Employees May Submit Documentation From Healthcare Providers While Awaiting Orders of Quarantine or Isolation
March 31, 2020
To qualify for paid leave pursuant to the New York Emergency Paid Sick Leave or New York Emergency Paid Family Leave, employees must obtain a mandatory or precautionary order issued by the State of New York, the Department of Health, a local board of health, or any government entity authorized to issue such orders due to COVID-19.
The New York State Department of Health (“NYDOH”) has recently issued guidance on how employees may obtain orders of quarantine and isolation. See NYSDOH’s Obtaining An Order and New York Paid Family Leave COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions. Critically, the NYDOH guidance provides that employees may submit documentation from a healthcare provider while waiting to receive an order of quarantine or isolation from their local board of health. However, an order or quarantine or isolation is still required for employees to be entitled to paid leave under the New York Emergency Paid Sick Leave or New York Emergency Paid Family Leave.
In the guidance, the NYDOH instructs employees to first contact their local health department to obtain obtain an order of quarantine or isolation. Local health departments are required to provide requested orders of quarantine or isolation within 30 days.
The NYDOH further advises that if employees are unable to obtain an order of quarantine or isolation from their local health department immediately, employees should submit documentation from a licensed medical provider that has treated the employee or the employee’s minor dependent child in the interim.
The documentation from the healthcare provider must attest to the following:
- the employee qualifies for a mandatory order of isolation because (1) the employee has tested positive for COVID-19, or (2) the test for COVID-19 is currently unavailable to the employee, but the employee is symptomatic and has had contact with a known COVID-19 case;
- the employee qualifies for a mandatory order of quarantine because the employee (1) has been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is currently under mandatory isolation, or (2) is symptomatic and has returned from a country designated with a level 2, 3, or 4 advisory for COVID-19 within the past 14 days; or
- the employee qualifies for a precautionary quarantine because the employee (1) is determined to have had proximate exposure with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or (2) is asymptomatic and has returned from a country designated with a level 2, 3, or 4 advisory for COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
After employees submit their medical documentation, employees are required to follow-up with their local board of health regarding their requested order of quarantine or isolation. Once the order has been obtained, employees must provide the order as soon as possible to qualify for paid leave.
Takeaway for Employers
Employers should permit employees to take paid sick leave pursuant to New York Emergency Paid Leave or New York Emergency Paid Family Leave once provided with medical documentation compliant with the above-listed requirements as employees may not be able to immediately obtain orders of quarantine or isolation. However, employers may still require employees to submit orders of quarantine or isolation issued by their local board of health.
These materials were prepared by Putney, Twombly, Hall & Hirson LLP prior to their combination with Bond, Schoeneck & King for informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice or advertisement of legal services. Transmission of the information is not confidential and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship or an attorney-client privileged communication. You should not act upon any of the information contained in these materials without seeking the advice of your own professional legal counsel.