Below are several resources that may help you and your employees during this very challenging time:
Emotional Support Line:
Optum Health, a subsidiary of United Healthcare, has kindly offered their 24/7 Help Line free of charge to anyone, even non-United customers. This is an emotional support line that is staffed by professional trained mental health experts who can provide assistance in a variety of ways during this very difficult time.
The phone number and website address with access code can be found here: COVID-19 Emotional Support Line
Carrier Guidelines for Benefits Changes:
Medical Carrier Guidelines – Coronavirus Chart outlines the changes each of the medical carriers have implemented in response to the Coronavirus to address areas such as:
- Allowing off anniversary plan changes and mid-year enrollments without a qualifying event (Aetna and United Healthcare/Oxford only)
- Special rules to accommodate furloughs and layoffs
- Premium grace periods
- Waiving any cost sharing for the in-network testing for COVID-19
- Waiving cost sharing for any telemedicine services
DOL Poster for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA):
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) Employee Rights Poster released by the DOL that summarizes employee rights under The Act. Covered employers are required to provide notice to employees of their rights under the FFCRA. In addition to the poster, the DOL provided a list of FAQs about how employers may communicate employee rights under the FFCRA. The FAQs provide guidance for covered employers including:
- The poster must be posted in a conspicuous place on the employer’s premises. Employers may accomplish this requirement by mailing (email is sufficient) a copy to employees. Alternatively, employers may post it on the company’s internal or external website.
- The poster does not yet need to be provided in a language other than English. DOL is currently working on translated versions.
- The poster does not need to be shared with employees recently laid off. Only current employees must receive notice.
- Employers do not need to share the poster with new job applicants or prospective employees.
- Employers must provide new hires with a copy of the poster.
Congress Nears Passage of $2 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Package:
Assuming the federal stimulus package is passed by Congress, it will provide many financial resources to support the workforce and employers during the Coronavirus pandemic. Notably, some very important provisions for companies and non-profits:
- Tax credits for companies that keep employees on their payrolls and other business tax relief. Employers that need to fully or partially cease operations, or experience substantial decreases in revenue due to the pandemic, can recoup up to 50% of eligible wages paid to workers through refundable payroll tax credits. The bill would also defer payment of employer payroll taxes over a two-year period, relax limitations on a company’s use of net operating losses, and increase the business interest expense limitation.
- The bill creates an expanded loan guaranty program (the Paycheck Protection Program) for small businesses and nonprofits struggling to keep people on the payroll. Businesses and nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees can apply through their lender for a loan which can be used for payroll costs, utility payments, and mortgage or rent obligations. Repayment of these loans is guaranteed by the US Small Business Administration (SBA). Borrowers are eligible for loan forgiveness of actual payroll costs after the loan compared to the previous 12 months. To encourage rehiring employees who have already been laid off due to the COVID-19 crisis, borrowers that rehire workers previously laid off will not be penalized for having a reduced payroll at the beginning of the period. The borrower applies to its normal lender, and the lender applies to the SBA.
- For the entire article, click here.
Jackson Lewis – Employment Law Presentation:
Jackson Lewis – Employment Law Presentation is a very informative webinar presented this week by attorneys that will help you address a wide variety of issues facing your employees and your organization.
We will continue to send out updates and resources that may help you during this difficult time. Also, JGS has a large library of documents and videos about the Coronavirus and leave laws that you can use to educate your employees about the disease as well as use to implement policies and operate your business, so if you can think of any information that may help please do not hesitate to ask to contact us.