Employers with employees commuting to and from a business deemed life-sustaining may be questioning if their employees need a waiver for their employees to carry during their travels for or to work.
Having a letter is not currently required and local enforcement is aware of/utilizing the list as they do enforcement, but 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. An updated list of business that may continue physical operation can be viewed here.
We again want to stress that employers are not legally required to carry the life-sustaining list or a letter stating they are able to travel, the template is an example of a best practice that other employers have implemented to inform their employees. Here is a sample template.
YCEA does not play a role in reviewing, approving, or denying waivers. Any business that would like to seek a waiver or follow-up on a waiver should email RAemail@example.com. In addition, if businesses need to know whether they should close they can contact the Administration at firstname.lastname@example.org. Businesses are encouraged to connect with their State Rep./State Sen. on emails to assist with follow up. Confirm who is your legislator by clicking here and entering your address.
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.
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.