As news of the Omicron variant of COVID causes a new wave of uncertainty and travel increases nationwide for the holidays, it is as important as ever to take measures to stay safe and healthy, particularly when it comes to protecting your health–or a loved one’s health–in the workplace.
Knowledge is power, and there are various laws in place that can help you if you’re pregnant or postpartum, bonding with a new baby, caring for your own health condition, or need time off to care for a loved one or child. These protections might allow you to access accommodations if, for instance, you need to adjust your schedule for your lactation needs, or time off to care for a sick loved one or take your child to the doctor. Read on for more information!
Paid Sick Time
Research has shown that throughout the pandemic, access to paid sick time helped reduce the spread of COVID and flatten the curve by allowing workers to stay home while sick without having to sacrifice their paycheck. Thirteen states, Washington D.C., and dozens of localities guarantee workers a right to paid sick time, some of which include “closure provisions” that allow workers to take paid time off when their workplace or their child’s school is closed. For more information on permanent paid sick time laws, consult our interactive guide to paid sick time laws. Additionally, several states and localities have enacted emergency paid sick leave policies in response to the pandemic. Click here for an updated list of emergency provisions.
Paid Family and Medical Leave
In addition to existing paid sick time laws, nine states and Washington D.C. have enacted permanent paid family and medical leave laws that can enable you to take long-term, job-protected paid leave to care for yourself or a loved one, including when affected by COVID. Visit our comparative chart for more information about paid leave protections by state.
Protections for Pregnant and Postpartum Workers
For pregnant and postpartum workers, supportive workplace policies are especially important. Luckily, there are several local, state and federal laws in place that can protect pregnant workers from discrimination and ensure that they can access the accommodations they need to maintain the health of their pregnancy and after giving birth, during the pandemic and beyond. For more information, visit our guide to pregnancy and workplace rights during COVID.
The Center for Disease Control recently recommended that all adults receive a COVID booster shot. For workers who need to take paid time off to receive or recover from the COVID-19 vaccine, or to help family members receive the vaccine, several protections exist at the state, local, and federal levels, as we’ve outlined in our vaccination leave guide.
A Better Balance wishes you and your loved ones a happy and safe holiday season, and as we approach the new year, we remain dedicated to fighting for the protections working families need to maintain their health and economic security during and beyond this crisis, and to ensuring that all workers feel informed and empowered to exercise their rights.