© 2020 American Payroll Institute, Inc. March 23, 2020 Volume 22 Issue 6 COVID-19 information. The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is rapidly changing our world. APA is reporting these changes to keep our readers informed about how COVID-19 affects payroll, because there is arguably no more crucial function within an organization than getting employees paid accurately and on time. If you have questions about a specific state agency or program (or are looking for the latest updates) go to APA’s Resource Library (click on “Web Links State” under Resource Type) to access links to state websites for child support, labor, new hire reporting, unclaimed property, unemployment insurance, withholding tax, and workers’ compensation. APA has also created a new compliance hot topic on COVID-19. Paid Sick Leave Provisions Related to COVID-19 Outbreak Iemployers n light of the global outbreak of COVID-19, it is important for to be aware of paid sick leave (PSL) requirements at the state and local levels. Many state and local (county, city) PSL laws have clauses for public health emergencies and school closings in addition to provisions for an employee’s own or a family member’s diagnosis or treatment (see APA’s Guide to State Payroll Laws, §9.2). Remember that even if an employee does not qualify for PSL under one provision, he or she might qualify under a separate provision. Many jurisdictions with PSL laws (i.e., states, counties, cities) have provided updated guidance specific to COVID-19. Federal legislation enacted. Federal legislation has been signed by President Trump and requires certain employers to provide some form of paid sick leave or paid family leave (H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act). More information is available on APA's website. COVID-19 guidance COVID-19-specific guidance on PSL laws has been published by Arizona California Connecticut Maryland Massachusetts Nevada New Jersey Oregon Puerto Rico Rhode Island Washington and Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco, California Duluth, and Minneapolis, Minnesota Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Seattle, Washington. More general COVID-19 updates have been provided in jurisdictions with PSL laws by District of Columbia Michigan and San Diego and Santa Monica, California Chicago and Cook County, Illinois Montgomery County, Maryland St. Paul, Minnesota New York City and Westchester County, New York Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Dallas, Texas Vermont and SeaTac and Tacoma, Washington. Employee’s own or family member’s diagnosis, care, or treatment PSL laws allow employees to use PSL for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of the employee’s own or a family member’s illness or health condition. Some states have already issued guidance stating that a quarantine could fall within the definition of diagnosis, care, and treatment. Some PSL laws also allow usage for preventative care. Examples. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD) has provided COVID-19- specific guidance indicating that self-quarantine on the advice of a public health authority because of exposure to COVID-19 does fall within the permitted uses of PSL. The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has stated that 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 employees may exercise their right to take PSL, or an employer may allow PSL for preventative care (e.g., where there has been exposure to COVID-19 or where the worker has traveled to a high-risk area). Public health emergency provisions Place of business closure. Some PSL laws have specific public health emergency provisions that vary but generally allow employees to use PSL when an employee’s place of business has closed by order of a public health authority. The requirement that a public health authority order the closure might preclude this provision from applying to most employees unless the state agency provides guidance allowing for a more flexible interpretation during the COVID- 19 outbreak. PSL laws with a business closure provision include: Arizona Michigan New Jersey Oregon Rhode Island Washington San Diego, California Chicago and Cook County, Illinois Montgomery County, Maryland Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota New York City and Westchester County, New York Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and SeaTac, Seattle, and Tacoma, Washington. Shelter in place orders. The governor of California issued a "shelter in place" order requiring most people to stay at home unless it is necessary for one of the designated exceptions (e.g., essential activities, essential business, essential government functions). These orders generally would fall within the business closure exception, but check agency guidance for a particular jurisdiction to confirm. School closures. Public health emergency provisions also allow the employee to use PSL if his or her child’s school has been closed by order of a public official for a health-related reason. Vermont’s PSL law only applies the public health emergency provision to caring for a family member when the school or business where the family member is normally located during the employee’s workday is closed for public
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