Stay-At-Home or Shelter-In-Place Orders are NOT the Same Thing as Quarantine

Several clients have recently contacted us to ask questions about the new Emergency Family and Medical Leave employee rights which were passed last week. You can download a white paper with detailed analysis on the FFCRA from our new COVID-19 Resource Center. One source of confusion is that several of those leave provisions kick in if an employee is quarantined because of the virus that causes COVID-19. Businesses in counties or states that are under Stay-At-Home or Shelter-In-Place orders from local or state governments ask if those orders are quarantines for the purposes of the Emergency Leave policies. 

The answer is no. Quarantine and Stay-At-Home are different things. Quarantine is an enforcement action by local or state health authorities which isolates an individual inside their own home or in a hospital because they have been diagnosed with or are suspected of being sick with a communicable disease. A business location can also be quarantined in the event it is the source of an outbreak of such a disease and needs to be cleaned. To be clear, the new sick leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) may be triggered when an employee (human) is diagnosed with COVID-19 or when an employee is caring for someone who is medically affected by COVID-19.   

Stay-At-Home and Shelter-In-Place orders are emergency control orders that apply to everyone in a given area, and most provide for business to continue for a wide variety of employers and activities, but limit non-essential travel and gathering. Stay-At-Home orders are not the same as quarantine. 

Please keep these distinctions in mind when considering your payroll and employment actions. And don’t hesitate to contact us for clarification.