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Health Care Providers and Emergency  
Responders

Page last updated April 7, 2020 - 3:30 p.m.

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1. What is the federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA)?

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​EPSLA is a new law aimed at reducing the economic impact of COVID-19 on workers and their families by providing eligible employees with up to ten (10) days of emergency paid sick leave. The provisions of EPSLA go into effect April 1, 2020 and apply to COVID-19-related leave taken between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.

​2. Am I eligible for emergency paid sick leave?

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Employees who are determined by their agency to be emergency responders and health care providers are eligible for EPSLA as follows:  

a. The employee receives an individualized quarantine or isolation order from a Federal, State, or local governmental entity; or 

b. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; or 

c. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis; or 

d. The employee is caring for an individual that has been advised by a health care provide to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; or  

e. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the U.S. Secretaries of Labor and Treasury. 


3. Am I able to take the new federal leave to care for my child whose school or day care is closed?

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Employees who are determined by their agency to be emergency responders and health care providers are not eligible for the new federal leave.  Employees may use their own annual, personal, combined, or compensatory leave at the employer’s discretion, subject to management’s responsibility to maintain the efficiency of operations. 

4. Who is a “health care provider”?

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​A health care provider is anyone employed at any doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar institution, employer, or entity. This includes any permanent or temporary institution, facility, location, or site where medical services are provided that are similar to such institutions. This will extend to all 24/7 facilities. 

This definition includes any individual employed by an entity that contracts with any of these institutions described above to provide services or to maintain the operation of the facility where that individual’s services support the operation of the facility. This also includes anyone employed by any entity that provides medical services, produces medical products, or is otherwise involved in the making of COVID-19 related medical equipment, tests, drugs, vaccines, diagnostic vehicles, or treatments. 

5. Who is an emergency responder?

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​An employee who is necessary for the provision of transport, care, health care, comfort, and nutrition of such patients, or whose services are otherwise needed to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes but is not limited to military or national guard, law enforcement officers, correctional institution personnel, fire fighters, emergency medical services personnel, physicians, nurses, public health personnel, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency management personnel, 911 operators, public works personnel, and persons with skills or training in operating specialized equipment or other skills needed to provide aid in a declared emergency as well as individuals who work for such facilities employing these individuals and whose work is necessary to maintain the operation of the facility. This will extend to all 24/7 facilities.

6. How much emergency paid sick leave is available for full-time employees? 

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​Full-time employees, defined as those who work forty (40) hours per week, are eligible for up to ten (10) days (80 hours) of emergency paid sick leave.

7. How much emergency paid sick leave is available for part-time employees?

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​Part-time employees, defined as those who work less than forty (40) hours per week, are eligible for up to ten (10) days of emergency paid sick leave. Part-time employees are entitled to leave for their average number of normally worked hours in a two-week period. 

If the normal scheduled hours are unknown, or vary in a two-week period, the number of hours of leave to which a part-time employee is entitled shall be determined based on a six (6)-month average of daily hours. 

If the employee has been employed for less than six (6) months, the number of hours shall be determined based on the average daily hours from the date of hire through the last workday prior to the first day of emergency paid sick leave. For example, if a part-time employee normally works, on average, 25 hours per week, the employee would be eligible for up to 50 hours of emergency paid sick leave.

​8. I work 37.5 hours per week for a total of 75 hours every two (2) weeks, am I considered a full-time or part-time employee?

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​For purposes of EPSLA, you are considered a part-time employee. However, since your normally scheduled work hours for a two-week period are 75 hours, you are eligible for up to 75 hours of leave at the rate of reimbursement provided for under EPSLA.

9. What is the rate of reimbursement for emergency paid sick leave?

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​If you are taking leave for one of the qualifying event outlined in a. through c. in question 2, above, payment is at your regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day and $5,110 in total. 

If you are taking leave for one of the qualifying event outlined in d. and e. in question 2, above, payment is at 66.67% of your regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in total.

10. When can I use emergency paid sick leave?

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​When there is a qualifying event in question 2, above, beginning April 1, 2020 but not after December 31, 2020. Emergency paid sick leave under EPSLA does NOT carryover from one year to the next and expires on December 31, 2020.

​11. Who is an “individual”?

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​An individual is defined as an employee’s immediate family member, a person who regularly resides in the employee’s home, or a similar person with whom the employee has a relationship that created an expectation that the employee would care for them if he or she self-quarantined or was quarantined.

12. Can I use emergency paid sick leave intermittently?

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No. Emergency paid sick leave under EPSLA must be used in full consecutive workdays until the qualifying event no longer exists.

13. Can I use emergency paid sick leave under EPSLA before I use my other paid leave, such as annual leave?

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​Yes, as long as you are eligible because of a qualifying event listed in question 2, above. You are not required to use other paid leave before using the ten (10) days of emergency paid sick leave under EPSLA.

14. Do I need a doctor’s note or other documentation to use emergency paid sick leave under EPSLA?

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Yes.  For qualifying events in question 2, above, notice of quarantine or isolation orders, or health care provider’s recommendations should be provided. 

​15. How do I request emergency paid sick leave under EPSLA?

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If you normally submit leave through Employee Self-Service (ESS) at www.MyWorkplace.state.pa.us, you should ​follow your normal procedures for requesting leave.

While emergency paid sick leave is available beginning April 1, 2020, the leave codes for emergency paid sick leave will be available in ESS beginning on April 6, 2020. The leave code “ES” is to be used when the qualifying event for leave is based on a., b., or c., in question 2, above. The leave code “ESF” is to be used when the qualifying event for leave is based on d., in question 2, above. The leave code “ESA” is to be used when the qualifying event for leave is based on e., in question 2, above. 

​16. Who approves my request for emergency paid sick leave?

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Supervisors will provisionally approve these leave requests. 

Supervisors, employees and agency Time Advisors should forward required documentation to the HR Service Center, FMLA Services for further review.

Address: HR Service Center – FMLA Services, PO Box 824, Harrisburg, PA 17108-0824

Fax: 717-425-5389
Email: ra-spfabsence@pa.gov

17. Is leave taken under EPSLA retirement-covered? 

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​No. Any payments made pursuant to EPSLA are not retirement-covered compensation under the State Employees’ Retirement Code.

18. Where can I learn more about leave under EPSLA? 

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​Information from the U.S. Department of Labor on EPSLA is available at: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.

19. Can I use emergency paid sick leave due to the 'Stay at Home' orders issued by the Governor and Secretary of Health?

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No. The ‘Stay at Home’ orders do not apply to emergency responders and health care providers.