Governor Wolf’s administration announces the opening of construction businesses beginning May 1
PA Department of Labor and Industry has issued the following FAQ guidelines for businesses in the construction industry. Click here to download.
Interim Guidance for Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19
To ensure continuity of operations of essential functions, CDC advises that critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community.
Some employers are providing their employees with a letter stating their company is a life-sustaining company to show any members of law enforcement, in the event they are questioned on their commute to the worksite.
Please note: having a letter is not currently required and local enforcement is aware of/utilizing the Updated Industry Operation Guidance List as they do enforcement. Providing employees with a letter is a current “best-practice” for employers who are deemed life-sustaining or have a waiver and would like to provide their employees with some kind of documentation. This is up to the discretion of individual companies.
YCEA has drafted a template, as an example of a best practice that other employers have implemented to inform their employees. Please feel free to use at your discretion. Please click here for the template.
As an added cover, businesses can provide their employees with the Updated Industry Operation Guidance List that shares businesses what may continue physical operations in relation to the Governor’s Executive Order mandating closures for COVID-19 mitigation.
As of April 3, 5:00 pm: The State closed the Waiver Application Process on Friday, April 3. The State’s Life-Sustaining Business FAQ provides further guidance on the Governor’s Executive Order. Businesses seeking further guidance and clarification from PA Department of Community & Economic Development can contact its customer service resource account at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Business Protocols for Employees Return from Traveling
Employees returning from travel should:
- Self-monitor for symptoms like, fever, cough, or trouble breathing.
- Call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) immediately if they become sick.
- Tell their doctor’s office or emergency room before arriving that they have become sick after visiting a country at high risk of COVID-19.
- Know how to self-monitor and practice social distancing.
If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to the disease in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published its first round of implementation guidance for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The guidance addresses critical questions such as:
- How does an employer count its number of employees to determine coverage?
- How can small businesses obtain an exemption?
- How does an employer count hours for part-time employees?
- How does an employer calculate wages employees are entitled to under the FFCRA?
There are three documents: guidance for employers, guidance for employees, and a set of FAQs. Among the most helpful FAQs are #2 (how to count employees); #4 (how a small business with fewer than 50 employees can take advantage of the exemption), and #10 (how the two types of leave interact). The initial WHD guidance is available in three-parts:
The guidance announced today is just the first round of information and compliance assistance to come from WHD. A workplace poster required for most employers will be published later this week, along with additional fact sheets and more Q&A.
WHD provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19, and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.
Information for Manufacturers
MANTEC has created a group forum for manufacturers in Central PA to connect with one another in this time, as well as The Manufacturers’ Association HR Policies and FAQ Guide.
Share Facts About COVID-19
Know the facts and limit spread of rumors – CDC fact sheet.
- For most people, the risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus that causes COVID-19 is believed to be low.
- Someone who has completed quarantine or isolation does not pose a risk of infection to others.
- The disease can make anyone sick regardless of race or ethnicity.
- Practice common hygiene practices to limit exposure.
- Know the signs: fever, cough, shortness of breath.
(Ref: Share Facts About COVID-19)
(Ref: Stigma and Resilience)
Shared Work Program
A Shared-Work plan is available to any employer through the PA Department of Labor & Industry to allow an employer to temporarily reduce the work hours of a group of employees and divide the available hours equally rather than laying off any employees during a temporary slowdown. There must be at least two participating employees, determined without regard to corporate officers. Employees covered by a shared work plan will receive a portion unemployment benefits while they work reduced hours.
How does the program work?
- Identify employees whose work can be reduced by 20-40%. The range percentage must be the same for all employees.
- You have filed all unemployment tax reports and paid off all amounts due under PA Law.
- You have paid wages for the last 12 consecutive quarters.
- Agree to not hire new employees during the period of the plan.
- File an online application at www.uctax.pa.gov,and agree to file claims for partial unemployment benefits for your affected employees.
For more information contact: Sharedwork@pa.gov, call 877-785-1531 or visit UC PA Gov for more details.
Resources for the Workplace
Here are some helpful resources from the U.S Chamber for employers to use in their places of business: