LA County members of SEIU 721 had lots of questions after we announced that our union advocated for, and won, 80 hours of Emergency Paid Sick Leave to help us weather the Coronavirus pandemic. We’ve compiled the frequently asked questions. Here are the answers!
Question #1: I heard that we are getting 80 hours of Emergency Paid Sick Leave. When will I be able to use it?
Answer #1: The Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) will be made available to eligible employees beginning on Wednesday, April 1.
Question #2: How do I know if I’m eligible?
Answer #2: There are several criteria listed in the guidelines. If any of them are met, the employee would be eligible:
- They are subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- They have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; or,
- They are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
So, if your health care provider has advised you to stay at home, or if you are seeking a diagnosis, you may use EPSL.
Question #3: Would I have to produce a doctor’s note?
Answer #3: No. The County has waived medical certification during the COVID-19 emergency.
Question #4: Can I use EPSL to care for a family member?
Answer #4: Yes. Employees are entitled to EPSL at 2/3 regular rate of pay if they are unable to work or telework because they are:
- Caring for an individual who is subject to an isolation order or who has been advised by a health care provider to self-isolate; or,
- Caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19 precautions.
Question #5: Are there any dollar limits on EPSL?
Answer #5: Yes. It is $511 per day, if using the EPSL for oneself, or $200 per day if using the EPSL for the care of a family member.
Question #6: What about part-time employees?
Answer #6: Part-time employees are entitled to a pro-rated share of EPSL. For example, a 20 hour/week employee is entitled to 40 hours of EPSL; a 30 hour/week employee is entitled to 60 hours of EPSL.
Question #7: What about FMLA Leave?
Answer #7: Beginning on April 1, the County will also make available to eligible employees up to twelve (12) weeks of FMLA Emergency Leave which can be used for the care of a child under 18 years of age if the child’s school or place of care has been closed due to COVID-19, or if their child care provider is unavailable due to COVID-19.
Question #8: What is the rate of pay for an employee on FMLA Emergency Leave?
Answer #8: An employee is required to use another form of leave, such as EPSL, for the first two weeks. During the next ten (10) weeks, the employee is entitled to 2/3 regular rate of pay.
Question #9: Are there any dollar limits on FMLA Emergency Leave
Answer #9: Yes. It is $200 per day, up to a maximum of $10,000 total.
Question #10: If I am home with my child because his or her school or place of care is closed, or a child care provider is unavailable, do I get paid sick leave, expanded family and medical leave, or both—how do they interact
Answer #10: You may be eligible for both types of leave, but only for a total of twelve weeks of paid leave. You may take both paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 related reasons. The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act provides for an initial two weeks of paid leave. This period thus covers the first ten workdays of expanded family and medical leave, which are otherwise unpaid under the Emergency and Family Medical Leave Expansion Act unless you elect to use existing vacation, personal, or medical or sick leave under your employer’s policy. After the first ten workdays have elapsed, you will receive 2/3 of your regular rate of pay for the hours you would have been scheduled to work in the subsequent ten weeks under the Emergency and Family Medical Leave Expansion Act.
Question #11: May I take my paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave intermittently while teleworking?
Answer #11: The law doesn’t prohibit this. For example, if your Department allows it, you could telework and use EPSL on alternating days or weeks, as long as you are otherwise eligible for EPSL.
Question #12: Are the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements retroactive?
Answer #12: No.
Question #13: Are there pay codes for EPSL and FMLA Emergency Leave
Answer #13: Yes. We will notify members when we receive them – so stay tuned.