Employer Resources

Below are resources to help businesses respond to the many and varied impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. What employees are entitled to may be confusing. New regulations are quickly evolving and may be difficult to parse. We are here to help. This page compiles  information for employers and those seeking guidance related to sick and family leave. We are continually updating this page with the latest information to make it more accessible and to spread awareness of new policies and practices and how they may impact your business. 

EMPLOYER RESOURCES ALERTS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - EMPLOYER RESOURCES

As provided under the FFCRA legislation, the U.S. Department of Labor will be issuing implementing regulations. Additionally, the Department will continue to provide compliance assistance to employers and employees on their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA. The most up-to-date information from the Department of Labor can be found here: 

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions

If you have 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year, then you are a covered employer and may have to provide the benefits outlined in the FFCRA related to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). If you have 500 or fewer employees, then you are a covered employer and may have to provide the benefits outlined in the FFCRA related to sick leave.

If the employee is unable to work or telework, the first two weeks will most likely be covered by the sick leave provisions.

Yes, a “shelter-in-place” order that would prevent someone from working or teleworking would enable them to receive both sick leave and FMLA pay (if they are taking care of children under the age of 18 because the school or place of care has been closed).

An employee must first provide paid sick leave before requiring the employee utilize other paid leave time available to them.

If commission based or other part-time/ non-regular salaried individuals is determined utilizing an average pay over the past 6 months.

All employees, full-time and part-time, are eligible for the benefits as long as they have been employed for at least 30 days by an eligible employer for purposes of the FMLA provisions. For sick leave, the benefit is available for immediate use by the employee, regardless of how long the employee has been employed by the employer.

Yes, it does appear as though there could be an exemption for less than 50 employees but we are awaiting additional guidance on how to apply and additional details.

If they are not currently employees, they most likely will not be required to pay the benefits

A sample notice is to be provided to us by the Secretary of Labor, as outlined in the legislation, within 7 days of its passage. We will provide here once it is available.

They will be considered to have failed to pay minimum wages in violation of section 6 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and be subject to the penalties outlined in sections 16 and 17

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - SICK AND FAMILY LEAVE

Unemployment eligibility is evaluated on whether or not a worker has earned wages, not whether they are still employed. Workers who have been given zero-hour schedules, but have not been laid off or furloughed are still eligible for unemployment.  Workers who have had their hours reduced can also qualify for partial unemployment in some states.  

Layoff: This is a temporary separation from payroll. This usually happens because there is no available work for the employee to complete. The expectation is that the employee will be called back to work when it becomes available, but the timeframe of return is unclear.  Employees are typically able to collect unemployment benefits subject to state qualifications. Employers may maintain employee benefits during temporary layoff periods as an incentive for employee to return, but this is not required.  

 

Furlough: This is a mandatory suspension of work without pay. It can come as a reduction in hours across a workforce, or at specific intervals; and is considered an alternative option to layoffs. Furloughed employees are banned from doing any work on behalf of their employer under a zero-tolerance rule. Typically, the time-frame for a furlough is fixed, and employees know exactly when they will return to work. It is customary for an employer to maintain employee benefits during a furlough. Employees subject to furlough generally qualify for unemployment, but collection of benefits is subject to state qualifications. 

 

Shared Work Arrangement: This is a little-known feature of the unemployment law in Mn and can be used as an alternative to layoffs. The employer reduces hours by at least 20% but no more than 50%, for a specific list of employees who have been employed at least 1 year. Those affected then collect reduced unemployment benefits based on the hours lost. MN Employers must continue to provide employee benefits during the arrangement. This can lessen the impact of an hours reduction for employees. Employers must file a work sharing plan with the state and have it approved to qualify for this program. When on an approved work sharing arrangement, employees are not required to meet typical availability, seeking work, or refusal of work requirements enforced by the state. They simply must be available for their regular work week.  

 

Reduction in workforce: This is a permanent elimination of a position with no intention of replacement. The result is a permanent reduction of employee headcount for the employer. 

This order expands eligible individuals to include persons who:

  • Have temporarily or permanently lost their job or had their hours reduced due to COVID-19
    • This can include job loss based on contraction of COVID-19 or as a result of employer actions related to COVID-19
    • the hours reductions must be substantial – putting employees below 32 hours a week
    • this includes employees placed on furlough
  • Have been recommended or ordered by a healthcare professional or health authority to avoid contact with others due to COVID-19 (this can be due to the risk to others or the risk to the individual (e.g., someone immunocompromised);

  • Have been instructed by their employer not to come to their workplace due to an outbreak of COVID-19;OR 

  • Have received notification from a school district, daycare, or other childcare provider that either classes are canceled or the applicant’s ordinary childcare is unavailable, IF
    • the applicant made reasonable effort to obtain other childcare;
    • requested time off or other accommodation from the employer; and
    • no reasonable accommodation was available.
  • Relieves taxpaying employers of benefit charges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that your UI tax rate will not increase if your workers collect unemployment benefits because of COVID-19.

  • Waives the usual five-week benefit limitation for business owners who had previously elected coverage and have become unemployed as a result of COVID-19.

Pursuant to the Executive Order, the requirement that unemployment applicants wait a week in order to be eligible for benefits has been waived through December 31, 2020.

Employees will not be required to search for work that poses a risk to their health or the health of others, and employees who are only temporarily out of work will not be required to search for new employment at all.  Instead, employees who are only temporarily out of work will be allowed to meet the statutory search-for-work requirement by simply keeping in touch with their employer during this time. 

Disclaimer: Team Lurie is diligently reviewing the latest news, adding resources and supplying links to third party websites. These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the Lurie LLP of any of the services of government agencies, organizations or businesses. Lurie LLP bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.

For Questions on Sick Leave, Family Leave, and Employer Resources:

Becky Munson

Director, YourBooks®

Amy Jongerius

Team Lead, YourBooks®

Our team is available to help! Contact us and we will reach out to assist you.