Before the COVID-19 epidemic, IHSS providers earned up to eight hours of sick leave per year. That’s never been enough, and we have always fought for more. But with the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government has finally realized that sick caregivers, just like all workers, need more than one day of sick time.
Now, thanks to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), emergency pandemic legislation that will remain in effect until December 31, 2020, IHSS providers can get up to eighty hours (two weeks) of emergency paid sick leave when they are unable to work due to COVID-19.
ELIGIBILITY FOR COVID-19 SICK LEAVE
To be eligible for the new sick leave, you must meet at least one of the following conditions:
- Be subject to a quarantine or isolation order
- Have been advised by a doctor or health care provider to self-quarantine
- Be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis
- Be caring for someone who has been advised or ordered to quarantine by a health care provider
- Be caring for your child whose school or childcare has been closed due to COVID-19
- Be experiencing any other related coronavirus concerns
HOW TO APPLY FOR COVID-19 SICK LEAVE
- Notify your client that you are unable to care for them and have them notify the county that they need a back-up provider or notify the county yourself if you are a family provider
- Complete and sign the COVID-19 ONLY – IHSS Provider Sick Leave Request Form (TEMP 3021). You will soon receive it in the mail along with an informational flyer, unless you are signed up for Electronic Services Portal in which case it will be emailed to you. If you do not have the form, you can download if from the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Department website at https://cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/forms-brochures/forms-alphabetic-list/q-t or contact your county’s IHSS office
- The form will ask for the names of your recipients, the specific reason you are claiming COVID-19 sick leave, and the dates of the leave
- Submit the form to the county IHSS office. WCPS providers should submit the form to the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS)
ONCE THE COUNTY HAS YOUR COVID-19 SICK LEAVE REQUEST FORM
The county will verify:
- How many hours you are entitled to receive by calculating the average number of hours you have worked in the last six months and dividing your average monthly pay by half
- If your reason for requesting sick leave is valid
- Your pay rate
IF YOU ARE APPROVED
- You will receive a one-time payment via your normal payroll method—check or direct deposit.
- You will need to take the entire two weeks if you are taking sick leave if you are ill or quarantined yourself do to exposure to COVID-19.
This is a new, emergency program and we can expect some confusion on the part of county staff as it is implemented. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your union for help at 1-800-621-5016.