Human Resources Assistance
Returning to the Workplace after the Great Coronavirus Shutdown
As we embark on this journey of re-opening business and calling our employees back to work, we realize that we're going to have to do some things differently, certainly for the short haul, perhaps for the long run.
It has been six weeks since business owners nationwide faced major employment decisions due to COVID-19. Now, it appears that we are on the downfield side of the virus and most states, but not all, are beginning to open up for business, on some kind of a graduated basis.
Click here for some thoughts provided by Seay Management Consultants about bringing employees back to work after the Great Coronavirus Shutdown.
2019 EEO-1 Reporting Will Be Postponed
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announces that due to the pandemic, employers will not be required to submit EEO-1 reports until March 2021.
The EEOC will notify filers of the precise date the surveys will open as soon as it is available.
Click here to view the EEOC website.
Avoiding The Workplace:
I Am Afraid of the Virus and I Am Not Coming to Work
On top of everything else we worry about in the workplace - job performance, meeting deadlines, making sales, etc. - we now have the Coronavirus.
It has been a month since business owners nationwide faced major employment decisions due to COVID-19. As government officials announce the reopening of cities and states around the country, employers may be faced with some resistance as they recall workers.
Click here for further information provided by Seay Management Consultants on these unusual situations.
Unemployment Compensation: Choosing To Work or Not To Work
If an employee refuses to work on the basis that he or she can receive more money from unemployment than from working, that disqualifies a person from receiving benefits and the employer should so inform the unemployment office. The principle is that if work is available, the employee must perform the work or else he or she should not receive unemployment benefits.
The same situation is true for a person who refuses to work owing to fear of contracting the virus at work. DOL has stated that fear of the virus is not a good reason to refuse to work so, in both of these cases, I think the employer has to come down pretty hard on the employee.
Unemployment is administered, for the most part, at the state level and while every state may differ from others in some degree, the principles remain the same.
An employee who voluntarily quits with no good cause attributable to the employer is not eligible for benefits.
- An employee who is dismissed for misconduct (rules violation, policy violation, etc.) is not eligible for benefits. This is one reason an employee handbook is so important.
- An employee who refuses to work when work is available is not eligible for benefits.
- Employees who are dismissed for performance reasons are, generally, eligible for benefits.
- Employees who are laid off or furloughed are eligible for benefits.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued the first round of regulations and guidance implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).Click here for further information provided by Seay Management Consultants on these regulations.
See the attached summary of the benefits and employer responsibilities provided by Scott Kamins of Offit Kurman.
The act requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide two weeks' worth of paid sick leave if employees are unable to work because they're subject to quarantine or isolation, are experiencing symptoms of COVID–19, are caring for someone who is in quarantine or isolation and/or have children in schools that have closed.
Employers themselves will receive tax credits to offset the costs of providing this paid leave.
Under the legislation, an employer cannot require employees to find a replacement worker for themselves or require them to use other paid time off.
The legislation also gives up to three months of paid family and medical leave, equivalent to no less than two-thirds of the person's pay.
FFCRA Exemption for Small Employers
Employers have spent the past few weeks seeking clarification in many areas specific to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the paid sick leave and expanded FMLA it provides.
If you have a small business (under under 50 employees), you may have questions, specifically surrounding whether or not you too are covered under FFCRA.
Click here for further information provided by Seay Management Consultants on these regulations.
Seay Management Consultants takes a look at the latest DOL legislation implemented to mitigate this unemployment crisis, the CARES Act, and how it will work together with the state regulations going forward.
Click here for further information provided by Seay Management Consultants on this legislation and these regulations.
Unemployement Insurance Claims
Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia issued the following statement regarding Unemployment Insurance claims:
"This large increase in unemployment claims was not unexpected, and results from the recognition by Americans across the country that we have had to temporarily halt certain activities in order to defeat the coronavirus.
The hard impact of this on American workers was anticipated in the bill passed by the Senate last night, which provides hundreds of billions of dollars in unprecedented funding for traditional unemployment insurance and pandemic unemployment assistance, and one-time cash payments of $1,200 or more to Americans making $75,000 or less ($150,000 for those who are married).
Perhaps more important, the Senate bill also provides incentives and funding for businesses to keep their workers on payroll, so that, as soon as possible, we can spring back to the strong economic conditions we enjoyed just weeks ago."
How to Properly Pay Employees in the Event of a Pandemic
The anticipated spread of coronavirus in the U.S. has many employers revisiting their emergency response plans. Depending on guidance from public health officials, some employees may be directed to work from home, temporarily furloughed, or work a reduced schedule. Some managers and executives may be pressed into service to perform more manual or routine tasks.
While specific guidance for employers on how to navigate the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is challenging with the evolving situation, we are able to remind employers that there is still a lot of autonomy to create new policies and procedures (i.e. allowing/requiring employees to stay home).
Consider all aspects of employees work and make sure they understand what is expected of them. Click here for information provided by Seay Management Consultants on a proactive approach to understanding the Wage and Hour Regulations during this pandemic.
Reductions in Pay Fact Sheet
Do you have questions about reductions in employee pay? Click here to view the U.S. Dept of Labor Fact Sheet #70 on the frequently asked questions regarding furloughs and other reductions in pay and work hour issues.
Reductions in Workforce Due to COVID-19
Click here for further information provided by Seay Management Consultants on making those difficult personnel decisions.
U.S. Dept of Labor - WARN Act
If you are considering a reduction in force, certain employers have requirements and responsibilities under the WARN (The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act.
Click here to view the U.S. Dept of Labor compliance assistance materials to help workers and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under the provisions of WARN.