On February 4, 2021, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order No. 10, which, inter alia, requires local and regional boards of education to provide paid leave to eligible employees who require leave for certain circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Section 6 of Executive Order No. 10 states that “[e]ffective December 31, 2020, and for the duration of the public health and civil preparedness emergencies, unless earlier modified by [the Governor], all local and regional boards of education shall continue to make available paid leave for eligible employees.” Eligible employees include those employees who qualify for leave under the circumstances provided by Division E, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
Last year, under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act of the FFCRA, full time employees of employers with less than 500 employees who had been on the payroll for 30 days were entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave at their regular rate of pay, and part-time employees were entitled to pay for the number of hours that the employee worked, on average, over a 2-week period for the following reasons:
- the employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- the employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19;
- the employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- the employee is caring for an individual subject or advised to quarantine or isolation;
- the employee is caring for a son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or childcare provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions; or
- the employee is experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.
Although the mandatory provisions of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act of the FFCRA expired on December 31, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which allows FFCRA-covered employers to voluntarily extend the paid leave provided under the FFCRA through March 31, 2021, and those employers who offer voluntary leave can receive tax credits in exchange.
Governor Lamont's Executive Order No. 10 removes any discretion in offering the paid leave available to eligible employees of local and regional boards of education. However, the paid leave provided by Executive Order No. 10 does not increase the overall duration of leave available to school staff or to require additional leave for staff who, prior to December 31, 2020, used any portion of or the maximum available leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.
Executive Order No. 10 notes that the State of Connecticut is exempt from these provisions regarding paid sick leave because its existing implementation of Conn. Gen. Stat. § 5-248(a) allows state school employees comparable access to paid leave.
Any questions concerning the any of the provisions of Governor Lamont's Executive Orders issued during the COVID-19 pandemic, or compliance therewith, can be directed to any attorney at our firm. Rose Kallor, LLP provides a full range of labor and employment counseling to private and public-sector employers.