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.

Jump to Page

Privacy Preference Center

When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.