California was the first state to issue stay at home orders. And, despite a number of states looking to reopen, our state is holding firm with these restrictions until public health officials deem it safe to do otherwise.
This approach saves lives, but has caused some confusion amongst workers – particularly as regards being required to work and sick leave entitlements. Below, we address some concerns about workers’ rights during the novel coronavirus lockdown. For additional information, please visit the COVID-19 FAQ on the Department of Industrial Relations website.
Sick Leave and COVID-19
In the state of California, employees are entitled to paid sick leave if such benefits are offered by their employer. Sick leave can be taken to care for yourself, a child, or another family member. In addition, companies with more than 25 employees are required to provide at least 40 hours of leave per year for school-related issues such as closures. However, this leave is only paid if it is part of your compensation package.
If you work full-time for a company with more than 500 employees nationally, you are now entitled to an additional 80 hours of sick leave in Los Angeles County.
You cannot be compelled to return to work if you are sick, but you may exhaust your sick leave and be required by your employer to dip into vacation or other paid time off to recover. This, however, assumes your compensation package includes vacation and paid time off. It also assumes you are still employed.
If you contracted COVID-19 at your place of work, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
What About Furloughed and Laid Off Workers?
Several programs have been expanded to assist workers who have been furloughed or laid off due to COVID-19. Unemployment insurance is now available for contract workers as well, helping to ensure everyone who needs help is given access to funds during this time of crisis.
And remember, normal laws still apply. If you were laid off during the novel coronavirus outbreak for reasons you suspect are illegal, you may be entitled to a wrongful termination lawsuit. This, along with all of your options, can be discussed in greater detail during a free consultation at our Redondo Beach office.
Schedule your free consultation by calling (310) 536-1000 today. We serve the South Bay communities of Manhattan Beach, Torrance, and all surrounding areas.