Stay at Home Orders

March 24, 2020

Many of you have been asking if the new sick leave law applies in the event a business is closed because of a shelter in place or stay at home order.  Our conclusion is that it does not.

As previously reported, the new paid sick leave act – which goes into effect on April 2 – provides sick leave for a half dozen reasons, including when an employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.

The new act does not define what a quarantine or isolation order is, but the CDC has provided guidance.  The CDC has stated that an isolation order is issued to a person who has "a communicable disease" to separate him/her from those who are healthy. Isolation restricts the movement of "ill persons" to help stop the spread of certain diseases. A quarantine order is similar, but it restricts the movements of a person who "ha[s] been exposed to a communicable disease." 

As a result, we do not believe that the recent stay at home orders issued by Dallas, Travis and Harris Counties – and others – trigger paid sick leave.

Stay safe and please let us know if we can be of help.

Thanks, Jack, Elizabeth and Jim