Dealership employees who see a reduction or elimination of work hours have a few options to help them get through this difficult time.
FFCRA or FMLA Leave
This is available only to certain employees who meet established qualifications and does not necessarily mean the employee will receive their usual compensation. Employees who must use the leave under guidance of a medical professional (for example, if they have a positive COVID-19 test) are eligible to receive full pay up to a certain dollar amount. Employees who are using the leave to care for children who are out of school or a sick family member receive a portion of their pay with a lower cap.
The federal government has enhanced unemployment compensation and the state of Iowa has relaxed the rules. Payments are expedited, hearings are waived, and the chargeback against the employer has been eliminated. The requirement that the applicant be available for and actively seeking work has also been waived. For the duration of the governor's emergency order, all that is needed is a qualifying event related to COVID-19.
Generally, employees who are on vacation, PTO, or sick leave (including under the provisions of FFCRA) are entitled to continue employment benefits, including health insurance. Generally, employees who are receiving unemployment compensation are not entitled to continue employment benefits, such as health insurance. Most health insurance group plans require that enrollees be regularly working an average of at least 30 hours per week. This is an especially important concern if the furlough/layoff extends for a period that includes an entire calendar month, which would trigger COBRA notice requirements and continuation coverage eligibility for affected employees.
How dealerships handle employees who are essential and do not qualify for FFCRA or FMLA leave but also do not want to come to work during the pandemic is a business decision.