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Update on Families First Coronavirus Response Act?

As previously mentioned President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on March 18th, which will become law on April 1, 2020. Among other relief, this Act creates paid emergency leave/sick leave for employees who must self-quarantine or self-isolate due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. The following provides additional helpful information regarding how your business should respond as well as a link to the Notice that was promulgated by the Department of Labor and must be posted on or before April 2, 2020.

Paid Emergency Family Medical Leave

The Act expands the coverage of FMLA leave for qualifying conditions to all employers with less than 500 employees. Employees are allowed Paid Emergency Leave under the new § 102(a)(1)(F) of the FMLA. Your business must provide leave to your employees according to the following guidelines:

  • Employees are entitled to receive 10 days unpaid leave. Your employees, however, have the option to exhaust their paid time off (PTO) first.
  • Employees may receive up to 10 additional weeks of leave paid at two-thirds their regular rate of pay.

The additional 10 weeks of paid leave cannot exceed $200.00 per day and $12,000.00 in the aggregate. Also, your business may be exempt if you have less than 50 employees and if paying for said leave would jeopardize the viability of your business.

HOW DO YOUR EMPLOYEES QUALIFY FOR ADDITIONAL MEDICAL LEAVE?

Your employees qualify for the additional 10 weeks of emergency paid medical leave compensation if they:

  • are unable to work (or telework) due to care for a child whose school or daycare has been closed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

WHAT ABOUT EMERGENCY PAID SICK LEAVE?

The law creates guidelines that require you to offer two weeks of paid sick leave to all employees (full time and part time) who cannot come to work for the reasons set forth above. You are required to pay the employee’s regular rate for the first two weeks if:

  • They are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID019.
  • They have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  • They are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking medical diagnosis.
  • To care for an individual who is subject to an order to quarantine or isolate or has been advised to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • They are caring for a son or daughter if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child-care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID0-19 precautions.
  • They are experiencing any other substantially similar conditions specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor.

POSTING OF NOTICE

The Act requires all employers to Post Notice of the requirements of this Act in conspicuous places on the employer’s premises – and to the extent employees are working remotely, the poster should be sent via email. The Notice that must be posted as soon as possible. The Notice for non-Federal workers can be found here:

https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf

WHAT THE EMPLOYER CANNOT DO

Under this legislation, an employer cannot:

  • Change paid leave policies to circumvent this new law or defray the costs involved
  • Require employees to use paid leave before using their emergency paid sick leave allotment
  • Require employees to find someone to cover their shift.

If we work together to protect ourselves and our employees, we can stop the spread of COVID-19. Our legal team at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser, LLC can help your company understand the laws evolving around the COVID-19 outbreak. Contact us online or call us at 484-318-7106 for more information. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Philadelphia and Chester County, as well as in New Jersey.

What is the Families First Coronavirus Response Act?

President Trump recently signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on March 18th, which will become law on April 2, 2020. The law creates paid emergency leave/sick leave for employees who must self-quarantine or self-isolate due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. The following provides helpful information regarding how your business should respond.

Paid Emergency FMLA

Employees are allowed Paid Emergency FMLA § 102(a)(1)(F) under this law. Your business must provide leave to your employees according to the following guidelines:

  • Employees receive their first 14 days off at their regular pay rate. Your employees, however, have the option to exhaust their paid time off (PTO) first. Once their PTO is exhausted, they will receive 14 more days of leave at their regular rate.
  • Employees may receive up to 10 additional weeks of leave paid at two-thirds their regular rate.

Your business may be exempt if you have less than 25 employees and if paying for said leave would strain your business financially.

How Do Your Employees Qualify?

Your employees qualify for emergency paid leave compensation when they:

  • Must stay home to comply with a local or statewide mandate or the recommendation of a public health official because the employee cannot do their job if they were exposed or would jeopardize the health of others by coming to work.
  • Must stay home to care for a family member because that family member cannot perform their job duties without jeopardizing the health of the community.
  • Must stay home to care for a child whose school or daycare was closed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

What About Emergency Paid Sick Leave?

Your employees may be entitled to emergency paid sick leave if they miss work for any of the following reasons:

  • They must self-quarantine or seek a diagnosis/preventative treatment due to symptoms of COVID-19.
  • They must self-quarantine or seek treatment due to an order by a public health official or the state/local government.
  • They must care for an at-risk family member who has been quarantined because of a diagnosis or symptoms of COVID-19.
  • To care for a child if that child’s daycare or school has been closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The law creates guidelines that require you to offer two weeks of paid sick leave to all employees who cannot come to work. You are required to pay the employee’s regular rate for the first two weeks if the employee:

  • Must self-quarantine because they were diagnosed with COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Must comply with a federal or local mandate to self-quarantine.

You will pay two-thirds the employee’s regular rate if they:

  • Must stay home to care for an at-risk family member.
  • Must care for their child because the school or daycare is closed.

Paid sick leave will be administered by the Social Security Administration.

What the Employer Cannot Do

Under this legislation, an employer cannot:

  • Change paid leave policies to circumvent this new law or defray the costs involved
  • Require employees to use paid leave before using their emergency paid sick leave allotment
  • Require employees to find someone to cover their shift.

If we work together to protect ourselves and our employees, we can stop the spread of COVID-19. Our legal team at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser can help your company understand the laws evolving around the COVID-19 outbreak. Contact us online or call us at 484-318-7106 for more information. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Philadelphia and Chester County, as well as in New Jersey.

Important Coronavirus Update for Employers

The national public health crisis of coronavirus COVID-19 is impacting many of us in one way or another. Employers are facing many unprecedented questions surrounding their workers while adhering to all recommendations from legislature and the CDC for the safety and well-being of all.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued new guidance for employers regarding the coronavirus. Specifically, employers may be allowed to require employees to submit to testing and stay at home. The specific guidelines include the following:

  • Employers may ask employees who report symptoms consistent with the COVID-19 infection to submit to non-invasive temperature testing
  • Employers can do this without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that employees who become ill with symptoms of COVID-19 must leave the workplace

These guidelines additionally indicate that, as is consistent with the ADA, employers may require sick employees to stay home. Moreover, employers may require employees who have been away from work due to illness to provide a doctor’s note certifying they are fit for duty. However, employers need to take note that guidance from public health authorities is likely to change as the situation continues to evolve daily or even hourly.

During this time, employers may have many concerns as new issues arrive in the wake of the pandemic. Our experienced legal team at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser remains available to answer your questions and serve your legal needs. We are open for business and can conduct virtual meetings via phone or videoconference. Call us today at 484-318-7106 or contact us online if you have any questions. We serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Philadelphia County and Chester County from our office in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Importance of Employee Appreciation for Every Business

The first Friday in March is Employee Appreciation Day. Employee appreciation is an often-overlooked component of a positive and healthy workplace. It fosters positive morale, motivation, and job satisfaction among workers, which is true for every employee. Whether you are overseeing a global company or a small start-up, every employee wants to be recognized for their contributions. The following are ways to show your team you appreciate their hard work on Employee Appreciation Day and throughout the year:

Communicate Authentically

Employees often feel disconnected or invisible to upper management. Ongoing personal communications make a big difference in helping staff at every level feel seen and heard by their superiors. Even something as simple as saying “Good morning” or “How was your weekend?” fosters personal and meaningful connections that show employees they matter.

Provide Balanced Feedback

Researchers who studied the importance of appreciation in the workplace found that productive feedback from a manager was a primary way an employee felt valued. However, it is important to note that feedback that does not address areas for development is not always helpful, just as all negative feedback would be discouraging. Balance is key.

Consider Flexibility

Today’s workers are looking for more flexibility than ever. Whether that means working from home or giving employees the chance to put in 40 hours according to their own schedule, if your business permits, consider giving workers some freedom to design their workweek. Flexibility to create a schedule that is more ideal for their own personal needs shows workers they are trusted and appreciated.

Talk About Growth

Every employee wants to know they are important and their efforts matter. Make it a habit to review your workers’ career goals and interests and explore their potential for growth in the company. Knowing they are more than just a placeholder shows them their employer is just as invested in their personal success as they are in the future of their business.

These are just a few tips to remember when creating a culture of gratitude in your workplace. While Employee Appreciation Day is a great time to start, make it a habit to tell your employees what you appreciate about their work on a regular basis. Build it into your regular routine with dedicated time at meetings to acknowledge team members or personal notes of appreciation for specific accomplishments. After all, satisfied employees are your best investment.

If you are faced with a lawsuit, the dedicated West Chester small business lawyers at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser work tirelessly on your behalf to protect your interests and business. To learn more about our services and how we can help, call 484-318-7106 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation today. Located in West Chester, we represent business owners throughout the state, including Philadelphia and Chester County.

Why are Human Resource Audits Important?

Proper management of human resources can be pivotal to a business’ success or failure. Employees are the backbone of a business. Therefore, effective human resource management will ensure that the business is handling its employee relations appropriately. Policies relating to benefits, wages, salaries, job descriptions, employee absence, and performance all fall into the umbrella of human resource management. How does a business monitor how well it is doing when it comes to human resource management? A human resource (HR) audit will help a business assess its human resource practices and procedures.

Human Resource Audits

HR audits are an objective review of the human resource policies of an organization to help identify gaps in their practices. The review enables the organization to ensure that these practices and policies comply with the law, are adequate for the company, and effective in meeting its goals. When gaps are identified, the organization can then take measures to correct them and minimize risks to achieve greater success. There are many ways to conduct an HR audit. Depending on the size of the organization and its goals, an audit can be comprehensive or narrowly focused. However, typical audits can be divided into the following types:

Risk Mitigation Audits

Risk mitigation audits focus on whether the organization is complying with the laws and identify gaps in compliance to limit exposure to litigation. The goal is to prevent employment-related lawsuits and federal fines for failing to meet federal employment standards. Most employment-related lawsuits involve hiring practices, termination, and discipline of employees.

Wage and hour laws are complex, and misclassification of employees is common.  An audit can reveal whether employees are being misclassified as exempt or nonexempt from overtime pay. An audit can help an organization catch these misclassifications so that corrections can be made. Additionally, time keeping practices must be accurate to prevent claims regarding inadequate overtime pay.  Furthermore, compliance audits can reveal issues related to fair treatment and sexual harassment.

Value Creation Audits

Value creation audits focus on practices to maximize employee performance. This type of audit can reveal if the performance evaluations are achieving the goal of providing adequate feedback to employees and exposes any issues in the evaluation process so that these can be improved.

Value creation audits also involve a review of compensation packages, such as salaries, wages, and leave of absence that the HR department offers to attract talent. A review may identify benefits not offered that can be implemented to retain and attract talent. For example, an audit may reveal that employees wish for more flexible hours and telecommuting options, which may be an additional benefit that can be offered to employees based on the audit.

An organization can perform an audit in-house or hire outside consultants. Before conducting an audit, it is important to define the type of audit that needs to be performed. After an audit has been conducted, it is vital to evaluate the findings and create action plans to implement the changes suggested by the audit.

The employment and labor law practice at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser offer a full range of services related to human resource management. For assistance with an HR audit at your organization, contact us online or call us at 484-318-7106. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we provide legal services to clients throughout Philadelphia and Chester County.