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CSEA has created an extensive COVID FAQ section on their website that has everything about the rollout of these vaccines and how it will affect you and your work. Below are the latest updates that were added to their FAQ section.

COVID vaccination

  • Your employer may require you take the new vaccine if the district has bargained first with CSEA over such a requirement AND you do not have a disability or religious objection. If you do, your employer would by law have to first engage in an interactive process with you and provide reasonable accommodation. In many classified positions, the only accommodation achievable will be an unpaid leave of absence.
  • In bargaining over such a proposed employer requirement, CSEA would push (for example) for confirmation of your legal right to lost pay and medical expenses if the vaccine were to cause you a severe allergic reaction (which are fortunately very rare). To date, no CSEA employers have insisted on vaccinations (as most employees are eager to receive one). For more info, contact your LRR.

Quarantine/leave status

  • The new Cal/OSHA regulation on COVID requires the employer pay for an employee to stay home if they have an exposure to a positive case within 6 feet of more than 15 minutes within 24 hours. However, the regulation allows employers to require use of sick leave, which is unlike the situation this past fall where federal law required employers provide an added 80 hours of paid COVID leave on top of existing sick leave.
  • The federal law requiring employers provide paid leave for this purpose (the FFCRA) expired December 31. However, some districts will allow their employees to use other paid leaves for this purpose.
  • In response to whether your employer can make you stay and home quarantine because you traveled outside the state, first, under Educational Employment Relations Act (EERA), an employer must bargain with CSEA over such a new requirement before unilaterally imposing it. Second, the underlying requirement is subject to legal challenge under California Labor Code sections 96(k) and 98.6, which bar adverse actions against employees “for lawful conduct occurring during nonworking hours away from the employer’s premises.” However, courts have interpreted these statutes more narrowly as designed to protect political activities. There is also a constitutional right to interstate travel, but it involves a balancing test weighing the interests of the employer against those of the employee. Given the health threats from travel (airplane travel in particular), a legal challenge might not be successful, but districts would risk paying penalties and legal fees if they guess incorrectly that an unpaid travel quarantine is lawful. Contact your LRR immediately if you hear of your district trying to require an unpaid travel quarantine.

Stimulus funding

  • While the Senate refused to provide additional funding to states, the December 2020 stimulus bill provides significant additional funds for any district which receives Title I money (the vast majority of districts).
  • The bill does NOT extend the paid leaves provided earlier in 2020 by the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA), but merely extends some tax credits for private employers. The bill does augment unemployment benefits by $300/week for 11 weeks and extend unemployment benefits for independent contractors. The bill also provides a stimulus check of $600 per household member, with certain income limits.

Source: CSEA Communication Tools Email, January 15, 2021

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