Do You Need an Employment Lawyer to Claim the 2021 Paid Sick Leave for COVID-19?

Author: Mesriani Law Group
Posted on: May 18, 2021

2020 was a challenging time for everybody – physically, mentally, and financially. It has been proven difficult to cope and move forward once struck with the disease. Almost every industry has been struck to its lowest and some to a point of bankruptcy and foreclosure. Almost all business sectors, its employers and employees, had to make drastic changes on how to perform their work and carry out services – from the conventional face-to-face in a physical office space to an innovational work-from-home set-up with maximized use for virtual and social media platforms.

Necessary changes were made to fit both the employees’ and employers’ needs, among these, would be the paid sick leave policy.

COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave of California

Effective March 29, 2021, eligible employers with more than 25 employees must provide the following:

  • 80 hours of COVID-19 related sick leave to full-time employees
  • for a part-timer with a regular weekly schedule, the number of hours based on its normal schedule in over two weeks
  • for a part-timer with variable schedules, 14 times the average number of hours worked per day over the past 6 months

When Can an Employee File for a Leave?

A qualified employee may acquire leave if he or she is inadequate to work or work from home for any of the following reasons:

  • the employee is bound to quarantine or needs to be in isolation related to COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms and seeks medical diagnosis as defined by an order or guidelines of the CA Department of Public Health, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the local health officer with authority over the workplace.
  • the employee is looking after a family member who is in isolation period and has been advised by a health professional or caring for a child whose place of care is inaccessible due to COVID-19 exposure.
  • the employee needs to take the vaccine and is unable to work or work from home due to vaccine-related symptoms.

What About Employers With Under 25 Employees?

Employees who work for an employer with less than 25 employees are unfortunately not entitled to the 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave. However, if an employee who belongs to such groups becomea exposed to COVID-19, he or she may be able to get an emergency temporary standard pay. Article XX Section 21 of the Constitution, a public policy of the State of California, makes full provision for securing safety in places of employment that are promulgated for the guidance of employers and employees alike. Adherence with these orders provides a safe environment which is a vital necessity in controlling injuries.

Alternatively, an employee may get partial pay through programs such as state disability insurance and paid family leave. This option, though not ideal, offers a bit of security that the employee can get a percentage of his or her pay rather than none.

What to Do if Your Employer Denied the New Paid Sick Leave Law?

Once the employer refuses to grant an eligible employee to take leave or refuses to pay them for the leave, the employee can file a claim with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office.

Also, qualified employees utilizing their rights to 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave, including both the right to paid leave and other rights such as timely payment and written notice of acquirable leave, are secured from retaliation under Labor Code.

If your employer is violating any of these labor laws, the best way to ensure your rights is to hire an employment lawyer. At Mesriani Law Group, dedicated attorneys with decades of experience will help you claim maximum compensation from denied leaves and retaliation from your employer. Give us a call now for a free consultation and a “no fee unless we win your case” agreement guarantee.