I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the vast amount of information on COVID-19 that is sent to me every day. It’s difficult to stay on top of it, and it seems to change by the hour. The Ethos Team decoded the confusing content, and we are providing some resources broken down by category of employees. We’ve been gratified by the responses you’ve sent us letting us know that the clarity of our information is helpful. We will have another newsletter soon focusing on FFCRA as soon as we see what other guidance the DOL provides before the 4/1 effective date.
People Working in the Office
For some, it’s business as usual…or almost usual. If you have employees working in the office, we recommend:
for physical distancing and using proper hygiene at the office;
in the office to limit the number of people using break rooms and restrooms and other common areas at any time.
Provide your employees with a
Bust the Barricad
* document using our template. This will be useful if they are stopped by authorities when traveling to/from work.
*Name and idea courtesy of our client and friends at Landon C. Haney Co.
People Working from Home
Have employees sign a
. The agreement should remind them to follow all wage and hour laws, timekeeping requirements, and meal and break period requirements. You may also be required to provide a reimbursement of expenses they incur such as use of their cell phone, home Internet, printer, paper, etc.
doesn’t specify the amount required.
If you issue equipment (e.g. laptop) for the employee to take home, use an equipment log to track it.
It’s difficult to keep people engaged, so communicate often. Using programs and apps like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, and Band are great for groups.
Some people have expressed difficulty being productive at home, so we’ve provided some
You also have a
for the FFCRA. You can post it electronically where people can access it or email it to everyone.
People Working Reduced Schedules
There is also a great program through EDD called
that will provide a higher level of benefit to workers with reduced hours.
Depending on how many hours the employee is working, consider how it may impact healthcare benefits, PTO accruals, holidays, meals and breaks, and other benefits.
If in CA and the employee will not work more than 6 hours in a day, the employee and company can mutually agree to waive the meal period using a
meal period waiver
Let them know how the furlough will affect their health coverage, PTO accruals, and other benefits. Allow them to utilize any accrued vacation or sick pay that is available.
Communicate with them as often as possible using Slack, Band, email, or other methods so they know what to expect in the days/weeks ahead.
People Laid Off
Reducing your workforce is always a tough decision.
A layoff or reduction in force is treated like any other separation: provide employees with the Notice to Employee as to Change in Relationship form; the
so they know how to apply for UI benefits; COBRA information; and their final paycheck, including any unused vacation hours.
Depending on how many employees you have and are laying off, decide whether you’ll need to provide
As difficult as these times are, there are people and resources available to help you and your employees navigate.
Be sure to call your banker if you need to renegotiate terms of an existing loan or seek deferral on repayments. Ask about
SBA disaster relief loans
Insurance Brokers: Contact both your commercial and group health benefit brokers to see how your situation affects coverage. Does the pandemic trigger any sort of coverage in your policy that may provide relief? What are your requirements and opportunities on group health benefits?
Payroll Provider: Contact your payroll provider to set up pay codes for the emergency PSL and FMLA benefits that go into effect 4/1.
Commercial Real Estate Brokers: Ask about rent abatement or other assistance if you need it.
Ethos Human Capital Solutions: We are here to help! If you need any introduction to any resource like the types of professionals listed above, ask us! We are very well connected, especially in Southern California.
Review the EEOC (ADA) and
regarding permissible questions when someone is sick.
Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger has a great
COVID-19 resource center
for employers on their website in a Q&A format.
We hope you are finding the needed answers to your questions. If we can offer any advice, please