April 9, 2020 Alert

Dear Colleagues,
Thank you for your patience as the guidance surrounding the State’s response to the novel coronavirus has rapidly shifted over the past few weeks. CAPS will continue to notify you of changes and other benefits available to you, and today is no different. Last week, CAPS released an update regarding CalHR’s recently-released guidance surrounding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). FFCRA is split into two parts: the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA), and the Emergency Family & Medical Leave Expansion Act (E-FMLA). CAPS has produced an infographic highlighting both parts of the FFCRA here, in the hope it will lend the act some clarity. 
CalHR has released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). In our last CAPS Alert, we noted that there were differences between the FFCRA and CalHR’s guidance (You can read the text of the CalHR Guidance in the CalHR Manual.) From CalHR’s update, it appears they will be honoring their language. Questions of note included: 

Q. Can a department deny an eligible employee’s leave request under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act for operational need?

No. Departments cannot deny an eligible employee’s leave request based on operational need.

Q. If more than one guardian works for the state, and their child’s school is closed, are both employees eligible to receive the leave?

Yes, both would be eligible for EPSLA and E-FMLA but generally the leave must be used separately. While both employees can take leave, the leave cannot generally be taken on the same day.

Q. Are intermittent time base employees who are working eligible for EPSLA and E-FMLA?

Intermittent time base employees, including temporary (seasonal) or permanent who are working and scheduled to work are eligible to take leave. Intermittent employees who are not scheduled to work or who are not teleworking are not eligible for this leave.

Q. The state allows full payment for paid sick leave, while the federal law has a lesser benefit. Which benefit applies?

Departments must follow the state policy, as outlined in CalHR’s policy, for eligible employees. Per state policy the employee will receive full sick leave pay for all qualifying EPSLA reasons for the first two-weeks.

Q. Are employees who are 65 years and older or who have underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19 able to use EPSLA for these reasons?

No, it must be used for one of the six reasons specified in the policy.

Q. If more than one guardian works for the state, do they both qualify to take paid leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (E-FMLA)?

Leave taken under E-FMLA is not a shared amount. The parents may switch back and forth intermittently taking leave to care for their children due to school or child care closures.

Q. Who is considered a child care provider?

A child care provider can be anyone who cares for the child, including paid and non-paid individuals, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, or neighbors.

Q. Can an employee take E-FMLA to care for a child other than their own?

No. This leave is available to care for the employee’s own son or daughter. The definition of son or daughter includes a biological, adopted, foster child, stepchild, a legal ward, or a child who the employee is standing in loco parentis (“in place of the parent”) who has the day-to-day responsibility to care for or financially support the child. The child must be under the age of 18, or if over the age of 18, be unable to provide self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

You can read the entire list of CalHR’s FAQs here
Once again, due to the unprecedented impact of the novel coronavirus, all CAPS Alerts have been sent to all State Scientists in Unit 10, members and nonmembers alike. These regular communications are a privilege typically reserved for CAPS members. CAPS feels this information is too important to withhold from nonmembers, but, we ask that you consider joining today. We are stronger together. Help us continue to advocate on behalf of all State Scientists. 

In Solidarity,

CAPS Executive Committee

Margarita Gordus 

Daniel Ellis
Vice President

Kelley Aubushon

Kris Wiese