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Over the last few weeks, our Labor & Employment Group has published blogs addressing federal and state developments involving COVID-19 issues affecting the workplace.  Rather than publish those resources separately here, because that would be redundant of course, I invite you to visit our Group’s Employment Perspectives blog.  Stay safe.

On the heels of the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act signed into law yesterday, New York State has enacted broad legislation extending paid sick leave benefits to employees.  The extent of paid sick leave is determined by employer size and revenue, and can be utilized by employees whether they are sick, or absent from work because of a “mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation” issued by “the state of New York, the department of health, local board of health, or any government entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19.”  All of New York City is currently subject to such an order.

Under the legislation:

  • Employees of small employers (1-10 employees) with annual revenue under $1 million receive unpaid sick days and job protection, and qualify for state-funded paid family leave and disability benefits.

If you are reading this post, you already know about SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (“COVID-19”), or, coronavirus.  There is no shortage of news to absorb and guidance to implement.  Federal, state (CTMANY), and local (BostonHartfordNew HavenNew York) authorities offer directives and information.  News outlets including The Washington Post and The New York Times have continuously updated coronavirus sections, sans paywalls. Johns Hopkins University is mapping coronavirus’s spread, in near real time.  Here at Murtha Cullina, we are abiding by a common and useful refrain: “don’t panic, do prepare.”

So, how can you and your employees safely and effectively manage the myriad of challenges coronavirus has begun to present?  The CDC has issued Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers, with common sense and effective steps employers may take, including:

  • Encourage sick employees to stay home, and implement flexible policies concerning sick leave and remote work.
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