Big News! This afternoon, the Senate Republicans introduced a series of bills to address the COVID-19 pandemic as a response to the House Democrats introducing and passing the Heroes Act. The Safe to Work Act is a liability reform bill that establishes temporary rules for specific types of coronavirus-related claims designed to facilitate and foster a prudent reopening. Correspondingly, the American Workers, Families, and Employers Assistance Act centers on economic reform and the next round of stimulus. Obviously, there must be a compromise between the two sides, but who knows how long this will take or what the ending result will be.
Furthermore, the Department of Labor (DOL) has issued additional guidance on return-to-work issues under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Enacted at the end of March, the FFCRA provides emergency paid sick leave, and paid family leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for certain workers affected by COVID-19. In general, employers of fewer than 500 employees are required to:
- Grant up to 80 hours of paid sick leave to workers exposed to COVID-19, required to quarantine, or unable to work or telework because of the closure of their child’s school or place of care (the rate of pay is capped).
- Grant parents of children whose place of care is closed up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave, 10 of them paid (again, subject to statutory caps).
Our HR and Safety teams have been busy working on the introduction of pandemic policies for our clients. If you don’t have one, please let us know how we can help you enact something as a precaution. What we’ve learned so far is that in regard to COVID-19 entering your operation, it’s not a question of if, but when. As always, feel free to reach out with questions or concerns as we navigate these complicated waters.
Have a great week!
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