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Getting Back to Work During COVID-19 Recorded Webinar Q&As

5.10.20  

On May 14th, we hosted a free live interactive webinar with our HR consultants Jen & Molly. They addressed topics such as health and safety issues, testing, accommodations, what is permissible and what is not, minimizing risks and of course your specific questions. We left the system open for anyone to submit their questions and Jen & Molly compiled all the information for you.

Scroll down for the zoom recording

Miscellaneous

If a company does not have HR department, who would they hire to create the new safety procedures?  I saw a Facebook post that the casinos place a whole list on their website (Sycuan – Health & Sanitation Program 2020).  About checking temperatures, I’ve seen how Amazon checks temperature- the employee is inside a cabin.

The County of San Diego has actually made this pretty simple.  They have outlined the requirements and provided a template for employers to use:  Click Here to Download 

Exhausted Leave

What options do you suggest if employees use all of their Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) and still have school closure and no telework in the job since they work directly with patients?  Would they have to resign?

If there is a way to put the employee on a leave of absence, that would be a great first option.  If this is not possible, then yes, you could accept the employee’s resignation asking them to check back with the Company once they are ready to return to work.  No promises, but work may be available. 

Protocols

What if an employee doesn’t want to wear a mask? If they are more than 6 ft apart do you see an issue if the office isn’t open to the public?

The social distancing regulations are face coverings if employees are unable to be at least 6 feet apart.  However, “not wanting to wear a mask” can be an issue otherwise.  Remember, this is a requirement.  You don’t want the city to shut the business down.  If the employees cannot be at least 6 feet apart and still refuse to wear a mask, they should be sent home.

Is is 24 or 48 hour wait between negative test results?

The CDC has not given a conclusive opinion on how much time should pass to ensure that a person does not have COVID-19. Employee should be free of fever, without the assistance of medication, for at least 72 hours.

Can an employee get the emergency 80 hrs Covid sick leave (EPSL) more than once?

No.  The Emergency Paid Sick Leave is for a maximum of 80 hours.

What is a reasonable timeframe if you have to cancel employees shifts if schedule needs change?  Can you cancel shifts the day of?

Shift cancellations must provide “reasonable” advance notice.  You could cancel day of but this should be done well before the employee is on their way to work.

If you cancel the same day and you pay reporting pay, then you should be fine, right?

Yes, definitely.

Rehire

If we’re calling back employees that we laid off (terminated) do we need new I-9 forms?

Only if the old I-9 is no longer valid, the documents the employee used have expired (List A only) or it has been more than three years. Section 3 of the existing I-9 form has a section for reverification and rehires.

Reopen

Essential businesses were required to fill out the social distancing and sanitation protocol a while ago.  Do we need to re fill out the new protocol for businesses re-opening one that the county just provided?

The new re-opening plan needs to be provided to all employees if you have not done so already.  Make sure that your prior plan meets all the requirements of the new plan.

Based on the recent Governor’s update, I know the Office-based businesses can return to work although telework is strongly recommended. What is the trend in SD right now? I see some employers plan to return soon, other are not until July or August.

We are still encouraging tele-work when an employer can.  We haven’t surveyed our members on this, however based on phone calls, employees are still telecommuting.

Resources

(1)  What is the recommended source for latest studies on transmission mechanisms?  For example, facial coverings may be much more effective if all mucus membranes are covered, not just mouth and nose.  Or treating hands like poison may be most important if surface contact from hand to eyes is most critical.  

(2)  Is anyone starting local expert (SME) groups who can discuss, create, promote best practices, lessons learned, new technology needs, procurement sources, information sharing, etc.?  Invitations to volunteers may be helpful if someone wants to sponsor such (SME) group(s).

I think your best resource for this type of question is the CDC website.  If anyone is intersted in such a group, they can notify SDEA and we will let you know.

Is there a website you can refer that specifically refers to PPE and whether or not the employer is required to provide?

There is a lot of information on the OSHA website, HERE.  Based on your industry, essential business or not, you may be required to provide PPE for your employees.  Most employers will not, since face coverings are already a requirement of the County of San Diego.

Where can we find which cities require PPE?  Does Lakeside, El Cajon? Or, do you just cover San Diego law?

The requirements are for the County of San Diego.  This covers Lakeside, El Cajon and all areas in the County.

Some small companies do not have an HR department so much to learn… What are the best local resources for employers / managers?

SDEA!  We provide updates for our members.  Check our website

Where can I find guidelines for required reopening protocol plan?

HERE

Scared to Come Back

Still a lot of questions regarding laid off employees that are over 65, have pre-existing conditions, and/or are considered high risk. They fear that if they are offered an opportunity to return to work they will lose their UI benefits if they decline due to those high risk issues.  Any suggestions how to handle these employees?

This is tough if the employee is truly high-risk.  We suggest that they work with their health care provider.  Their doctor may be able to write them a medical note which could potentially extend their leave.  Also, we are still encouraging employers to work with employees.  Are their other accommodations that can be made?  A discretionary leave?

If you were laid off and now they call you back to work and you refuse, can they advise EDD and lose your unemployment benefits?

Yes.  Unemployment benefits are meant to provide wage replacement when no work is available.  If work is available and employee refuses (outside of illness or child care issues) this could be considered fraud on the side of the employee.

If the employee chooses to come to work vs. being directed to come to work would it still fall under WC?

There is no difference between choosing to come to work and being directed to come to work as the new workers’ comp law stands now. If an employee goes to a place of employment that is not their residence and contracts COVID-19, it will be considered to be a Worker’s Comp claim.

Temperature

It lists if no thermometer available “screening for temperature” does that mean a checklist where employee signs off?

A company designated person can screen the employee by asking questions or asking employee to screen temperature at home.

Isn’t there something in the regs that allow for EE’s to take temps at home?  There already is a shortage of temp takers.

If requiring self-screening at home, which is an appropriate alternative to providing it at the establishment, ensure that screening was performed prior to the worker leaving the home for their shift and follows CDC guidelines.

Logging temps of EE’s creates privacy and compliance issues.

Correct.  This is considered Private Health Information (PHI) and needs to be kept confidential.

Can you require employees to take temps at home?  if the employer provides the thermometers? what implication would this have for reporting time pay, etc?

If requiring self-screening at home, which is an appropriate alternative to providing it at the establishment, ensure that screening was performed prior to the worker leaving the home for their shift and follows CDC guidelines.

Individual Control Measures and Screening

• Provide temperature and/or symptom screenings for all workers at the beginning of their shift and any vendors, contractors, or other workers entering the establishment. Make sure the temperature/symptom screener avoids close contact with workers to the extent possible. Both screeners and employees should wear face coverings for the screening.

• If requiring self-screening at home, which is an appropriate alternative to providing it at the establishment, ensure that screening was performed prior to the worker leaving the home for their shift and follows CDC guidelines, as described in the Topics for Employee Training section above.

Information from the CDC website.

I thought County of SD temperature threshold is 100 degrees?

Anything over 100.5

If they show up sick, then why do we have to pay reporting time pay?  They weren’t fit for duty.

I would agree with this.  Employees must show up “fit for duty”, at the start of their shift, ready to work.  Make sure this is clearly communicated to employees–the fact that they will be sent home if they show up to work sick.

About the temperature check, how about the delivery persons (like FedEx and UPS) who delivers packages everyday to our office?

“Provide temperature and/or symptom screenings for all workers at the beginning of their shift and any vendors, contractors, or other workers entering the establishment. Make sure the temperature/symptom screener avoids close contact with workers to the extent possible. Both screeners and employees should wear face coverings for the screening.”

Unemployment

Is anyone else receiving delayed notices from EDD?  Most of my early claims came thru SIDES.  Bus this week I’m getting claims dated March and April, but postmarked in May, and they’re coming via USPS and not on SIDES.

Yes.  We have talked to members who are receiving late claim notices and this was confirmed by a couple of webinar attendees as well.

Contact us: 858.505.0024