Return-to-Work HR Concerns?

Your dog may love working with you all day, but for many, the time is coming to head back to the office. With this transition come plenty of questions.

On May 27, InterSector sat in on a re-opening webinar with Milwaukee-based law firm Michael Best and consulting firm TRC. We picked up a few ideas worth sharing.

Got a PPP Loan and Paying FFCRA Sick Leave or FMLA?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires nonprofits of all sizes, even those with fewer than 50 employees, to provide paid sick leave and expanded family medical leave to employees affected by COVID-19. The federal government will reimburse employers for this leave via payroll tax credits.

FFCRA leave requests seem likelier to arise as the state and many of its nonprofits begin to re-open.

Three important notes from the webinar:

  1. If you received a Paycheck Protection Program loan, any sick leave or FMLA leave you pay under FFCRA cannot be included in payroll expenses you calculate for loan forgiveness.
  2. Documenting FFCRA leave is important to substantiate your tax credit claim. Customize and use a form like this one, created by and shared with permission from Building for Kids Children’s Museum executive director Oliver Zornow.
  3. Once you’ve documented FFCRA leave, hold on to your records for four years in case of audit.

Thinking of Taking Employee Temperatures?

A webinar participant asked about taking employee temperatures as they arrive at work. Experts on the webinar were less than enthusiastic in their response, citing challenges with this practice that you’ll want to consider:

  • If you employ many people (or are considering taking client temperatures), maintaining social distancing when folks arrive all at once can prove difficult. Start times may need to be staggered to accommodate this.
  • When you take a temperature, you are effectively performing a medical exam — so privacy becomes a concern. Can you protect the privacy of an employee or client you send away with a fever?
  • Experts saved the most practical obstacle for last: Getting thermometers right now is hard!

Have an Employee with COVID-19 Symptoms or a Diagnosis?

First, how will you find out if an employee has been diagnosed? The webinar emphasized communicating clearly to employees how and to whom to report a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Second, if the diagnosis is determined to be work-related, the U.S. Department of Labor guidance requires reporting the case to OSHA.

Experts on the webinar emphasize the need to maintain the confidentiality of employees with symptoms or a positive test.

While it may be necessary to share with employees that a staff member has been diagnosed, employers are advised against sharing the name of the staff member in question. If your workplace is small, team members will figure out who’s missing; still, it’s important that the employer respects boundaries and employee privacy by withholding the affected employee’s name.

This sample communication to employees about a positive case will give you a good start. Here’s another sample from Think HR.


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