A Message from WorkForce Software
As we navigate this confusing and ever-evolving challenge together, WorkForce Software’s top priority is ensuring the safety and well-being of our community. This resource center is a part of our concerted effort to support our customers, employees, and organizations alike with vital information to help cope during these unprecedented times, especially as it relates to changing working environments, absenteeism, stress, and feelings of fear and uncertainty. We will continue to monitor the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on a daily basis and update our resources with credible information accordingly. In the meantime, it’s more important than ever that we use this opportunity to come together—please take care of yourselves, your families, and those around you.
We are monitoring and compiling resources for employers to stay on top of emerging regulations, tips for compliance, and more related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Employers must implement policies to avoid employee exposure and minimize absenteeism while maintaining operations. If a crisis affects one or more of your employees, it is likely that you will experience absenteeism in the workplace.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, a spike in absenteeism is expected for a variety of reasons—fear and uncertainty, lack of childcare, personal illness, and caring for an affected family member. For every jurisdiction where you have operations, it is crucial to take the necessary steps to ensure everyone in your organization understands and protects employees’ legal rights.
Existing and Emerging Laws
We are providing the content below to assist employers in keeping up-to-date with the rapidly changing regulatory landscape related to COVID-19. The content below is not legal advice. Please consult with your own legal counsel regarding company policies and the impacts of current and pending legislation.
Canada | Federal | In Effect
Effective March 25, 2020, the Canada Labour Code was amended to provide leave related to COVID-19 of up to 16 weeks.
Alberta | In Effect
Alberta implemented a temporary change to the Employment Standards Code, extending unpaid job-protected leave to employees caring for children affected by school and daycare closures or ill or self-isolated family members due to COVID-19. The requirement that employees be employed for 90 days before using this leave is waived and the duration of the leave is flexible and may extend beyond 14 days.
An employee is entitled to unpaid leave for 14 consecutive days if the employee is under quarantine due to COVID-19. “Quarantine” includes any self-isolation and self-quarantine as a result of COVID-19, as may be recommended or directed by the Chief Medical Officer. The Minister may extend the leave if the Chief Medical officer deems it necessary to suppress COVID-19, protect others, or break the chain of transmission. The requirement that employees be employed for 90 days before using this leave is waived.
British Columbia | In Effect
An employee can take unpaid, job-protected leave related to COVID-19 if they’re unable to work for any of the following reasons:(1) They have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are following the instructions of a medical health officer or the advice of a doctor or nurse; (2) They are in quarantine or self-isolation and are acting in accordance with an an order of the provincial health officer; (3) Their employer has directed them not to work due to concern about their exposure to others; (4) They need to provide care to their minor child or a dependent adult who is their child or former foster child for a reason related to COVID-19, including a school, daycare or similar facility closure; and (5) They are outside of BC and unable to return to work due to border restrictions, The COVID-19 leave is retroactive to January 27, 2020.
Manitoba | In Effect
Manitoba has a new temporary, public health emergency leave for employees unable to work because of circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These circumstances include: (1) the employee is under medical investigation, supervision, or treatment; (2) the employee is required to quarantine, self-isolate, or take other measures resulting in an inability to work; (3) the employer has directed the employee not to work due to the employer’s concern about the employee’s exposure to others; (4) the employee is providing care to a family member resulting from a closure of school or child care premises; (5) the employee is directly affected by travel restrictions; or (6) the employee is subject to an order under the Public Health Act or the Emergency Measures Act. The employee is entitled to leave during the period one of these circumstances exists and ends when none of the circumstances apply. Employers are not permitted to request a physician’s certificate or medical certificate to verify an employee’s eligibility to take Public Health Emergency Leave.
New Brunswick | In Effect
On April 17, 2020, New Brunswick enacted an Emergency Leave. Under this new leave, employers must grant leave to the following employees: (a) an employee under medical investigation, supervision, or treatment related to COVID-19; (b) an employee acting according to an order under section 33, 36, or 41 of the Public Health Act related to COVID-19; (c) an employee quarantined or isolated or subject to a control measure, including self-isolation, and the quarantine, isolation, or control measure was implemented as a result of information or directions related to COVID-19 issued or provided to the public, wholly or partly, or to one or more individuals, through any appropriate means of communication by a medical officer, a medical practitioner, a nurse practitioner, a nurse, Tele-Care, the Governments of New Brunswick or Canada or a department or agency of the Governments of New Brunswick or Canada or a council of local government; (d) an employee under a direction given by their employer in response to a concern of the employer that the employee may expose others in the workplace to COVID-19; (e) an employee providing care or support to an individual with whom the employee shares a close family relationship because of a matter related to COVID-19 concerning the individual, including school or early learning and childcare facility closures; and (f) an employee directly affected by travel restrictions related to COVID-19 and, under the circumstances, cannot reasonably be expected to travel back to New Brunswick. The leave must end on whichever occurs first: (a) the date the employee and employer agree; (b) when the purpose of the leave no longer exists; (c) the date this regulation is repealed.
Newfoundland | In Effect
Employees are entitled to leave without pay where they are not performing their job duties because of one or more reasons related to a designated communicable disease, such as COVID-19: (a) the employee is under medical investigation, supervision, or treatment; (b) the employee is acting according to an order under the Public Health Protection and Promotion Act; (c) the employee is in isolation or quarantine or is subject to a control measure including self isolation, and the quarantine, isolation, or control measure was implemented as a result of information or directions issued to the public, wholly or partly, or to one or more individuals, by the Chief Medical Officer of Health or the provincial Government; (d) the employee is under direction from their employer or in response to the employer’s concern that the employee may expose others in the workplace; (e) the employee is providing care or support to a covered family member, including a school or child care closing; (f) the employee is directly affected by travel restrictions; and (g) other reasons prescribed by regulations.
Ontario | In Effect
The Ontario Employment Standards Act was amended to provide leave without pay if an employee will not be performing the duties of their position because of various reasons related to a designated infectious disease, including that: (1) the employee is under medical investigation, supervision, or treatment; (2) the employee is acting in accordance with an order under section 22 or 35 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act relating to the designated infectious disease; (3) the employee is in quarantine or isolation or is subject to a control measure, and the quarantine, isolation, or control measure was implemented as a result of information or directions related to the designated infectious disease issued to the public, in whole or in part, or to one or more individuals, by a public health official, a qualified health practitioner, Telehealth Ontario, the Ontario Government, the Government of Canada, a municipal council or board of health; (4) the employee is under a direction given by their employer in response to a concern of the employer that the employee may expose other individuals in the workplace to the designated infectious disease. (5) the employee is providing care or support to another individual; or (6) the employee is affected by travel restrictions. And as of March 1, 2020, an employee whose hours of work are temporarily reduced or eliminated for reasons related to the designated infectious disease are deemed to be on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave.The following diseases are designated as infectious diseases: diseases caused by a novel coronavirus, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, and COVID-19.
Saskatchewan | In Effect
The Saskatchewan Employment Act was amended to ensure employees job protected leave during a public health emergency. The amendments removed the requirement of 13 consecutive weeks of employment with the employer before accessing sick leave and removed the provision requiring a doctor’s note or certificate. The amendment also introduced new unpaid public health emergency leave that can be taken: (1) when the World Health Organization determines there is a public health emergency and the province’s chief medical health officer has also issued an order that measures be taken to reduce the spread of a disease; or (2) the province’s chief medical officer has independently issued an order that measures be taken provincially to reduce the spread of a disease where it is believed there is sufficient risk of harm to the citizens of the province. The orders would also be made public to ensure everyone is aware of the direction.
Through new regulation SR 62/2020—The Employment Standards (Public Emergencies) Amendment Regulations, 2020 (No. 2)—public health emergency leave is deemed to apply to an employee required to provide care and support to the employee’s adult family member affected by a direction or order of the Government of Saskatchewan or an order of the chief medical officer. The opinion of a duly qualified medical practitioner, the Government of Saskatchewan, or the chief medical officer prevails if there is a conflict of opinion between: (i) the employer of the employee; and (ii) the duly qualified medical practitioner as expressed in an opinion, the Government of Saskatchewan as expressed in an order, or direction of the chief medical health officer as expressed in an order.
Also, as set forth in regulation SR 62/2020, public health emergency leave leave does not apply to employees informed in writing by their employer that they are necessary to provide critical public health and safety services.
We have highlighted some of the most impactful changes to the United Kingdom’s empoyement law, some of which are already in effect and others in effect April 1.
Read UK Employers, These Are the Employment Law Changes You Need to Know About
US Federal | In Effect
Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act
On March 18, 2020, the U.S. Congress passed, and the President signed, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (Act) which takes effect April 1, 2020 and expires on December 31, 2020. The Act covers private employers with fewer than 500 employees (as well as public agencies with at least one employee), and full-time and part-time employees who have been on the employer’s payroll for 30 days. Nevertheless, employers can exclude employees who are health care providers or emergency responders from this emergency entitlement.
Eligible employees may take up to 12 weeks of Expanded FMLA leave for a qualifying need related to a public health emergency. This qualifying need, however, is limited to situations where employees are unable to work (or telework) to care for a child if the child’s school or childcare facility has been physically closed or unavailable because of a public health emergency. The first 10 days of leave are unpaid, but employees may substitute accrued paid leave: and the final 10 weeks are unpaid at 2/3 the employee’s regular pay rate for the number of hours the employee would have been scheduled to work to a maximum of $200 per day and $10,000 in total.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
The effective date of this new law is April 1, 2020 and it expires on December 31, 2020. The law covers private employers with fewer than 500 employees; public agencies such as federal and state governments, political subdivisions, and schools; and other entities that are not private entities. Employees are immediately eligible for paid sick leave, but employers of health care providers or emergency responders may elect not to provide this leave to those employees.
Covered employers must provide paid sick leave to employees unable to work (or telework) for the following reasons: (1) the employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; (2) the employee was advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19; (3) the employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a diagnosis; (4) the employee is caring for an individual subject to a quarantine or isolation order; (5) the employee is caring for a son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 precautions; or (6) the employee is experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.
Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours of leave at their regular rate of pay. When caring for a family member (reasons 4, 5, and 6), however, emergency sick leave is paid at 2/3 the employee’s regular rate. Part-time employees are entitled to the number of hours of leave the employee works on average over a two-week period. And the Act requires employers to allow employees to first use emergency paid sick leave, then decide to use any remaining accrued paid leave under a workplace policy. Employers may not force employees to first use accrued leave under a policy.
Paid leave is limited to $511 per day and $5,110 in total when leave is used for reasons (1), (2), and (3) above; and $200 per day and $2,000 in total where leave is used for reasons (4), (5), and (6).
California | In Effect
California State Disability Insurance/Paid Family Leave California State Disability Insurance (SDI) and California Paid Family Leave (PFL) have been made available to workers who contract or were exposed to COVID–19, and who have proper medical documentation. The one-week unpaid waiting period also has been waived. PFL may be available when employees must take care of a family member with or who is quarantined by COVID-19, with proper medical documentation.
California’s Governor signed Executive Order N-51-20 granting two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave to certain Food Sector Workers, provided the leave is used for specified qualified reasons. The Executive Order covers hiring entities defined as a private entity, including delivery network companies and transportation network companies, with 500 or more employees in the United States. Food Sector Workers performing work for or through a hiring entity are entitled to supplemental paid sick leave, if the Food Service Worker satisfies one of three conditions:(1) the worker is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; (2) the worker is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to COVID-19 concerns; or (3) the worker is prohibited from working due to health concerns related to the transmission of COVID-19. Full-time workers are entitle to 80 hours of leave and other workers are eligible for variable leave amounts based upon their hours worked (e.g. a non full-time worker with a normal weekly schedule is entitled to paid leave hours equal to the total number of hours the worker is scheduled to work over two weeks).
Chicago | In Effect
On May 20, 2020, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance protecting employees from workplace retaliation if they obey public health orders to stay home because of COVID-19. Covered employers include individuals and companies maintaining a business facility within Chicago or who are subject to at least one of the city’s licensing requirements. Covered employees generally include employees who, in any particular two-week period, perform at least two hours of work for a covered employer while physically present within the geographic boundaries of Chicago. In general, the ordinance protects from retaliation employees who: (1) stay home to obey public health orders; (2) comply with a healthcare provider’s order to stay home; or (3) stay home to care for individuals ordered to stay home. Therefore, under the new ordinance,employers are prohibited from taking any adverse action against employees obeying an order issued by the Mayor, the Governor of Illinois, or the Department of Health to: stay home to minimize the transmission of COVID-19; remain home while experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or sick with COVID-19; obey a quarantine order issued to the employee; obey an isolation order issued to the employee; or obey an order issued by the Health Commissioner regarding the duties of hospitals and other congregate facilities. Additionally, the ordinance prohibits employers from taking adverse action against an employee if the employee is caring for an individual subject to an order requiring the individual to: stay home to minimize the transmission of COVID-19; remain home while experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or sick with COVID-19; or (3) obey a quarantine order issued to the individual.
Colorado | In Effect
The new Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay Rules (HELP Rules), effective March 11, 2020, require certain employers to provide up to two weeks–a maximum of 80 hours–of paid sick leave to employees with flu-like or respiratory illness symptoms who are being tested for COVID-19 or are under instructions from a health care provider or authorized government official to quarantine or isolate due to a risk of having COVID-19. Employers in the following industries or fields must provide this leave: leisure and hospitality; food services; retail establishments; real estate sales and leasing; offices and office work; elective health services (including medical, dental, or other health services); personal care services (hair, beauty, spas, massage, tatoos, pet care, or substantially similar services); food and beverage manufacturing; child care; education at all levels (including related services including but not limited to cafeterias and transportation to, from, and on campuses); home health care (working with elderly, disabled, ill, or otherwise high risk people); nursing homes; and community living facilities. Employers are not required to offer additional days of paid sick leave if they already offer all employees an amount of paid leave sufficient to comply with the HELP Rules. The leave ends when the employee: (1) receives a negative COVID-19 test; (2) is free from fever for 72 hours; and (3) other symptoms have resolved. Nevertheless, the leave cannot end before an employee has been off for at least seven calendar days, or 10 calendar days for health care workers. The 80 hours of leave must be provided and paid at two-thirds of an employee’s regular rate of pay. These Rules remain in effect for the longer of (A) 30 days after adoption, or (B) the duration of Disaster Emergency declared by the Governor, up to a maximum of 120 days after the adoption of these emergency rules.
District of Columbia | In Effect
On March 17, 2020, the District of Columbia enacted the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act (CREA Act) in response to COVID-19. The Act expands the D.C. Family and Medical Leave Act by creating a new Declaration of Emergency (DOE) leave. Employees may take DOE leave when they are unable to work during a period when the mayor has declared a public health emergency and the mayor, federal or state official, or a medical professional, has ordered or recommended that the employee quarantine or self-isolate. In these situations, the Act suspends the one year of employment and 1000 hours of service requirements for eligibility. The new leave is indefinite during the public health emergency and applies to all employers in the District regardless of size, but expires on June 15, 2020, absent any extensions.
On April 20, 2020, the D.C. Office of Human Rights (OHR) issued Enforcement Guidance 20-001 on the CREA Act indicating that if an eligible employee who is caregiver of a child is unable to work due to the closure of the child’s school or childcare facility in connection with the COVID-19 emergency, the employee may take DOE leave.
On April 10, 2020, DC’s Mayor signed the COVID-19 Response Supplemental Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (Emergency Act). The Emergency Act temporarily expands DC’s Paid Sick Leave law, requiring employers with between 50 and 499 employees to provide declaration of emergency (DOE) leave for any reasons employees might take leave under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. These reasons include when an employee is unable to work because: (a) the employee has been recommended to self-isolate or has been quarantined following exposure to COVID-19; (b) the employee must care for an individual for exposure or symptoms related to COVID-19; (c) the employee must care for a son or daughter whose school or place of care closes because of COVID-19.The Emergency Act offers full-time employees up to 80 hours of paid DOE leave, and part-time employees may be entitled to paid leave equal to the usual number of hours the employee works in a two-week period, The law remains in effect until July 9, 2020.
Long Beach | In Effect
On May 19, 2020, Long Beach, California passed an ordinance immediately requiring supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-19 reasons. The ordinance applies to employers with 500 or more employees nationally, excluding those wholly or partly required to provide paid sick leave under the federal Paid Sick Leave Act, and covers any employees performing any work in Long Beach. Employers must provide 80 hours of leave to full-time employees and, for part-time employees, an amount equal to the hours an employee works, on average, over a two-week period during the six-month period (or period of employment) preceding May 19. Nevertheless, employers may reduce the amount of leave they must provide by the number of paid leave hours, excluding previously accrued hours, provided to employees on or after March 4, 2020, that employees could use for COVID-19 reasons. Employees can use supplemental paid sick leave if: (1) they or someone they are caring for is subject to quarantine or isolation by federal, state, or local order due to COVID-19; (2) they or someone they are caring for are advised by a health-care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19; (3) they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis; and (4) they are caring for a minor child because the child’s school, daycare, or childcare provider is closed or unavailable because of COVID-19 and they are unable to secure a reasonable alternative caregiver.The ordinance has no end date, but the city manager must report to the city council and mayor every 90 days, and the city council will determine whether and when the law no longer applies.
Los Angeles | In Effect
Los Angeles now requires employers with 500 or more employees in the City or 2000 or more employees nationally to provide supplemental paid sick leave up to two weeks (80 hours) for reasons related to COVID-19. All employees,subject to certain exceptions such as emergency and health services personnel, who have been with the same employer from February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020 are entitled to supplemental paid sick leave.
Los Angeles County | In Effect
On April 28, 2020, Los Angeles County passed an interim urgency ordinance requiring employers with 500 or more employees nationally to provide supplemental paid sick leave to employees in Los Angeles County for COVID-19 reasons. Eligible employees are entitled to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave for full-time employees, calculated on an employee’s highest average two week pay over the period of January 1, 2020 through the effective date of the ordinance. Part-time employees are entitled to receive supplemental paid sick leave in an amount no greater than the employee’s average two week pay from January 1, 2020 through the ordinance’s effective date. Paid leave benefits are capped at $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate. The ordinance expires on December 31, 2020 unless action is taken to extend it.
Michigan | In Effect
On April 3, 2020, Michigan’s Governor signed Executive Order 2020-36 expanding the protections of Michigan’s Paid Medical Leave Act by prohibiting retaliation against workers particularly at risk of infecting others in the workplace with COVID-19. Under the Executive Order, employers must treat employees particularly at risk of infecting others with COVID-19 as if they were taking leave under the Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act even if they do not have paid leave available to use. The expansion is in effect until the end of the declared state of emergency.
Minneapolis | In Effect
Minneapolis issued guidance regarding the application of the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance to absences related to COVID-19. The guidance clarified that employees may use accrued sick and safe time for absences related to: (1) Testing; (2) Care or quarantine due to COVID-19 symptoms or testing; (3) Quarantine following close contact with a COVID-19 infected or symptomatic person; (4) Caring for family members whose school or place of care closes due to COVID-19; and (5) Workplace closures by order of a public official.
Nevada | In Effect
The Nevada Labor Commissioner’s Office issued formal guidance concerning employee rights and employer obligations regarding mandatory paid leave rights in consideration of COVID-19. The Commissioner advises that employers must not deduct hours from employees’ paid leave balance if they miss work due to mandatory government quarantine by a state, federal, or local agency for exposure to COVID-19.
New Jersey | In Effect
New Jersey amended its Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law, Family Leave Act, and the Temporary Disability Benefits Law to protect employees unable to work due to circumstances caused by COVID-19. The amendments took effect immediately and are retroactive to March 25, 2020..Moreover, the amendments are permanent and will cover any future pandemics or epidemics.
New York (State) | In Effect
For employees subject to precautionary or mandatory orders of quarantine or isolation, a new bill requires the following: (1) employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income of less than $1 million must provide job protection for the duration of the order and Paid Family Leave and short-term disability benefits for salaries up to $150,000; (2) employers with 11-99 employees and employers with 10 or fewer employees and a net income greater than $1 million must provide at least 5 days of paid sick leave, job protection and Paid Family Leave and short-term disability benefits up to $150,000; (3) employers with 100 or more employees, as well as all public employers, at least 14 days of paid sick leave and guarantee job protection for the duration of the quarantine order. This took effect immediately (March 18, 2020).
On May 17, 2020, the New York Department of Health and New York Department of Labor issued joint Guidance that takes the position that, contrary to what is set forth in the law and regulations (discussed above), there are situations where health care employees may be eligible for paid sick leave in the absence of a precautionary or mandatory order of quarantine or isolation. The Guidance provides various scenarios where health care employees would be entitled to paid sick leave without presenting an order such as where the employee has: (1) been exposed to COVID-19; (2) exhibits symptoms of COVID-19; and/or (3) is diagnose with COVID-19. Under these scenarios an employee is deemed to be subject to a mandatory quarantine from the Department of Health. Another scenario where a COVID-19 order is not required per the Guidance is when a health care provider has tested positive for COVID-19 and/or is symptomatic of COVID-19 and the employee must not report to work. The Guidance, however, sets forth exceptions to the above scenarios.
Oakland | In Effect
On May 12, 2020, the city of Oakland, California enacted a law requiring supplemental paid sick leave for several COVID-19 reasons including if the employee is quarantined/isolated, has experienced COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking medical diagnosis, or is caring for a quarantined or isolated individual. The law covers most private employers, but exempts employers employing fewer than 50 employees between February 3, 2020 and March 4, 2020 (e.g. small employers). The requirement to provide this leave does not apply to employers that, after February 3, 2020, provide employees with the ability to accrue at least 160 hours of paid personal leave but for this exemption to apply each employee must have immediate access to at least 80 hours of leave after May 12 for uses required by the law. Otherwise, the law mandates that employers provide 80 hours of leave to employees who worked at least 40 hours per week in Oakland between February 3, 2020 and March 4, 2020 or at any time thereafter, or who the employer classifies as full-time. Employees who are not full-time receive leave equal to the average number of hours they worked in Oakland over 14 days during the period of February 3, 2020 and March 4, 2020. The law requires, however, that the 14 days be the 14 days with the highest number of hours worked in Oakland, but covered employers may offset this leave obligation with sick leave hours provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This law took immediate effect and will remain in effect through December 31, 2020, unless Oakland extends the law’s end date.
Oregon | In Effect
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries has temporarily expanded the Oregon Family Leave ACT (OFLA) to cover parents who must stay home from work to be with a child whose school or place of care has been closed in conjunction with a statewide public health emergency declared by a public health official. The effective date of the temporary order is 3/18/2020 through 9/13/2020. OFLA applies to employers with 25 or more employees.
Philadelphia | In Effect
Philadelphia expanded coverage under the city’s Paid Sick Time Ordinance to address issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, including: (1) Seeking treatment for the employee’s illness due to COVID-19; (2) Self-quarantining because the employee is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms; (3) Self-quarantining because the employee has come into contact with someone diagnosed with the virus; (4) Caring for a family member who is home due to closure of a school, childcare facility, or adult care facility; (5) Remaining home because of a workplace closure order issued by the Governor or Mayor; (6) Remaining home because the employee or a family member has a greater risk of harm if they contract the virus, including a compromised immune system.
Puerto Rico | In Effect
On April 9, 2020, Act No. 37-2020 took effect which provides private sector, nonexempt employees with a special emergency paid leave of five working days during a public health emergency declared by the Governor of Puerto Rico or the Secretary of the Puerto Rico Health Department. Under the Act, any non-exempt employees who suffer or suspect that they suffer from the health condition leading to the state of emergency can use all other accrued and available leaves, after exhausting their accrued sick leave. Should employees still need additional leave, they are entitled to the special emergency paid leave of up to five working days.
Rhode Island | In Effect
For COVID-19 related claims, Rhode Island will waive the 7-day waiting period and waive the amount of time claimants must be out of work to qualify for TDI/TCI benefits. Also, for qualified individuals Rhode Island will waive the medical certification requirement and allow workers to self-attest to their condition. Nevertheless, claimants who self-attest to their COVID-19 diagnosis or quarantine are still required, within 14 days, to be examined by a healthcare provider and submit documentation from a healthcare provider that they are unable to work due to illness or quarantine, absent good cause for a waiver or extension of these requirements.
San Francisco | In Effect
On March 16, 2020, San Francisco announced a Workers and Families First program to provide additional paid sick leave benefits for employees affected by COVID-19. The plan provides $10 million in funding that will allow businesses to grant an additional five days of sick leave pay beyond their present policies. All businesses will be eligible to receive the optional funds. The program is available only if: (1) The employee has exhausted their current sick leave; (2) The employee has exhausted or is not eligible for federal or state supplemental sick leave; and (3) The employer agrees to extend sick leave beyond their current policy benefits.
Additionally, the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement issued updated guidance regarding using San Francisco Paid Sick Leave during the local health emergency. Employers covered by the paid sick leave ordinance must allow employees to use paid sick leave when they take time off work in the following circumstances: (1) because public health officials or healthcare providers require or recommend an employee isolate or quarantine to prevent the spread of disease; (2) the employees falls within the definition of a “vulnerable population” under city guidelines; (3) the employee’s business or workplace temporarily ceases operations in response to a public official’s recommendation; (4) the employee must care for a family member who is not sick but has been required or recommended to be quarantined or isolated by a public official or health care provider; (5) the employee needs to care for a family member whose school, child care provider, or senior care provider temporarily ceases operations in response to a public health or public official’s recommendation.
Effective April 17, 2020, businesses with 500 or more employees worldwide must provide full-time employees (40 or more hours per week) working in the City or County of San Francisco with up to 80 hours of paid Public Health Emergency Leave (PHE Leave). Employees who were part-time as of February 25, 2020 must be provided with PHE Leave equal to the average number of hours over a two-week period the employee was scheduled to work over the previous six months ending on February 25, 2020. PHE Leave may be used when employees are unable to work or telework due to specified COVID-19 reasons such as if the employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation order, the employee has been advised to self-quarantine, if the employee is caring for for a quarantined or isolated family member, if the employee is caring for a family member whose school or place of care closes, or if the employee or family member is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking medical diagnosis. The leave is no longer effective once the local emergency ends.
San Jose | In Effect
San Jose passed the COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Ordinance which took effect on April 7, 2020 and sunsets on December 31, 2020. The Ordinance applies to employers not required, in whole or in part, to provide paid sick leave benefits under the Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. Under the Ordinance, covered employers must provide up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave to full-time employees who leave their residences to perform essential work. Part-time employees are entitled to sick leave hours equal to the number of hours they worked on average over a two-week period. Employees can use this leave for one of the following purposes: (1) the employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking medical diagnosis; (2) the employee is subject to a COVID-19 related quarantine or isolation by a government order, or is caring for someone subject to the same; (3) the employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19, or is caring for someone subject to the same; and (4) the employee is caring for a minor child because school or day care is closed due to COVID-19.
Seattle | In Effect
The Seattle Office of Labor Standards announced amendments to the city’s Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance that increases their access to PSST when their place of work or family member’s school or place of care is closed. Beginning March 18, 2020, in addition to former protected uses of PSST, employees may now also use their PSST: when their family member’s school or place of care has been closed; they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are following the instructions of a medical health officer or the advice of a doctor or nurse; and for a business with 250 or more full-time equivalent employees – when their place of business has reduced operations or been closed for any health or safety reason.
A newly passed emergency rule provides that an employer may not require a doctor’s note or health care provider verification for an employee’s use of PSST. Nevertheless, employers may seek other documentation, such as an employee’s own statement or service provider’s statement that the employee’s use of PSST is for a covered purpose. The emergency rule is in effect from April 8, 2020 through June 7, 2020.
St. Paul | In Effect
The city of St. Paul, Minnesota, issued guidance clarifying that employees may use Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) for absences related to: (1) providing care for children whose school or place of care closes due to an official order; (2) workplace closure by order of a public official to limit exposure to an infectious agent, biological toxin, or hazardous material or other public health emergency; or (3) the employee’s preventative care because they are at a greater risk of severe complications from contracting COVID-19. The guidance also stated that employers requesting a doctor’s note from employees who are sick due to upper respiratory illness may not be “reasonable” given OSHA’s guidance and efforts to relieve strain on the healthcare system.
Washington | In Effect
On March 25, 2020, House Bill 2614 went into effect amending Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave. The amendment added son-in-law and daughter-in-law to the list of family members for whom employees may take paid leave to provide care. This means employees may qualify for Paid Family and Medical Leave to care for a son-in-law and daughter-in-law with a serious health condition. A “serious health condition” could include coronavirus.
Using Workforce Management Solutions to Support Your COVID-19 Response
You may be able to modify the usage of your workforce management (WFM) solution to better support your business continuity plans and adapt to how your employees are now working. We’ve compiled a list of some examples of changes or capabilities that could be considered.
Managing Absences Due to COVID-19
Reporting or Requesting Time-off
Create codes or cost center fields to help track absences related to COVID-19 to indicate if an absence is a result of self or mandatory quarantine due to the virus. Options for usage:
- Direct entry on schedules and/or timesheets to indicate that the absence is a result of self or mandatory quarantine due to the virus.
- Part of request and approval workflows.
- Impacts to normally scheduled overtime.
- Is the time off pulled from an existing time-off balance, a new time-off balance, or is usage at the manager/administrator’s discretion?
- If a request process, do you need a different approval workflow?
- Do you need different behaviors for different employee groups?
- Does the time off exceed any government mandates?
Communicate these policies as soon as possible to help ensure employees understand the rules as they’re making critical decisions.
Make Temporary Changes to Rules
Modify rules for time off and absence balances—such as usage limits or restrictions on allowing balances to go negative—to allow employees to take additional time off if it’s needed.
- Should additional benefits be tracked separately?
- Do they run concurrently or sequentially with other mandated or company policies?
- What are the effective dates for these policies?
- Shows employees your commitment to their health and welfare as well as their families.
Maintaining Compliance with Changing Legislation
Stay Up-to-Date with Legislation Changes
If available from your vendor, subscribe to alerts of changes in workplace regulations—whether leave benefits, employee pay, working conditions, or health and safety.
- Do they provide legally vetted descriptions of the new legislation?
- Are descriptions written in laymen’s terms?
- How frequently are alerts issued?
- Keeps you informed of upcoming changes, enabling you to address changes and mitigate risks associated with noncompliance.
Remote Working and Scheduling Practices Changes
Enable Technology for Remote Working
Relax or remove application whitelisting to allow for system access outside of company network or VPN.
- Is the change permanent or temporary?
- Provides employees with to work remotely without having to introduce manual processes or workarounds to track their work hours and manage their schedules and time off.
Collaborative Scheduling Features
Enable availability and/or shift management capabilities, including shift bidding and shift swapping.
- Do you need to ensure that you have specific skills available for any given shift?
- Will you allow overtime if a swap or other shift change results in overtime?
- Helps ensure the needs of both the employee and business are met.
Flexible Work Arrangements
Relax restrictions to allow employees more flexibility to resolve urgent changes to availability.
- Do you need employees during core hours?
- Do you need core hours to vary across departments?
- Are there a range of hours that employees can work?
- Does it matter when an employee is working if assigned tasks are completed and on time?
- Helps ensures the needs of both the employee and business are met.
Change Approach to Labor Forecasting
Perform more frequent review and adjustment of forecasted labor demand, which is expected to differ considerably from previously generated forecasts and historical data due to changes in consumer, governmental, and business behaviors.
For example, match the actual daily or weekly totals for the previous week in the forecasts for the next week. This will ensure that, instead of historical values, labor demand will be calculated based upon the most recent data available. Schedules generated after these edits will likely be considerably more accurate than those automatically generated in this period
- Are you providing essential services such as food, healthcare, and shelter?
- Are you seeing more traffic or increased hours during morning hours?
- Are you having to introduce new services or increase staffing in some areas versus others to keep your business operating (selling home kits, curbside pickups, deliveries, etc.)?
- Are you experiencing a higher volume of customer service inquiries online and via calls or emails?
- How does the increase in cleaning and disinfecting practices increase your staffing levels?
- Are there individuals in other areas that are being underutilized that could bolster up busier areas?
- Minimizes the risks of over- and under-staffing.
- Enables agility to meet continually evolving staffing changes.
Attendance Policies and Tracking Employee Work Hours
Adjust Attendance Policies
Adjustment or suspension of company attendance policies, including alerts and/or attendance point/occurrence monitoring features tracking banks.
- For temporary policy changes, consider the end effective dates and revisit those end effective dates as new information is received.
- Provides more flexibility for employees who need to accommodate personal obligations as a result of COVID-19.
- Assures employees that they will not be negatively impacted by conditions out of their control
Online and Mobile Time Tracking Options
Enable or expand mobile and online time clock usage to allow for employees to use their personal devices or computers, rather than shared wall-mounted units or in-office devices. Don’t enable geolocations unless you have no other way to identify if an employee is in the right location.
- Are there employees that work alone at specific locations who need to perform safety checks?
- Does it matter where an employee is working if assigned tasks are completed and on time?
- Instills a sense of trust between the employer and employees.
Proactive Notifications for Potential Violations
Set-up notifications that proactively alert you to potential unplanned overtime or rules violations, such as required rest periods and breaks, if an employee might exceed work hour limits, or if a clock punch falls outside of scheduled hours.
- What laws related to employees performing activities outside of business hours need to be considered (e.g. responding to emails or taking a phone call)?
- Mitigates risks of noncompliance, time theft, wage theft, and unplanned overtime.
Onsite Workers and Biometric Verification
Temporarily disable the need for biometric verification on data collection terminals.
- Reduces cross-employee infection risk.
Cleaning of Time Clocks
If you don’t have guidelines, request terminal cleaning guidelines and follow them frequently. Configure an alert to employees after clocking in and out to follow recommended disinfecting protocols after handling equipment that is used by others.
- Reduces cross-employee infection risk.
Leave Management and the COVID-19 Pandemic
The global COVID-19 pandemic has driven a high volume of leave and caused unprecedented shutdowns. Your leave administration solution can help ease the burden of managing employees that contract COVID-19 or are in quarantine. Watch Tessa use her leave administration tool to better manage an employee that is absent due to COVID-19.
Using a Modern Scheduling Tool to Easily Adjust Schedules to Just the Essential Workers
The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused organizations to rapidly adapt to a new normal. Mandated lockdowns have caused operational shutdowns for all but essential workers. Watch Tony easily replace his schedule with a new schedule for just the essential work. How will Tony respond if one of those essential workers is absent and needs to be replaced?
Applying and Monitoring COVID-19 Related Paid Time
The high volume of shutdowns caused by the global COVID19 pandemic has triggered organizations to consider salary continuance options to help employees through this difficult time and to retain their talent. Regardless of how your organization chooses to apply these rules, a modern time and attendance system will ease the burden of applying these codes and monitoring the associated costs. Watch Kris easily adjust employee timesheets as the system automates the rules for her.
Strategies for Keeping Employees Working and Maintaining Productivity
It is easy to become distracted from the long-term game—only focusing on the here and now—due to slowdown in business activity, shortages of critical materials and services, and absenteeism of essential employees. It is important to have a contingency plan to keep employees engaged and productive, so we have compiled a list of 7 strategies that can help you do that.
- Remove barriers to remote working
- Assign special projects
- Implement cross-training programs
- Establish flexible or reduced schedules
- Look for alternative methods for tracking employee work
- Incentivize productivity
- Investigate programs that help support business to keep employees working
We want to ensure that employees across the globe have the support they need as their personal and professional lives transition during this time of uncertainty.
Making the Transition to Working from Home
Many organizations are shifting to mandatory work from home policies during the COVID-19 emergency, and for some employees it is both a relief and welcomed change of pace. For others, however, it can lead to a loss in productivity as well as feelings of isolation and stress. That’s why we compiled these 10 tactics for working from home during a crisis:
- Confirm and request the technology you need, such as monitors, headsets, webcams, proper internet connection, software, etc.
- Arrange virtual coffee or meal breaks to maintain social relationships and connect on a personal level.
- Conduct daily huddles via video conferencing with team members to make sure your team is productive, collaborating, and aligned on what is expected of them.
- Set-up a dedicated workspace in your home to help set clear boundaries from your personal life and aid concentration.
- Leverage live online collaborative tools and chats to keep your employees organized on projects. Communication is key.
- Schedule regular cadence calls with key collaborators to stay on track with business goals.
- Maintain scheduled work hours to offer employees a sense of consistency and cultivate a healthy work/life balance.
- Dress for the day and stick to your routine as much as possible to determine a healthy mindset for your workday.
- Challenge co-workers to a healthy competition to boost morale and participation.
- Respect your employees’ boundaries. Just because employees are working from home doesn’t mean they are available 24/7. Allow yourself to sign off and refresh.
Balancing Working from Home with Childcare and Home Learning
- Be upfront with your employer and coworkers about your situation. Balancing kids and work may call for you to adjust your workday. Communicate your needs to your boss and keep your coworkers apprised as best as possible.
- Be upfront with your children. It’s just as important to communicate to your kids that you have work priorities so they understand that “play time” can’t be anytime.
- Find a routine that works best for everyone and stick to it. Have your kids prepare for the day just as they would if they were heading to school. Set daily expectations and learning goals if your child had academic work.
- Get creative with activities. Being confined to the home can breed boredom for many kids. Think outside of the box for fun activities they can do with minimal adult supervision.
- Try virtual babysitters/teachers. There are many online resources for kids to take virtual lessons like dance, music, or language lessons. You can even reach out to family, friends, and babysitters for virtual face time.
- If you have a partner, split the responsibility. Communicate with your other half about the best way for you two to manage your work schedules with your children. Know that there might have to be sacrifice on both ends. Teamwork makes the dream work!
- Take breaks with your children and listen to their needs. Just because your workday might be 9-5 doesn’t mean your kids can’t be a part of it. Take lunch or a snack break with your kids as an opportunity to bond.
- Set boundaries and expectations with your family. Set aside an hour or two at a time where your family is expected to let you work undisturbed. Try to keep a dedicated workspace that is off limits to the rest of the family.
- Remember you’re not alone. Many parents are juggling the stresses of balancing work from home and childcare. If you have a network of parents, try arranging a rotating schedule of virtual playdates.
How to Maintain Your Physical Health
Maintaining your physical health during a time when many people are expected to stay at home can be a challenge. Aside from the CDC’s recommendations to wash your hands, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and avoid close contact with others, here are some tips to help maintain your overall physical wellbeing while practicing social distancing:
Exercise outdoors, but give people their space. Consider taking a hike, riding your bike, or simply going for a walk around the neighborhood. Getting some sunshine everyday is beneficial, but make sure you are still keeping a safe distance from others.
Exercise at home. There are many non-equipment workouts you can do at home to stay active. Turn up your workout playlist and try exercises like squats, push-ups, burpees, sit-ups, planks, etc.
Try streaming workout videos for free. Many gyms, studios, and exercise apps are offering free trials of their workout classes, many without the need for at-home equipment. Here are a few to get you started:
- Strong by Zumba
- Planet Fitness available on YouTube and Facebook
- CorePower Yoga
- Cosmic Kids Yoga
- Fitness Blender
- YMCA 360
- 305 Fitness
- Peloton Digital App
Be mindful of your nutrition and diet and drink plenty of water. Make sure that you are nurturing yourself from the inside out by planning your grocery trips ahead of time so that your weekly diet is both balanced and well-suited for your lifestyle.
Consider meal delivery services. If you can’t find time to run to the grocery store or if you’re looking for some inspiration after reaching the end of your cookbook, meal delivery services are a great option with pre-sorted ingredients and step-by-step instructions—even for beginner-level cooks. Many services offer family-friendly and vegetarian-friendly options as well. Here are a few to get you started:
Get a good night’s rest. Getting enough sleep is crucial toward every aspect of your physical and mental health. If you are new to working from home, try to avoid the temptation of staying up late by signing off social media apps an hour before bedtime, meditating, or reading a book.
Tips for Relieving Stress and Caring for your Mental Health
At the best of times, many of us experience stress. For those with a history of mental illness, these times can be more trying than ever. Caring for your mental well-being is just as important as maintaining your physical health. Here’s a list of tips for relieving stress and maintaining a healthy mental state:
- Tap into how your body feels. Physical and mental health go hand-in-hand. Make sure that you are adopting healthy eating habits, drinking plenty of water, getting some form of daily exercise, and getting plenty of rest. Open the windows and BREATHE.
- Take a break from the news and social media. The media’s response to emergency can often foster more panic than inform its viewers. Social media can also exacerbate feelings of negativity, stress, and hopelessness. Turn the T.V. off, put the phone down, and give your brain some time to exist without influence.
- Stay informed. Taking a break from the news and social media doesn’t mean you can’t stay updated on what’s happening in the world. Turn to reliable sources for information on the progress society is making as a whole.
- Stay connected with friends and family. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation. Connecting with coworkers, friends, family and loved ones even if through a simple phone call can help us all feel more united and less alone during this difficult time.
- Try virtual therapy sessions. Many therapists, psychologists, and counselors offer e-sessions via phone or video call. If you are accustomed to regular therapy sessions, this could be a great option for you.
- If you suffer from a mental illness, continue your treatment plan. Now more than ever, it’s important for those who experience mental health issues to follow their treatment plans and consult with their health provider about any questions or concerns.
Links to Trusted Resources for Responding to the COVID-19 Outbreak
Our #1 commitment is to put our customers first—always.
We’re Here for You
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, WorkForce has a contingency plan in place to continue to provide the highest level of service to our customers, including the highest level of security, uptime, resiliency, and continued access to our global Customer Support organization. WorkForce does not foresee an impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on our ability to continue to serve and support customers, partners, and organizations across the world. We will continue to provide full transparency of our detailed plans, and execution of those plans, while maintaining the health and safety of our employees. To learn more, visit our Customer Community to better understand:
- Our business continuity plan
- How to use the WorkForce Suite to respond to COVID-19
- Programs WorkForce is implementing to help customers cope in this unprecedented time
- Collaborate and ask questions in our Customer Forum using the COVID-19 category