CDC Recommends Short COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine
On Monday, Dec. 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reduced its recommended periods for COVID-19 isolation (confirmed COVID-19 infection) and quarantine (potential COVID-19 exposure).
Asymptomatic individuals infected with COVID-19 have been told to isolate for five days from the day they test positive—down from the original 10. After, they should wear a mask when around others for an additional five days.
The CDC’s new quarantine guidance was similarly updated. People who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second vaccine dose (or more than two months after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) and not yet boosted should avoid others for five days after COVID-19 exposure. Then, they should diligently wear a mask for an additional five days afterward.
Notably, the CDC said those who have received COVID-19 booster shots don’t need to quarantine, but they should wear a mask around others for at least 10 days after potential exposure.
In all cases of isolation and exposure, the CDC said it’s best to take a COVID-19 test as well.
The CDC has shortened its quarantine and isolation timetables as health experts learn more about COVID-19 and its strains, such as the coronavirus Omicron variant. The agency’s decision was “motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of COVID-19 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.”
However, shortened isolation and quarantine times doesn’t mean the risk of COVID-19 is going away or that prevention measures should be relaxed.
In its release, the CDC urged all eligible Americans to get vaccinated and boosted if they haven’t been already. Individuals interested in learning more about official COVID-19 guidance should visit the CDC website.
For additional guidance on handling COVID-19 in the workplace, please reach out to our HR Hotline by phone at 888-909-6596 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complete Payroll Solutions continues to actively monitor developments regarding COVID-19. We want to ensure our valued clients that we have taken every precaution to prepare for any feasible situation that might arise. Appropriate and proactive measures have been taken to ensure our continued service delivery and operations while our nation deals with this serious matter.
Employee Retention Credit VS Paycheck Protection Program: Why You Should Use Both
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions still in place in many states, a lot of companies continue to struggle to make ends meet. To help small businesses stay afloat, President Trump signed into law a new stimulus package in December 2020.
The law includes a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding for both first-time and second loans as well as an extension and enhancement of the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), a refundable tax credit against certain employment taxes. Both of these provisions independently are a relief to many employers.
Paycheck Protection Program Reopens, Application Forms Released
Round two of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) opens today and applications are now available.
The newly-funded program authorizes up to $284 billion toward job retention and other expenses through March 31, 2021, for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. Specifically, those eligible for a second PPP loan must:
- Have previously received a first draw PPP loan and will use or have used the full amount only for authorized uses;
- Have no more than 300 employees; and
- Demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.
Initially, only community financial institutions that serve minority- or women-owned businesses will be able to make loans. These lenders will accept applications for first draw PPP loans on Monday, January 11, and second draw PPP loans on Wednesday, January 13. The program will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter.
To apply, businesses should complete and submit the following forms to their lender:
- Form 2483 – Paycheck Protection Program Borrower Application Form for new borrowers
- Form 2483-SD – PPP Second Draw Borrower Application Form for existing borrowers
The deadline to apply for the new PPP funding is March 31, 2021.
CPS encourages anyone interested in this funding to contact us or their accountant to see if this program could be right for you. We are here to assist with any questions or details needed to help complete the process. Feel free to reach out at 866.658.8800.
RESTART THE RIGHT WAY
SBA Issues New FAQs for Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness
Borrowers and Lenders May Rely on the Guidance Provided in the New FAQs
On Oct. 13, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) published a new set of answers to frequently asked questions about the forgiveness of loans issued under the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
The PPP was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) as a response to the current COVID-19 pandemic and was designed to provide a direct incentive for employers to keep their workers on the payroll. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.
By law, the PPP closed on Aug. 8, 2020. The PPP operated by issuing loans to small employers. These PPP loans may be forgiven if the employee retention and fund use criteria for these loans are met.
The SBA, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, is providing this guidance to address borrower and lender questions concerning forgiveness of PPP loans, as provided for under section 1106 of the CARES Act, as amended by the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (Flexibility Act).
Employers that received loans through the PPP should review these FAQs carefully as they submit their applications for forgiveness of these loans. PPP loans will be fully forgiven if the funds were used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities.
GUIDANCE ISSUED ON PAYROLL TAX DEFERRAL
Last week, the US Treasury Department and IRS released guidance about President Trump’s executive memorandum from early August on the opportunity employers have to defer withholding and paying employee portion of the Social Security payroll tax for certain workers.
Employers may elect, but are not required, to offer this deferral option to employees whose wages are less that $4,000 pre-tax during a bi-weekly pay period, for the period between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Employees given the option to defer may chose not to participate. The payment of the payroll taxes during these months would be postponed until the period beginning January 1, 2021, through April 30, 2021.
To comply with the guidance and pay the deferred taxes on time, employers who elect the suspension would need to withhold double the amount of Social Security tax during the first four months of 2021 to cover the amount not taken out the last four months of 2020. If the employer has not collected and repaid the deferred taxes by April 30, 2021, interest, penalties and additions to the tax will begin to accrue on May 1, 2021.
While the deferral was set to take effect on September 1, some companies who opt in may find it challenging to adjust their payroll systems to implement it immediately. Regardless of when an employer initiates the changes, it’s important to inform employees about what differences they’ll be seeing in their paychecks now and next year as a result of the deferral.
PPP LOAN EXTENSION APPROVAL
President Trump just signed into law a bill that extends the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for five weeks. The PPP program, originated during the pandemic to help businesses maintain their payroll, provides loans that businesses can use to cover payroll and other costs, with full forgiveness possible.
Originally set to end on June 30, the deadline for PPP loan applications is now August 8. The extension is intended to give small businesses more time to apply for the approximately $130 billion in PPP funds that still remain available. So far, more than $520 billion has been handed out to help businesses.
If you have any questions, contact us at 866.658.8800.
NEW BORROWER-FRIENDLY PPP APPLICATION RELEASED
The Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of Treasury have released a simpler Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application. The new version is just five pages long compared to the original 11-page application released in May and is intended to make it easier for businesses to realize full forgiveness of their PPP loan.
EZ Forgiveness Application
In addition to the revised full forgiveness application, the SBA has also published a new EZ version for borrowers who:
- Are self-employed and have no employees OR
- Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25% and did not reduce the number of hours of their employees OR
- Experienced reductions in business activity as a result of health directives related to COVID-19 and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%
Covered Period Extended
Both applications give borrowers the option of using the original 8-week covered period (if their loan was made before June 5, 2020) or an extended 24-week covered period.
If a loan is not forgiven, a business will have five years at one percent interest to repay the loan.
PPP Flexibility is here
President Trump signed new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) legislation that gives small businesses more flexibility on qualifying for loan forgiveness.
Key provisions of the law include:
- Lowering the threshold for the amount of PPP funds required to be spent on payroll costs from 75% to 60%; however, borrowers must spend at least 60% on payroll or none of the loan will be forgiven.
- Allowing borrowers to choose to extend the eight-week period to 24 weeks if they need the added time to restore their workforce levels and wages to pre-pandemic levels required for full forgiveness. This must be done by December 31, a change from the previous deadline of June 30.
- Adding two new exceptions for achieving full forgiveness even if borrowers don’t fully restore their workforce: if they couldn’t find qualified employees or were unable to restore operations to February 15 levels due to COVID-19 operating restrictions.
- Extending the time period to repay the loan to five years from two.
- Allowing borrowers to also delay payment of their payroll taxes.
PPP Forgiveness is Around the Corner. Get Ready!
To help recipients of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan seek forgiveness at the end of their eight-week covered period, the SBA last week issued the loan forgiveness application with detailed instructions for borrowers.
The form is designed to make the process simple for borrowers through features such as:
- Different options to calculate payroll costs based on borrowers’ regular payroll cycles
- Flexibility to include both eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses
- Stepwise instructions on performing calculations required for forgiveness eligibility
- Implementation of statutory exemptions for forgiveness based on rehiring
- A new exemption for borrowers who made offers to rehire workers that were declined
More information is expected soon to further aid borrowers when completing their applications as well as guidance for lenders on their responsibilities.
For assistance with the loan application and calculations, please contact your CPA. As always, please feel free to contact your payroll specialist if you need assistance with special reporting requests or any other payroll matters.
5/8/20 Update · State-by-State Reopening Guidance
Since the timelines and requirements for reopening businesses after COVID-19 in each state vary, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created an interactive map with the latest guidance. Click here to view the information for your state. State-by-State Business Reopening Guidance
5/1/20 Update · Restart, Reengage, Rehire: Strategies for Successfully Opening Your Business Webinar Recording
If you were unable to attend our webinar, we have made the recording and slides readily available.
4/27/20 Update · Webinar Recording
If you were unable to attend our webinar, we have made the recording and slides readily available.
4/24/20 Update · More PPP Funds Announced. Apply Today!
Following the Senate’s approval Tuesday, yesterday the House passed and today the President signed another economic relief package intended to replenish the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) after initial funds were fully disbursed and provide more money to hospitals and for COVID-19 testing.
Small Business Funding
The legislation increases funding for the PPP by $310 billion after the first $349 billion provided for under the CARES Act was depleted following overwhelming demand. The additional funds will be available for forgivable loans to help firms with fewer than 500 workers keep workers on payroll, with $60 billion set aside for smaller lending facilities. The law also adds $60 billion – $50 billion in loans and $10 billion in grants – for the Small Business Administration’s disaster relief fund.
Next Steps for Employers
If you applied for the first round of PPP funding, call your lender to review next steps. If you received loan approval, ask when you can expect funding. If you didn’t, make sure your application and required documentation were submitted correctly, that nothing prevented the processing of your application, and what, if anything, you need to do to ensure that you are first in line for this next round.
If you need to submit a new application, or you did not submit one for the first round of funding, or you need updated information, you can find your platform specific instructions for downloading the report(s) needed for the SBA, or request the report be sent to you by filling out the form on this page. We strongly urge you to access the report from your portal if you are able, as not to delay your application.
4/23/20 Update · Defer Your Social Security Payments Until 2021
Under the CARES Act, employers are allowed to defer the deposit and payment of their portion of Social Security taxes. To clarify how Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans impact this deferral, a recent FAQ from the IRS explains that companies who apply for and receive PPP loans under the CARES Act are eligible to defer deposit and payment of their share of Social Security taxes through the date the lender issues a decision to forgive the loan – without incurring any penalties.
The deferral applies to deposits and payments of the employer’s share of the tax that would otherwise be required between the period of March 27, 2020, and December 31, 2020. Employers aren’t required to make a special election to be able to take advantage of the deferral.
Once an employer receives a decision that the PPP loan is forgiven, it may no longer defer deposit and payment of their share of the tax after that date. However, the amount that was deferred through the date of forgiveness continues to be deferred and will be due on the "applicable dates," as follows:
- On December 31, 2021, 50 percent of the deferred amount; and
- On December 31, 2022, the remaining amount.
4/20/20 Update · Webinar Recording
If you were unable to attend our webinar, we have made the recording and slides readily available.
4/16/20 Update · IRS Extends Deadline for Forms 5500 Due Before July 15, 2020
On April 9, 2020, the IRS issued Notice 2020-23 to extend key tax deadlines for individuals and businesses in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. IRS Notice 2020-23 extends the Form 5500 filing deadline for ERISA-covered retirement and welfare plans that have an original or extended filing deadline on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020. These plans have until July 15, 2020, to file their Forms 5500.
This deadline extension is automatic, which means that plan sponsors do not have to have to call the IRS or file any extension forms, or send letters or other documents to receive this relief. Additional filing extensions must be requested by using the appropriate extension form by July 15, 2020, but the extension may not go beyond the original or regulatory extension date.
IRS Notice 2020-23 does not extend the filing deadline for 2019 Form 5500 filings for calendar year plans, which are due on July 31, 2020.
4/10/20 Update · Cybersecurity and Mindfulness Webinar Recording
If you were unable to attend our webinar, we have made the recording and slides readily available.
4/8/20 Update · The CARES Act and Retirement Accounts
In addition to provisions to stabilize businesses, to help employees address the economic reality of the current pandemic, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides for relief to ease workers’ financial stress during this time.
The Act allows employees to tap into their retirement savings if they are eligible, meaning, they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, have a spouse or dependent with the virus, or have suffered adverse financial consequences due to the pandemic such as being laid off or having reduced hours. Here are the options available:
- Penalty-Free Early Withdrawals: The Act allows for a new distribution from an eligible retirement plan or IRA called a coronavirus-related distribution through December 31, 2020. While the amount – a maximum of $100,000 – is taxable, the usual 10% early withdrawal penalty and 20% mandatory withholding will not apply. In addition, individuals can pay the tax on the income from the distribution over a three-year period and repay the amount tax free back into the plan over three years.
- Greater 401(k) Loan Flexibility: Eligible individuals can take out loans from a qualified retirement plan (not an IRA) in an amount up to the greater of $100,000 or 100% of the vested balance (previously, the maximum amount was $50,000 or 50% of the balance) during the 180-day period beginning March 27, 2020. In addition to initiating new loans, the CARES Act allows for eligible individuals with existing loans that would otherwise be due between March 27, 2020, and December 31, 2020, to delay repayment for one year. Interest, however, continues to accrue during this period.
- Required Minimum Distribution Waiver: The Act waives required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 401(k) plans and IRAs for 2020 as well as for those who turned 70 ½ in 2019 and opted to delay their first RMD to April 1, 2020. In addition, IRA account owners won’t be subject to the 50% tax penalty typically assessed for amounts not distributed as income.
Here is a more in-depth summary about the relief options and answers to frequently asked questions.
4/3/20 Update · CARES Act Application Available
With the final application form for applying for the Paycheck Protection Program releasing late yesterday, we now know exactly what's needed to complete the application. We have already prepared instructions—specific to your platform—to make the process as simple as possible.
The application is available from the SBA here.
Or, you can download it directly from us.
3/30/20 Update · CARES Act
We're excited to share breaking news of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Act makes maintaining a workforce during this time significantly more viable through a $350 billion, federally-backed SBA loan and forgiveness program. Additional details are available in the resources below.
The Paycheck Protection Program provides several beneficial features, including forgiveness of up to 8 weeks of payroll, health insurance costs, and other operating expenses.
Business owners may be able to retain their valued employees and have their payroll and operating costs forgiven by the federal government, by participating in this program. If you have laid off or furloughed your employees, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness provided you hire them back by June 30, 2020.
The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act provided by the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
The Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist to determine your eligibility
We strongly urge you to contact your CPA and banker in applying for your loan. CPS has you covered when it comes to calculating your payroll data requirements as outlined in the Act. Taking advantage of this program could be vital to the long-term health of your business.
If you have any questions about the Paycheck Protection Program, please contact us at 1.866.658.8800.
3/27/20 Update · Families First Posting Requirement
To be compliant with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, all covered businesses must display a new workplace poster. The notice, which describes the impact to the Family Medical Leave Act and paid leave entitlements in regard to the coronavirus pandemic, is effective from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.
Where Should the Poster be Displayed?
Each covered employer must post the notice in a conspicuous place on its premises. Since many workforces are telecommuting, an employer may satisfy the requirement by emailing or direct mailing the notice to employees or posting it on an employee information internal or external website.
Where Do Employers Get the Poster?
The poster is available from the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division website or by calling 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243).
What If We Have the CPS Poster Replacement Solution Program?
For clients on our Poster Replacement Solution Program, PosterElite has sent out the Federal E-update with the new required Family First Coronavirus Repose Act notice to all clients on both the E-Update Service and the Poster Replacement Solution. Additionally, they are currently working on sending out hard copies to clients on the Poster Replacement Solution. Because the law is currently only temporary and the notice only needs to be posted temporarily, they are planning on sending out the notice as a stand-alone hard copy, laminated poster that can be hung alongside the current All-in-One Poster.
How Do We Subscribe to the Program?
For clients that are not on our Poster Replacement Solution Program, the service provides an initial All-in-One laminated Federal and State Poster. Clients then receive automatic delivery of a new poster any time there is an update to a State or Federal poster. If you are interested in learning more, please email your Client Relations Specialist or our Poster Compliance Team at email@example.com.
What If We Have More Questions?
More information about the posting requirement can be found on the FAQ on the Department of Labor’s site.
3/25/20 Update · DOL: New Paid Leave Requirements Take Effect April 1
Coronavirus Response Act Applies to Leaves Taken April – Dec. 2020
The paid leave provisions of the recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act will go into effect April 1, 2020, according to Q&As released by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Specifically, the guidance states these provisions apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020.
The Act includes two types of paid employee leave for reasons related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic:
Expanded federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to provide workers with partially paid leave for child care purposes.
Up to 80 hours of paid sick leave for specific reasons caused by COVID-19, including the employee’s own COVID-19 illness.
The language of the Act states that the leave provisions take effect “not later than 15 days after the date of enactment.” The Act was passed on March 18, 2020. Sources had interpreted this language to mean the Act would take effect on April 2, 2020. The new guidance from the DOL clarifies that the leave requirements take effect April 1.
3/23/20 Update · Tax Credits for Small- to Mid-sized Businesses
Treasury, IRS and Labor announce plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave.
3/20/20 Update · COVID-19 FAQ Webinar Recap
The Complete HR Solutions division hosted a COVID-19 FAQs webinar on March 20, 2020 at 2:00pm. We have made the webinar freely available below.
3/19/20 Update · Congress Passes Coronavirus Aid Law
Legislation Requires Two Types of Paid Employee Leave
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act) into law. The Act requires employers to provide paid leave for some employees related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, among other measures.
Effective Date of Law
April 2, 2020 and expire December 31, 2020.
Key Elements for Employers
Paid sick leave
Group health plan benefit mandate
Payroll tax credit
Covered Employers: Employers with fewer than 500 employees.
Covered Employees: Any employee who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days. An exemption exists for employers with employees who are health care providers or emergency responders.
Covered Leave Purpose: To care for a child under 18 of an employee if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable, due to a public health emergency, defined as an emergency with respect to the coronavirus declared by a federal, state, or local authority.
Up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave.
No pay for first 10 days of leave (employee can elect to use any other leave available to them, including the emergency sick leave discussed below). Employers may not require employees to use paid leave during this period.
After 10 days, employers must pay two thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay for the number of hours they would normally be scheduled to work, capped at $200/day and $10,000 total.
Reinstatement to Position after Leave:
The same reinstatement provisions apply under the traditional FMLA. However, restoration to position does not apply to employers with fewer than 25 employees if certain conditions are met: The job no longer exists because of changes affecting employment caused by an economic downturn or other operating conditions that affect employment caused by a public health emergency, subject to the following conditions: the employer makes reasonable efforts to return the employee to an equivalent position, and the employer makes efforts to contact a displaced employee if anything comes up within a year of when they would have returned to work.
Paid Sick Leave
Covered Employers: Employers with fewer than 500 employees.
Covered Employees: All employees (no matter how long they have been employed). Employees who are health care providers or emergency responders may be excluded.
Covered Leave Purposes:
When subject to federal, state, or local quarantine/isolation order;
When advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine (due to concerns related to COVID-19);
When experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
When caring for an individual doing #1 or #2;
When caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19;
When the employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition
Duration of Leave:
Full time employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave.
Part time employees are entitled to sick leave equal to the number of hours worked on average over a typical two-week period.
Rate of Pay:
Sick leave must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay for leave used for the employee’s own illness, quarantine, or care - (1, 2, and 3 described above). Pay is capped at $511/day and $5,110 total.
Sick leave must be paid at two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate if taken to care for a family member or to care for a child whose school has closed, or if the employee’s childcare provider is unavailable due to the coronavirus – (4, 5, and 6 described above). Pay is capped at $200/day and $2,000 total.
Health Plan Benefit Mandate
The act requires all insured and self-funded medical plans, including grandfathered plans, to cover diagnostic testing-related services for COVID-19 at 100 percent without any deductibles or co-pays.
Examples include services provided by doctors, emergency rooms, and urgent care centers leading up to the decision that testing is needed, along with the actual lab-based testing.
The mandate does not apply to treatment.
Payroll Tax Credit
Applies to both the emergency FMLA expansion and the emergency sick leave.
Dollar for dollar credit for sick leave and paid FMLA wages against the employer portion of Social Security taxes.
Refund is possible for amounts that exceed what is available as a credit.
Limits on what can be claimed mirror the caps for what must be paid.
3/16/20 Update · House of Representatives Passes Coronavirus Relief Bill
Senate Vote Expected This Week
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on March 14, 2020, following negotiations with the White House. The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the bill this week.
In addition to funding for economic assistance and COVID-19 testing, the bill—if passed into law—would provide workers with the following support:
- 14 days of paid sick leave, at two-thirds (or more) of their regular rate of pay, for government workers and employees of companies with fewer than 500 employees. Leave is available to workers who are sick, have to care for a sick family member or have a child whose school or childcare facility has closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Expansion of the FMLA for employees of companies with fewer than 500 employees, requiring paid leave at the two-thirds rate after 14 days.
- A tax credit for employers that provide paid sick leave benefits required by the bill.
- Additional funding for state unemployment programs.
A Message About COVID-19 from Our CEO
The health and safety of our employees, their families, and our communities is our highest priority as well as continuing to provide reliable services and business continuity to our clients. Our comprehensive Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan includes:
Should employees face quarantines, school closures, or need to work from home for any reason all of our telecom services, email, and operating platforms are cloud-based, allowing our clients unparalleled and uninterrupted service no matter the circumstance. Our valued employees have the ability to work from anywhere at anytime. Additionally, our IT infrastructure on all of our Payroll, Benefit, and HR platforms are secure and redundant to ensure your data is always safe and accessible.
We have multiple processing offices already in place throughout New England. This will allow us to seamlessly address your Payroll, Benefit and HR needs, print checks, and provide our customary outstanding client support from multiple physical and secure locations as needed.
We are also in constant communication with our employees about our Business Continuity Plan as well as awareness and prevention of COVID-19 at home and at the workplace.
We will continue to actively monitor the situation and will take action based on CDC, state and local governance in all of our operating areas. If you have any questions or concerns or if you experience any issues with your service, please contact your dedicated specialist.
We appreciate your confidence in CPS to see you through the challenges we all face in operating a business in these difficult times. Rest assured, our commitment to you, our clients, as well as to our dedicated employees at CPS, will remain strong and steadfast as we confront and overcome the challenges that lie ahead of us in the future.
John Pettengill, CEO
3/13/20 Update · COVID-19 FAQs
What do we do if an employee travels to a high-risk country?
If an employee travels to a high-risk country, the individual should be advised to follow the CDC’s recommendation and self-quarantine at home for 14 days.
Can we require an employee to stay home or leave work if they appear sick?
If your employee exhibits flu-like symptoms, you can ask them to seek medical attention and you can generally ask them to leave. Please refer to the CDC for symptoms of COVID-19.
Can we require an employee to use vacation, sick or personal time when they are out of work?
Yes. You can require employees to use any accrued time off that they have. Employees should be reminded to check to see what leave is available.
What if an employee is sick and they refuse to leave the workplace?
You should separate sick employees and send them home. If an employee will not leave, the employer will need to decide how to handle the situation. We recommend the use of discipline up to and including termination of employment. If the employer decides to terminate an employee for refusing to leave, the employer may call the police for trespassing.
How do we know when to let employees who were infected come back to work?
Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.
Can we take an employee’s temperature at work?
In short, no. The ADA restricts inquiries into a worker’s medical status and the EEOC defines this action as a medical examination under the ADA. As such, it may be unlawful for an employer to take an employee’s temperature if it it’s not job-related and consistent with business necessity.
What should we do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?
Send home all employees who worked in a close proximity to the employee during the previous 14 days for at least a 14-day self-quarantine period. Be sure to not identify the infected employee by name. You may also want to arrange for cleaning of the affected workspace. In addition, you should notify third parties such as customers and vendors who had contact with the employee.
What should we do if an employee has a suspected but unconfirmed case of COVID-19?
Follow the same procedure above.
What should we do if an employee has come into contact with someone who had a case of COVID-19?
Treat the situation as an unconfirmed case of COVID-19 and follow the same procedure above.
What steps can we take to minimize the risk of transmission?
Follow the CDC’s guidelines for Prevention & Treatment.
Can an employee refuse to come to work because of fear of infection?
Under OSHA’s general duty clause and the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), an employer is required to protect its employees against “recognized hazards” to safety or health which may cause serious injury or death. Under OSHA’s whistleblower statutes, the employee’s refusal to work could be construed as “protected activity”, which may prohibit employers from taking adverse action against them for their refusal to work.
Does an employee who is afraid to come to work get paid?
Many employers are increasing flexibility in working arrangements at this time. If an employer can allow the worker to work from home, they will continue to get paid for the work they do. If the employee does not have the ability to work from home and they do not work, they will not get paid. Deductions from pay may be made, however, when the employee is voluntarily absent from work for a day or more for personal reasons other than sickness or disability. Thus, if an employee is absent for a day or longer to handle personal affairs, the salaried status will not be affected if deductions are made from salary for those absences. Section 541.602(b)(1) states: While non-exempt workers need only be paid for the time they work, exempt employees under the FLSA who perform at least some work during the work week must be paid their entire salary for that week.
Can we refuse an employee’s request to wear a face mask?
Under OSHA rules, right now, there is no recognized health or safety hazard that necessitates a face mask or respirator to protect most employees. Face masks are only needed if an employee is taking care of a person with a suspected case of COVID-19 as recommended by the World Health Organization. If an employee feels like they want to wear a mask and it is not getting in the way of them performing their job, they should be allowed to use a mask. Otherwise they are likely not to come to work. Employees need to be educated as to who needs to wear masks and that it will not prevent them from getting sick.
Should we implement a temporary remote work policy?