Tag Archives: COVID-19


 

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, every day brings new information, concerns, and challenges regarding the spread of the virus, its economic and social impacts, and government directives. Leap Solutions remains dedicated to keeping you informed and empowered by delivering relevant, up-to-the-minute information and resources.

Our organizational development specialists are here to help support you with your online strategic planning, team development, executive coaching, training, program evaluation, and community engagement. Essentially, we can convert anything that you need in support of your business to a virtual experience. You still want to accomplish your plans, goals, and outcomes. We are here—virtually to help you achieve them.

 

The coming of a new year means the coming of new California employment and labor laws. As always, Leap Solutions is here to help you face them proactively and confidently. Our HR professionals have the knowledge, expertise, and resources to inform and guide you through ever-changing legislation and empower your company to thrive in 2021 and beyond.

Our Newsletter will cover:

  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
  • AB 685 Workplace Safety (Effective January 01, 2021)
  • Written COVID-19 Prevention Program (November 20, 2020)
  • SB 1383 Expands California Family Rights Act (CFRA) (Effective January 01, 2021)
  • Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training (Effective January 01, 2021)
  • Minimum Wage and Salary Requirements for Exempt Employees (Effective January 01, 2021)
  • Paid Family Leave (Effective January 01, 2021)
  • Agriculture under Wage Order 14 (Effective January 01, 2021)
  • Additional Handbook Policies to Review

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) expired December 31, 2020. The FFCRA applied to employers with 500 or fewer employees and provided workers emergency paid sick leave because of the COVID-19 pandemic.   The Department of Labor recently confirmed that employers are not required to provide employees with FFCRA leave after December 31, 2020, but may voluntarily decide to provide employees such leave.  Congress also extended employer tax credits for paid sick leave and the expanded family and medical leave for voluntary use through March 31, 2021.  It is important that employers have a way to document the sick and leave under FFCRA to receive the payroll credits.

 

AB 685 Workplace Safety
(Effective January 01, 2021)

AB 685 expands employee COVID-19 protections by requiring employers to provide notice of a “potential exposure” to COVID-19 within one business day.  The notice should go to all employees and employers of subcontracted employees (and employee-representatives) who were at a worksite within the infectious period who may have been exposed to the virus. The notice must be written in a manner typically used to communicate to all employees, employers of subcontracted employees, and employee representatives (e.g., unions), in the form of a letter, email, or text message, but only if employees anticipate receiving communication from the employer in this manner. The notification must be in writing and a phone call will not satisfy this requirement. Also, written communication should be in English and the language understood by the majority of the employees.

The notice must contain:

  • Information regarding COVID-19 related benefits that employees may receive, including paid sick leave, workers’ compensation, and anti-retaliation protections
  • Company’s disinfection protocols and safety plan to eliminate any further exposures

Companies are also required to notify California’s Department of Public Health if there are sufficient COVID-19 positive cases that meet the definition of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Written COVID-19 Prevention Program
(November 20, 2020)

The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA) adopted comprehensive and complex COVID-19 emergency regulations directing employers to address a variety of issues related to COVID-19 in the workplace including establishing and implementing a written COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) detailing the systems and protocols in place for mitigating and responding to COVID-19 infections in the workplace. This program can be integrated into the employer’s existing Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) or can be a stand-alone document. There are 11 sections the program must address.  If your workplace regularly receives customers, clients, patients or visitors, make sure your COVID-19 plan covers workplace violence in in the response plan.  Contact Leap Solutions if you need help writing your plan.

 

SB 1383 Expands California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
(Effective January 1, 2021)

SB 1383 reduces the number of employees required for the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) to apply to employers with five (5) or more employees; a significant reduction from the old standard, which was fifty (50) or more employees.  The updated CFRA offers employees 12-weeks of unpaid job protected leave and repeals The New Parent Leave Act (“NPLA”).  CFRA also expands the definition of “family member” to include a child (of any age) of a domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or domestic partner.  It is important to modify existing policies and procedures to provide for CFRA leaves of absence. CFRA can be complex with specific employee notice requirements that must be properly implemented. For a company with 50 or more employees who has already been covered under CFRA (and FMLA), revisions should be made to existing FMLA/CFRA leave policies to incorporate these revisions to CFRA.

 

Mandatory Sexual Harassment Training
(Effective January 1, 2021)

Employers with five or more employees are required to have provided two hours of sexual harassment training to supervisors and one hour to non-supervisorial employees within six months of hire or promotion, and employers must continue this training every two years thereafter.  Temporary and seasonal employees will be required to be trained within 30 days of hire or 100 hours worked, whichever is earlier.

 

Minimum Wage and Salary Requirements for Exempt Employees
(Effective January 1, 2021)

The minimum monthly salary requirement for exempt executive, administrative, and professional employees is no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment. It is based on the current state minimum wage, not any applicable local minimum wage. Accordingly, January 1, 2021 minimum salary threshold for these exemptions is as follows:

  • For employers with 25 or fewer employees, the state minimum is $13 per hour. Accordingly, the minimum monthly salary test for these exemptions is $4,506.67 per month ($54,080 per year).
  • For employers with 26 or more employees, the state minimum wage is $14 per hour. Accordingly, the minimum monthly salary test for these exemptions is $4,853.33 per month ($58,240 per year).

 

Paid Family Leave
(Effective January 1, 2021)

California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) offers employees wage replacement through EDD program is expanded to include payments for time off for “qualifying exigencies” related to a family member’s military service. Benefits will be available if employees take time off for activities related to the covered active-duty status of their spouse, registered domestic partner, child, or parent who is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces. Called “qualifying exigencies,” these activities might include such things as official military ceremonies; briefings; changes to child care or financial or legal arrangements as a result of military service; counseling; or spending time with the covered servicemember during rest and recuperation leave.

Beginning July 1, 2020, PFL benefits were extended to a maximum of eight weeks in a 12-month period.

Agriculture under Wage Order 14
(Effective January 1, 2021)

Agricultural employers under Wage Order 14 with 26 or more employees are subject to a series of phased-in overtime changes. Agricultural employers with 25 or fewer employees remain covered by the old rules but will begin phased-in overtime changes in 2022. Agricultural employers with 26 or more employees will now pay time and one-half for hours worked more than 8.5 per day or 45 per week.  On the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek, agricultural employees are entitled to time and a half for the first eight hours and double-time after eight hours. It is important employers designate their workweek. If a workweek is not designated, the law presumes a workweek of 12:01 a.m. Sunday to midnight Saturday.  In addition, the day of rest requirement does not apply when hours worked do not exceed 30 in any workweek or six in any workday.  The exception for employees working shifts of six hours or less only applies to those who never exceed six hours of work on any day of the workweek.

 

Additional Handbook Policies to Review

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many employer practices may have changed, which might warrant employee handbook updates.  Ensure your written documents match your practices.

Victims of Crime or Abuse

  • Expands the prohibition on discrimination and retaliation against employees who are victims of crime or abuse when they take time off for judicial proceedings or to seek medical attention or related relief for domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or other crime that causes physical or mental injury.

Paid Leave

  • Review how paid leave policies may have changed due to COVID-19.
  • Review time-off request procedures to indicate when time off can be required by the employer should sick employees need to be sent home (paid or unpaid).
  • Review Kin Care to clarify that employees have the right to designate sick leave as kin care  or not.

Attendance/Scheduling

  • Update to reflect relaxed attendance policies to encourage sick employees to stay home.
  • Update attendance or scheduling policies to be more flexible for parents with child care challenges, or employees with other caregiver issues related to COVID-19.

Safety

  • Physical distancing practices detailed to support a safe workplace.
  • Employee health screening policies including temperature taking and the confidential handling processes of resulting records.
  • Added policy and procedures for employees to report and how the employer will handle a positive COVID-19 case at the worksite.
  • Procedures implemented for employee quarantine requirements due to symptoms or positive test results, including return-to-work procedures (two negative tests, 10 days after symptoms are gone, doctor’s note, etc.).
  • Contact tracing practices implemented to help contain the spread of infection.
  • Visitor policies updated with health screening practices.

Travel

  • Travel policies updated to reflect essential versus nonessential travel and the impact of domestic or global travel restrictions.
  • Quarantine policies added to address both business and personal travel, including pay arrangements when telecommuting is not possible.

Telecommuting

  • Telecommuting policies updated to reflect the type of work or specific positions that are able to be done remotely and the procedures for requesting telework.
  • Added or updated policies on which telecommuting-related costs the employer will or will not cover.

Technology

  • Information technology policies revised to reflect remote work hardware, software, and support.

 

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Leap Solutions is a diverse group of highly skilled management, organizational development, and human resources, and executive search and recruitment professionals who have spent decades doing what we feel passionate about helping you feel passionate about what you do. Our HR specialists can help you get a handle on the ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines, programs, and legislation that may impact you and your employees. We are available to work with you to develop practical solutions and smart planning decisions for your organization’s immediate, near, and long-term needs.

To print this article, click here



 

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, every day brings new information, concerns, and challenges regarding the spread of the virus, its economic and social impacts, and government directives. Leap Solutions remains dedicated to keeping you informed and empowered by delivering relevant, up-to-the-minute information and resources.

Our organizational development specialists are here to help support you with your online strategic planning, team development, executive coaching, training, program evaluation, and community engagement. Essentially, anything that you need in support of your business can be converted to a virtual experience. You still want to accomplish your plans, goals, and outcomes. We are here to help you achieve it–virtually.

 

In this issue of our newsletter we will cover:

  • How we are gathering in a virtual world
  • The learning curve of the virtual world
  • Core learning about the virtual convening world
  • Top 10 Learnings from convening in the virtual world
  • Share your learnings with us – Quick survey link

 Welcome to COVID-19 and sheltering in place. In the blink of an eye, we moved from the physical world to the virtual world. What at one time might have taken decades to impact how we as humans connect, communicate, innovate, and plan, we transformed overnight. Without much thought, training, or tool development, we went online and virtual for just about everything we do. We made a significant pivot as a world.

How we are gathering in a virtual world

In the COVID life, the range of our virtual human experiences has included online marriages, memorial services, community gatherings, graduations, family celebrations, and friends cooking or enjoying Happy Hours. On the business side, with a vast majority of that world working from home, much has changed. What traditionally convened in person has moved to virtual engagement.  Prominent examples include conventions, conferences, planning sessions, team building, internships, training, and recruiting. During a recent client team strengthening engagement, Leap Solutions worked remotely with a director and the vice president to complete a 360 Leadership Competency review and action plan to support the director’s team and professional leadership development.

While the physical manifestations of humans in the same room together have changed, you will hear from participants that the outcomes are better. People are still achieving their personal and professional goals and inspiring others to greatness.   Instead of seeing the coronavirus pandemic as limiting, people have adapted their tools with technology to identify priorities, set direction, and re-evaluate perspectives.   A Leap Solutions client was struggling with how to adjust their short and long-term plans in light of the COVID pandemic. They convened their board and community thought leaders to understand the current climate and project the longer-term view. Over a series of two-hour virtual meetings, they discussed, evaluated, and shifted the short and long-term plans. What would most likely have taken up to six months of in-person meetings, they accomplished in three, two-hour virtual convenings.

 

The learning curve

The learning curve of the virtual world for many has evolved around muting/unmuting, ensuring the camera is on, finding the perfect camera angle (although, we’ve all seen plenty of participants from the nose and forehead up), asking, “Can you hear me?” or exclaiming, “I can’t get this darn camera to work.” Rather simple learnings really. As a couple of financial planners shared recently, their non-tech-focused clients have readily adapted to conducting their annual financial review virtually. Clients have commented on how much they enjoy virtual meetings and find the meetings to be more productive and shorter than in-person meetings. Productive, efficient, timely, and effective… amazing results.  It appears everyone has accepted the technology and adapted quickly.

 

Core learnings in the virtual world

Considering the rapid adoption and compliance rate, what are we learning so far about the virtual convening world?

  • People adapt quickly when the desire outweighs the potential complexity of technology.
  • Human interaction, while best done in person, can be very satisfying virtually.
  • Individual, government, and business systems can quickly establish a productive rhythm and accomplish much.
  • Technology is a tool, not a barrier.
  • Our virtual experience is significantly changing our perspective on how we engage, connect, and conduct our business.
  • The virtual experience lends itself to more fully understanding people since we view them in their environments, their homes.

Leap Solutions’ experience with virtual engagement has involved supporting clients with strategic planning, board, and team-building retreats, executive coaching, executive searches and recruitments, human resource function reviews, training, program evaluation, government advisory councils, and professional development. Essentially, everything Leap Solutions Group once provided at client sites, in board rooms, and community gatherings have moved to the virtual experience. We realized quickly that our clients still wanted to achieve their goals and remain on target during COVID-19 restrictions. One community-based group had launched its strategic planning process in January 2020. When COVID shut down in-person meetings, the planning process was impacted, and we switched quickly to virtual meetings. Collaborating online, we worked together in one-hour increments, had a few sub-group virtual gatherings, and met the planning timeline. The plan was delivered to the board in June.  Throughout this process, Leap Solutions has kept a few steps ahead of our clients to support their needs–and they have adapted.

Top 10 learnings in the virtual world

What are our Top 10 learnings from this experience?

(1) Tools to convene: while there are many online tools available to convene, most function similarly. We recommend a one-on-one practice connection before the online engagement, to support anyone needing a technology consult. One client recommended to committee members that they connect a few days ahead of the first virtual convening to “practice” their sign-on and system needs. Once used, the technology is just like riding a bike – hop on and get going

(2) Agreements to structure and approaches: to best support the online engagement, we developed online protocols, “Zoomstructions,” to agree on such things as muted unless speaking, check camera angles, virtual hand raising to speak, allowing video, using features like whiteboards or breakout rooms.

(3) Experiment, evaluate, experiment, adjust: try something, evaluate, adjust, try it again, evaluate, and adjust. It sounds simple–and it works. We asked participants to share their experience, we listened and we made changes. One core learning in the early online experience was to add a convening break about halfway through for any session that lasted two hours or more. If you need a four-hour gathering, a lunch break is a great way to split the meeting.

(4) Creative engagement techniques are still valuable tools: ice-breakers and team-building activities encourage all virtual participants to be a part of the convening. They are fun, connect the group, and bring all voices into the online system. One team used a tool known as the Design Team Alliance to talk through how they wanted to be in relationship while convening virtually. They identified such concepts as respectful listening, questioning the topic and not the person, building trust with online tools, learning the capabilities of online convening apps (Zoom, Microsoft Teams) and teaching others, and being fully present during the meeting (no multi-tasking). Think of creative ways that are appropriate for the convening group to engage such as small breakout groups, a short trivia game, how to change your screen name to identify your alter ego, or group polling on a staging, meeting launch question. Be brave, be creative.

(5) Participation is HIGH: Wow, this was a core learning. With so many people with time on their hands, it was much easier to agree upon a meeting date and time.

(6) Outcomes are amazing and Productivity is UP: the core learning is getting more done in less time with better results. In asking participants as well as other online conveners, we learned people feel more productive, engaged, participatory. And after the virtual meetings, they feel a great sense of accomplishment. One client used smaller, more intimate breakout groups that met virtually to work through the priorities of the strategic plan and outline goals and tactics. They accomplished their work in two, 1-hour virtual meetings.

(7) Time saved by Remaining in Place: Not traveling to meetings has been identified by many of our clients and meeting participants as a true gift from virtual convenings; it can turn a two-hour meeting commitment to one hour. We’ve heard from many business leaders that travel in the post-COVID world will be changed and much will continue to be accomplished via virtual meetings. One colleague who pre-COVID spent a portion of each week traveling nationwide indicates their travel frequency will be about 25% of what it used to be. Imagine their productivity and work-life balance impacts.

(8) Engagement is strong: Online participants show up ready to share their ideas, add to the conversation, speak up, and collaborate with others. We have participated in several international professional development opportunities in the last few months, engaging with people from Dubai, Singapore, Turkey, Italy, Mexico, and many other locations. It is easy to join and share perspectives no matter where you live–as long as you don’t mind the odd time-zone hours.

(9) Clients are innovating and inspiring new approaches and solutions: give a problem to clients and the solutions are quickly evident. We found initially that some clients wanted to put off their work, hoping we’d be able to convene in person sooner rather than later. However, shelter-in-place fatigue moved people from the couch to their home office quickly, and the online convening solutions were suggested, tested, and activated. The only boundary was dreaming up a solution that would enable a wide-swath of participation, engagement, and desired outcomes. For instance, we found brainstorming moved quickly with participants exploring or hovering around ideas, instead of vying over competing ideas. The brainstorming is focused, without side chats (it is harder to speak to your seatmate when you are located miles apart). Multi-tasking, which can be enabled during conference calls, is difficult to do when everyone can see you on screen. After all, all eyes are virtually on you.

(10) Feedback for conveners and facilitators is important for improving the process and outcomes: the feedback loop improves the outcome every time. For instance, implementing the session break made a lot of sense and felt like a “duh” when suggested. It supported a better level of engagement and outcomes. We also have heard that the virtual meeting room is safe, open, equitable, and less focused on roles or positions. Participants feel important and actively engaged. Another key learning, there is no front of the room, head table, or another power positioning in the virtual room.

 

Share your learnings with us via a quick SurveyMonkey

We’d love to hear from our readers about what they have learned from the virtual-world- convening they have conducted or participated in. We’ve set up a SurveyMonkey link for you to provide your input. Click here to participate in the short survey.

One of our favorite authors Max De Pree (“Leadership is an Art”) said, “We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.” In the virtual convening world, we are becoming a better version of ourselves by adapting quickly to stay engaged, alive, and reaching our goals.

 

 

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Leap Solutions is a diverse group of highly skilled management, organizational development, and human resources, and executive search and recruitment professionals who have spent decades doing what we feel passionate about helping you feel passionate about what you do. Our HR specialists can help you get a handle on the ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines, programs, and legislation that may impact you and your employees. We are available to work with you to develop practical solutions and smart planning decisions for your organization’s immediate, near, and long-term needs.

 

To print this article, click here

 



During the current COVID-19 pandemic, every day brings new information, concerns, and challenges regarding the spread of the virus, its economic and social impacts, and government directives. Leap Solutions remains dedicated to keeping you informed and empowered by delivering relevant, up-to-the-minute information and resources.

Our HR specialists are here to help you get a handle on the complexities of ever-changing guidelines, programs and legislation that may directly impact you and your employees as well as work with you to come up with practical solutions and smart planning decisions for your organization’s immediate, near and long-term needs.

In this issue of our newsletter we will cover:

  • Preparing to reopen? Here’s what you should do ahead of time, including training for employees
  • Communicating with your employees, clients, and customers
  • What to do if someone doesn’t want to return to the workplace
  • Facilitating social distancing
  • Reconfiguring work schedules
  • Guidelines for clients and customers
  • Promoting worker hygiene
  • Developing a plan to quickly respond to a COVID-19 diagnosis, symptom report, or exposure
  • Being prepared for future impacts of COVID-19 to your business

 After weeks of being closed or partially open, with many of their employees furloughed, laid off, or working from home, businesses everywhere are getting ready to get back to work. Following are Leap Solution’s recommendations to help make the transition go as smoothly as possible. If you need assistance implementing these recommendations, we are here to help.

Preparing to reopen? Here’s what you should do ahead of time, including training for employees 

  • Train and inform everyone on your staff about the actions they will need to take once they are back onsite to help ensure their safety and the safety of everyone around them, including your clients and customers.
  • Document these actions in writing as your COVID-19 Prevention Plan. Have employees sign the plan, designating that they understand it, and will abide by it.
  • Ensure social distancing can be accomplished when you are open. See the sections on Facilitate social distancing and Reconfigure work schedules
  • Identify a point person on your staff to keep track of, understand, and communicate changes in health and safety guidelines from OSHA, CDC, state and local government agencies, and others.
  • Determine the type(s) of health screening and/or testing you will implement.
  • Decide what health and safety items you will require, such as facemasks, and under what circumstances. Be sure to check your local county website for specific COVID-19 requirements.
  • Determine what job positions need to be done onsite, and which ones can be accomplished at home. Update your telecommuting policy with explanations and justifiable reasons why certain jobs require employees to work onsite. If you don’t have a telecommuting policy, this is a good time to create one. For the job positions that must be onsite, communicate the business reason with your entire workforce.
  • Review your sick leave and time off policy. Consider some flexibility to allow employees to stay home, if they show any signs of illness.
  • Make hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies available throughout the workplace to promote safe hygiene.
  • Intensify workplace cleaning and disinfection – have a plan for cleaning common areas and frequently touched surfaces at least once per day.

Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!

  • Let employees know the plan for re-opening – what the company is doing to prepare for it, and what will be expected of them.
  • Detail what new workplace safety and disinfection protocols have been implemented.
  • If any policies, benefits, job duties, etc. have been created or changed since sheltering in place, be sure to let employees know in writing.
  • Keep an eye out for any unequal treatment of employees in granting flexible work schedules or telework arrangements. Advise managers and others that such benefits should not be granted on the basis of a protected status, including gender.
  • Explain how staying home if sick and physical distancing will be used to protect employees, clients, and customers.
  • In case COVID-19 exposure should occur after reopening, have a communication plan ready to go.
  • Listen to and be prepared to address employee concerns and questions before and after reopening. Have regular video or phone check-ins with employees to ensure they are engaged, feel supported, and are able to meet your expectations, whether they are working from home or in the office.
  • Be alert for pandemic-related harassment and train managers to recognize it and address it. Consider issuing a statement reminding your workforce that any type of harassment is not tolerated in the workplace.

What can you do if someone doesn’t want to return to the workplace?

Some employees will be eager to get back to the workplace, while others may have health and safety concerns. If an employee has apprehensions about returning to work or refuses to return to the workplace altogether, inquire about their reasoning. Listen to their concerns and respond with understanding and flexibility.

Following are some possible responses and actions that you can take:

  • “I’m afraid.” – Assure them with the steps the business is taking to keep the workplace clean and safe for everyone. Ask how you can support their return to work.
  • “I am earning more on unemployment.” – Their refusal to return to the workplace based on their unemployment check is considered a resignation on their part. Be sure to document your conversation. Request that their decision not to return to work and their reasons why be made in writing and place it in their personnel file. You must also notify the California Employment Development Department that your employee refused available work.
  • “I am at high risk, or I live with someone who is high risk.” – Review the Americans with Disabilities Act to see if they may need an accommodation. Determine if they qualify for emergency paid sick leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, or unpaid, job-protected leave under the Extended Family Medical Leave Act. Employers are not required to provide accommodations to employees relative to their family member’s at-risk status under the ADA; however, it is recommended that employers issue guidelines about whom to contact in the organization to request accommodations or other flexibilities in working arrangements.
  • “I don’t have anyone to watch my children.” – Determine if they qualify for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or the Extended Family Medical Leave Act. Request the appropriate documentation from them that you will need.

 

Facilitate social distancing

  • Revise workspace layouts and seating arrangements to allow for social distancing of at least six feet.
  • Redesign conference rooms, lunch rooms, and other common areas to provide more distance between individuals. Limit the number of people allowed in a common area at any one time.
  • Limit in-person meetings. Instead, encourage employees to use the phone, online meetings, or e-mail to conduct business, even if they are in the same building.
  • If available, create or designate an outdoor area with well-spaced tables for lunch and other breaks.
  • Use physical barriers, if needed, such as plexiglass between employees and customers.
  • Revise work paths to facilitate social distancing, such as one-way aisles and floor markers in retail establishments and manufacturing facilities.
  • Redesign production lines to increase space between employees.

Reconfigure work schedules

  • Reconfigure work schedules and/or job shifts to limit the number of employees physically present in a specific office, facility, plant, or other work location at any one time.
  • Implement work from home arrangements for job positions where it is feasible, either full-time or part-time.
  • Stagger meal periods and rest breaks, consistent with applicable law. Consider requiring or asking that employees eat at their work area, rather than common areas.

Guidelines for clients and customers

  • Your company website and social media sites are great ways to provide updates to customers and clients about the steps you are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Provide clear, visible guidelines for how customers should interact with your employees and one another. Train your employees to reinforce those guidelines. For example, you may limit the number of customers in your business to 10 at any one time, with customers asked to wear facemasks and stay at least six-feet distance from one another.
  • Use video conferencing with clients, customers, and vendors, if feasible, rather than in-person contact.
  • Lock doors or have other security measures in place, so that vendors and others on company property will not be able to enter your facilities without authorization.
  • Anyone working at your business should have a clear understanding whenever operations change, so they can act accordingly and share appropriate information with clients and customers.

Promote worker hygiene

  • Display posters in common areas with reminders of how to properly wash hands and other ways to prevent the spread of viruses, such as “cover your cough” and “avoid touching your face.”
  • Have protective supplies readily available for employees, such as non-medical cloth masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, disinfectants, and possibly face guards or shields, depending on the type of business you have.
  • Ask employees to avoid using each other’s phones, desks, offices, work tools, and equipment.
  • Prohibit on-site food preparation and food sharing.

Develop a plan to quickly respond to a COVID-19 diagnosis, symptom report, or exposure

  • Identify a point person or task force to oversee your response to a COVID-19 incident.
  • Make sure employees know whom to notify and how, should they receive a COVID-19 diagnosis, have symptoms, or if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Develop a protocol in the event of a report of a confirmed or possible employee with COVID-19, such as sending the employee home. Note: CDC guidance currently permits essential workers with potential exposure to remain in the workplace, if certain steps are taken.
  • Develop a protocol for a temporary shutdown and deep cleaning of the workplace, if necessary. Know ahead of time who will do the cleaning and what additional measures you will take when reopening. The need for your business to shut down may come with little or no advance notice.

Be prepared for future impacts of COVID-19 to your business

  • Be prepared in the event that a large number of employees need to take sick time or other leaves of absence at the same time.
  • Be prepared for another business shutdown or partial shutdown, due to government orders or a second wave.
  • Be prepared for the possibility of future employee layoffs, temporary furloughs, wage and hours reductions, or other measures.

 

Leap Solutions is a diverse group of highly skilled management, organizational development, and human resources professionals who have spent decades doing what we feel passionate about: helping you feel passionate about what you do. Our HR specialists can help you get a handle on the ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines, programs, and legislation that may impact you and your employees. We are available to work with you to develop practical solutions and smart planning decisions for your organization’s immediate, near, and long-term needs.

 

 

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The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing shelter-in-place orders have thrown countless individuals into unplanned work-from-home situations. Like many of our clients, you are probably feeling challenged and overwhelmed as you attempt to navigate a new norm for your families and your work.

 

A Full House

In the past, you may have fantasized about working from home, imagining yourself rolling out of bed to a freshly brewed pot of coffee, padding down the hall to a comfy home office and enjoying a peaceful, blissfully productive workday.

Then came the reality of pandemic-induced working from home: 24/7 togetherness with your partner, tireless young kids and/or cranky teens and pets; homeschooling demands; lagging wi-fi; constant disruptions and temptations; and a seemingly endless cycle of alarming news.

It’s time for a plan! Leap Solutions has put together some strategies for tackling this big shift in the way you live and work.

 

At-Home Negotiations

Start with setting up your home office and establishing household agreements.

  • Workspace: Anyone working from home—including children doing schoolwork from home for the foreseeable future—needs a workspace that is practical and comfortable. Be it an unclaimed bedroom or just a thoughtfully planned corner of a family or living room, the area must be conducive to your working style (away from the television if you’re easily distracted, near the family’s common areas for easy supervision of kids, with a garden view if you prefer quiet inspiration…). Your space should have enough desk or table surface to hold your computer/laptop/Chromebook and papers/books; access to power, chargers and wi-fi; decent lighting; and an appropriate, uncluttered, neat background for video conferencing (perhaps somewhere you can sequester yourself from nosy, noisy pets!).
  • Technology: If you haven’t already, set yourself up with video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Skype, Webex or Google Hangout. These, along with instant messaging and collaborative web-based applications, allow workers to be productive anywhere, anytime. Assuming you aren’t alone in the house, you might want to invest in a noise-canceling headset.
  • Scheduling: You’ve probably heard some version of the phrase “you can do it all…just not all at the same time.” It’s especially true when you work from home. Experiment to find a schedule that works best for you, your working style, your projects and your family. Aim for at least one or two daily chunks of focused, uninterrupted work time per family member. Before a new week begins, discuss one another’s commitments and demands, and map out how to meet them all. Then, each evening, make a rough calendar for the following day: take into account what’s top of mind for each family member, include priorities and deadlines, engagement timelines, etc. Then negotiate: “How about I take the kids and dog for an early morning walk and make breakfast while you do those conference calls with the east coast? Then I can interact with my local team between 10:00 and 1:00 while you oversee the kids’ classwork and lunch?”
  • Teamwork: Shared households require teamwork, but never moreso than when you’re all home all the time. Divvy up household obligations so no one family member feels overburdened. Think about meals and snacks (there’s a lot more work involved when three meals a day are prepared, served, consumed and cleaned-up-after on the premises!), food and supply shopping, cleaning and extended family obligations. With kids in the house, you’ll want to coordinate shifts monitoring screen time, helping with distance learning and schoolwork, guiding “after school” entertainment and exercise, and so much more.
  • Sustainability: However you manage your days together, check in often and look after one another. With so little delineation between home and work, you may well find yourself working harder and longer hours than ever. You think you’ll just check your email after the kids go down, and before you know it you’re ringing in a new day. Don’t let sleep or emotional wellness suffer. Burnout doesn’t serve your family or your work.
  • Grace: Though you’re likely to become a master multi-tasker during these shelter-in-place times, you can’t do it all—and shouldn’t be expected to. Be realistic about what’s possible (hint: there probably will be too much screen time, and there probably won’t be a perfectly tidy home!), be open to revisiting what isn’t working well, and, above all, extend yourself some grace.
  • Downtime: Minimize inevitable stress with intentional, regular diversions. Buy yourself some downtime by setting the kids up with snacks and a movie. Binge a Netflix series with your partner. Give yourself and your families a periodic change of scenery with a walk or a short drive. But know that you don’t even have to leave your house to be transported: during COVID-19, authors are streaming read-alouds and musicians are streaming concerts from their living rooms; Broadway shows and opera houses around the world are presenting video performances; and museums are offering virtual walking tours. For activities, look to daily workout videos; follow-along STEM projects; and drawing, music and dance tutorials—all free and accessible anytime.
  • Connection: Practicing good “social distancing,” doesn’t mean losing contact with friends and loved ones. Get creative! Embrace the same technologies you use at work to schedule regular get-togethers. Try a virtual happy hour with friends, a shared meal with extended family, or a recipe bake-off for the kids. Launch a Netflix Party to watch and chat about shows and movies together in real time. You may well feel more connected to friends and loved ones than ever before!

 

 

Work Communication

With everyone working remotely, it’s especially important to maintain that same connectedness with your team, colleagues and clients by implementing an intentional, proactive communication strategy.

  • Tools: Make sure everyone you work with has access to the aforementioned technologies, and build in time and provide resources for learning them. Take advantage of project maps and online project management tools, such as Smartsheet or Zoho Projects, so everyone is always on the same page.
  • Engagement: Demonstrate your ongoing commitment to your team and their wellbeing by keeping them abreast of any developments in company operations as well as any updates to government programs in support of them and their families. Schedule connection points with everyone at least once a week and daily check-ins for employees you directly manage.
  • Flexibility: Establish clear guidelines and realistic expectations for how objectives will be met and essential duties will be fulfilled, but recognize that flexibility is key. Don’t expect everyone to be on a conventional 40-hour, nine-to-five workweek. Prevent misunderstandings and avoid resentments by being reasonable and honest about your availability and capabilities, and encourage the same from others as they, too, learn to manage their at-home workdays.
  • Adaptability: These are unprecedented times. Know there will be glitches, situations can change rapidly, new issues will arise, and plenty of things will go differently than planned. Be ready to adapt, revisit agreements and adjust next steps and deadlines accordingly. Most importantly, impart confidence by maintaining transparency, open communication and respect throughout.
  • Status quo: Even when there’s nothing to report, check in. Listen to how your employees are feeling and how they’re adjusting; ask what’s working well and what’s been challenging. Hear their anxieties and empathize with their struggles, and share your own experience, perspective and solutions.
  • Inspiration: Focus on what matters now. Your humanity and compassion create a sense of caring and belonging among your team. Listen to one another and be inspired by one another’s thoughts, hopes and triumphs.
  • Celebration: Provide positive feedback and express gratitude to your team members for their contributions and accomplishments during these trying times. Help them feel recognized, appreciated and valued.

A Balanced Life

Even in the midst of a worldwide crisis, Leap Solutions Group is here to support you, guide you and help you thrive, both professionally and personally. As you learn to successfully blend your work life and your home life in ways you never have before, you may just find yourself feeling more balanced than ever!

 

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On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed legislation extending paid sick leave and paid family leave benefits to millions of Americans to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This legislation contains the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, both of which become effective on April 2, 2020. The Act applies to employers with 1 to 499 employees. Employers with 500 or more employees do not have to comply with this law. The Act expires on December 31, 2020.

The Act covers numerous activities including free testing for the virus, unemployment aid, nutritional programs, paid sick leave, and changes to FMLA. We will cover in detail the leave sections of the Act.

 

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act mandates that covered employers nationwide provide two weeks of paid sick leave to employees.

 

Coverage

Employers with fewer than 500 employees are required to provide paid sick leave in accordance with the new law.  Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt, however, if providing sick leave would “jeopardize the viability of the business.”  The Secretary of Labor has been tasked with issuing regulations explaining how and under what circumstances that standard is met, although guidance on the subject has not yet been offered.

 

Eligibility and Permissible Uses

Employees are entitled to use paid sick leave under the following circumstances, regardless of how long they have been employed:

  1. The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  2. The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  3. The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in subparagraph (1) or has been advised as described in paragraph (2), above.
  5. The employee is caring for a son or daughter whose school or place of care has been closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.
  6. The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

 

Notably, if an employee is a healthcare provider or first responder, the employer may elect to exclude the employee from these sick leave benefits.

An employee may not be required to use other forms of paid time off before using paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, nor may an employer require that an employee find coverage as a condition of providing sick leave.

 

Amount of Leave

Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave.  Part-time employees are entitled to paid sick leave in an amount equal to the hours that particular employee works, on average, over a two-week period.

The benefit is available to any employee no matter how long they have been employed. Note that the calculations are based on an employee’s “regular rate” as defined by the FLSA, which may be greater than an employee’s base hourly rate if they also are paid certain types of additional compensation.

 

TABLE 1: Eligibility, Permissible Uses, and Compensation Owed

Covered Reason For Leave Rate of Pay Cap on Payments
(1) The employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID–19 The employee’s regular rate of pay (as determined under section 7(e) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 207(e)). $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate
(2) The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID–19 The employee’s regular rate of pay (as determined under section 7(e) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 207(e)). $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate
(3) The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medical diagnosis. The employee’s regular rate of pay (as determined under section 7(e) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 207(e)). $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate
(4) The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in subparagraph (1) or has been advised as described in paragraph (2). Two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay. $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate
(5) The employee is caring for a son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID–19 precautions. Two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay. $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate
(6) The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor. Two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay. $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate
  • Unused paid sick leave does not carry over from one year to the next.
  • Unused paid sick leave need not be paid out upon separation from employment.
  • The employer may not require the employee to search for or find a replacement in order to receive paid sick time under the Act.
  • Paid sick time is available for immediate use regardless of how long the employee has been employed.
  • The employee may use paid sick time under the Act before using any other accrued paid time off.
  • Emergency paid sick time is in addition to any paid time entitlement under the employer’s existing paid time off policy. The employer may not change its paid leave policies on or after the date of the Act’s enactment to avoid providing the additional two weeks of emergency paid sick time.
  • Employers who are voluntarily providing paid sick benefits related to COVID-19 public health emergency should contact employment counsel before changing any currently running policies.

 

Notice

Employers must post, in a conspicuous place a notice promulgated by the Secretary of Labor regarding the requirements of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.  A model of such notice must be made available by the Secretary within 7 days of the enactment of the statute.  Employers are encouraged to check the U.S. Department of Labor website for a model posting once it becomes available.

 

Consequences for Violation of Sick Leave Rights

An employer may not discharge, discipline, or discriminate against an employee who takes leave under the Act, files a complaint or institutes any proceeding relating to this Act, or testifies (or is about to testify) in any such proceeding.

Violations of an employee’s right to sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act will be considered violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage provisions.

 

Interaction with California State and Local Laws

The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act specifies that it does not diminish the rights or benefits to which an employee is entitled under any other laws (whether Federal, State, or local), collective bargaining agreements (“CBAs”), or existing employer policies.  A critical ambiguity in the law as enacted is whether this provision means that benefits under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act run concurrently with existing laws, CBAs, and policies, or whether the new federal benefits are in addition to existing benefits.  That is, the statute does not clearly answer whether a full-time employee who is already entitled, for example, to 24 hours of paid sick leave under the California Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 is now entitled to a total of 104 hours of paid sick leave (24 hours under California law plus 80 hours under federal law), or only to a total of 80 hours per the federal statute.

Prior proposed versions of the bill specified that the federal benefits were in addition to any benefits already provided by employers (whether on a mandatory or voluntary basis), yet such language was stricken before the Senate’s approval of the final bill.  The removal suggests federal sick leave benefits are therefore intended to run concurrently with existing benefits, but employers will likely have to wait for supplemental legislation or regulatory guidance for clarification.

 

Tax Credits for Sick Leave Wages

Employers may obtain tax credits to ease the financial burden of providing sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.  The tax credit is applied against the employer portion of Social Security taxes.  The credit is equal to 100% of the qualified sick leave wages.  Such wages are capped at $511 per day if the leave is for the employee’s own care, and at $200 per day if the leave is for caring for a family member, for up to 10 days per employee in each calendar quarter.

 

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

 

The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act amends the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) to add an additional basis for taking job-protected leave.  Generally, the FMLA permits eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid leave because of the employee’s own serious health condition, the serious health condition of the employee’s parent, spouse, or child, to bond with a child newly joining the employee’s family, for qualifying military exigencies, or to care for family members injured in the course of military service.

 

Coverage and Eligibility

Employers with fewer than 500 employees are covered by the new law and must permit eligible employees to take public health emergency leave.  Like the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, businesses with fewer than 50 employees may obtain an exemption if providing leave would “jeopardize the viability of the business.”

Unlike the FMLA coverage requirements for other types of leave (employers with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius), ALL employers with fewer than 500 employees must grant public health emergency leave to anyone who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days. The usual FMLA requirements that an employee has been employed or at least 12 months and worked 1,250 hours do not apply to public health emergency leave.

The Act creates certain exemptions and exceptions for small employers that would normally be covered by the FMLA and allows health care providers and emergency responders to exclude those employees from leave under the Act.

The Act reserves the right of the Secretary of Labor to promulgate regulations excluding “certain health care providers and emergency responders” from the definition of “eligible employee.”

 

Duration of Leave and Permissible Use

Under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave in a 12-month period if they are unable to work (or telework) due to a need to care for a child whose school or place of care has been closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

As with other types of FMLA leave, the employee must provide notice of the need for leave as soon as is practicable.

 

Compensation Owed

The first 10 days of public health emergency leave may be unpaid.  However, an employee may choose to substitute any accrued vacation, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for such unpaid leave under the employer’s policy. The employer may not require the employee to use their paid leave. The remaining 10 weeks of leave must be paid at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay times the number of hours the employee would otherwise be normally scheduled to work. Qualified family leave wages are capped at $200 per day for each individual and up to $10,000 per calendar quarter. For perspective, the per-day cap would usually kick in for employees making more than $78,000 per year.

 

Restoration Rights

Unless the employer has fewer than 25 employees, an employee taking public health emergency leave must generally be restored to an equivalent position upon returning from leave. For employers with less than 25 employees, the employer must make reasonable efforts to provide the employee with a position or an equivalent position for 1 year after the “public health emergency” concludes or 12 weeks after commencement of the leave, whichever is earlier.

 

Sunset Provision

Because the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act is intended to address the existing COVID-19 pandemic, eligible employees of covered employers may only take public health emergency leave until December 31, 2020.

 

Tax Credits for Public Health Emergency Leave

Employers are entitled to a tax credit equal to 100% of the qualified family leave wages under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.

The Act is not retroactive, which means that any paid time currently being granted would not count toward either FMLA leave or toward the 80 hours of sick leave, nor be eligible for the tax credits.

We encourage you to continue proactively communicating with your employees to keep them abreast of any developments regarding company operations as well as any updates to government programs in support of them and their families. At a minimum, daily communication on emerging issues and developments with your employees will go a long way to provide care and attention to the workforce. This Act will be good news for all your employees, and we suggest you create a brief synopsis of the Act to share with them.

Finally, over the last number of days, we’ve had many questions from clients about some specific areas that are not yet clear based upon the rapid developments both nationally and state-wide. We will keep you informed with additional newsletter releases when the facts become clear. The bottom line, be fair, kind, and considerate of your employees. They are adapting to so much and as employers, your employees need your support.

 

In the meantime, be safe, take care of yourselves and your families, reach out to us with questions and concerns, and—most importantly—know that we at Leap Solutions Group are here to partner with you to face these unsettling times, work through them with flexibility and resilience, and come out the other side stronger than ever.

 

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We’re all uncertain and uneasy about how the current global coronavirus pandemic will affect our families and our communities in the coming days, weeks and months.

At Leap Solutions, we’re committed to efforts to ensure that we have policies and practices in place to protect the safety and wellbeing of our employees—and we want to help you do the same for yours.

While this unprecedented pandemic poses unique concerns for employers, we’re confident that with the right guidance and resources, you’ll successfully rise to the challenge of finding new, creative ways to support your people and get things done. To that end, we recommend looking to the State of California (ca.gov) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/CDC (cdc.gov) websites for up-to-date information, tools and resources, including the following explanation and set of facts about recent state efforts to protect and assist California employers and workers during the pandemic.


Governor Newsom Issues New Executive Order Further Enhancing State and Local Government’s Ability to Respond to COVID-19 Pandemic – Published: Mar 12, 2020

 

The Governor’s order:
  • Waives the one-week waiting period for people who are unemployed and/or disabled as a result of COVID-19;
  • Delays the deadline for state tax filing by 60 days for individuals and businesses unable to file on time based on compliance with public health requirements related to COVID-19 filings;
  • Directs residents to follow public health directives and guidance, including to cancel large non- essential gatherings that do not meet state criteria;
  • Readies the state to commandeer property for temporary residences and medical facilities for quarantining, isolating or treating individuals;
  • Allows local or state legislative bodies to hold meetings via teleconference and to make meetings accessible electronically; and
  • Allows local and state emergency administrators to act quickly to protect public health

FAQ

  1. Can an employee use California Paid Sick Leave due to COVID-19 illness?
Yes. If the employee has paid sick leave available, the employer must provide such leave and compensate the employee under California paid sick leave laws.  Paid sick leave can be used for absences due to illness, the diagnosis, care or treatment of an existing health condition or preventative care for the employee or the employee’s family member.  Preventative care may include self-quarantine as a result of potential exposure to COVID-19 if quarantine is recommended by civil authorities. In addition, there may be other situations where an employee may exercise their right to take paid sick leave, or an employer may allow paid sick leave for preventative care. For example, where there has been exposure to COVID-19 or where the worker has traveled to a high-risk area.
  1. If an employee exhausts sick leave, can other paid leave be used?

Yes, if an employee does not qualify to use paid sick leave, or has exhausted sick leave, other leave may be available. If there is a vacation or paid time off policy, an employee may choose to take such leave and be compensated provided that the terms of the vacation or paid time off policy allows for leave in this circumstance.

  1. Can an employer require a worker who is quarantined to exhaust paid sick leave?

The employer cannot require that the worker use paid sick leave; that is the worker’s choice. If the worker decides to use paid sick leave, the employer can require they take a minimum of two hours of paid sick leave. The determination of how much paid sick leave will be used is up to the employee.

  1. What options do I have if my child’s school or day care closes for reasons related to COVID-19?

Employees should discuss their options with their employers. There may be paid sick leave or other paid leave (see table below) that is available to employees. Employees at worksites with 25 or more employees may also be provided up to 40 hours of leave per year for specific school-related emergencies, such as the closure of a child’s school or day care by civil authorities (see Labor Code section 230.8). Whether that leave is paid or unpaid depends on the employer’s paid leave, vacation or other paid time off policies. Employers may require employees use their vacation or paid time off benefits before they are allowed to take unpaid leave, but cannot mandate that employees use paid sick leave. However, a parent may choose to use any available paid sick leave to be with their child as preventative care.

  1. Can an employer require a worker to provide information about recent travel to countries considered to be high-risk for exposure to the coronavirus?

Yes.  Employers can request that employees inform them if they are planning or have traveled to countries considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be high-risk areas for exposure to the coronavirus. However, employees have a right to medical privacy, so the employer cannot inquire into areas of medical privacy.

  1. Is an employee entitled to compensation for reporting to work and being sent home?

Generally, if an employee reports for their regularly scheduled shift but is required to work fewer hours or is sent home, the employee must be compensated for at least two hours, or no more than four hours, of reporting time pay.
For example, a worker who reports to work for an eight-hour shift and only works for one hour must receive four hours of pay, one for the hour worked and three as reporting time pay so that the worker receives pay for at least half of the expected eight-hour shift.
Additional information on reporting time pay is posted online.

  1. If a state of emergency is declared, does reporting time apply?

Reporting time pay does not apply when operations cannot commence or continue when recommended by civil authorities. This means that reporting time pay does apply under a state of emergency, unless the state of emergency includes a recommendation to cease operations.

  1. If an employee is exempt, are they entitled to a full week’s salary for work interruptions due to a shutdown of operations?

An employee is exempt if they are paid at least the minimum required salary and meet the other qualifications for exemption. Federal regulations require that employers pay an exempt employee performing any work during a week their full weekly salary if they do not work the full week because the employer failed to make work available.

An exempt employee who performs no work at all during a week may have their weekly salary reduced.
Deductions from salary for absences of less than a full day for personal reasons or for sickness are not permitted. If an exempt employee works any portion of a day, there can be no deduction from salary for a partial day absence for personal or medical reasons.

Federal regulations allow partial-day deductions from an employee’s sick leave bank so that the employee is paid for their sick time by using their accrued sick leave. If an exempt employee has not yet accrued any sick leave or has exhausted all of their sick leave balance, there can be no salary deduction for a partial day absence.

Deductions from salary may also be made if the exempt employee is absent from work for a full day or more for personal reasons other than sickness and accident, so long as work was available for the employee, had they chosen to work.


Also helpful is this table outlining vital, relevant benefits available to employees impacted by COVID-19.  

WEBSITE RESOURCE LINKS

  1. Disability Insurance Information – https://www.edd.ca.gov/disability/am_i_eligible_for_di_benefits.htm
  2. Disability Insurance Claim – https://edd.ca.gov/Disability/How_to_File_a_DI_Claim_in_SDI_Online.htm
  3. Paid Family Leave Eligibility Information – https://www.edd.ca.gov/disability/Am_I_Eligible_for_PFL_Benefits.htm
  4. Paid Family Leave Claim – https://edd.ca.gov/Disability/How_to_File_a_PFL_Claim_in_SDI_Online.htm
  5. Unemployment Insurance Information – https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/eligibility.htm
  6. Unemployment Insurance Claim – https://edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/Filing_a_Claim.htm
  7. Paid Sick Leave Information – https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/paid_sick_leave.htm
  8. Paid Sick Leave Wage Claim – https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/HowToFileWageClaim.htm
  9. Workers Compensation Eligibility Information – https://www.dir.ca.gov/InjuredWorkerGuidebook/InjuredWorkerGuidebook.html
  10. Workers Compensation Claim – https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/FileAClaim.htm

Further resources for businesses and employers, including interim guidance and cleaning and disinfection recommendations, we recommend from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/businesses-employers.html

In this time of rapidly changing circumstances, continue to look to the ca.gov and cdc.gov websites for the most current updates on COVID-19 and ways that we, as individuals and as a workforce, can most effectively respond.

Foremost, we encourage organizations to create proactive communication plans to keep their employees abreast of any developments in regard to company operations as well as any updates to government programs in support of them and their families. At a minimum, daily communication on emerging issues and developments with your employees will go a long way to providing care and attention to the workforce.

Meantime, be safe, take care of yourselves and your families, reach out to us with questions and concerns, and—most importantly—know that we at Leap Solutions Group are here to partner with you to face these unsettling times, work through them with flexibility and resilience, and come out the other side stronger than ever.

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