March 19, 2020

UPDATED 3/19/2020

    • The California Labor Commissioner has issued FAQs related to laws that are enforced by them and how the Coronavirus affects those laws.  The California Labor Commissioner enforces laws the combat wage theft and protect workers from retaliation. The FAQs are linked here ( Some highlights of the FAQs include the following:
      • An employee can use paid sick leave due to the COVID-19 illness.  Leave is allowed for illness, diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition or preventative care for the employee or the employee’s family member.  Preventative care includes self-isolation/quarantine as a result of potential exposure to COVID-19.
      • An employer cannot require an employee to use paid sick leave if they fall ill, it is the workers’ choice.
      • If an employee’s child’s school or day care is closed for reasons related to COVID-19, there may be paid sick leave or other paid leave that is available to employees.  Employees at worksites with 25 or more employees may also be provided up to 40 hours of leave per year for specific school-related emergencies, such as the closure of a child’s school or day care by civil authorities. Whether that leave is paid or unpaid depends on the employer’s paid leave, vacation or other paid time off policies.
      • If an employee is retaliated against for using sick leave, they can contact the Labor Commissioner’s Office.
    • The California Employment Development Department published guidance on COVID-19.  Linked here (
      • The EDD is one of the largest state departments. Among other things, it administers the Unemployment Insurance and State Disability Insurance Programs and administers federally funded workforce development programs.
      • Some takeaways from their guidance:
        • If an employee cannot work due to illness from COVID-19 and they have the necessary supporting medical documentation that employee can file a Disability Insurance claim.  This insurance provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work related illness, injury, or pregnancy.  The Governor of California has issued an Executive Order waiving the one-week waiting period, so eligible people applying can collect Disability Insurance benefit for the first week they are out of work.
        • Benefits under Disability Insurance are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50 to $1,300 a week.
        • If an employee is unable to work because he/she is caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19, they can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim. PFL provides up to six weeks, this extends to eight weeks starting July 1, 2020, of benefit payment to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member.  Benefit amounts under PFL are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50 – $1,300 a week.
        • If a person is subject to quarantine, is not ill, and is not found eligible for Disability Insurance he/she may apply for Unemployment Insurance if their hours have been reduced due to quarantine, if they have been separated from employment due to quarantine, or If they are subject to quarantine as required by a medical professional or state or local health officer.  The Governor has waived the one-week unpaid waiting period, so people can collect Unemployment Insurance benefits for the first week the person is out of work.  Eligible people can receive benefits that range from $40-$450 per week for a period of approximately 13-26 weeks.
  • Federal government:
    • The U.S. House Passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) on March 14, 2020.  The U.S. Senate approved the bill on March 18, 2020.  Comments/updates should be provided by CAIR-National.
  • On March 18, the Trump administration announced a moratorium on evictions of single-family homeowners with federally backed mortgages.  Comments/updates should be provided by CAIR National.
  • On March 16, 2020 Governor Newsom issued an executive order regarding the Coronavirus.  The Executive Order did not specifically ban evictions in California, but it does allow local jurisdictions to do so.  The Executive Order also provides some relief to California tenants:
    • Under the California Penal Code, California land lords are prohibited from engaging in specific “price gouging” practices.  Normally, under the Penal Code, these prohibitions last for 30-days following the declaration of a State of Emergency.  The Governor’s order extends these protections to May 31, 2020.
    • The Executive Order also lifts any state laws that restrict a local government’s ability to limit residential or commercial evictions when: (1) the eviction is based on nonpayment of rent or a foreclosure arising out of substantial decrease in household or business income or substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses, and (2) the decrease in household or business income or medical expenses is caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Nothing in the Governor’s order relieves a tenant of the obligation to pay rent.
    • The Order also requests (but does not order) financial institutions holding home or commercial mortgages to implement an immediate moratorium on foreclosures and related evictions when the foreclosure or foreclosure-related eviction arises out of a substantial decrease in household or business income, or substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses, which were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Los Angeles has imposed a temporary moratorium on evictions.
    • Mayor Garcetti made clear in a Public Order on March 15, 2020, that no landlord shall evict a residential tenant in the City of Los Angeles during the local emergency period if the tenant is able to show an inability to pay rent due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  These circumstances include loss of income due to a COVID-19 related workplace closure, child care expenditures due to school closures, health care expenses related to being ill with COVID-19 or caring for a member of the tenant’s household who is ill with COVID-19, or reasonable expenditures that stem from government-ordered emergency measures.
    • The Mayor’s Order makes clear that it should not be construed to mean tenants will not still be obligated to pay lawfully charged rent but that tenants will have up to six months following the expiration of the local emergency period to repay any back due rent.
    • On March 17, 2020, the LA City Council approved a motion to give tenants up to 12 months to pay their landlords back rent related to the pandemic.  The Council’s motion will also require landlords and residential mortgage-holders to work out payment plans with affected residents.  The measure will likely be modified and finalized within the next several days.

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