As organizations navigate the ever-changing landscape this pandemic presents, it is important to stay aware of the impact on employees, due to illness, reduced hours or loss of unemployment. Employees are facing increased emotions, heightened anxiety, fear, added stress from children at home and isolationism. Organizations should consider the very real effect these emotions have on the ability for people to stay healthy, be present and engaged. At this critical time, more than ever, employees will benefit from strong guidance and leadership from their authentic CEOs.
AB 6201 – Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA)
The bill provides for relief for entities with less than 500 employees. It goes into effect on April 1 (new date as of March 25) and expires on December 31, 2020.
- Emergency Paid Sick Leave
- Full and part-time employees will be eligible for 80 hours of paid sick leave benefits at the employee’s regular rate of pay for their own sickness or care related to COVID-19; or are paid two-thirds of their regular rate of pay to care for a family member or to care for a child whose school or place of care has closed due to the coronavirus.
- Emergency Paid Family Leave
- Full and part-time employees who have been employed for 30 days or more will be eligible for job protected leave for up to 12 weeks of qualifying family and medical leave for a broad range of COVID-19 related reasons. The first two weeks may be unpaid or paid using emergency paid sick leave. The remaining 10 weeks are paid at a rate of two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay. This time can be used to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to the coronavirus.
- Requiring Notice
- Governor Newsom’s Executive Order, which applies from March 4, 2020, through the end of the declared State of Emergency, suspends the 60-day notice requirement of Cal-WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) for employers who meet certain conditions. The Executive Order directs the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to provide guidance for implementing these requirements.
- Tax Credits
- Like paid sick leave, employers can receive quarterly tax credits against the employers’ portion of Social Security taxes. The credit for paid leave is capped at $511 of eligible pay per employee, per day. Eligible employees include individuals who are self-quarantining, or those complying with a doctor’s recommendation. There is also a credit for family leave. Employers are entitled to a credit for qualified family leave wages, up to $200 per day for each individual and $10,000 total with respect to all calendar quarters.
- Unemployment Insurance
- The Act will provide $1 billion for emergency grants to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance benefits under certain conditions.
- Small Business Exemptions
- For businesses with less than 50 employees, they will be eligible for refundable tax credits. They can apply for an exemption from providing Emergency Paid Family Leave and Emergency Paid Sick Leave benefits, if it would jeopardize the viability of their business.
* This information is continually being updated, is not inclusive and is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation.
Managing Your Remote Workforce
Now that San Francisco Bay Area employees and others are directed to “shelter in-place,” they are focused on getting equipment working and being productive. Once employees are situated physically and ergonomically, organizations will want to ensure they are focusing their work on the right objectives. Responsibilities may need to change due to changing organizational strategy. Employees know what they were responsible for in their current roles, but as business priorities change, employee’s roles and responsibilities may also change. This continually changing realignment of the work people are doing will be critical to business continuity.
Communication and collaboration take on new meaning. Ongoing video calls between managers and their employees addressing new responsibilities, feedback, obstacles and the ability to course correct become even more impactful. Organizations that previously engaged with a transparent culture, and continue in that vein, will have the added benefit of expedited realignment to our current work environment.
Increased remote work practices will likely remain, once we are past this unprecedented period in our history. Organizations that learn how to effectively operate within this framework will find an upper hand in the marketplace.
BPM’s HR Consulting team is here to help guide, support and facilitate our clients through this challenging time and beyond.