This is Number Two of a continuing effort to provide PPOA members with relevant timely information. Below is the latest information regarding sick leave, administrative leave, vacation time and all other forms of time-off in relation to COVID-19.
For up-to-date information on COVID-19 and guidance from Los Angeles Public Health Professionals, please go to
1. What can the County and/or LASD order me to do during the COVID-19 emergency?
The County and/or LASD can:
Ask employees returning from travel about their exposure
Ask an employee why he or she has been absent from work
Require employees to adopt infection-control practices (e.g., regular hand washing)
Require employees to wear personal protective equipment (e.g., masks, gloves, or gowns), but it should provide related reasonable accommodation (e.g., non-latex gloves, gowns designed for individuals who use wheelchairs)
Encourage employees to get a vaccine if one becomes available, but employers may not be able to compel it.
Take the temperature of employees or ask if they have symptoms associated with COVID-19, e.g., fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat (even though that is not normally permitted)
Require medical input certifying fitness for duty when an employee returns to work. (this is not the current requirement but is expected to be put in place soon)
The County and/or LASD cannot:
Ask asymptomatic employees (employee with no symptoms) if they have medical conditions that would make them especially vulnerable
Compel employees to take a vaccine if they have a medical condition that prevents doing so safely.
2. What are my choices if the County and/or LASD mandates me to be quarantined due to having symptoms or exhibiting a fever through the temperature test?
The employer is required to allow you the choice of returning to your home or another location. Alternative locations, such as a hotel may be made available. All members who are mandatorily quarantined by the County and/or LASD should make a request for the option of returning to home or a substitute location. If you are not offered a substitute location to quarantine contact PPOA immediately.
3. A member of my family is sick so I can’t come to work. Can I use sick leave?
Yes, a family member is defined as husband, wife, domestic partner, child, stepchild, grandchild, brother, stepbrother, sister, stepsister, parent, guardian, stepparent, foster parent, grandparent, or any person serving as a parent, or who has served as a parent, or any other person living in the same household as the employee. Depending upon how long the illness lasts, you may be approved for Family Medical Leave. Your supervisor/Department will let you know if teleworking is an option. If you are not able to telework, you may be able to utilize your vacation, compensatory time or sick leave.
4. What kind of leave time will I have to use if I have been quarantined? How will I get paid while I am off work in relation to COVID-19?
Whether you get paid through Administrative Leave (paid leave) or are forced to use sick leave or disability pay will depend upon the circumstances surrounding the quarantine. If a member can demonstrate positive proof of exposure to COVID-19 while on duty they will immediately be put on administrative leave.
PPOA is advocating for paid Administrative leave for all employees who are ordered by the County and/or Department to be quarantined. This is an involuntary removal from your job by use of a direct order thereby necessitating paid leave. We expect to get clarification on this position within days.
If you are self-quarantining based upon the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for your own personal symptoms then you will be entitled to use your sick leave and leave balances. If you do not have enough sick leave to last the entire quarantine timeframe (typically 14 days) you can use other leave balances, and/or file for State Disability by going on the EDD website.
The EDD provides information on the website including that California workers who can’t work and who are medically certified to either have COVID-19 themselves or to have been exposed to it can file a disability insurance claim. This option provides workers with short-term benefit payments “to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy,” per the EDD. Benefit amounts typically are about 60 to 70 percent of a worker’s wages (depending on income) and range from $50 to $1,300 a week.
Those workers unable to work due to caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19—that can be verified by a medical professional—can file a paid family leave claim. This benefit “provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child,” per the EDD. Benefit amounts are about the same as those filing a disability claim.
Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order has waived the typical one-week waiting period for benefits; this means that workers can receive benefits the first week they are out of work. EDD processing typically kicks in within a few weeks of receiving a claim.
5. Can I use vacation time or invoke the Family Medical Leave Act if I do not want to become exposed to COVID-19 at work?
While the Department cannot stop you from invoking the Family Medical Leave Act in order to request time off in relation to exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or based on legitimate exposure to an individual with COVID-19, the Family Medical Leave Act cannot be invoked in order to avoid a perceived risk of exposure to COVID-19 pursuant to emergency job duties. In addition, the Department is currently not honoring any vacation time requests for non COVID-19 related issues, which includes using vacation time to avoid a perceived risk of exposure to COVID-19.
As mentioned in Part One (emailed to PPOA members on March 19th), additional information about COVID-19 can be found by visiting the Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites.
County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health Links