Page 26 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology - April 2020
P. 26

Healthy Workplaces, Reduced


                  Staffs, Informed Customers


                                                   by Phillip M. Perry
         Businesses face daunting operational challenges with the rapid spread of
         COVID-19. Mandated closures and quarantines, along with growing employee
         illnesses and reduced customer counts, require employers large and small to
         scramble for ways to manage reduced or even eliminated revenues.

         Editor’s Note: We completed work on this article in late March, a time when events surrounding
         the COVID-19 pandemic were moving quickly. While some of the details here might have
         changed by the time you receive this magazine, we believe a good deal of it will remain valid.
         Stay safe. Stay healthy.



              o  the greatest extent possible
              managers  are  requiring  more
         Temployees to work from home—a
         measure that has in fact been mandat-
         ed through  legislation for all non-es-
         sential businesses by a growing num-
         ber of states and municipalities.
           EXPANDED SICK LEAVE
           Revised business policies must com-
         ply with the requirements of the federal
         Families First Coronavirus Response                                                                    Photo illustration © mattjeacock | iStockphoto
         Act  (“FFCRA”),  signed  into  law  on
         March  18,  2020  by  President Trump.
         The legislation has two components: The
         Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPS-
         LA”) provides for two weeks of paid sick
         leave. The Emergency Family and Med-
         ical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLEA”)   closed due to COVID-19. (The law lim-  viduals and $500 billion in corporate aid)
         expands the provisions of the Family   its this additional leave to $200 per day   in an attempt to stabilize the economy.
         Medical Leave  Act  (“FMLA”).  The  law   and $10,000 total per employee).  REGIONAL POLICIES
         is effective through December 31, 2020.  The FFCRA  covers  employers with   And what about those businesses not
           The FFCRA mandates two weeks (up   fewer  than  500  workers.  The  law  ex-  affected by the new federal laws? Should
         to 80 hours) of paid sick leave for full   empts businesses with fewer than 50   they liberalize their own policies?
         time employees:                    workers from the requirement to provide   All employers must be aware that
           • At the  employee’s regular  rate of   leave due to school or child-care center   many states and municipalities  have
         pay for any employee quarantined or   closings, if doing so would jeopardize the   long-standing legislation mandating
         experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and   survival of the business. Part-time em-  sick leave policies. Some of the jurisdic-
         seeking medical diagnosis.         ployees are entitled to paid leave based   tions which mandate some type of sick
           • At two-thirds of the employee’s reg-  on the average number of hours they   leave policies are California, Washing-
         ular rate of pay for any employee caring   work in a given two-week period.  ton, Michigan, Vermont, San Francisco
         for an individual subject to quarantine,   The  above description  is  a capsule   and New York City.
         or for a child whose school or child-care   summary of the law, which has many   Additionally, some  states have  paid
         facility is closed because of COVID-19.  important  qualifications.  Full  details   family leave laws that mandate partial
           There  are limits to the amount of   are  available on  the  website  of  the   pay for employees who are out of work
         paid sick time. The cap is $511 per day   U.S. Department of Labor, at dol.gov.   because they are caring for sick family
         if the employee is  quarantined or  ex-  Search for “Families First Coronavirus   members, says Susan Gross Sholinsky,
         periencing symptoms of the virus and   Response Act: Employer Paid Leave   Vice Chair of the Employment, Labor
         limited to $200 per day if the employee   Requirements.”              & Workforce  Management practice of
         is caring for a family member.       Covered employers qualify for dollar-  Epstein Becker Green in New York
           Additionally,  covered  businesses  for-dollar reimbursement through tax   (ebglaw.com). “Some states’ and cit-
         must also provide individuals who   credits for all qualifying wages paid un-  ies’ sick time laws provide for paid sick
         have  been  employed at least  30 days   der the FFCRA. As we  went to press,   time when an individual’s workplace—
         an additional 10 days of unpaid and 10   Congress was about to sign a $2 trillion   or a child’s school or day care center—
         weeks of paid family and medical leave   package that would provide $350 billion   is shut down due to a declared public
         at two-thirds  the  individual’s regular   of interest-free loans to many small busi-  health emergency.”
         rate of pay if they must care for a child   nesses (as well as direct payments and   Even  companies  located outside  of
         whose school or child-care center is   extended unemployment benefits to indi-         continued on page 28
         26     Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   April 2020
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