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COVID-19 U.S. Paid Leave Landscape

As we all adjust to life during this pandemic, it’s important to know what options are available for workers if they have to be out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to a survey conducted by Lean In and SurveyMonkey, 95% of Americans support some form of emergency paid leave for workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.*

Some states have adjusted their existing paid leave policies to include coverage for matters related to the pandemic. And, the federal government recently passed The Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Below are the details you need to know about paid leave related to COVID-19.

Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Paid Leave Rights

  • Passed March 18, 2020 and signed by President Trump the same day.
  • Effective April 1, 2020 and provisions will apply through December 31, 2020.
  • Applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees and some government employers.
  • Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirements.
  • Employee eligibility requirements:
    • Employees must have been on the job at least 30 days.
  • Covered reasons for leave:
    • Employees qualify for paid sick time if they are unable to work or telework because they are:
      • Subject to a quarantine or isolation order
      • Advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine
      • Experiencing symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis
      • Caring for an individual subject to a quarantine or isolation order, or have had to self-quarantine
      • Caring for a child whose school is closed or childcare provider is unavailable
  • Leave details:
    • For above reasons 1-4: Employees receive up to 80 hours of leave, paid at either their regular rate up to $511 per day or $5,110 over a 2-week period.
    • For reason 5: Employees receive up to 12 weeks of leave, paid at 2/3 of their regular rate up to $200 per day or $12,000 over a 12-week period.
  • The leaves are to be provided directly by employers who will receive tax credits up to 100% of emergency paid leave paid out.


Under the current law, employees are eligible for State Disability Insurance or Paid Family Leave if they are unable to work because of a quarantine, COVID-19 diagnosis, or to care for a family member.

Benefit amounts and durations remain the same for issues related to coronavirus.

New Jersey

  • S2304 was signed by the Governor on March 25, 2020.
  • The new law expands the definition of “serious health condition” — allows workers to qualify for benefits if they or a loved one have been exposed to a communicable disease and must self-quarantine.
  • Workers who fall ill from the coronavirus or who must care for a sick family member will be eligible for state paid leave benefits under this legislation.
  • Workers will receive up to 6 weeks of benefits equal to 2/3 of their pay, capped at $667/week.

New York

For detailed information regarding the changes to New York leave laws, please check out our New York Paid Leave for COVID-19 blog post.


  • On March 18, 2020 Oregon issued temporary rules expanding the availability of the Oregon Family Leave Act.
  • The temporary rule expands the definition of “sick child leave” to include an absence to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed in conjunction with a statewide public health emergency.
  • This is unpaid job protected leave.
  • Runs concurrently with the new federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Rhode Island

  • Workers may be able to utilize Temporary Disability Insurance or Temporary Caregiver Insurance if they or a family member have been impacted by the pandemic.
  • For COVID-19 related claims, the Department of Labor and Training will waive the seven-day minimum amount of time that claimants must be out of work to qualify for Temporary Disability Insurance or Temporary Caregiver Insurance.
  • For workers under quarantine, the DLT will waive required medical certification, and instead allow the worker to temporarily qualify via self-attestation that they were under quarantine due to COVID-19.


  • Absences due to quarantine, school closures or childcare closures are not qualifying events under the program at this time.
  • If a worker is sick with the virus they need to obtain medical certification and apply for the program.
  • This a new program, and with 30,000 claims received in first 6 weeks of 2020, only 10,000 had been processed as of February 24, 2020. Workers should take this into consideration when filing a claim.


We’ll be adding additional information as it becomes available. Check back often, or sign-up to receive updates from us regarding paid family and medical leave.


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