We are facing the reality of the on-going contamination of the virus called Coronavirus or as we refer to this as the COVID-19 pandemic. We are facing challenges and changes daily. With the new legislation, we can look forward to some things to help us as we deal with the changes that confront us.
THE BILL WILL PROVIDE:
- Free testing for the coronavirus if a medical condition is met.
- Paid sick leave.
- Unemployment insurance has been enhanced.
- Funding additional monies for nutrition programs.
If an employer has fewer than 500 employees then that employer must provide 80 hours of sick leave benefits if:
- A doctor has ordered that the employee be isolated and self-quarantined.
- The employee has symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis or if they are caring for a relative who is in quarantine or isolation. And especially if children are involved with school or daycare that is closed.
- The cap for the sick-leave benefits will be $511 a day for the employee’s care for themselves and $200 a day when the employee is caring for someone else. The expiration of the benefits is at the end of the year.
EXCEPTIONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES:
Employers that are covered will be eligible for tax credits that are refundable. Those that have fewer than 50 employees can apply for an exemption if the paid sick leave would jeopardize the success of the small business.
Covered employers will be eligible for refundable tax credits. Employers with fewer than 50 workers can also apply for an exemption from providing paid sick leave if it “would jeopardize the viability of the business.” People who are self-employed will be eligible for a tax credit to cover the benefits. A tax credit is an amount of money and a tax incentive that will reduce the taxes owed to the government.
THE SHORT TIME COMPENSATION PROGRAM:
Encouraging work sharing as an alternative to layoff would allow employers to retain their workforce in times of temporary slowdown by this program. The program permits prorated reemployment assistance benefits to employees whose work hours and earnings are reduced as part of a Short Time Compensation plan as a way to avoid total layoff of some employees.
TAKING EMPLOYEE’S TEMPERATURE
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has given the right for employers to take an employee’s temperature. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have acknowledged the community spread of COVID-19 and agree that employers may measure employee’s body temperature. The Agency states that generally speaking this is nearly a medical examination.
This may be done as a measure to prevent spreading the virus. But this may not be enough as some people with COVID-19 do not have a fever and not all people with a fever have COVID-19.
To ensure that there is social distancing please keep at least six feet apart when you are standing in line. Bear in mind that taking temperatures may not be nearly as effective at preventing the spread of the coronavirus as frequent hand washing and sheltering in place, where and if possible. To help fight against COVID-19 use your common sense, stay safe and be kind to one another.