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Last updated April 10, 2020.

This general guidance is based on U.S. federal employment law and the current medical assessment of COVID-19. State and local laws may apply, and medical assessments may change, resulting in different conclusions.

Short-term Disability Coverage

[od_accordion title=”Question 1 Will an employee be entitled to short-term disability coverage if he or she is unable to work due to a voluntary or mandatory quarantine without a diagnosis of COVID-19 or positive test for the coronavirus?” after_title=”(Updated March 20, 2020)”]

Answer 1. That depends upon how the employer’s short-term disability policy defines “disability.” Many employers are choosing to interpret their policies broadly to provide this coverage and/or to amend the terms of their policies to provide this coverage. Some are waiving the mandatory waiting period or elimination period and some are increasing disability benefits coverage in this context. If the employer’s program is fully-insured, the employer will want to vet any such changes with the insurance company prior to providing them to employees. If the employer uses an outside administrator, the employer will want to confirm that its administrator can support those changes. Any changes should be documented in writing, with formal plan amendments to follow for any plans governed by ERISA.[/od_accordion]

[od_accordion title=”Q2. Will the employer’s short-term disability coverage satisfy any federal mandate to provide covered leave?” after_title=”(Updated April 10, 2020)”]

A2. Generally, employer-provided paid leave will be in addition to any federal mandate to provide covered leave. The new Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which became law on March 18, 2020 and applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees, would require those employers to provide additional mandated leave, on top of what the employer might already be providing.[/od_accordion]


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