Employers, and the country, are largely in uncharted territory with respect to Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). Information and recommendations regarding COVID-19 are changing rapidly, and in some cases, dramatically. Dvorak Law Group is monitoring information and recommendations regarding COVID-19 on a near-constant basis and will post additional information as appropriate.
Set forth below are general recommendations and issues to consider with respect to COVID-19:
- Repeatedly encourage sick employees to stay home! Stress the importance of hand-washing and other hygienic practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, cdc.gov.
- Address employee use of paid leave banks (PTO, sick leave, vacation, etc.) and communicate employer expectations and any changes in practices and procedures.
- Consider the impact of COVID-19 on attendance policies, leave of absence policies and discipline policies.
- Cautiously address situations involving the potential implication of the ADA and the FMLA. (Although neither the ADA nor the FMLA may apply to typical COVID-19 cases, both may apply depending on the facts involved.)
- Be prepared for questions regarding employee pay. Currently, employers do not have to pay nonexempt employees for hours not worked. Generally, exempt employees must be paid their regular salary if the employee performs any work during a workweek.
- New legislation may change employer obligations in the near future. The House of Representatives has passed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“Act”). The Senate will also be considering the Act in the upcoming days. If passed, the Act may:
- Provide employees with 2 weeks’ of paid sick leave for certain COVID-19 related issues.
- Provide employees with up to 12 weeks’ of job-protected FMLA leave paid at 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay (subject to certain limitations).
- Provide new FMLA leave entitlement criteria related to COVID-19.
- Consider the impact of COVID-19 with respect to insurance, contractual and regulatory matters.
The “right” answer to a question involving COVID-19 will likely depend on the specific facts presented to the employer, as well as the employer’s industry, culture, and other business considerations. Please contact Dvorak Law Group, LLC to discuss specific questions and recommendations regarding your business.