The Flu and Paid-Leave Laws

Flu has come on strong this season and it has been affecting the workplace. According
to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this is the first flu
season in the past 15 that every state within the continental United States has
reported widespread flu activity during the same week.

current CDC Directory, Anne Schuchat, commented in a press briefing saying, “Flu
is incredibly difficult to predict, and we don’t know if we’ve hit the peak

season’s strain of flu is very strong causing patients to take four or more
days to recover. With this period of absence due to illness, many employees can
qualify for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave or paid-sick-leave under
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

paid-sick-leave laws allow employees to use paid leave in order to recover from
the flu. Joan Casciari, attorney with Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago, notes that
Executive Order 13706 provides sick leave for federal workers and contracted
employees. Paid-sick-leave laws have been implemented in nine states – Arizona,
California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont
and Washington. In addition to the nine states, there are 34 municipalities throughout
the United States that have paid-sick-leave laws. These municipalities are as
follows: Berkeley, Calif.; Bloomfield, N.J.; Chicago; Cook County, Ill.; East Orange, N.J.; Elizabeth,
; Emeryville, Calif.; Irvington,
.; Jersey City, N.J.; Long
Beach, Calif.; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; Montclair,
.; Montgomery County, Md.; Morristown, N.J.; New Brunswick, N.J.; New York City; Newark, N.J.; Oakland, Calif.; Passaic,
.; Paterson, N.J.; PhiladelphiaPittsburgh (struck
down last year, but the city is defending it on appeal); Plainfield, N.J.; Prince
George’s County, Md
.; St. Paul, Minn.; San Diego; San Francisco; Santa
Monica, Calif.; SeaTac, Wash.; Seattle; Tacoma, Wash.; Trenton, N.J.; and Washington, D.C.

employers provide paid-time-off (PTO), they must make sure they provide enough
paid sick to cover regulatory requirements. Some paid-sick-leave laws also
permit employees to take time off to care for family members who are ill. Aside
from illness, paid-sick-leave also covers routine medical appointments.  

Family and
Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

the flu is not covered by FMLA, however, the flu can be considered a protected
serious health condition if an employee is incapacitated for more than three
days in row, consults a doctor two or more times in 30 days, or consults a
doctor and receives prescription medication to treat the illness.

Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA)

to FMLA, the flu is also not typically covered by the ADA since it doesn’t usually
last long enough to interrupt a person’s everyday activities for extended
periods of time. Marjory Robertson, assistant vice president and
senior counsel for disability insurance company Sun Life Financial Services Co.
in Wellesley Hills, Mass, notes that because of the severity of this year’s flu
circulation, “the ADA could be interpreted to apply to influenza as an actual
disability requiring reasonable accommodation, such as ADA leave”

order to help combat the flu this season, employers need to ensure they are providing
their employees with proper time-off if they have come down with illness. Need
to revisit your PTO and paid-sick policy? Converge HR Solutions is here to
help. At Converge HR Solutions, we
specialize in handling all your Human Resource needs, whether you choose to
completely outsource your HR or simply need advice, policies, or a handbook. Reach
out to us to see how we can help you; our team of experts is prepared to make
sure your organization is in compliance with the latest paid-sick-leave laws. For
more information about how Converge HR Solutions can best serve you, please
visit our website at or contact us directly by email at or phone at 610-296-8550.




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