Susan Gross Sholinsky, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in The New York Times, in “Coronavirus and the Workplace: What If the Boss Says to Stay Home?” by Tara Siegel Bernard.
Following is an excerpt:
Furloughs. Sick leave. Working from home.
You could experience any of these measures as businesses try to prevent their employees from being exposed to the coronavirus outbreak that health officials warn is almost inevitable in the United States.
Some companies have already taken precautions like limiting travel to affected countries or big international conferences. Others have asked employees to stay home because they visited a country with a more serious outbreak.
But with new unexplained cases being reported in the United States — and the first domestic death from the illness reported on Saturday — a growing number of American workers could soon be asked to alter their routines, or just stay home.
Exactly how that affects you will depend on many factors, including the generosity of your employer’s benefits and where you live. Here’s what labor lawyers and business groups say could potentially unfold in your workplace — and what rights workers have. …
Will I be paid if I’m told to stay home?
This largely depends on your company’s policies, but so far many larger businesses are seeing to it that affected employees get paid, one way or another. …
Paying workers in these situations “will serve to incentivize employees to self-identify and self-quarantine,” said Susan Gross Sholinsky, a lawyer with Epstein Becker Green in New York. …
What happens if I or a family member get sick?
This also often depends on the generosity of your employer, labor experts said, because there are no federal requirement for employers to provide paid sick leave, even in the event of a natural disaster. …
If workers are seriously ill or take a while to recover, they may be entitled to unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, but that doesn’t cover an estimated 40 percent of workers. Employees could also be eligible for short-term disability benefits depending on their workplace insurance or their state’s requirements, Ms. Sholinsky said.
“Or, if the illness is work-related — if the employee caught the virus while on business travel, for example — the employee may be entitled to workers’ compensation insurance” she added.