We understand that you are going through a strange and confusing time right now. Please do not panic. Below are some helpful guidelines for employers and employees for getting through this pandemic.
- Safety first! Wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your face. Please be sure to remain 6 feet away from other persons at all times, even at home.
- As business slows down, key concerns are the safety of everyone, paying employees, vendors, rent, and business loans.
- IT IS IMPORTNT FOR YOU TO CHECK YOUR CASHFLOW IMMEDIATELY. IF YOU ARE SHORT, FIGURE OUT THE PRIORITIES
-deciding your priority: keep in mind, failure to pay your employees may cause labor violation.
- Please use our sample letter to the landlord to ask them to stop collection of rent until things return to normal. Also, please use our sample letter for business loans to ask lenders to stop collection of loan payments until normalcy.
- If employees are coming to work, make sure they are least 6 feet away from each other at all times. If an employee appears to be sick, please ask them to go home and stay home quarantine. – OSHA regulations require employers to maintain a safe and healthy workplace failure to follow can have issue.
- If any of your employees will end up with reduced pay or no pay, please encourage them to immediately file for unemployment with the Texas Workforce Commission. Texas has waived the normal six day waiting period and will begin paying unemployment immediately upon verification of eligibility.
- For those who have more than 6 employees in Dallas: Dallas City Ordinance, Paid Sick Leave kicks in. Please adhere.
- Another option is Furlough: Temporary unpaid leave until April 2, 2020 since, the new law applies from April 2, 2020.
- Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act
Effective date: April 2, 2020 (expires 12/31/20)
Coverage: All employers with fewer than 500 employees.
Eligible Employees: All FT and PT employees who have been on the payroll for 30 calendar days.
Permitted Leave: Eligible employees are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave for a “qualifying need related to a public health emergency.”
- What is a Qualifying Need?
-It is limited to circumstances where an employee is unable to work (or telework) to care for a minor child (under age 18) if the child’s school or place of child care has been closed or is unavailable due to a public health emergency.
–Pay Required: The first 10 days of leave are unpaid but an employee can substitute accrued paid leave, including the emergency paid sick leave (discussed below). The remaining 10 weeks of permitted leave are paid at 2/3 of the employees regular rate for the number of hours the employee would otherwise be scheduled to work.
–Pay Limits: Employees can only receive a max payment of $200 per day and $10,000 total (in the aggregate).
–Job Protection: Just like the FMLA, the emergency FMLA is job-protected meaning the employer must restore an employee to the same or equivalent position upon the employee’s return to work.
**all the applicable FMLA notice requirements still apply.
–Possible Exemption: Note that the secretary of labor may exempt certain small employers (50 and under) from the requirements of this expanded family leave when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. We don’t know what that good cause or regulations might look like so stay tuned.
- Emergency Paid Sick Leave
Effective date: April 2, 2020 (expires 12/31/20)
Coverage: Among other things, private employers with fewer than 500 employee.
Eligible Employees: All employees (regardless of how long worked – immediately eligible)
- The employees is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19;
- The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
- The employee is caring for an individual subject or advised to quarantine or isolate;
- The employee is caring for a son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions, or
- The employee is experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the Secretary of HHS in consultation with the secretaries of Labor and Treasury.
Amount of Sick Leave:
- Full Time employees – 80 hours at the employee’s regular rate EXCEPT if the leave is for reasons 4, 5 or 6 above, the sick leave is paid at 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate.
- Part Time employees – the number of hours that the PT employee works in a 2-week period.
Pay Limits: Employees can only receive a max payment of $511 per day and $5,110 in total if leave is taken for themselves (reasons 1, 2, or 3) and a max payment of $200 per day or $2,000 total if taken to care for others (reasons 4, 5 or 6).
Interaction with other PTO: Employers are required to apply the sick leave under this emergency sick leave law before applying any other applicable PTO and specifically cannot apply other accrued PTO first.
Credits for Leave already taken: Not permitted. Any paid leave already provided cannot be credited against this new paid leave entitlement.
Possible Exemption: Note that the secretary of labor may exempt certain small employers (50 and under) from the requirements of paid sick leave for reason 5 when the imposition of such requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. We don’t know what that good cause or regulations might look like at this time.
*Department of Labor will be providing more guidelines
- Safety first! Wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer, and avoid touching your face. Please be sure to remain 3-6 feet away from other persons at all times, even at home.
- If there is any question about making your mortgage/rent payment, or a loan payment, please contact your mortgage company, your residential landlord, and loan companies (car, etc.) immediately to explain the situation and ask for help. Most lenders are accommodating to this emergency situation.
- If you feel sick, it is important that you stay home and notify your employer that you are sick. Please do not go into work if you are sick or think you might be sick!
- Please check with your employer as to their sick leave policy. Additionally, please see the FFCRA Guidelines above.
- If you will end up with reduced pay or no pay, please immediately file for unemployment with the Texas Workforce Commission. Texas has waived the normal six day waiting period and will begin paying unemployment immediately upon verification of eligibility.
- Remember your employer is not the enemy, they are struggling too. We are all trying to help each other get through this, until life returns to normal.
We at the Sul Lee Law Firm understand this is a tremendously difficult time for you all. If you have questions, concerns, and/or would like us to help you put together a detailed plan tailored to your specific business, please contact at (214) 206-4064 and schedule a consultation. We are here to help you get through this!