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Ask the Attorney Archives

How do we comply with New York’s new paid sick leave law?

Q: 1) “I work with employers in New York City who have more than 10 employees and less than 50. What are the PSSL (Paid Sick/Safety Leave) requirements? They presently give full-time employees five paid sick/safe leave days after 120 days of employment. It is my understanding that the 120 day term is no longer applicable?” 2) “New York has over 40 states on its restricted travel list. The state law requires anyone who has visited or come from those states must ‘self-quarantine’ for 14 days. Is the employer required to pay sick time for that quarantine period?” – Kenneth, New York

How do we save on exempt workers’ salaries during a time of diminished production?

Question: “If we have salaried employees that will be working from home, but cannot give us 40 hours worth of production in a week, can their salaries be docked? Should we make them contract employees during this period of time instead of keeping them as exempt salaried employees?” – Judy, Texas

Who calls the shots when an employee wants to self-isolate for coronavirus?

Q: “Can an employee simply state they are self-isolating, without a medical diagnosis, because they think they may have contracted COVID-19? Do we have to pay them while they self-isolate under the new rules?” – Anonymous, California

Does the EMFLA give us allowance to alter work schedules to save money?

Q: “If a remote worker cannot perform their job to full capacity because they have children at home, is it permissible to ask the employee to work shorter hours to accommodate their schedule, or are we required to pay them under the emergency FMLA (EMFLA) rules even though they don’t work a full day?” – Yvette, North Carolina

Covid self-isolation could break our business–do we have any recourse?

Q: “We are a small business of 35 employees, and every position is crucial. Can an employee simply state, ‘I think I have COVID, I will be self-isolating for 14 days?’ This is disruptive to us. Can we require a test and results before they take the 14 days?” – Q., California

What do we do when we’re lacking information about an employee’s Covid status?

Q:“I work in a pre-school environment. A parent contacted our agency yesterday and advised us that after dropping off child, she is self-quarantining. Her child and husband moved out. She will not say if she tested positive for COVID-19. Do we have to report to OSHA or CDC since we do not know if she tested positive or not?” – Clark, California

Our workers are suddenly moving to other states–how do we adapt?

Q: “We are having quite a few employees inquiring about moving out of state. We have a telecommuting agreement but not an eligibility/procedure policy for assessing an employee and their out-of-state request. Do you have anything like this for reference?” – Adreanna, California

What can we ask concerning the nature of an employee’s medical care?

Q. If an employee has a note stating they’re under their doctor’s care and cannot return to the work for the foreseeable future, can the employer ask specific reasons why?

Who judges what a worker returning from injury can physically handle?

Q. We have a long-time older employee who has been out on workers comp since 8/20/19 due to an injury. The company has some concerns about potential risks in bringing this employee back to work. He has been released to full duty. Do we have to restore him to the same position, or can we legally offer him another position that will not be so physically challenging for him?

Is it legal to replace a religious holiday with a different day off?

Q: “Our firm has Rosh Hashanah on the firm holiday list. We realized this year that it falls on a Saturday and not Friday. The firm wants to stay open that day and remove the holiday from the list. This year, we gave the employees an unscheduled day off for Juneteenth. Can we take away the Rosh Hashanah day off this year?” – Ruth, New York