New Mandates for Employers Related to Covid-19

What is Covered in this section:
  • Updated Template to Create the Required COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan
  • Business Must Display New Required Federal Labor Law Posters Related to Covid by April 1
  • How Employers Must Handle Employees with Covid or People Who Live with an Infected Person
  • The New Guidelines for Sick Pay Related to Coronavirus
  • COVID-19-Related Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave Provided by Small and Midsize Businesses details released
Updated Template to Create the Required COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan
The Small Business Association of Michigan has created a new guide that encompasses all the sections required by the Governor's latest Executive Order about creating a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan. All businesses are required to have this Plan onsite by June 1 or two weeks after opening. The Chamber provided links to previous templates for plans based on past Executive Orders, but this template includes all the most recent Governor's Executive Orders. Since the Plan is a requirement under the Governor's Executive Orders, having this Plan and implementing can decrease your liability going forward.
 
How to use the template provided:
  • Business Must Display New Required Federal Labor Law Posters Related to Covid by April 1 - You can download them from the link
  • The template in an Adobe format can be converted to use in another form (ex. Word), or you can cut and paste the document into another format.
  • To create your COVID-19 copy, page 1 through the first paragraph of page 11.
  • Where required in the document, insert your company's name and your COVID-19 workplace coordinators.
  • When editing the document, you are asked in sections to choose "possible statements" and "Include statements that apply."
  • You will also need to go further down in the document to your industry-specific requirements. Those requirements can also be copied and added to your Plan.
As required in the order, make sure to name COVID-19 Workplace Coordinators, and keep a record of daily screenings of employees. You also must document if you have an employee contract COVID and inform other employees that there is a case of COVID in the workplace.
 
Link to Small Business of Michigan template: COVID-19 Prepared and Response Plan. 
 
The Small Business Association of Michigan and the Plymouth Community Chamber of Commerce is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of this information. All information is provided "as is," with no guarantee of the completeness, accuracy, timeliness or of the results obtained from the use of this information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including, but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular use.

Business Must Display New Required Federal Labor Law Posters Related to Covid by April 1
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020, through December 31, 2020.

There is currently a mandatory update to federal posters in response to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. During the stay at home order, employers should post it in an intranet or email it to all employees. Once the stay at home order ends, it must be posted through December 31. The Act goes into effect on April 1, 2020. Link to download new posters: EMPLOYEE RIGHTS

 
How Employers Must Handle Employees with Covid or People Who Live with an Infected Person
Governor Whitmer signed a new Executive Order (E.O.) on April 3 that went into immediate effect to prohibit employers from discharging, disciplining or otherwise retaliating against an employee for staying home from work if they or one of their close contacts are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive for the virus. Michiganders who test positive or show symptoms, or who live with someone who tests positive or shows signs, should not leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.
The Executive Order About Staying Home When Infected or People Live with Infected Individuals:
  • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or who display one or more of the symptoms of the disease should remain in their homes until three days have passed since their symptoms have resolved and seven days have passed since their symptoms first appeared or since they were swabbed for a test that yielded the positive result or the symptomatic individual receives a negative COVID-19 test.
  • All people who have had close contact with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 or with an individual who displays symptoms of the virus should remain at their homes until either 14 days have passed since the last close contact or the symptomatic individual receives a negative COVID-19 test. This section does not apply to health care professionals, workers at a health care facility, first responders, child care workers, and correctional facilities.
  • When symptomatic people and their close contacts must leave home, they should wear some form of covering over their nose and mouth, such as a homemade mask, bandana or scarf. For now, supplies of N95 masks and surgical masks should generally be for health care professionals and first responders.
How Employers Must Handle Employees Who Stay Home for the Conditions Detailed Above:
The E.O. finds that it "is the public policy of this state that an employer shall not discharge, discipline, or otherwise retaliate against an employee for staying home when he or she is at particular risk of infecting others with COVID-19 and specifies that an "employer may not discharge or discipline an employee who is staying home from work in compliance with the policies laid out above."  It also specifies that:
  • Employers must allow employees to stay home from work for the periods described above.
  • Employers may not retaliate against employees for taking such leave.
  • Employers must treat such an employee as if s/he were taking medical leave under Michigan's Paid Medical Leave Act (PMLA). 
  • If the employee has no paid leave, the leave may be unpaid. Employers are permitted, but not required, to debit the hours from the employee's accrued leave.
  • Employers may not discharge, discipline, or retaliate against such employees for failing to comply with a requirement to document that the employee or his/her close contact has one or more of the primary COVID-19 symptoms.
This Order Applies to All Businesses, Except a few Essential Worker Categories)
It is important to note that the E.O. applies to all employers, regardless of size.  However, it contains a limited number of exceptions for certain workers (e.g., health care professionals, workers at health care facilities, first responders, child protective service employees, workers at child caring facilities, workers at correctional facilities). 

The New Guidelines for Sick Pay Related to Coronavirus
The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division issued their first level of guidance on how the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will affect employers and employees. In the text, he DOL makes it clear that they will be issuing further guidance and regulations related to the exemptions for employers with fewer than 50 employees, as well as health care providers.

Text from the Department of Labor: Covered Employers: The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees. Most employees of the federal government are covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which

was not amended by this Act, and are therefore not covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA. However, federal employees covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act are covered by the paid sick leave provision.   

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.

Here is a summary from the U.S. Chamber regarding how your business is affected, and what you must pay: Families First Coronavirus Response Act: What Businesses Need to Know

COVID-19-Related Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave Provided by Small and Midsize Businesses details released  
With the new mandated paid leave for employees related to Covid-19, the IRS just releases clarification for small and midsize employers on tax credits available to compensate for a business. Given the rapid spread of the virus, for those still employing staff, these new guidelines and tax credits are essential to understand. Here is a link to FAQ sheet released: COVID-19 Related Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave Provided by Small and Midsize Businesses.