As An Employee In California, You Are Entitled To Certain Benefits And Legal Protections
You may need these protections as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These benefits and protections are outlined below.
- Disability Insurance is a benefit you may be entitled to as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. You may be eligible for disability insurance in the following situations: If you’re unable to work due to medical quarantine or illness related to Covid-19? You will need to provide a medical certification from a medical professional (e.g. a doctor).
Disability insurance benefits provide short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness or injury. These benefits may include up to 60-70% of wages, from $50-$1, 300 per week for up to 52 weeks.
- Paid Family Leave is a benefit you may be entitled to as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. You may be eligible for paid family leave if you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with Covid-19. You will need to provide a medical certification from a medical professional (e.g. a doctor). These benefits include up to eight weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a sick family member.
Paid Family Leave benefits may include up to 60-70% of wages, from $50-$1, 300 per week for up to 8 weeks.
- Unemployment Insurance is a benefit you may be entitled to if you have lost your job or have had your hours reduced for reasons related to COVID-19. These unemployment insurance benefits include partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own. Unemployment insurance benefits may include money ranging from $40-$450 per week for up to 26 weeks (plus additional weeks under extended unemployment insurance benefits programs).
4. California Paid Sick Leave is a benefit you may be entitled to if you or a family member are sick or for preventive care, including when civil authorities recommend quarantine, isolation, or to stay at home. The benefits of California Paid Sick leave are based on the leave you have accumulated, or your employer has provided to you under the Paid Sick Leave law. This may be 1 hour accrued for every 30 hours worked or 3 days or the equivalent 24 hours provided per year. These paid benefits are paid to you at your regular rate of pay or an average based on the past 90 days.
5. Workers' compensation benefits. If you were infected with COVID-19 at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Your COVID-19 illness is presumed to be work-related if: 1) you reported to your employer’s worksite between March 19, 2020, and July 5, 2020; 2) you are a first responder or health care worker in contact with COVID-19 patients, or 3) you test positive for COVID-19 during a COVID-19 outbreak at your workplace. Under SB 1159, you may receive temporary disability (TD) payments after exhausting specific federal or state COVID-19 paid sick leave benefits. You may be entitled to TD payments for up to 104 weeks.
The workers' compensation benefits include temporary disability which generally pays two-thirds of the gross wages you lose while you are recovering from a work-related illness or injury, up to the maximum weekly amount set by law. In addition, eligible employees are entitled to medical treatment and additional payments if a doctor determines you suffered a permanent disability because of the illness.
6. The California Family Rights Act (CRFA). The benefits under the California Family Rights Act include up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected medical leave if you or a loved one becomes sick, including becoming sick through COVID-19. Please note that leave under CFRA is unpaid but it does protect your job (i.e., your employer cannot terminate or retaliate against you for using CFRA benefits). You are eligible for CFRA benefits if you have more than 12 months of service and at least 1,250 hours of service during the previous 12-month period. Through SB 1383, you are now eligible for CFRA if your employer has five or more employees.
7. Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The California FEHA provides disability-related protections for employees, which may include reasonable workplace accommodations for illnesses for you or a family member related to COVID-19. Reasonable workplace accommodations may include: 1) time off of work due to contracting or taking care of a family member who has Covid-19; 2) working remotely as a form of reasonable workplace accommodation especially if you have underlying health conditions that may make you more susceptible to becoming seriously ill or dying from the pandemic and remote work would not pose an undue hardship on your employer; 3) job restructuring or reassignment to another position and/or 4) special equipment and or accommodations to your work station so you can perform your job safely.
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