When you were building your plans for 2020, did you think about paid leave would impact your department? You probably gave it some thought, especially if you were near the threshold of 50 employees, but, likely, you didn’t spend too much energy because you were already in compliance.
However, that might have all changed on March 18, 2020.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic creating medical and economic hardships across the nation, President Trump signed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” into effect shortly after the Senate passed the multi-billion-dollar aid package on Wednesday.
This bill passed through the Senate relatively quickly, with a vote of 90-8, with it only being introduced by The House on Saturday morning and passed on Monday.
So, what does this bill mean for human resources departments? It means a significant change in approach in these already trying times in order to remain compliant. Specifically, it provides:
- Free coronavirus testing
- Two weeks of paid sick leave to employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 or asked to quarantine. Under this act, they will be paid their entire salary, up to $511 per day
- Two weeks paid sick leave to employees caring for someone diagnosed with COVID-19. Under this act, they will be paid up to $200 per day
- Exemptions include health providers (hospitals and nursing homes), companies with over 500 employees, and small business can apply for exemptions
- Parents can apply for paid family leave for three months if their children’s schools are closed
It’s essential to understand the different ways employees might qualify for paid sick leave as we navigate through increased regulations on organizations. Businesses who pay paid sick leave will be reimbursed in full within three months through a payroll tax credit. These protections do apply to part-time employees, but they must have worked for the organization for at least 30 days.
Chances are other relief bills will be passed in the coming weeks as the nation takes social distancing seriously to flatten the curve of COVID-19 spreading. At the present, the Senate is working on a more massive aid bill focused on assisting small businesses and the airline industry.
If your organization is unsure about how to approach this new bill or need help with critical business practices (documentation and actions), we’re here to assist. We can help you build processes and documents for payroll and human resources operating procedures. Especially for small- and mid-sized organizations where payroll and HR funnel through one or few people, it’s necessary now more than ever to have these processes documented. If you don’t, you run the risk of having your payroll team out on sick leave and no way to pay your employees. We’re now offering our standard operating procedure (SOP) services as a bundle during this crisis.