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Q: As an employer, if I do everything right cleaning, temp check, masks, etc. do you think I can be sued if someone gets covid-19? Not sure how they would prove it came from my office butI was just wondering if you had some thoughts on this.A: Typically, if an employee believes they contracted COVID-19 at your workplace, they would submit a worker’s compensation claim. Once a claim is submitted with your carrier, an investigation would take place. It is very difficult to pin-point where an illness has come from, especially when this illness is everywhere. Your employee may put in a worker’s comp claim; however it is highly unlikely that it would be successful, and less likely that they would pursue litigation.
Q: If we send employees home because they’ve possibly been exposed to COVID-19 by a fellow employee, do we have to pay them?A: For non-exempt employees, you are not required to pay any more than necessary by state or federal law. For example: In CA, if you send an employee home who has only been there for 30minutes of their shift, you must pay them for half their shift at least 2 hours but up to 4 hours. Those laws are still in effect during these times. In relation to E-PSL or E-FMLA, remember that those leaves must be triggered by a physician or public health official; it cannot be triggered by you as the employer, so E-PSL and E-FMLA wouldn’t apply here. There is nothing above or beyond you would need to pay an employee when sending them home. Furthermore, it is the responsible choice to make when seeking to protect your employees to send home an employee who is potentially ill and spreading the disease.
For exempt employees, again you must follow the FLSA and state law regarding pay. Your exempt employees will need to be absent for an entire week in order to miss pay. When they are ready and willing to work and you send them home, even for a day, they must still receive their entire week’s pay if they worked at all during the week.
Q: Do we need to update our company handbook for these new COVID issues?A: Some things we talked about were operational and some were policy based. It is great to put changes to your procedures and policies in writing and share them with your employees, and to have them sign off that they understand the changes. You do not necessarily have to update your existing manuals and policies, given that the changes are likely to be temporary and shifting according to state and federal guidance. I recommend that instead of updating your handbook it may be better to issue policy changes as a memo to your employees and have them sign off indicating they received it.
Q: Am I able to re-board inactive employees with the iSolved system?A: With inactive employees, no. They must be in terminated status to do re-boarding. If they are inactive you would just re-active them. It is not re-boarding and you would not get any new updated information.
Q: Can you tell me if there is a difference in the re- on boarding process for my employees that were furloughed or terminated?A: No re-boarding process would be the same for both, you would just select the corresponding template and they would go through the re-boarding experience.
Q: When I rehire an employee, can they access old documents like performance reviews for example, that were uploaded into the system prior to them being terminated?A: Yes! This is one of our favorite features of this system, and that is our documentation.Anything that was in the system at the time of termination will still be there for them to access, and does not go away just because of the termination.
Q: Would it have been better to put furloughed employees as terminated status vs inactive status?A: That depends on the procedure you need at the time. When you furlough and employee, they are in an inactive status and your bring them back, it will original effective date and all their original information. When your employee is in terminated status, and you rehire you have the history of what was happening. Contact Big Fish is you want more information on mass updates to the system.