The State of California and many municipalities in California mandate paid sick leave – and these laws permit paid time off for an employee (or relative) who is ill with COVID-19. Generally, the covered family members for whom an employee can take time off to care for are: Children, parents, spouse or registered domestic partner, grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings. A few cities have laws that include a designated person as a covered family member if the employee does not have a spouse or registered domestic partner.
Unfortunately, in California, most jurisdictions do not explicitly allow paid sick time off when an employee’s place of business or an employee’s child’s school or childcare facility is closed by public health authorities due to a public health emergency. However, State law does mandate paid sick time be available for “preventive care” for an employee or a family member. The relevant state labor agency has advised the public:
“Preventative care may include self-quarantine as a result of potential exposure to COVID-19 if quarantine is recommended by civil authorities. In addition, there may be other situations where an employee may exercise their right to take paid sick leave, or an employer may allow paid sick leave for preventative care. For example, where there has been exposure to COVID-19 or where the worker has traveled to a high risk area.”
Employers can generally require employees to provide written verification from a medical provider if paid sick leave is needed for more than three days. However, that the Centers for Disease Control is recommending that employers don’t require such documentation in this situation, since medical providers are likely to be overwhelmed with requests if COVID-19 spreads.
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We have collected more information on California state and city-level paid sick leave laws here.
The State of California has published FAQs for employees on various state-level benefits and protcetins, such as paid family leave and disability insurance.