Watch the video replay below for tips on how to protect your workplace and answers to other FAQs.
Hosted by our panel of HR Experts: Donna Jones, Senior HR Trainer & Consultant, Serena Puaokalani, Senior HR Consultant and Janina Abiles, Director of Client HR & Safety Training.
[0:57] Intro to the Coronavirus
[5:57] Maintaining a Safe Work Environment
[16:47] Evaluate Potential Impacts on Your Business
[20:57] Preparing a Emergency Remote-Work Plan
[26:03] How To Respond to Certain Situations
[34:20] Responding to an Employee Who Tested Positive for the Coronavirus
[38:10] Addressing Fears in the Workplace
[41:10] Overview of the Employer’s Guide
The objective of this webinar is to discuss the prevention of infections through proper use of personal protective equipment and other methods.
Hosted by: Arielle Faith Michael, Safety Training and Development Specialist
[3:15] What is an infection?
[5:47] Cough Etiquette
[6:40] Social Distancing
[7:24] Hand Hygiene
[10:02] How to properly wear a mask
[11:00] When and how to use a protective gown
[11:35] How to minimize risk using gloves
[13:44] Additional Resources
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. There is an ongoing investigation to determine more about this outbreak.
Here are links to key resources:
Patients with COVID-19 have reported mild to severe respiratory illness, including the following symptoms:
Shortness of breath
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Hawaii continues to rise. Click here to view the latest counts.
March 30: Governor David Ige signed a new emergency proclamation making it mandatory for all inter-island travelers to self-quarantine at home or in their hotels for 14-days. The expanded quarantine orders are in effect from April 1 – April 30. Those identified as essential workers and flight crews are exempt from the quarantine. Click here to watch the announcement.
March 27: Today, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The largest peace-time stimulus package, the CARES Act will offer significantly enhanced benefits to employers and employees. We strongly urge you to consider these financial benefits into your immediate decision-making. While we are interpreting the just-released details and will provide you specific guidance as soon as we can, a few key benefits for you to know include:
Our team is studying and interpreting the just-passed law. We will provide concise information, with recommendations on how this can impact your decisions, as soon as possible.
March 23: Governor David Ige announced a statewide “Stay At Home” emergency order for all Hawaii residents. Like the orders issued by Mayor Caldwell and Mayor Victorino yesterday, the order is to stop all activities except those deemed essential. This statewide order will go into effect from Wednesday, March 25 until April 30. Click here to watch Governor Ige’s emergency order.
Click here to view a full list of essential workers’ ordered to show up to work, or read the entire proclamation here for more details.
March 20: Hawaii’s small businesses are now eligible for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance Program. Click here for additional information about the SBA’s disaster loans.
Governor David Ige announced a statewide “Stay At Home” emergency order for all Hawaii residents that goes into effect from March 25 – April 30. Stay-at-home requires people to stay inside and only go out for necessary activities, which can include going to some essential jobs, shopping for groceries, attending doctor’s appointments, and getting medical or other supplies that may help people work from home.
As more states and regions across the country begin to enforce stay-at-home (or shelter-in-place) orders in response to the coronavirus health crisis, it’s a good opportunity to understand what it means and how it could affect your business and employees.
Here’s a helpful cheatsheet:
The best way to prevent sickness is to avoid being exposed. Here are some practical steps you can take:
Employees who report having a fever or an acute respiratory illness upon arrival to work or who become sick during the work day should be separated from others and immediately sent home. They should be fever free (100.4° F or below) for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing or symptom-altering medicines before returning to work. Consider the following:
Before, during, and after an outbreak, create a culture of wellness.
Prepare for employee absences resulting from personal illness, caring for ill family members, and dismissal of early childhood programs and K-12 schools. Be ready to adapt your business practices to maintain critical operations.
You might consider:
Social distancing is an intervention to increase the physical distance between people and reduce the spread of disease. Consider what policies and procedures your business can implement to accomplish work remotely in case of an emergency.
If some employees still receive live checks, advise them to switch to direct deposit. Should the coronavirus reach crisis levels, postal systems or banks may choose to adjust their operations. Switching to direct deposit ensures that employees receive a paycheck without hiccups.
Determine what people and resources are required for your business to operate. Take a look at existing employee roles and responsibilities. Identify the following:
For work that requires physical presence (e.g. restaurant work), start thinking through your contingency plan. This may include engaging a temp agency to quickly find healthy contractors to do the work. Or, this could include implementing on-call staffing policies to manage short staffing.
For work that can be handled outside the workplace, consider reevaluating your remote-work policies. Encourage managers to challenge default assumptions about the flexibility of certain roles as they think through their options.
Identify health risks your employees may face. In the course of their duties, are employees likely to a) Have face-to-face contact with large numbers of people? b) Spend time in work sites, like health care settings, where they may come into contact with ill people? c) Handle materials that could be contaminated, like laboratory samples or healthcare waste?
Additionally, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published its Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, outlining steps employers can take to help protect their workforce. OSHA has divided workplaces and work operations into four risk zones, according to the likelihood of employees’ occupational exposure during a pandemic. These risk zones are useful in determining appropriate work practices and precautions.
Visit the OSHA website for guidance on controlling exposures among workers at risk.
People still need to eat. Actively market your take-out and home-delivery menus. Here are some things to consider as social distancing measures become more widespread.
Here’s what our banking partners at American Savings Bank say:
If you do not have sufficient cash in the bank to cover these 45-day expenses, consider the following actions:
What financial aid is available to help you sustain my business?
The programs and initiatives in the just passed $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs you have right now. When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain nonprofits and other employers.
One of the CARES Act’s primary benefits to small business owners is the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) SBA loan. The PPP SBA loan program funded by CARES would provide your business cash-flow assistance through 100% federally guaranteed loans in order to retain your employees and maintain your payroll during this emergency.
PPP has a host of attractive features, such as forgiveness of up to 8 weeks of payroll based on employee retention and salary levels, no SBA fees and at least six months of deferral with maximum deferrals of up to a year. Small businesses and other eligible entities will be able to apply if you were harmed by COVID-19 between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020. This program is retroactive to February 15, 2020, in order to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls. Loans are available through June 30, 2020.
Does my business qualify?
The following requirements apply to qualify for the PPP SBA loan under CARES:
[3:26] Overview of CARES
[6:32] Overview of Unemployment
[7:50] Unemployment Scenario
[11:32] Overview of FFCRA
[22:32] FFCRA Scenario
[23:47] Overview of RIF
[27:01] RIF Scenario
[32:05] EID Loan Overview
[33:55] PPP Loan Overview
[42:00] EIDL/PPP Loan Scenario
[43:24] Stay at home vs. Quarantine
[44:16] Stay at home vs. Quarantine Scenario
[47:54] Complex Loan Scenario 1
[50:33] Complex Loan Scenario 2
[5:40] CARES Basics
[19:00] ASB Expedited Process
[25:50] Advice from SBA
[39:50] Tax relief from CARES
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). The FFCRA goes into effect on Thursday, April 1, 2020.
The Act provides for free COVID-19 testing and paid sick, family and medical leave for employees impacted by COVID-19 at companies with less than 500 employees. The Act also provides for additional funding for unemployment benefits and Medicaid and food security programs.
The US Department of Labor published its FFCRA notice informing employees of their rights to emergency paid sick leave. Beginning March 26, employers must post this FFCRA poster in a conspicuous place at work. With many businesses and residents under “Stay at Home” orders, an employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.
Under this new law, employees of companies with less than 500 employees are entitled to:
To request leave on the basis of the FFCRA, an employee should complete and submit a request form with their supervisor supervisor/HR manager as soon as possible. Here is a sample FFCRA Employee Request Form we have created for our clients and employees.
If you’re a ProService client, please have your employees fill out the FFCRA Employee Request Form and email it to your ProService contact.
FFCRA Webinar FAQs (ProService Hawaii)
[6:03] COVID-19 Testing
[7:35] Childcare Leave & Sick Leave
[10:32] Who is eligible for sick leave
[13:19] Paid Sick Leave
[24:18] Childcare Leave
[36:50] Returning to Work
There are several relief programs now available to small businesses and their employees. You may have heard of them: CARES Act, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), to name a few. Trying to identify which one is most applicable and beneficial for your situation can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve summed it up for you in this guide.
The Paycheck Protection Program provides small businesses with funds to pay up to 8 weeks of payroll costs including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. Here are key points:
Very Important: Applications are being accepted starting Friday, April 3. The demand for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans is extremely high and there is a funding cap; we urge you to put in your application as soon as possible if interested.
To apply, download the PPP Application and apply through any existing SBA lender or FDIC institution. Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020.
Expedited Application Process for ProService Hawaii Clients:
Please refer to the email communication we sent to you or click here for more detailed steps on how to apply. Here are the basic steps.
On March 20, 2020 The Small Business Administration (SBA) approved an economic disaster declaration for the state of Hawaii due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this disaster declaration, Hawaii businesses affected by the outbreak can now apply for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).
These low-interest loans (3.75% for businesses, 2.75% for not-for-profits) of up to $2 million are intended to help cover normal operating expenses (payroll, inventory, fixed debt, etc) that you would otherwise have been able to pay were it not for the coronavirus. Your loan amount will be based on your actual economic injury and financial needs. It is not tied to property damage. The loan repayment term is determined by your ability to repay the loan.
How to Apply for an SBA EIDL Loan
Step 1 – Visit the SBA’s online application website. Please note that due to the large number of requests, you may experience delays on the site.
There are 3 SBA forms that will be required (SBA Form 5, SBA Form 413, and SBA Form 2202) in addition to other information listed below. These forms are provided electronically/online as part of the SBA online application.
Step 2 – Once you have submitted your documents, the SBA will review your materials and estimate your total loss. A loan officer will determine your eligibility and possibly request additional information or documentation. The goal is to arrive at a decision within 2-3 weeks of your application submission.
Step 3 – Loan Closing and funds disbursed – Your loan closing documents will be provided for your signature. Once signed documents are received the initial disbursement of a maximum of $25,000 will be disbursed. Subsequent disbursements will be scheduled until you receive the full loan amount.
If you need more information, you can:
If you are ready to apply for an SBA disaster loan, click here to submit your application online.
An unfortunate side-effect of the current COVID-19 scare is the increase of scammers who are using COVID-19 fears to develop new ways to obtain personal and financial information. We encourage everyone to continue being vigilant and never trust information or accept requests for such information from an unknown or suspicious source and also double-check the source of emails that appear to be coming from internal company email addresses, business partners or public institutions that is asking for personal information or for you to click on an embedded link.
Some scams include:
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You have several options that you can consider.
There are several factors you should consider before making this decision. These include:
If you require your employee to work from home for the duration of the incubation, be open and flexible and avoid an “all or nothing approach.” Remember, this work from home option is temporary on an as-needed basis with no expectation of ongoing continuance following the incubation period. Engage with your employee and set clear expectations as to what parts of the employee’s responsibilities can be performed at home, even partially.
If your employee’s position does not allow him/her to work from home and carry out any essential functions of the job, if that employee is in a non-exempt position you do not have to pay your employee to remain at home for the duration of the incubation period. If, however, your employee is in an exempt position and is able to perform some parts of his or her job for all or part of the workweek at home, you must pay that employee for the entire workweek.
Note: If you implement this policy, you must be careful that the policy is applied fairly and equally to all employees. If not, you risk potentially violating the Civil Rights Act (e.g., requiring only Chinese nationals to work from home) or the American Disabilities Act. For example, treating an employee as having COVID-19 when they do not have the virus may give that employee cause to file a claim against you because you regarded them as having a disability and unlawfully discriminated against them.
Take the same precautions as noted above, as if the employee tested positive for COVID-19. Treat the situation as if the suspected case is a confirmed case for purposes of sending home potentially infected employees. Communicate with your affected workers to let them know that the employee has not tested positive for the virus but has been exhibiting symptoms that lead you to believe a positive diagnosis is possible.
Take the same steps as advised above except communicate to your employees that the employee is not showing any signs of the virus and you are acting out of an abundance of caution.
There is no obligation to report a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 to the CDC. The healthcare provider that receives the confirmation of a positive test result is a mandatory reporter who will handle that responsibility.
Yes. While taking an employee’s temperature is a medical examination under the ADA, given the community spread of COVID-19, employers may take an employee’s temperature. However, as a practical matter, an employee may have COVID-19 without having a fever so temperature checks alone are not the most effective preventative measures.
Anyone who has COVID-19 or is displaying associated symptoms should not be in the workplace. You may push back his/her start date. For similar reasons, if the new hire cannot safely enter the workplace and you may also withdraw the job offer.
Yes. During a pandemic, you may ask the employee if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Remember to maintain all such information collected from the employee as a confidential medical record to be compliant with the ADA.
Temporary shutdowns may implicate federal and state worker notification statutes, or “WARN” laws. It is best to consult your attorney to confirm if WARN laws apply to the COVID-19 outbreak and any notice requirements.
Generally, under the federal Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act), employers with 100 or more employees are required to provide 60 days’ advance notice of a permanent or temporary shutdown if the shutdown will (i) affect 50 or more employees at a single site of employment and (ii) result in at least a 50 percent reduction in hours of work of individual employees during the month of the shutdown. However, 60 days’ notice is not required if the shutdown is a result of a “natural disaster” or “unforeseeable business circumstances.”
Although the WARN Act does not specifically address whether a pandemic or potential pandemic qualifies as a natural disaster or unforeseeable business circumstance, the key factor for both is that the event was sudden, dramatic and not foreseeable within the required notice period. Additionally, notice is not required if employees are laid off for less than six months. Unfortunately, in situations like this, it is hard to know how long the layoff will occur so providing notice is usually the best practice. Even if these exceptions apply to the COVID-19 outbreak, you are still required to give as much advance notice as is practicable. You should be prepared to communicate a temporary shutdown once a final decision has been made, even if the shutdown will not occur for several days.
WARN imposes monetary penalties for failing to comply with the laws. Again, please work with your employment law counsel to ensure compliance with WARN and/or DWA.
Under federal law, employers must pay nonexempt, hourly employees only for hours they actually work. Absent employer policies or contractual agreements to the contrary, these employees are not entitled to be paid during a shutdown of a work location. Nonexempt employees must be paid for all hours worked at a remote location during a shutdown. Exempt, salaried employees (and nonexempt, salaried employees who are paid based on the fluctuating workweek method) must be paid their full salaries for any week in which they perform work (including while working remotely). If they perform no work during the workweek, they do not have to be paid their salary.
This is one of the most difficult and important decisions you will make. How do you determine who is essential staff?
We recommend you follow these steps:
Full unemployment is when the employee is separated from the employer. It doesn’t mean that an employer can’t rehire an employee in the future, it just means that there is no work for the employee for the foreseeable future.
Full unemployment pays up to $648 per week. The Hawaii Unemployment Insurance Benefit Estimator can be used as a quick reference for determining their approximate potential benefit amount. This is only an estimate based on information provided. It may differ from their actual benefit amount.
Under the new Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, individuals who qualify for unemployment benefits (full and partial) will receive $600 per week in addition to the State’s unemployment benefit they are eligible for. This additional $600 is available for four months. CARES also extends coverage by 13 more weeks, making it possible for an individual to receive unemployment benefits up to 39 weeks. To learn more, read our guide, Cares Act & Unemployment Explained.
Employees who are fully separated from employment, through no fault of their own, are eligible for full unemployment benefits.
To qualify for Full Unemployment benefits, the employee must have:
The 2020 weekly benefit amount for Full Unemployment claims ranges between $5.00 – $648.00. The Unemployment office calculates the weekly benefit amount as follows:
Partial unemployment is for business or work slowdown, and not intended to supplement income for the long term. Only when the employee’s hours are guaranteed to be back to full-time hours within a short amount of time (for example: 3 to 4 weeks), is partial unemployment appropriate.
Partial unemployment is for employees who are not working or working less than their customary regular scheduled hours due to business/work slow down and earning less than their weekly benefit amount. Employees may earn up to $150 per week and still receive the full weekly benefit amount.
The 2020 weekly benefit amount for partial unemployment claims ranges between $5.00 – $648.00. The unemployment office calculates the weekly benefit amount as follows:
The weekly benefit amount for partial unemployment then requires a couple additional considerations, based on how much the employee is still working. If the employee is being furloughed, working zero hours and receiving zero wages, the employee receives the $375.14 calculated above. If the employee is working REDUCED hours, additional calculations are required:
Partial unemployment is for very temporary leave when a guaranteed return to work date is known, full unemployment is for a longer term when an employee will not be working or when a return to work date is not known.
If an employee is still attached to their employer and working reduced hours, or even zero hours (but still technically an active employee), then they would be eligible for partial unemployment. If separated completely, then they would be eligible for full unemployment.
For both public safety and increased efficiency, the State of Hawaii Unemployment Insurance office is requiring all employees to submit their unemployment application online here: http://uiclaims.hawaii.gov/.
The State has set up call centers to assist people who need to file for unemployment. The labor department is currently working on improving their current online claims filing process and does not allow walk-in and in-person requests.
Call these phone numbers to get assistance with:
Claims may take up to three weeks to be paid, particularly considering the increased demand for unemployment Insurance offices nationwide. Unemployment Insurance benefits are not automatically taxed. Your employees must request withholding at the time of registration.
You are not obligated to offer health insurance to employees on partial or full unemployment.
ProService is allowing client partners to extend coverage to employees furloughed or laid off for three months, if the employer pays the premium in full. This is your decision as a business owner, it is an option and not required. Any decision to extend coverage (or not) should be made uniformly, across all like-employees in order to avoid discrimination and inequitability.
When the three months continued coverage comes towards an end, anyone who has not returned to work or found alternative employment should apply for health coverage through HealthCare.gov within 60 days of their loss of coverage, but preferably at least 5 days before their coverage ends. There is no waiting period for pre-existing health conditions and applicants cannot be declined if they apply within 60 days of their loss of coverage.
Unemployment recipients, or even those who are without work and do not have access to unemployment (like 1099 contractors), may apply for health insurance via HealthCare.gov and receive a subsidy to offset their costs. Coverage can be as little as $1 per month with the subsidies.
As a ProService client, we can help coach you through this process. We can help you work with the Unemployment Insurance office, provide instructions to file and can assist with following up on claims. We will continue to:
Effective March 19, 2020, any employer that was served a Notice of Inspection by DHS during the month of March 2020 and has not already responded has an automatic extension for 60 days from the effective date. At the end of the 60-day extension period, DHS will determine if an additional extension will be granted.
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Disclaimer: The information above is provided based upon currently known information. The progress of this disease is constantly evolving. We will update information and advice to employers as appropriate. For immediate medical questions, please contact your healthcare professional.
Mahalo for reading our guide. The better we are informed, the better decisions we can make, and the safer we can keep our community.
For both public safety and increased efficiency, the State of Hawaii Unemployment Insurance office is requiring all employees to submit their unemployment application online here: http://uiclaims.hawaii.gov/. Claims may take up to three weeks to be paid, particularly considering the increased demand for Unemployment Insurance offices nationwide. Unemployment Insurance benefits are not taxed. Your employees must request withholding at the time of registration.
If you are a ProService client, we can help coach you through this process. We can help you work with the Unemployment Insurance office, provide instructions to file and can assist with following up on claims. We will continue to: