COVID-19 & Your Business: Frequent Questions

Is an employee eligible for paid sick leave if telework is available? (29 CFR § 826.20)

If an employee qualifies for leave under the EPSLA due to (a) being subject to a quarantine or isolation order, (b) having been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine, or (c) caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order or who has been directed by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine, the employee may not take paid sick leave if (1) the employee’s employer has work for the employee to perform; (2) the employer permits the employee to perform that work from the location where the employee is located; and (3) there are no extenuating circumstances that prevent the employee from performing the work, such as the power being out or some similar extenuating circumstance.

If an employee seeks paid sick leave because he or she is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis, the paid sick leave is limited to the time the employee is unable to work because he or she is taking affirmative steps to obtain a medical diagnosis, such as making, waiting for and attending an appointment for a COVID-19 test. An employee who is waiting for the results of a test is able to telework and, therefore, may not take paid sick leave if (1) the employee’s employer has work for the employee to perform; (2) the employer permits the employee to perform that work from the location where the employee is located; and (3) there are no extenuating circumstances that prevent the employee from performing the work, such as serious COVID-19 symptoms.

The DOL’s guidelines note that if an employee and employer agree that an employee will work his/her normal hours but outside of the normally scheduled time (such as early in the morning or late at night), then the employee is able to work and leave is not necessary unless a COVID-19 qualifying reason prevents the employee from working that schedule.

Last updated April 9

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