Must I provide sick leave to a worker who gets the virus?
Maybe. If subject to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, an employer must provide emergency paid sick leave to an employee who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 or who is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 (among other qualifying events). Employees who test positive for COVID-19 may also be eligible for leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and state and local paid sick leave laws. COVID-19, because of its fatality rate, may be considered a serious health condition that is covered under the FMLA.
Employers may also be required to provide leave under the ADA to workers whose disabilities may put them at high risk for complications from COVID-19. In such cases, employees may request leave or make a request to work from home as a reasonable accommodation. Employers should already have a policy in place for evaluating ADA-related requests. In making leave decisions, employers should consider looking beyond the strict legal requirements and take a more business-centered approach. Overly restrictive policies and practices may result in employees prematurely returning to work and potentially infecting others.
Last updated April 9
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