Affected by Covid? Claim Today Any of the 10 Different Workers’ Benefits Available in CA
Coronavirus and Covid-19 are here to stay. As more and more businesses reopen, the risk of an infection in the workplace rises, so it is important that you know the benefits you are entitled to if this happens.
According to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, there are 10 different benefits available, depending on factors such as the illness conditions, the type of job, and even if the sick person is the employee or one of his/her relatives.
It is worth mentioning that these are general benefit descriptions and restrictions can be applied. You can read more about the “Benefits for Workers Impacted by Covid-19” at https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/.
1. Disability Insurance
If you are unable to work due to medical quarantine or illness related to Covid-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can apply by filing a Disability Insurance claim at the Employment Development Department (EDD) of California.
This benefit is for workers who have a full or partial loss of wages when they are unable to do their regular or customary work for at least eight days because of a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Eligible employees can obtain short-term benefit payments of approximately 60% to 70% of wages depending on income. The payment ranges oscillate from $50 to $1,300 a week for up to 52 weeks.
You must be under the care and treatment of a licensed physician/practitioner or accredited religious practitioner within the first eight days of disability. The physician/practitioner must complete the medical certification portion of the Disability claim.
2. Paid Family Leave
If you are unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with Covid-19 (certified by a medical professional) and you have a full or partial loss of wages because you need time off work, you can get up to six weeks of benefit payments, if eligible.
Benefits are approximately 60% to 70% of wages (depending on income), with ranges between $50 and $1,300 a week for up to 6 weeks. You must file a Paid Family Leave claim at the EDD and provide a medical certificate on your care claim for the seriously ill family member.
3. Unemployment Insurance (UI)
If you have lost your job or have had your hours reduced for reasons related to Covid-19, you can file an UI claim to receive unemployment benefits from the EDD. You must have earned enough wages during the base period to establish a claim.
If eligible, the partial wage replacement benefit payments oscillate from $40 to $450 per week for up to 26 weeks (plus additional weeks under extended UI benefits programs).
Due to Covid-19, there are two temporary exemptions according to the EDD:
- The 7-day waiting period is waived for claims beginning on or after January 19, 2020. After you submit your first two-week continued certification, you will be paid for the first week of your claim.
- You are not required to look for work each week to be eligible for benefits.
4. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
If you have lost your job or business or have had your hours or services reduced for reasons related to Covid-19, you can file a PUA claim. This is one of the federal CARES Act provisions that help unemployed Californians who are not usually eligible for regular UI benefits.
This program includes up to 39 weeks of partial wage replacement benefit payments from February 2, 2020, through December 26, 2020, depending on when you were directly affected by Covid-19. The payments range from $167 to $450 per week.
Eligible recipients are business owners, self-employed, independent contractors, those who have a limited work history, those who have collected all UI benefits for which they are eligible, and others not eligible for regular UI benefits who are unemployed, partially unemployed, unable to work or unavailable to work as a direct result of Covid-19.
5. California Paid Sick Leave
If you or a family member are sick or for preventive care, including when civil authorities recommend quarantine, isolation, or stay-at-home, you might use the leave you have accumulated or your employer has provided to you under the Paid Sick Leave Law.
This benefit may be 1 hour accrued for every 30 hours worked or 3 days (24 hours) provided per year; the employer may cap accrual at 48 hours and use at 3 days or 24 hours, whichever is greater, within a 12 month period.
6. California Covid-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for Food Sector Workers (Executive Order N-51-20)
If you are a Food Sector Worker at a company with 500 or more employees nationwide, you may be eligible to obtain Supplemental Paid Sick Leave if you are unable to work due to any of the following reasons:
- You are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to Covid-19.
- You are advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to concerns related to Covid-19.
- You are prohibited from working by the worker’s hiring entity due to health concerns related to the potential transmission of Covid-19.
The Executive Order covers Food Sector Workers’ ranges from farmworkers to those workers in the retail food supply chain, including pick-up, delivery, supply, packaging, retail, or preparation. Eligible workers thus include grocery workers, restaurant or fast-food workers, workers at warehouses where food is stored, and workers who pick-up or deliver any food items. All of them are exempt from the statewide stay-at-home order because they are Essential Infrastructure Workers.
The benefit is up to 80 hours of Supplemental Paid Sick Leave. If it is denied, you can file a Wage claim with the Labor Commissioner's Office.
7. Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Emergency Paid Sick Leave
If eligible, you can access to Emergency Paid Sick Leave under the FFCRA if you are unable to work (or telework) due to any of the following reasons:
a) You are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to Covid-19.
b) You have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to Covid-19.
c) You are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
d) You are caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in subparagraph (a) or has been advised as described in paragraph (b).
e) You are caring for a child whose school or place of care has been closed, or whose childcare provider is unavailable, for reasons related to Covid-19.
f) You are experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The benefit is up to 80 hours of Paid Sick Leave for employees who work for public employers, or for private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Exceptions may apply, including small business exemption from providing paid leave for childcare.
For employees, the payment is based on the higher of regular rate or minimum wage rate, not to exceed $511 per day and $5,110 in total. For family care, the payment is based on 2/3 of the regular rate, not to exceed $200 per day and $2,000 in total.
8. FFCRA Emergency Paid Family & Medical Leave
If you are unable to work (or telework) because you are caring for a child whose school or place of care has been closed, or whose childcare provider is unavailable for reasons related to Covid-19, you may be eligible to receive up to an additional 10 weeks of Paid Leave.
The benefit is for employees who work for public employers or private employers with fewer than 500 employees. A small business exemption may apply. The payment is based on 2/3 of the regular rate, not to exceed $200 per day and $10,000 total.
9. Local Government Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for Covid-19
If you are not covered by the FFCRA and you live in the city of Los Angeles, unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, San Francisco, or San Jose, you may be eligible for Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for Covid-19-related reasons.
Benefits vary by locality, but you can receive up to 80 hours of Supplemental Paid Sick Leave.
10. Workers’ Compensation (Executive Order N-62-20)
If you reported to your employer’s worksite between March 19 and July 5, 2020, and tested positive or were diagnosed with a Covid-19-related illness, you may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits.
The benefits include up to 104 weeks of temporary disability (TD) payments after exhausting specific federal or state Covid-19 Paid Sick Leave benefits. TD payments stop when either you return to work, your doctor releases you for work, or your doctor says your illness has improved as much as it is going to.
TD generally pays 2/3 of the gross wages you lose while you are recovering from a work-related illness or injury, up to a maximum weekly amount set by law. Eligible employees are also entitled to medical treatment and additional payments if a doctor determines you suffered a permanent disability because of the illness.
If you have more questions, if you are denied one or more of the mentioned benefits, or if you have been affected by Covid-19, you can write an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-606-6999.
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