We realize this “topic” is on just about every news broadcast headline, newsletter, and any social media site you visit lately. So, as an employer what should you do now that it has become a pandemic.
First, be aware and monitor the CDC, state, and local health department websites. Governor Whitmer has created a task force to combat the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Information regarding the State of Michigan and resources can be found at https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus.
As an employer, you need to evaluate your sick/vacation/PTO policies and how they will affect your employees if they need to be off due to illness (or even confinement because of exposure to the Coronavirus). The U.S Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued temporary regulations for the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCA) on April 1st, which will apply from the effective date until December 31, 2020. You need to determine if you are a covered employer.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law on March 27 2020, alters rules for employee benefits which affect health coverage. The CARES ACT allows high-deductible health plans (HDHP) paired with health savings accounts (HSA’s) to cover telehealth services before the deductible is met. Normal cost sharing can still be imposed for telehealth visits that the plan may require after the deductible is paid. This provision is temporary through December 31, 2020. The Act also extends Coronavirus testing without cost-sharing by fully insured and self-insured plans, to any services or items included during a medical visit that results from coronavirus testing, including an in-person or telehealth visit to a physician office, urgent care, or emergency room.
This is a good time to look at your Short-Term Disability policies. Understand the terms of the policy, waiting period, and severity of the illness. It is very important that you know this information in the event that an employee needs to file a claim in order to prevent an issue for them accessing their benefits and delaying compensation.
Finally, what can/can’t you communicate to employees? If you are an essential employer and still have employees who are not working remotely, communicate the message to stay home if they are ill. You can communicate that an employee has been infected, but cannot identify who the specific employee is as that is confidential, protected information.
Again, this would be a great time to review your insurance policies with your agent to be sure you have the proper coverages and determine what modifications need to be made.
Stay up to date with the latest information and resources related to COVID19 by visiting www.vastsolution.com/covid-19
The Coronavirus Aid, Response, and Economic Security Act “CARES Act”