Much has changed in the past three weeks relating to how employers and employees are getting through the COVID-19 crisis. Some companies have partially or fully shut down. Others have ramped up their work and hiring more employees.
I see two principles common among all employers. First – change never stops – never has and never will. However, right now, change seems to be accelerating. Second – every situation is different. Whether it’s an employer wondering if they need to send an employee home who coughed at their desk, or an employee trying to figure out if they qualify for the new emergency paid sick leave.
Employment laws and regulations are in a constant state of change. Some might say this is nothing new. Except it is! With the recent changes, employers are now mandated to provide paid sick leave and the new expanded family and medical leave. At the same time, employers feel more and more like health care providers when employees are asking them if they should go see a doctor or stay home. We are also counselors, helping homebound employees learn how to interact with each other and not lose it because of their lack of human contact. We are also learning how to work remotely, or deciding who is essential and who must be furloughed.
In all of this, business owners and HR professionals still must get everyone paid, distribute new posters, create new pay codes, deal with tax credits, and on, and on, and on.
Today’s blog is short and sweet. I have updated my original summary of the Families First Coronavirus Act to give employers an easy to read summary of their basic responsibilities. [Click Here]. It has been updated to include new guidance issued last week from the Department of Labor and the IRS. I have also created a COVID-19 resource page on my website that includes the new posters, links to resources with specific information about employer responsibilities, and a series of documents you may need to reference during the rest of 2020. Additionally – I am listing a series of things every employer needs to have considered relating to the new realities.
As I said before – every situation is different, and employers need to be sure they are complying with the new laws and regulations while still maintaining great relationships with their employees. We are here for you. Let us know how we can help! Good luck and stay healthy!
IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS FOR EMPLOYERS
Understand how the FFCRA will impact your business
If under 500 employees, post the FFCRA notice, or email it to all your employees
Create a policy for dealing with employees coming to the office to maintain social distancing and for instances when they may have symptoms of COVID-19
Review the OSHA guide for employers to determine what additional steps you need to take to safeguard your employees
Contact your payroll provider and create pay codes for emergency paid sick leave (for employees and for caring for others), and for expanded family and medical leave
Create a leave form that includes all the DOL and IRS required information for those taking the new leave and understand what documentation you need to request
Create a policy to maintain leave approval and denial documentation for four years
Understand how Form I-9 documentation and completion may be different for remote workers during stay-at-home orders
Develop a plan now for the return to work for your employees so when it happens you are prepared
Don’t forget about employee morale and performance management during the crisis