paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave paid at 2/3 pay, up to $200 daily and $12,000 total)

  1. Emergency Family & Medical Leave Expansion Act – 2/3 regular rate up to $200 a day and $10k total. This leave can be combined with an employee’s leave balances. Allows you leave for 12 weeks if seriously injured, caring for family member seriously injured or if you must care for children because of a school closure.
    1. To be eligible must meet all of the following:
      1. Employed for last 30 days with employer
      2. Been on unpaid leave (or using sick/vacation leave) for first 10 days
  • Have regular FMLA leave still available

Employers may not discharge, discipline, or otherwise discriminate against any employee who lawfully takes paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the FFCRA.

California Laws:

  1. Paid Family Leave Act gives up to 6 weeks (8 weeks effective July 1) to care for family members who are quarantined. Employees receive 60% to 70% of wages.
    1. To be eligible must meet all of the following:
      1. Unable to work due to quarantined family member
      2. Pay into state disability fund
  • May be required to provide medical certification of quarantine
  1. State Disability Insurance gives up to 52 weeks of 60% to 70% of wages.
    1. To be eligible must meet the following:
      1. Unable to work due to medical quarantine or illness (must have been off for 8 days)
      2. Certified by medical professional
    2. Workers’ Compensation
    3. If you believe you have contracted the Coronavirus (COVID-19) from work, and have the following symptoms, seek medical care:
  • Fevers over 100.4 °F
  • Coughing and Sneezing
  • Difficulty Breathing
  1. As with any work injury or illness, you must immediately report to your supervisor that you believe you have been exposed to the Coronavirus. Request to file a workers’ compensation claim; report that you will be requesting a test to confirm presence of the virus; and if symptoms listed above become present, leaving work to reduce the threat of exposure to others.
  2. Employees may choose to take paid sick leave for preventative care, such as “where there has been exposure to COVID-19 or where the worker has traveled to a high-risk area.”
  3. Employers who require an employee to stay home, due to Coronavirus, may be eligible for Unemployment, State Disability, and even Temporary Disability through workers compensation, should the employee lose more than 30 days of work.
  4. Remember that Family Medical Leave can be used as well to care for a family member that is sick or for yourself, provided that has not been exhausted.
  5. Stay in communication with you Work, your Union, and your Union Attorney’s during this time. You are essential to your employer but more importantly YOU ARE ESSENTIAL TO US. YOUR SACRIFICE DURING THIS TIME WON’T BE FORGOTTEN.

For additional information, or should you have questions, please contact Union Attorneys Hiden, Rott & Oertle, LLP., at (619) 296-5884.

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