Common questions I am getting related to COVID 19 Department of Labor guidance...


Here are some commonly asked questions and some guidance as I continually keep up to date on the new regulations that are constantly changing and being developed.

Do employers need to pay employees for unauthorized telework hours? If an employee is non exempt/hourly, every minute they work needs to be tracked and compensated.  Your policies on this should be very clear on it and if they continue to do so without tracking, consider disciplinary action as not tracking it is a violation of wage and hour law.

What about hazard pay, what does that all mean?  This is not a requirement but something that is dealt with through employers with their employees as they see fit.

Something that I didn't think of was how to track telemedicine visits if someone is under FMLA for a serious health condition. Well since that is the only way that some docs have done such visits for some time, yes, they count.  This seems to be temporary however, and is acceptable through December 31, 2020.  This includes examination, evaluation, or treatment by a health care provider and performed by video conference.  Electronic signatures are also accepted as official authorization.

What are some qualifying events for Emergeny Paid Leave?  (per SHRM online)

  1. Has been ordered by the government to quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19.
  2. Has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19.
  3. Has symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. Is caring for someone who is subject to a government quarantine or isolation order or has been advised by a health care provider to quarantine or self-isolate.
  5. Needs to care for a son or daughter whose school or child care service is closed due to COVID-19 precautions.
  6. Is experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the secretary of health and human services, in consultation with the secretaries of labor and treasury. 

Paid sick leave must be paid at the employee's regular rate of pay, or minimum wage, whichever is greater, for leave taken for reasons 1-3 above. Employees taking leave for reasons 4-6 may be compensated at two-thirds their regular rate of pay, or minimum wage, whichever is greater. An additional 10 weeks of partially paid, emergency FMLA leave may also be available for child care purposes. 

How does fear of Coronavirus play into this?  Fear alone will not qualify employees for FFCRA.  This only applies is there is a local mandate closing a child care facility due to a ptential infection or transmission of the virus.  I have worked with some of my clients to allow telework if at all possible so the fear doesn't take over their ability to be productive.  I would error on the side of being accomodating to employees in order to keep strong performing employees and good employee relations recognizing there are many positions that simply cannot be handled in this manner.  This webinar will quickly if you should and how you think through how to manage such concerns. https://hrwebsource.com/collections/webinars/products/telecommuting-is-here-to-stay-how-can-we-best-manage-it & https://hrwebsource.com/collections/webinars/products/alternative-work-schedules-its-time-we-prepare-for-options

Be ahead of the game and become familiar with different ways to obtain your business goals and effectively manage your employees while remaining in compliance with all that you need to.

Here to help guide you! Jbm


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