IMA COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update - #30
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association has been communicating directly with manufacturers across Illinois as the situation changes and will continue posting resources online at the IMA’s dedicated page .

In response to a Presidential declaration, the Illinois Department of Transportation has announced that overweight and over dimension loads not exceeding 14 feet in width and 100 feet in length are hereby authorized to be transported on roads under jurisdiction of the State of Illinois with certain restrictions that can be found in IDOT's formal announcement .

During today's press conference, the Governor was asked whether or not he had received any feedback from small businesses on the next minimum wage hike that is set to take place in July. The Governor responded to the question by stating his support for the minimum wage increase and saying that the current conditions actually indicate more than ever before why Illinois needs to raise the minimum wage across the state. The Governor also stated that the next minimum wage increase is very small and is unrelated to getting the economy back on track after the pandemic subsides. The IMA, along with the general business community, strongly opposed to the massive hike in the state's minimum wage that went into effect on January 1, 2020.

Daily COVID-19 Results
Governor JB Pritzker held his daily press conference and announced:
  1. There are 1,344 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois.
  2. There are a total of 528 deaths related to coronavirus in Illinois, including 66 additional deaths announced today.
  3. A total of 16,422 cases have been confirmed in at least 81 of the 102 counties.
  4. There have been 80,857 individuals tested for coronavirus in Illinois.
Press Conference Key Updates

New or critical items of note that were discussed today by the Governor:
  1. Today's press conference marked one month since Governor Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. In that month, the state has been working to build healthcare capacity, obtain essential supplies, bring back retired healthcare workers and ramp up testing.
  2. While the Governor stated that we have to continue to watch the data, he also noted that Illinois' rate-of-rise in new cases is looking less and less exponential and that we could be seeing signs that Illinois may be bending the curve or getting close flattening the curve. While case numbers and the death total continue to grow, they are growing more slowly - largely in part to Illinois citizens staying home and practicing social distancing.

Employer Resources & Programs

The IMA published a guide last week on the topics of Federal and State Grants, Unemployment Insurance, and Leave.

The IMA is continuing to offer weekly conference calls and webinars to update manufacturers and businesses about changing laws, rules, and regulations. To access previous webinars on a variety of COVID-19 related issues, such as, addressing FFCRA in the workplace and discovering how employers can take advantage of the CARES Act, please click here .
Question & Answer Section
On Tuesday of this week, the IMA held a webinar on the topic of addressing FFCRA in the workplace and what employers need to know. The webinar lead to a post-webinar Q & A with important information, such as:

Q. Where is the H2640 IRS guideline to be able to require a doctor’s note?

A. 29 C.F.R 826.100(f) states:

The Employer may also request an Employee to provide such additional material as needed for the Employer to support a request for tax credits pursuant to the FFCRA. The Employer is not required to provide leave if materials sufficient to support the applicable tax credit have not been provided.

That section then provides the link to the IRS FAQs for COVID-19 related tax credits for required paid leave. IRS Q&A 44 states in relevant part that to substantiate eligibility for paid sick leave or family leave tax credits, the employer should obtain a written request for leave from the employee in which the employee provides his name, date(s) for which leave is requested, "a statement of the COVID-109 related reason 78774.1 the employee is requesting leave and written support for such reason," and a statement that the employee is unable to work, including telework, for that reason. The IRS Q&A does not specify what that "written support" is. Until the IRS comes out with further guidance on this, I think an employer can and should ask for reasonable supporting documentation for the reasons for emergency paid sick leave.

Q. If the employee is directed (over the phone) to stay home by a healthcare provider due to COVID-19 symptoms AND has not yet been told to return to work by that healthcare provider, does the employee qualify for paid leave? (Assuming the employer is open and has work available).

A. Assuming the employer has work available for the employee to perform, and the employee is unable to do that work (either at the worksite or at home) due to the symptoms that caused the self-quarantine, because the directive to self-quarantine came from a healthcare provider (even if over the phone), and the reason to self-quarantine is because the employee is experiencing symptoms, the employee likely would be eligible for benefits under reason number 2 of the EPSL, up to a maximum of 80 hours. You should require a note from the employee’s healthcare provider to substantiate the need to self-quarantine, if you want to get the tax credits. 
Mark Denzler
President & CEO
Illinois Manufacturers' Association
Disclaimer : The information in this email is provided for general informational purposes only as a benefit of your membership in the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. No information contained in this email should be construed as legal advice from the IMA or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.