Companies across the nation are struggling to navigate the challenges of operating amidst the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With many industries facing limited operating hours, temporarily closing or moving to remote-only, it can be difficult to maintain a sense of normalcy. The addition of legislation directed at the current pandemic can create unique challenges for companies.
Here are some thing you should know
The President has signed the Families First Act Coronavirus Response Act, detailing emergency actions effective through the end of 2020. It will be effective in 15 days. Links to summaries and FAQ’s will be added to this post once they are available. Keep in mind, this is an evolving situation and the information is subject to change, however these basic requirements apply for employers with less than 500 employees include:
- Paid sick leave of up to 80 hours for employees unable to work/telework due to their own illness/quarantine related to COVID-19 (paid at regular rate of pay); because the employee is caring for an individual who is ill/quarantined due to the virus (paid at 2/3 pay); or because the employee is caring for a child if school or child care is closed (paid at 2/3 pay; possible exemption for employers with less than 50 employees for this leave reason only).
- Public Health Emergency Leave for up to 12 weeks for employees that cannot work/telework due to the need to care for a minor child if the school is closed due to COVID-19. The leave is unpaid for the first 10 days and then paid at 2/3 pay thereafter. Possible exemptions for businesses with less than 50 employees and for certain healthcare workers.
There are caps in place that correspond to the new tax credits for these payments. Your payroll processing company should be able to specifically guide you through this as it applies in your situation.
The following resources can help you work through the current situation while staying up to date with the evolving situation.
The national employment law firm Littler Mendelson also posted guidance on furloughs and other temporary responses to coronavirus to answer common questions about the reduction of hours and layoffs. Their wage and hour implications post discusses pay issues during quarantine and furloughs.
Additionally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has created guidance for preparing workplaces for COVID-19 and the U.S. Department of Labor has compiled Coronavirus Resources. For companies that must stay open and operating during this time, the CDC has helpful information, including cleaning and disinfection recommendations.
For companies and employees that have temporarily moved to a remote-office situation, keeping work moving forward can be an additional challenge. These tips can help you and your staff maintain productivity during an extended quarantine situation.
The material presented here is educational in nature and is not intended to be, nor should be relied upon, as legal or financial advice. Please consult with an attorney or financial professional for advice.