Question: As the holiday season approaches, am I eligible for paid leave upon returning from travel to a state listed on the advisory?
Answer: In the interest of safety, unnecessary travel to states on the quarantine list is discouraged. If, however, travel is necessary, there are two possible bases for requesting paid leave under the federal CARES Act, Families First Corona Virus Relief Act (FFCRA)
- if you are subject to a local order to quarantine and/or
- you are advised by a health care provider to quarantine.
Question: Is the travel advisory enforceable by my employer?
Answer: The travel advisory is not a state order to quarantine, as compliance is expected, but not mandated or enforced by the state. However, be aware that if your employer requires an employee to quarantine, this could be construed as a “local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19” for purposes of FFCRA leave. Additionally, if your health care provider has advised an individual in writing to self-quarantine, that is another basis for requesting FFCRA leave.
Although the voluntary nature of employee travel may create ambiguity as to whether a quarantine order satisfies the FFCRA requirements, if FFCRA leave is denied upon returning from travel, or you are subject to disciplinary action, you should let your union representative know immediately as this may form the basis of a grievance.
Question: What if I already exhausted my FFCRA leave?
Answer: You should notify the administration in writing that you are willing and able to return to work when you return from travel. If the district’s medical authorities require you to quarantine, our position is that this has triggered your eligibility to use your sick leave.
Question: Are there other possible solutions?
Answer: Possibly. There may be provisions in the collective bargaining agreement, such as negotiated paid administrative leave. Contact your union representative to discuss this further.
Question: What if I must travel out of state to one of the states listed on the Travel Advisory?
Answer: If travelling out of state and to a state listed on the Travel Advisory, you may have options. Your UniServ field representative will be able provide additional guidance in this instance.