AMGA CHRO Council: Coronavirus Impact on HR Policies

AMGA COVID-19 Resources

This summary is based on a discussion via AMGA’s Chief Human Resources Office/HR Director listserv as of March 18, 2020. For more information about the CHRO Council, please click here.

Question: Looking to see if any of your companies are considering providing employees directly affected by the coronavirus additional pay?

What Very Large Companies Are Doing

  • Providing employees with two weeks of pay while not working to mirror the two weeks of quarantine/isolation (some large companies are allowing up to 30 days of pay if things do not resolve in 14 days).
  • Ensuring that part-time employees have immediate access to paid sick leave (which they may not have had before).

Important considerations for providing pay continuation to employees who are not working due to COVID-19-related reasons (This primarily impacts hourly non-exempt employees where telecommuting is not an option)

  • If your employees have access to paid time off, will you provide any more time? Will employees simply be required to use paid time off they already have?
  • Consider a defined list of qualifying circumstances where an employee may receive pay while not working (e.g., self-quarantine, care for a family member who is quarantined, must stay home because child's school is shut down).
  • Consider how long you will provide the employee with pay while not working.
    • What if an employee does not work for two weeks due to self-quarantine, returns to work, and then must stay home again because of a family member or a child's school being closed? Will you provide pay again for the second absence?
  • Does the employee have to provide any documentation to receive pay? Keep in mind that employers subject to local paid sick leave requirements may, in some circumstances, not be allowed to request documentation.
  • What does the process look like? How are you going to capture information? Recordkeeping?
  • Will you need to create a new time code and/or pay code?
  • For employees who suspect they will be on a leave greater than three days, they should still follow normal leave of absence procedures.
  • Assuming employees do not have to use or do not have access to paid time off/paid sick leave, will you pay employees at 100%? What are the optics?
    • Is it fair/unfair for employees to receive 100% pay for not working due to COVID-19-related reasons, while those on disability leave or workers' compensation leave may be receiving ~60% of pay?
    • Will you cover the short-term disability (STD) elimination period at 100% for those COVID-19 individuals who are approved for STD benefits? How does that fare against other non-COVID-19 STD claimants whose elimination periods you did not cover/pay at 100%? Consider potential discrimination issues.
    • Will you provide top-up/supplemental pay to COVID-19 individuals approved for STD benefits for some period of time (meaning you will make them financially whole)? Again, how does that fare against other non-COVID-19 STD claimants who are not receiving top-up/supplemental pay?Consider potential discrimination issues.
  • How will you calculate the pay, especially if your employees are subject to mandatory overtime?

Short-Term Medical Leave

  • Consider anyone who is ill or has to be quarantined under the advice of medical professionals as part of your Short-Term Medical Leave (STML) program. This would pay those individuals who qualify 60% of their salary for up to 90 days. Also have a one-week waiting period where they would need to exhaust their paid time off (PTO) before the STML kicks in.
  • For those that don't qualify (have been there less than a year or are part time), consider the leave as an accommodation under ADA, and still discuss pay options.

Question: Is anyone else encountering school closures and what are you doing to assist your associates with possible missed work time due to child care? Has anyone considered reimbursing staff who have to pay for a babysitter? If so, how would you administer this?

  • Work From Home/Child Care at Work/Paying for Child Care
    • Put together "work from home" options for those who can do that for their position.
    • Non-essential personnel to work from home for the next 30 days.
    • Bringing groups of kids onto locations or adding them in your CDCs would work against what you are trying to accomplish by social distancing and quarantining.
    • Work with a local child care provider to determine if they can provide child care to first responders or essential personnel.
    • Employees should be encouraged to start thinking about alternative child care arrangements should schools close and work on setting up remote access for non-patient care staff if needed.
    • Pay FT $100 a day for 10 days and PT/PRN $50.
    • As soon as all schools announced they are closing, connect with a child care service and contract with them to open slots in their facilities, as well as in home care for those parents that don't want their children in a group setting.
  • PTO/Borrowed Time/Sick Time
    • Look at having employees use PTO accrued in their bank and perhaps the option of borrowing time that would be deducted from future accruals.
    • For employees who have had an exposure and have been quarantined by the DOH, they receive regular pay.
    • Additional associate emergency fund established for associates negatively impacted by COVID19.
    • Allow employees to use extended sick time for quarantine.