Wage and Hour Issues Related to COVID-19
Workers should be aware that the COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards have been put in place and remain in effect through September 2021. These standards were updated in June 2021 to include requirements for both vaccinated and unvaccinated workers. Employers must also abide by public health orders for vaccinated and unvaccinated workers. In some instances, employers misinterpret the application of laws and fail to seek legal advice to make sure that they abide by their obligations to their employees. In other cases, companies may try to cut corners during the pandemic. Wage and hour issues related to COVID-19 can be complicated. If you suspect that your employer may have violated applicable laws, you should discuss your situation with the California wage and hour attorneys at The Nourmand Law Firm.Wage and Hour Issues Related to COVID-19
One of the primary wage and hour issues that has come up during COVID-19 is medical checks and vaccinations. Your employer should pay you for hours worked at your employer’s jobsite, including completing specific medical checks prior to starting a shift. Hours worked refers to time during which you were subject to an employer’s control. It includes any time that your employer asked or allowed you to work.
Employers that require all workers to perform medical checks, such as checking temperatures, at the jobsite prior to starting a shift must pay for the time spent completing the medical check, including time waiting in line before entering the worksite. This requirement applies even if the checks were performed under state or local public health guidance. Our attorneys may be able to pursue a wage and hour lawsuit if you were not paid for time spent on a medical check on the job. In some instances, it may be appropriate for your employer to compensate you even when a medical check was conducted elsewhere. For instance, if you were required to follow detailed procedures, time spent at home performing medical checks may count as time worked for the purposes of minimum wage and overtime.
The level of control exercised by the employer matters when determining whether the time is compensable. When detailed procedures must be followed, and significant time must be spent on medical checks at home, the employer may need to compensate you. Additionally, if you are required to use your own cell phone as part of a medical check, your employer is required to reimburse you for a reasonable percentage of the cell phone bill to compensate you for any time that you spend on the phone to follow the directions. Employers need to pay for the time that it takes for testing or vaccination because that time would be considered hours worked. One way to figure out whether the time that you spent performing a task should be paid as time worked is whether your employer exercised control over you by mandating that you perform the task. If your employer requires you to get a medical test or vaccination, the time associated with completing the test or vaccination constitutes time worked. However, the time that you spend waiting for test results will not be compensable. You might be able to use paid leave while awaiting required results. In California, if your employer requires you to get a COVID-19 test or vaccination, your employer should reimburse you for what you paid for these as a necessary business expense. Moreover, if your employer asked you to get tested or vaccinated somewhere other than your normal jobsite, you may be entitled to reimbursement for the expenses that you incurred to travel to and from the testing or vaccination location.Supplemental Paid Sick Leave in California
Under California law, between January 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021, employers with at least 26 employees need to provide workers with a maximum of 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave when they need leave for reasons related to COVID-19. For instance, your employer may need to pay you supplemental sick leave while you stayed home because you were exposed to COVID-19, while you were taking care of a family member, while you were undergoing a COVID-19 test or vaccine, or while you were recovering from side effects.Consult Our California Lawyers About COVID-19 Concerns
During COVID-19, your employer must continue to follow wage and hour laws. There are certain protections applicable during the pandemic, however, that can complicate your situation. If you faced wage and hour issues related to COVID-19, you should call an experienced employment attorney. The Nourmand Law Firm represents workers in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, as well as Sacramento and Oakland, among other areas of California. Complete our online form or give us a call at 310-553-3600 or 800-700-WAGE (9243).