- Employers aren't yet sure how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, including in terms of how it relates to employee complaints, according to a survey results from law firm Blank Rome. At the time of the survey (conducted from March 19 to March 23), "only 12% of companies had received one or more COVID-19-related" employee complaint, and "more than 93% of the responses to the types of complaints received didn't fall within the traditional framework of employment complaints, including disability discrimination, retaliation, and OSHA," noted the survey results.
- More than half (54%) of the workplaces reporting a COVID-19 positive employee were providing full pay to the employee during their time off, and 45% were allowing the employee to use PTO and then move to unpaid leave. Additionally, for employees who were symptomatic (but not yet diagnosed) and unable to work remotely, more than 40% of companies were paying wages and 48% of companies were allowing the use of PTO.
- Of the employers that had temporarily shut down business operations, nearly half (49%) were continuing to pay employees. Twenty-one percent were requiring the use of PTO, and 18% were allowing unpaid leave.
Over 70% of companies had no disaster relief or crisis management plan when COVID-19 hit the U.S., according to the survey. This means companies are "starting from scratch" in terms of creating an emergency response structure on issues including emergency contact systems, cybersecurity, and having backup plans if key employees become sick.
The U.S. Department of Labor April 1 released temporary rules effective through the end of the year that implement the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FCCRA). Among other things, the regulations make clear that an employee may elect to use — or an employer may require an employee to use — leave such as personal leave or vacation concurrently with expanded family and medical leave.
The rules also explain notice requirements and clarify that employers are required to retain all documentation of FFCRA emergency paid leave requests for four years, regardless of whether leave is granted or denied.