Yes. Your employer can ask if you have COVID-19, if you are experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been exposed to someone else who has or recently had COVID-19. Your employer can also screen you before you enter the workplace by taking your temperature or by having you tested for COVID-19.
No. Your answer to that question is likely to disclose a disability. Therefore, the employer’s question is against the law.
Your employer should not make assumptions about your illness or health condition. You may be able to bring a claim that your employer “regarded” you as having a disability under discrimination laws. You can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at 1-800-669-4000 or the Arizona Attorney General’s Office Civil Rights Division at (602) 542-5263.
Your employer cannot retaliate against you because you have used paid sick days or filed a workers’ compensation claim. In addition, you may be entitled to job-protected time off from work for up to 12 weeks under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). You likely qualify for this leave if all of the following statements apply to you: you work for an employer with at least 50 employees within 75 miles of your worksite, you have worked there for at least a year, and you worked at least 1250 hours in the year before you take time off.
In Arizona, some workers are entitled to sick time. If you are employed for a relative, small business, or the state or federal government, you might be exempt from mandatory sick time. Generally, you accrue an hour of paid sick time for every hour worked. If you work for an employer with less than 15 employees, your sick time can be capped at 24 hours. If you work for an employer with more than 15 employees, your sick time can be capped at 40 hours. You are entitled to use paid sick days if you are missing work because of illness as long as you are eligible. Generally, sick time is available as soon as you accrue it; however, your employer may require a 90-day waiting period after employment begins to use paid sick time. Your sick time should carry over from year to year, unless the employer buys the sick time from you. Your employer should provide you with pay for the accrued sick days you have.
The federal government has recently enacted legislation to protect those missing work and suffering from the COVID-19. – The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, effective April 2, 2020 allows a full-time employee paid sick time of 80 hours and a part-time employee paid sick time equal to the number of hours worked and averaged over a 2-week period. The worker must also be unable to telework and cannot work because they are 1) subject to a quarantine, or 2) advised by a medical provider to self-quarantine, or 3) exhibit symptoms and are seeking diagnosis, or 4) are caring for an individual subject to quarantine, 5) or are caring for a child if the school is closed or childcare is unavailable. Please note, your pay is subject to calculations based on the federal regulations and may not be your full pay. If you are caring for a child because school and/or childcare is closed, your pay will be capped at 2/3 the amount you are entitled to in the federal regulations. Employers with more than 500 employees are exempt from this requirement and employers with less than 50 employees may apply for an exemption. An employer may not require you to take other leave prior to allowing you to take your entitled leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
You can use paid sick days to care for a sick family member. Also, the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, which is effective April 2, 2020, amends the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide 12 weeks of protected leave to any employee who has been employed for at least 30 days and is unable to work (or telework) due to the need to care for their son or daughter under 18 years of age if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency. After the first ten days of this leave, the employee is entitled to pay at two thirds (2/3) the rate of their regular rate. This leave provision is effective starting April 2, 2020 and ends on December 31, 2020. Note that paid FMLA leave is not available for an employee who is needed to care for a family member other than a child. Rather, under such circumstances, and assuming the illness qualifies as a serious health condition, the FMLA will only provide leave protection, but no pay. Employers with more than 500 employees are exempt and employers with 50 or less employees can apply for an exemption. If your employer is exempt, you will not be entitled to protection under this law.
Both state and federal law require you to be paid for the time that you work. If you are sent home or not able to work, there is no requirement that your employer pay you.
If you have leave available, your employer may allow you to take time off. Please see answer #8 which address the need for childcare. Also, the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, which is effective April 2, 2020, amends the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide 12 weeks of protected leave to any employee who has been employed for at least 30 days and is unable to work (or telework) due to the need to care for their son or daughter under 18 years of age if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency. After the first ten days of this leave, the employee is entitled to pay at two thirds (2/3) the rate of their regular rate. This leave provision is effective starting April 2, 2020 and ends on December 31, 2020. Note that paid FMLA leave is not available for an employee who is needed to care for a family member other than a child. Rather, under such circumstances, and assuming the illness qualifies as a serious health condition, the FMLA will only provide leave protection, but no pay. Employers with more than 500 employees are exempt and employers with 50 or less employees can apply for an exemption. If your employer is exempt, you will not be entitled to protection under this law.
Yes. An employer may encourage or require employees to telework as an infection-control or prevention strategy, including based on timely information from public health authorities about pandemics, public health emergencies, or other similar conditions. Telework also may be a reasonable accommodation. Employers must not single out employees either to telework or to continue reporting to the workplace on a basis prohibited by any of the EEOC laws. (See the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s publication, Work at Home/Telework as a Reasonable Accommodation, for additional information.)
If telework is being provided as a reasonable accommodation for a qualified individual with a disability, or if required by a union or employment contract, then you must pay the same hourly rate or salary.
If this is not the case and you do not have a union contract or other employment contracts, under the FLSA, employers generally must pay employees only for the hours they work, whether at home or at the employer’s office. However, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay non- exempt workers at least the minimum wage for all hours worked, and at least time and one half the regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a work week. Salaried, exempt employees generally must receive their full salary in any week in which they perform any work, subject to certain very limited exceptions.
If you have been laid off, you may be eligible for unemployment. If your place of employment closes after the FFCRA effective date of April 1, 2020 (even if you requested leave prior to the closure), you will not get Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave under the FFCRA, but you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. This is true whether your employer closes your worksite for lack of business or because it was required to close pursuant to a Federal, State or local directive.
If your employer closes your worksite on or after April 1, 2020 (the effective date of the FFCRA), but tells you that it will reopen at some time in the future, you cannot receive Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave under the FFCRA, while your worksite is closed. If your employer closes your worksite, even for a short period of time, you are not entitled to take said Sick Leave or Expanded Family and Medical Leave. However, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. This is true whether your employer closes your worksite for lack of business or because it was required to close pursuant to a Federal, State, or local directive. You should contact your State workforce agency (Industrial Commission of Arizona) or State unemployment insurance office (the Arizona Department of Economic Security) for specific questions about your eligibility.
Contact the Arizona Department of Economic Security to apply for unemployment either online, at https://uiclaims.azdes.gov/, or by phone, at 1-877-600-2722. As you may imagine they are experiencing an unprecedented high volume of calls and applications. Don’t give up, apply online if possible, to avoid long waits on the phone, or even possibly disconnected calls. If you are disconnected, wait a few minutes before trying again.
Your employer may also require you to provide additional in support of your expanded family and medical leave taken to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19-related reasons. For example, this may include a notice of closure or unavailability from your child’s school, place of care, or child care provider, including a notice that may have been posted on a government, school, or day care website, published in a newspaper, or emailed to you from an employee or official of the school, place of care, or child care provider. Your employer must retain this notice or documentation in support of expanded family and medical leave, including while you may be taking unpaid leave that runs concurrently with paid sick leave if taken for the same reason.
All existing certification requirements under the FMLA remain in effect if you are taking leave for one of the existing qualifying reasons under the FMLA. For example, if you are taking leave beyond the two weeks of emergency paid sick leave because your medical condition for COVID-19-related reasons rises to the level of a serious health condition, or to care for an immediate family member, you must continue to provide medical certifications under the FMLA if required by your employer.
From the Employer’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act, published by the Department of Labor:
“Your employers must notify employees each time they require a medical certification. The employer’s notice that a certification is required must be included in the written Rights and Responsibilities Notice that the employer gives the employee within five business days of becoming aware of the employee’s need for FMLA leave. In some instances, an employer may request a medical certification at a later date if the employer has reason to question the appropriateness of the leave or its duration. When requesting a medical certification, the employer must advise the employee of the consequences of failing to provide a complete and sufficient certification.
The employee must provide the requested medical certification within 15 calendar days after an employer’s request, unless it is not feasible under the particular circumstances to do so despite the employee’s good faith efforts, or if the employer permits more than 15 calendar days to return the requested certification. When an employee makes diligent good faith efforts but is unable to meet the 15-calendar day deadline, the employee is entitled to additional time to provide the certification. If an employee fails to return the certification in a timely manner, the employer can deny FMLA protections for the leave following the expiration of the 15-calendar day time period until a complete and sufficient certification is provided. However, the 15-day period and the period of absence beginning the day the certification was received is FMLA-protected leave.
For example, an employer gives an employee 15 calendar days to provide a certification and the employee does not provide certification for 45 calendar days without sufficient reason for the delay, the employer may deny FMLA protections for the period following expiration of the 15-calendar day time period, i.e., from day 16 through day 44.
If an employee fails to provide a certification within 15 calendar days from receipt of the request for certification but made diligent, good faith efforts to do so and the delay was due to extenuating circumstances outside his or her control, the employer may not deny the leave for the period that the certification was late. In all cases, if the employee never produces the certification, the leave is not FMLA-protected leave.”
Also, the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, which is effective April 1, 2020, amends the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide 12 weeks of protected leave to any employee who has been employed for at least 30 days and is unable to work (or telework) due to the need to care for their son or daughter under 18 years of age if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency. After the first ten days of this leave, the employee is entitled to pay at two thirds (2/3) the rate of their regular rate. This leave provision is effective starting April 2, 2020 and ends on December 31, 2020. Note that paid FMLA leave is not available for an employee who is needed to care for a family member other than a child. Rather, under such circumstances, and assuming the illness qualifies as a serious health condition, the FMLA will only provide leave protection, but no pay. Employers with more than 500 employees are exempt and employers with 50 or less employees can apply for an exemption. If your employer is exempt, you will not be entitled to protection under this law.
In light of Congressional direction to interpret definitions consistently, the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division clarifies that under the FFCRA a “son or daughter” is also an adult son or daughter (i.e., one who is 18 years of age or older), who (1) has a mental or physical disability, and (2) is incapable of self-care because of that disability. For additional information on requirements relating to an adult son or daughter, see Fact Sheet #28K and/or call the Department of Labor's toll free information and help line available 8 am–5 pm in your time zone, 1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243).
If you are paid with commissions, tips, or piece rates, these amounts will be incorporated into the above calculation to the same extent they are included in the calculation of the regular rate under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
By Arizona law, most employees accrue earned paid sick time (if you are employed by a relative, small business, or the state or federal government, you might be exempt from mandatory sick time), your employer may only cap your usage to 40 hours a year, if they have 15 or more employees, or to 24 hours a year if they have fewer than 15 employees. These hours can also be limited by the number you have accrued over time (1 hour for every 30 hours worked). Your employer is not required to allow you to take sick time covered by the earned paid sick time law that you have not yet accrued but may “loan” earned paid sick time to employees in advance of accrual.
Requiring employees to wear protective gear, such as face masks or gloves, depends on the state and local order, and on what is currently advised by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Requirements for employers are frequently updated as recommendations or rules change. To find current requirements and recommended guidance, visit:
Arizona’s Executive Order 2020-36 states that:
“Any business, whether for-profit, or non-profit, institution, profession or entity that physically operates in this state and serves the public or is an employer shall develop, establish and implement policies based on guidance from the CDC, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and ADHS to limit and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 include the following:
- Promoting healthy hygiene practices;
- Intensifying cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation practices;
- Monitoring for sickness;
- Ensuring physical distancing;
- Providing necessary protective equipment;
- Allowing for and encouraging teleworking where feasible;
- Providing plans, where possible, to return to work in phases; and
- Limiting the congregation of groups of no more than 10 persons when feasible and in relation to the size of the location.”
Guidance from the CDC can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/guidance-list.html?Sort=Date%3A%3Adesc
Guidance from Department of Labor: https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus
Guidance from Arizona Department of Health Services: https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/index.php#novel-coronavirus-community
As of March 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has, under the guidance of the CDC, stated that COVID-19 meets the “direct thread standard”. Under this guidance, employers may take an employee’s temperature, ask if they have COVID-19 symptoms or ask if they have potentially been exposed to the virus. All employee responses MUST be kept confidential.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has provided guidance regarding keeping your work place safe while continuing to abide by anti-discrimination laws including the American Disabilities Act.
The American Disabilities Act limits employers’ actions on requesting health information from employees especially potential or new hires. The ADA does provide guidance on “direct threat” which is when an employer has a reasonable belief that an employee working could cause significant risk to the health or safety of him/herself or others. The ‘reasonable belief’ must be based on ‘objective evidence.’
This guidance may be changed as the pandemic continues or wanes.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), effective April 1, 2020, established the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act which expanded the availability of paid sick leave.
In general, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act provides that covered employers must provide to all employees two weeks of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay or at 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay when the employee is unable to work because of specific COVID-19 related issues. The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act requires that a covered employer must provide to employees that it has employed for at least 30 days when specific conditions apply.
The term “covered employers” applies to “certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Most employees of the federal government are covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was not amended by this Act, and are therefore not covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA. However, federal employees covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act are covered by the paid sick leave provision.
Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or childcare unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.”
The U.S. Department of Labor has posted a comprehensive Questions and Answers section on its website for employers and employees: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions#2
For information for employers regarding paid leave requirements, visit: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employer-paid-leave
The provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and enforcement actions of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission apply during the current pandemic. If an employee informs you that they have tested positive or have been exposed to COVID-19, information about the employee must be kept confidential. Other employees may be told that they have potentially been exposed to the coronavirus, but not who the individual is.
Steps you can take with your employee:
- Inform the employee of company policies and available leave time for coronavirus
- Ask that they self-quarantine and not return to the workplace for at least 14 days. Advise them to consult their general practitioner and recommendations from the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) before returning.
- Inform them of ADA privacy policies so they know that their information will not be shared. Ask them if other employees know, including their direct supervisor.
- Ask for a summary of the employee’s actions the last 14 days to narrow down where they may have been in the office and who they were in contact with including clients and vendors.
- The CDC recommends that you inform all people who were in contact (less than 6 feet) with the employee in the last 14 days that they may have been exposed to the virus. These individuals should be instructed to self-quarantine for the next 14 days.
- Deep clean all areas in which the employee spent time. The CDC has recommendations on what to use: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html
- If the employee got sick at work, you may need to inform OSHA. https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/standards.html
Policies and procedures may vary depending on the company, number of employees, location, and other factors related to the workplace. Consult with your company’s human resources staff and lawyer, when applicable, when developing policies and procedures related to the pandemic. Some practices recommended within the business community include:
Establishing a business continuity plan that ensures services are maintained if/when an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
Communication plans to address employees, clients, and vendors who may be exposed, information for employees on who should be self-quarantined and what areas/equipment needs to be sanitized and how.
Using CDC guidelines to establish criteria for when employees can return to work after isolation or self-quarantine. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-in-home-patients.html
Address plans for employee travel: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/
Be ready for employees to request continued remote work and have a set of criteria or procedures to ensure employees feel safe and valued, but that operations can continue. OSHA speaks to employees feeling in imminent danger: https://www.osha.gov/as/opa/worker/danger.htmlOther resources:
Center for Disease Control (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM): https://www.shrm.org/about-shrm/Pages/default.aspx
OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf
Department of Labor: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic
Employer Income Withholding Orders
Yes. The compensation is viewed as income to the employee, and the income withholding order requires the company to withhold the appropriate amount of income for child support. Arizona law requires that a company may only withhold up to 50% of the employee’s net disposable earnings each month.
Yes. Until modified based on the reduced hours, the income withholding order is still valid subject only to the requirement that the company may only withhold up to 50% of the employee’s net disposable earnings each month.
Yes. All court-ordered withholding orders remain in effect. Except when an IRS tax lien was served before the date the child support order was entered, federal and state laws require child support withholding to take priority over all other income attachments. You must withhold the required amount if the amount does not exceed 50% of the employee’s net disposable earnings. An Order/Notice for child support has priority against any attachment, execution, or other assignment.
Yes. Temporary modification of child support may be necessary, and the employee can get information regarding how to modify child support from the superior court where the order was established.
If their county is not listed contact the Court Clerk: