Unpaid Leave can Lead to a Lawsuit – Coronavirus Update

unpaid leaveUnpaid leave due to the COVID-19 pandemic is being forced on more Americans than at any other time in our country’s history. As of April 1 of this year, Public Law 116-127, otherwise known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, gives workers the right to sue their employers in the event proper leave is not provided. Businesses employing between 50-500 workers must comply with the new law.

Consider These Unpaid Leave Circumstances

Many individuals across California and the United States are not showing up for work for reasons beyond their control:

  • There is a state or local quarantine;
  • They have received notification that they should self-quarantine due to a possible exposure or symptoms of the disease;
  • They have experienced disease symptoms and are seeking medical testing or treatment.

Under these circumstances, workers are entitled to the greater of these three wages:

  • Your regular pay;
  • The federal minimum wage;
  • The state minimum wage.

You can top out at as much as $511 per day during the course of your sick leave.

Furthermore, you may be entitled to two thirds of your normal pay — up to $200 daily — if you are unable to work for the following reasons:

  • You are caring for an individual who must be isolated or quarantined;
  • You are caring for a child who is unable to attend schools due to local closures;
  • You are in another situation similar to these that prevents you from going to work.

How it Works

Sick leave and expanded family and medical leave is calculated as follows:

Part time workers are entitled to the average earnings in a two-week time frame. The average going back six months may be used if an employee’s schedule varies significantly from week to week. These workers are entitled to paid sick leave for two weeks, and may extend the payment period for as many as 10 more weeks under the expanded family and medical leave provisions. In the event employees generally put in overtime hours, those too must be compensated under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. Under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, however, only hours up to 80 in a two-week period are to be paid. [Read more…]

Time Off From Work – New Provisions

Time OffDo you wish to enroll your child in a new school, but time off from your work schedule makes the process too difficult? You are likely unaware of SB579, but it is a legal provision that both you and your employer should become acquainted with.  Labor Code 233, sometimes called the Kin Care law, has been revised to include favorable impacts for employees. Because this law, as most, is open to interpretation, getting experienced legal help for your individual circumstances is always a good idea.

How Does Labor Code 233 Impact Time Off For Child-Related Activities?

This law protects employees in their efforts to participate in school activities for children in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grades. In addition, the law provides that parents, grandparents, and other custodial guardians, including step-parents and foster parents, may take time off of work to deal with child care provider emergencies, school emergencies, or to simply enroll a child in school or with a licensed child care provider. In fact, the law entitles you up to 40 hours per year for such activities in the state of California.

Employers may require employees to use their personal leave, comp time, vacation time, or other leave for such activities, but if that is unavailable, the law allows up to eight hours per month of unpaid leave.

What Other Time Off Changes Does Labor Code 233 Invoke?

Changes made to the “Kin Care” law took effect in January of 2016. These changes widen the scope of activities for which individuals may use their accrued sick leave. Employees may now use up to one-half of protected leave under these circumstances:

  • Health reasons related specifically to the employee;
  • Health reasons related to the employee’s family members;
  • Employees who are victims of sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence.

Is a Doctor’s Note Required in Order to Take This Type of Time Off?

Under the new provisions, an employer’s right to seek verification of an illness is limited, as well. The changes in Labor Code section 233 protect employees from disciplinary action when using one-half of their accrued leave. Employers may not request a doctor’s note substantiating the illness until the employee has used one-half of the leave. So for example, if an employer provides 20 sick-leave days per year, a request for a physician’s documentation of illness could not be requested until after the first 10 days of leave has been taken.

Do All Employers Have to Provide This Type of Time Off?

Labor Code Section 233 applies to all employers who employ 25 or more individuals. [Read more…]


The information on this website should not be considered to be legal advice, nor construed to be the formation of any manner of attorney client relationship. Prior to taking any form of legal action, please consult with an attorney experienced in the appropriate area of law germane to your situation. Case results and testimonials presented on www.californialaborandemploymentlaw.net or any of its related websites are germane to the facts present for each individual case and is not a promise of similar outcomes for any other cases. This website is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of California.