Travel Quarantine Presents New Challenges for Your CU

June 25, 2020 at 9:38 am Leave a comment

At 12:01 a.m. this morning Governor Cuomo joined the Governors of New Jersey and Connecticut in imposing a 14 day quarantine on persons entering the Tri-State area from states experiencing spikes in the COVID-19 virus.  According to press reports, the quarantine currently impacts persons traveling from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Texas.  The initial list of states covered by the order is not static but instead applies to all states “…with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, or higher than a 10% test positivity rate, over a seven day rolling average”.

Here are some issues for your credit union to take into consideration.

Most importantly, you should put your employees on notice that you need to be informed of their travel plans and updating your policies to enforce the quarantine.  There is a lot of disagreement over whether or not employers can be successfully sued by employees for contracting the illness.  What everyone can agree on is that the safest way for employers to protect themselves against potential claims is to follow state and federal guidance.  Besides, violations of this executive order can result in a fine of up to $10,000.

I had a quick chat with my friend and colleague Chris Pajak yesterday evening who pointed out some interesting complications this announcement raises regarding paid family leave laws.  It’s important to start asking the right questions.  For example, New York’s paid sick leave benefits don’t apply to employees subject to quarantine after traveling to a country which the CDC has designated as a COVID-19 hotspot.  No such limitation is imposed on persons who travel out-of-state.  Does this mean that an employee whose work can’t be performed from home can take a week’s vacation to Cape Hateras, NC—my favorite summer vacation spot—and then insist on being paid for the next two weeks?

I said it before and I’ll say it again, what makes the pandemic so challenging from a legal standpoint is the speed at which regulators, legislators, employees and employers are trying to react to an unprecedented situation for which there is by definition very little guidance.  This travel ban is the latest, but probably not the last twist as we grapple with the pandemic.

Entry filed under: Compliance, COVID-19, HR, New York State. Tags: , , , , .

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Authored By:

Henry Meier, Esq., Senior Vice President, General Counsel, New York Credit Union Association.

The views Henry expresses are Henry’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Association. In addition, although Henry strives to give his readers useful and accurate information on a broad range of subjects, many of which involve legal disputes, his views are not a substitute for legal advise from retained counsel.

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