SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Western Mass News is getting answers on what your rights are as an employee if you are exposed to the coronavirus and have to miss up to two weeks of work while quarantined.
Would you have to use your sick time or be able to work from home?
"I have the luxury of working from home, so if I get sick I'm ok and can keep working," said Lisa Caliento with the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Caliento recognizes she is one of the lucky ones as an employee of the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. She is able to work from home if needed - something that could be helpful if coronavirus begins to spread in western Massachusetts.
"I also think that if this does get worse then we will see business who will encourage people to stay home if they can, just to limit the spread of it," said Erica Flores, an attorney at Skoler, Abbot, and Presser in Springfield.
Flores told Western Mass News that nationally, companies are already moving toward the direction of allowing employees to work from home, hoping to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
However, if you cant work from home, Western Mass News wanted to know if you'd have to use your sick or vacation time during the 14-day quarantine.
"Well they're sick right? And that's what sick time is for and if you get sick, regardless of the reason, that's why we have sick time. There's a lot of different laws that require business to provide different kinds of leave. Bigger business have an obligation to provide leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act, so they may have the option to take more time without losing their job," Flores said.
However, what happens if you do run out of paid sick time?
"If you run out of time, that is a more difficult situation. Unfortunately, when you run out of time, it's not the businesses obligation to continue to pay you anyways," Flores noted.
Flores said the good news for Bay State employees is that come January 2021, that law is changing. The new Paid Family Leave Program will provide up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave.
However, until then, "I think people need to have open conversations with their employers. Stay home if you aren't feeling well. Tell your employer if you have plans to travel somewhere within the CDCs restrictions. Just communicate. It's our obligation to try to make sure we're not putting people at-risk unnecessarily," Flores said.