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Public Health Closures And Paid Sick Time: What You Should Know

Public Health Closures and Paid Sick Time: What You Should Know

With the rapid spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), schools and businesses across the globe have closed their doors with the hope that keeping children and workers at home will help contain the outbreak. Currently, only a few local communities and businesses have taken the precaution of closing in the wake of the Coronavirus in the U.S., but it is very possible that more schools and businesses will close in the coming weeks.

While closures are an important public health measure for the containment of highly contagious diseases, they also raise real questions for workers: If my work is closed, how will I get paid? How will I care for my children if their school is closed but my work isn’t?

Fortunately for workers in certain jurisdictions, they are eligible for paid sick time when their workplace or child’s school or place of care is closed for a public health emergency. For example, Chicago workers may use their paid sick leave when their workplace closes by order of a public official because of a public health emergency, or when their child’s school or place of care closed by order of a public official because of a public health emergency. Similarly, the following jurisdictions have paid sick time laws that allow workers to use their earned paid sick time when their workplace or child’s school is closed for public health reasons:

  • Arizona
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington State
  • San Diego, CA
  • Cook County and Chicago, IL
  • Montgomery County, MD
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Saint Paul, MN
  • New York City, NY
  • Westchester County, NY
  • Pittsburgh, PA (law effective March 15, 2020)
  • Seattle, WA
  • Tacoma, WA

Even if you don’t work in any of the jurisdictions with specific public health closure protections, you may also have rights to care for yourself when you’re sick or a loved one is sick.

To find out more about specific eligibility standards and paid sick time protections in your area, visit

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