COVID-19 Employment Law Resources

The COVID-19 public health crisis has affected nearly every aspect of our personal and professional lives, challenging our ability both to adapt to our current changed circumstances and to effectively predict and prepare for future changes. The Georgia Municipal Association is committed to providing resources to its members to assist them in this them in this regard. To this end, GMA, in partnership with the Public Sector Group of Elarbee, Thompson, Sapp & Wilson, LLP, is making available a three-part series of answers to frequently asked questions relating to the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Public Employment Law. Topics addressed include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Public Employment Law FAQ Series 1: Complying with CDC and GDPH Standards in the Workplace without Violating the Americans with Disabilities Act
    • Can we ask employees questions regarding symptoms or other medical-related issues?
    • When do we need to send employees home?
    • When can we safely allow them to return to work?
  • As municipal employers implement Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) standards in an attempt to provide safe and healthy work environments for their employees, they often struggle with reconciling this commitment with the restrictions imposed on employers by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Questions include:
  • Public Employment Law FAQ Series 2: Paid Leave for Employees During Absences Related to COVID-19
    Even while coping with their own unbudgeted expenses and interrupted revenue streams, municipal employers remain concerned about the financial hardships imposed on their employees who are unable to work, or who experience reductions in their work hours, as a result of the current public health emergency.Questions include:
    • Can we provide paid leave to these employees or must we require that they use their accrued PTO, vacation leave, sick leave, comp time, etc.?
    • How does the new federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act come into play?
  • Public Employment Law FAQ Series 3: Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Wage and Hour Considerations 
    Many municipal employers are facing the economic reality of having to reduce the hours available to and/or furlough employees due to decreased revenue and increased expense caused by the public health emergency. Others are experimenting with and considering alternative working arrangements that have raised questions regarding the application of the Fair Labor Standards Act . Questions include:
    • How do Georgia’s Employment Security/Unemployment Insurance Laws come into play?
    • When can / must volunteers be paid?
    • How does teleworking affect employee compensation?
    • When must an employee on standby / on-call status be paid?

Notices of Exclusion for Emergency Responders

Additional Coronavirus-Related Employment Law Resources:

This Public Employment Law FAQ Series was prepared by the Public Sector Group of Elarbee, Thompson, Sapp & Wilson, LLP, a legal practice group specializing in the representation of state and local government clients throughout Georgia primarily in matters relating to labor and employment. It was designed to serve as a comprehensive guide for the benefit and use of the Georgia Municipal Association and its membership during the declared public health emergency relating to COVID-19.

This series was prepared based on the most current information and legal analyses available; however, because the legal landscape relating to the pandemic is necessarily fluid, this resource will subject to periodic updates and revisions. As such, it is not intended, and should not be interpreted or relied upon, as legal advice. GMA members are encouraged to consult with their attorneys or outside counsel as needed.

Elarbee Thompson’s Public Sector Group is also available for consultation by contacting R. Read Gignilliat (404.582.8442 / or Sharon P. Morgan (404.582.8406 /

As always, GIRMA members may contact Elarbee Thompson’s Public Sector Group directly via the GIRMA Helpline (800.721.1998 /