COVID-19: Resources Available to Aid Your Business
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How to Restart Your Business
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to have an unprecedented effect on daily life, many business owners are looking forward to the future and a return to normalcy. However, even when stay-at-home orders are lifted and nonessential businesses are allowed to resume operations, there’s a lot for organizations to consider before they reopen their doors.
Telecommuting is the term for working from a remote location. Workers are connected to employers and company servers via the internet and are able to communicate regularly in real time using email, instant messaging, webcams and conference calls. Whether and how a company implements a telecommuting program (either on a targeted or full-scale basis) is largely dependent on its employees, facilities and needs. With the increase in remote work during this COVID-19 outbreak, many organizations are particularly vulnerable to new data privacy and cybersecurity exposures. Now more than ever, even a minor incident can be devastating to a business. Regardless, the risks and benefits of instituting such a program must carefully be weighed.
Click here for resource materials addressing the rise of telecommuting, the pros and cons of instituting the practice in a workplace, and potential legal issues organizations that allow telecommuting may run into
How to Handle EEs Affected by COVID-19
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to escalate, many employers are left wondering what they can do to protect their workforce, while limiting the spread of COVID-19. Employers are faced with navigating uncharted situations with guidance coming from federal, state and local entities. As more is understood about the coronavirus, the guidelines change on how to best protect your employees from spreading COVID-19.
OSHA Considerations and COVID-19
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognized that due to this pandemic, there have been some unique challenges presented that they have had to address. The reprioritization of respirators has created a shortage for employers with essential employees. As a result OSHA has temporally relaxed their standards for use of respirators. Furthermore, OSHA has addressed the recordability of COVID-19.
Families First Coronavirus Recovery Act (FFCRA)
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions apply from the effective date of April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. The FFCRA created two new emergency paid leave requirements in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic: Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Emergency FMLA Leave. Under the former, an employee may take up to 80 hours (two weeks) of Emergency Paid Sick Leave for COVID-19 qualifying reasons, and under the latter, an employee may take up to 12 weeks of Emergency FMLA Leave for COVID 19 child care related reasons. Covered employers qualify for dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for all qualifying wages paid under the FFCRA; applicable tax credits also extend to amounts paid or incurred to maintain health insurance coverage.
How Your Benefits Plan Can Help During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
You and your employees pay a lot of money for your group benefits. Make sure you get the most out of your plan to assist your employees with their physical and mental well-being. Telemedicine is a great tool to communicate virtually with providers while Employee Assistance Programs grant access to mental health professionals.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has put a major strain on every aspect of daily life. In response, the United States government has passed a historic stimulus package. This legislation provides direct payments to many Americans and expands unemployment insurance. In addition, it provides low-interest loans and tax credits for small businesses.
The workforce was strained greatly as shelter in place orders were implemented across the nation. As businesses stayed open and personal protective equipment was prioritized for medical personnel, there was a need for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and individual states to issue protective measures for both critical and essential workers.
Business Interruption Coverage
The impact of COVID-19 on American businesses has increased dramatically over the last several weeks as state and local governments order mandatory shut-downs and ‘shelter in place’ orders. The likelihood of triggering Business Interruption coverage without a physical loss is going to be an uphill battle, but due to pending legislation in many states (Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey), rumors of pending legislation at the federal level, declaratory judgments being filed, and the possibility of future class action suits, there are now enough extraneous factors that it is prudent for many of our clients to file claims because of this uncertainty.
Please contact us directly to learn how we can help you navigate your business interruption options.
Health Plans Must Provide Free Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing
Health plans and health insurance issuers must cover COVID-19 testing without any deductible, copayments or other cost sharing, effective March 18, 2020. This mandate applies to fully insured group health plans, self-insured group health plans and individual coverage.