The Excelerator® team created this page to provide guidance and resources to help your business respond to the current crisis.

This Page Contains The Following

Our intention is to provide practical and useful HR information. Please note the evolving situation may make some information outdated.

Insights

Can Employers require these tests? On June 17, 2020 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) clarified how employers may screen workers for COVID-19. If an organization decides to utilize any or all the tests make sure COVID-19 testing...
At the outset of the Covid-19 crisis, U.S. companies — startups to large corporations across all industries — faced the challenge of remote work.As the COVID-19 crisis continues, employers should recognize that a remote workforce may be a strategic a...
ADA​The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act (which include the requirement for reasonable accommodation and non-discrimination based on disability, and rules about employer medical examinations and inquiries), continue to...
As restaurants reopen under current CDC, OSHA, state and local guidelines HR considerations are a critical part of the plan. Following are key HR considerations for your beyond "take-out" reopening.Restaurant Staffing​As restaurants initially operate...

FAQs

Due to the coronavirus, employers must make decisions including furloughs, layoffs (temporary and permanent), reduction in hours and pay, and remote work.
What is the difference between a furlough and a layoff?
The main difference between a furlough and a layoff is that a furlough allows employees to return to their jobs. Some layoffs are temporary, and will recall employees to the job, but in cases where management decides the employees will not be recalled, the layoff becomes permanent.
What is a work furlough?
Work furlough equates to a temporary layoff by an employer to cut payroll costs. The furlough generally has a predetermined beginning and end date. Most furloughs end after a few weeks. During the furlough period, the employee does not receive pay. What many employers do not know is that a work furlough generally qualifies employees for unemployment benefits. Employees also can request to use paid personal time or paid vacation time during the furlough period. This provides them with pay during part or all of a furlough period.
If I have temporarily laid off an employee, do I have to pay them any wages?
An employer is only responsible to pay wages for the time worked, unless otherwise specified in a written contract. This applies to exempt and non-exempt employees. Certain states/cities may require show up pay if it is a partial shift. If you layoff employees, encourage them to immediately apply for unemployment. There is a backlog and employees will want to get on the unemployment office list early.
Do I have to provide notice to employees if they are going to be laid off?
Most employees are “at will” meaning that the relationship between the employer and employee can be severed without notice (as well as the employee can leave without notice). That said, providing as much notice as possible will help employees in making a transition to either unemployment or a new position. If the employee has a written contract, please review the contract to understand the requirements around notice and pay.
Are employees laid off, either temporarily or permanently, eligible to receive unemployment?
In most cases, yes. The state ultimately determines eligibility, but layoffs generally qualify. The coronavirus relief bills have also expanded benefits and streamlined the process. Encourage employees to apply for unemployment and quickly respond to any inquiries by the state.
Should I keep employees temporarily laid off in the payroll system or terminate them?
That is up to the discretion of each employer. If you intend to bring the employees back, we recommend keeping them in the payroll system. It makes it easier to bring them back. Be sure to respond to any requests for unemployment information when the employee files a claim.
Do I have to pay out unused vacation when laying off an employee?
The requirement to pay unused vacation upon layoff varies by state/city and your company policy. In general, it is a best practice to pay unpaid vacation as it is no fault of the employee that they were laid off during the coronavirus situation.
Do I have to pay out unused sick time if an employee is laid off?
The requirement to pay out unused sick time upon layoff varies by state/city and your company policy.
Do I have to pay employees sick time if they are out due to coronavirus?
Employers with less than 500 employees are required to pay up to 2 weeks of sick time to employees who are sick or caring for someone who is sick or in quarantine due to the virus as part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Employees are also eligible for paid sick time on account of taking time off to care for a child that is home due to a school closure. Employers are eligible to receive tax credits as reimbursement.
Can I require employees to work the same schedule when working remotely?
Yes, you can apply the same office hours or work schedule to employees working remotely as you did when working on site. However, some flexibility may be appropriate given the circumstances, particularly with start and stop times.
Can I reduce employee wages temporarily during the coronavirus situation?
If there is no written contract stating otherwise, wages can be reduced as long as they do not fall below minimum wage. If wages are reduced, employees may be eligible for unemployment benefits and should be encouraged to apply. When making a decision to reduce wages, it is advisable to apply reductions fairly to all employee to avoid potential discrimination claims.
If an employee makes a harassment or discrimination complaint, can I delay addressing it until after the coronavirus situation is resolved?
We do not recommend holding off. The same anti-harassment and discrimination laws apply. Not addressing an issue can end up causing you more harm due to a potential lawsuit. While businesses are likely to receive financial assistance due to damages suffered as a result of the virus, there will be no protections for failing to fulfill the employer obligations related to providing a harassment and discrimination free environment.
Can I hold employees accountable for performance issues while working remotely?
Yes, employers can continue to set performance expectations and hold employees accountable for their performance. While working remotely, it is best to have performance conversations over the phone or on a video call. Keep in mind that these are trying times, so everyone is trying to adjust, and employees may need time to get into the swing of things. Also keep in mind the equipment you have provided to work remotely. It should be what the employee needs to do their job well.

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