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COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) for Staff Resources

What does this new law provide?

The FFCRA went into effect on April 1, 2020, the law makes two changes to employee leaves:

  • Part 1 - It adds “a qualifying need related to a public health emergency” as new FMLA category
  • Part 2 - It provides for “Emergency Paid Sick Leave” for all eligible employees

This law will expire on December 31, 2020.

Please note: The law in this area is fluid and developing. The language below may be changed as additional legal clarifications are provided. We appreciate your patience.

Please read the FAQs below to learn more details and submit a request form to human.resources@cityofsanrafael.org to apply for these leaves.

Part 1 - The New “Emergency Family & Medical Leave Expansion Act”

No. The FMLA’s terms and definitions remain the same. The new law simply adds a provision that addresses the unique needs of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 1st, City employees may take FMLA leave for “a qualifying need related to a public health emergency” (i.e., the coronavirus). Meanwhile, other qualifying reasons for FMLA leave remain unchanged (e.g., serious health condition, military caregiver, baby bonding, etc.).

It means that if an employee is unable to work (or telework) due to a need to care for the employee’s child because the child’s elementary or secondary school or place of care or childcare provider has been closed due to a public health emergency.

The leave is technically both:

  • The first 10 days of the public health emergency FMLA leave is unpaid, unless the employee uses their own leave accruals and/or are eligible for Emergency Sick Leave to use in order to be paid for the first 10 days.
  • After that, the City will provide:
    • Paid leave in an amount not less than two-thirds (2/3) the employee’s regular rate of pay (defined by Fair Labor Standards Act [“FLSA”]); and
    • Based on the number of hours the employee would otherwise be scheduled to work for the City normally;
    • However, in no event will the paid-leave compensation exceed $200 per day or $10,000 total.

Employees become eligible after 30 calendar days of employment.

  • “Calendar days means” an employee has been on the payroll for 30 calendar days immediately prior to the day the leave starts (e.g., for an April 1, 2020 leave request, the employee would have been on the payroll since March 2, 2020).

Note: This paid leave is separate from the Emergency Paid Sick Leave discussed below in Part 2.

For part-time employees, the City will base leave on the number of hours an employee is normally scheduled to work. If the City cannot confirm these hours for any reason, the City will use a six-month period to average the daily hours.

Yes, provided they are in paid status between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.

Not if the need is unforeseeable. When the need for public health emergency FMLA leave is foreseeable, please provide notice to the City as soon as is practicable. The City’s HR department is in process of updating our current FMLA form, which will soon include this category. Please contact HR for any specific questions.

An employee who takes the new emergency FMLA leave could also be designated on leave under the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) provided the emergency FFCRA leave’s reason also qualifies under CFRA and the employee meets the CFRA leave’s existing eligibility requirements.

Part 2 - The New “Emergency Paid Sick Leave” (“EPSL”)

An employee is eligible for emergency paid sick leave, regardless of how long the employee has been employed by the City, including all part-time, fixed-term, temp and seasonal employees, as long as they are in paid status before April 1st 2020.

Employees can use this emergency paid sick leave prior to using any other paid leave(s).

  • Yes, if the reason you are not able to fill up your full work shift is because reasons #5, below in FAQ #12.
  • No, if the reason you are not able to fill up your full work shift is because there is not enough work available to fill your entire shift. Then you need to use your leave accruals.

The City will provide employees with emergency paid sick leave in the following six coronavirus-related situations, which the new law defines as:

1. The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; • Please note: If you are able to telework under these conditions, you will not be eligible for the emergency paid sick leave.

2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;

3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;

4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; • Please note: The individual must be someone you have a personal relationship with where there would be an expectation of care (e.g., parent or immediate family member, or roommate).

5. The employee is caring for the employee’s child because the child’s school or place of care has been closed or the childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID19 precautions • Please note that intermittent use of the emergency paid sick leave is allowed in this circumstance, so long as it is taken in full day increments. For more information, see question #15 below.

6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor. The Human Resources department will be updating this detail as more regulatory guidance becomes available.

A full-time employee is eligible for up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave, however there are dollar amount caps on how much can be paid based on which of the 6 eligibility criteria the employee is requesting the leave for (see question #15 below for detailed information).

A part-time employee is eligible for a pro-rated amount of hours, based on their FTE.

No. Emergency paid sick leave hours expires on December 31, 2020.

  • It depends:
    • All intermittent leave under the FFCRA must be mutually agreed upon by the employee and the employer.  At this time, the City is only allowing intermittent leave for employees who are unable to telework because they need to care for their child whose school or child care has closed due to COVID (reason #5).
    • If you are reporting to the work site:
      • No intermittent leave, for eligibility criteria #1, 2, 3, 4, 6 in FAQ #12 above. You can only take the emergency sick leave in whole increments of 80 hours consecutively. This means if you want to take this leave type, you must take 2 weeks straight off in a row. For example, if you take 30 hours of emergency sick leave one week, and come back to work the next week, you essentially lose the remaining 50 hours of leave – it cannot be banked for future use.
      • Yes, for eligibility criteria #5 in FAQ # 12 above (child at home). You can take the emergency sick leave incrementally, but it must be in whole day increments. In other words, you cannot take 4 hours of emergency sick leave and work 3.5 hours that day. You must use a full day of emergency sick leave. Please reach out to Human Resources for specific questions.

Emergency sick leave will be compensated at your “regular rate of pay” as determined by the FLSA, however the following two limitations apply:

  • When it is taken for reasons (1), (2), and (3) above in FAQ No. 12, compensation cannot exceed $511 per day and $5,110 in total.
  • When it is taken for reasons (4), (5), and (6) above in FAQ No. 12. it is compensated by giving two-thirds of your regular rate of pay, not to exceed $200 per day and $2,000 in total

There is no right to compensation for unused emergency paid sick leave upon the employee’s termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment.

Employees taking leave to care for their child whose school or childcare is closed due to COVID should fill out one request form and list a date range of April 1 through June 15 to cover what would have been the remainder of the academic school year.  If they do not take the 10 day leave allowance (pro-rated for part-time employees) and need leave beyond June 15 they should fill out another request form.  Intermittent leave must be taken in full day increments. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has not yet identified any “substantially similar condition” that would allow an employee to take paid sick leave. If HHS does identify any such condition, the Department of Labor will issue guidance explaining when you may take paid sick leave on the basis of a “substantially similar condition.”

Most work for Temp/Seasonal employees has been suspended as of March 17.  Employees are eligible to use their earned sick leave accruals up to the maximum of 24 hours over a 12-month period per the City’s Paid Sick Time Policy for Temporary Employees. Employees may also apply for Unemployment online through EDD.  A reduction in hours is not a qualifying reason under the Emergency Paid Sick leave provision of the FFCRA. 

If a temp/seasonal employee has been working since April 1 and is no longer able to work due to a qualifying reason per the Emergency Paid Sick Leave provision of FFCRAthe number of hours they would be eligible to request each day is equal to the average number of hours each day that he or she was scheduled to work over the period of employment, up to the last six months.  They would also be eligible to use up to 24 hours of their accrued sick leave per the City’s Paid Sick Time Policy as stated above.

Employees who request Emergency FMLA to care for their child due to school or child care closure may request Emergency Paid Sick Leave for the first 10 days.  Leave requests for EFMLA and/or EPSL should be turned in to human.resources@cityofsanrafael.org.  If approved, employees should use the following hour types to report EPSL hours taken (see FAQ #12 above for eligibility reasons):

  • 61cvda for leave under reasons 1-3 (subject to a $511 daily max)
  • 61cvdb for leave under reasons 4-6 (subject to a $200 daily max), including EFMLA
  • If the need for EFMLA leave extends beyond 10 days, use 10cvdf beginning on the 11th day if the need for leave extends beyond 10 days (subject to a $200 daily max)

Employees who reach the maximum daily dollar cap may supplement time with their available leave accruals to be made whole.  PLEASE NOTE: Because these leaves have a daily cap, they hourly rate and total hours showing on your paystub for these pay periods may appear incorrect, however employees will be paid their full pay period rate if supplementing with leave accruals.

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