Aid for Employees Seeking COVID-Related Leave of Absence

The Center for WorkLife Law is offering free tools for workers who need to take leave from their jobs due to the coronavirus. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provided paid leave for workers who need it for certain caregiving and health reasons, but applying for leave can be complicated.

The Center has guides that include information about employee legal rights and new fillable forms that ask for all the information required by law for an employer to grant a leave request. Workers who want to request leave can simply complete the form and give it to their employer.

Online help is available for employees seeking:

Leave for Themselves:

Leave to Care for Others:

The Center’s site contains links to state unemployment offices, in addition to a worker’s rights factsheet with information on sick leave and emergency COVID leave, and health information on pregnancy and COVID-19.

Distinguished Professor Joan C. Williams, Founding Director of the Center, has warned that caregiver discrimination may increase during the pandemic as employers scrutinize employee productivity, and thus litigation. “We are at risk for a whole new round and increased interest in family responsibilities discrimination,” Williams told Bloomberg. “You have a recipe for discrimination. Inevitably, there will be assumptions about who is valuable and who is performing up to snuff. That’s where the lawsuits start.”

The Center has a hotline for employees needing COVID-related assistance and is available for help via email. Calls and emails to the helpline are confidential to the extent permissible by law. Call (415) 851-3308 or email

About the Center for WorkLife Law

The Center for WorkLife Law is a research and advocacy organization at UC Law SF College of the Law that seeks to advance gender and racial equity in the workplace and in higher education. WorkLife Law focuses on initiatives with the potential to produce concrete social, legal, and institutional change within a two- to five-year timeframe. Current major initiatives include programs for advancing women leaders, eliminating barriers for pregnant and breastfeeding workers and students, preventing Family Responsibilities Discrimination, and helping companies to interrupt and correct bias in the workplace and create more stable schedules for their hourly workers.