Thursday, July 30, 2020

The Impact of Chicago’s Travel Order on EPSLA

The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”) mandates employers with 500 or fewer employees to provide paid sick leave to their full and part-time employees. Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave, and part-time employees are entitled to the average number of hours they work over a two-week period. Employees may take EPSLA leave for any of the following reasons:
  • To comply with a federal, state, or local quarantine isolation order related to COVID-19;
  • To self-quarantine because the employee has been advised by a healthcare professional to do so due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • To care for an individual who is self-isolating to comply with a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  • To care for the employee’s son or daughter if his/her school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions; or
  • The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
An employee returning to the City of Chicago from a state on the City’s travel order is eligible for leave under EPSLA, assuming the employee has not exhausted their EPSLA benefit, because they must comply with the City’s quarantine order, the third criteria in the EPSLA.

In order to receive EPSLA, the employer must have work for the employee to do, and the employee must be unable to work due to the quarantine or isolation order. If an employee takes EPSLA leave, his employer must document the name of the employee, the date(s) for which leave is requested, the reason for leave, a statement from the employee that he is unable to work because of the reason, and the name of the government entity that issued the quarantine order.

Employers are not obligated to enforce Chicago’s travel order with employees who are residents of the City, Employees who self-report a need to isolate or quarantine because of travel should be asked for details of their travel, or anticipated travel, to confirm the need to be away from the workplace. If telework is available, the employee can be directed to telework for the period of quarantine.