The Department of Human Resources (CalHR) has revised the state policy implementing the federal government’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The federal act allows exemptions for broadly defined categories of health care providers and emergency responders.
Although the initial policy issued by CalHR on April 1, 2020 did not exempt any state employees, the revised policy announced on April 11 provides that because health care providers and emergency responders are critical to the operations of state departments, the state will exempt certain classifications of employees from being eligible for the federal act’s additional emergency sick leave and family care leave provisions.
The state will allow exemptions of employees in classifications meeting the federal Department of Labor definitions which include, among others, health care providers and those needed to provide comfort and nutrition of patients, law enforcement, firefighters, correctional institution personnel, emergency management personnel, child welfare workers, and public works personnel.
State departments with employees meeting the federal definitions are to send their exemptions to CalHR. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Department of State Hospitals, Department of Parks and Recreation and California Highway Patrol have already sent hundreds of classifications to CalHR. More exemption requests from other state departments are expected as this policy is implemented. CalHR will maintain a list of classifications exempted from the additional emergency sick leave and family care leave on the CalHR website.
While it is not surprising that the state has modified the policy to reflect the crucial role of these state employees in providing the state’s pandemic response, this front line role deserves to be recognized equitably through additional compensation or time off when the situation allows. ACSS will request CalHR provide additional compensation or time off.
As the CalHR memo states, although not eligible for the additional Covid-19 related emergency sick leave or family leave, employees may still be eligible for ATO or other leave under CalHR’s previous guidance.
Click here to review the revised CalHR Families First Coronavirus Response Act Policy.
Click here to go directly to the CalHR list of classifications exempted from the FFCRA by Department.