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NOLA SHRM News and Announcements
Return to Work Guide
Assessing the Risk and Actions to Mitigate Them
This document is designed to provide a framework for preparing a company to return employees to work following the pandemic. We will all continue to navigate and learn within the landscape of COVID-19. Our hope is that this resource helps your organization prepare for returning employees in a manner they feel comfortable performing their jobs safely.
Returning to work should be something that the leadership team carefully evaluates and decides. Under the circumstances today, this decision is layered with complexity and should not be taken lightly.
Several questions the leadership team should have clarity on:
NOLA SHRM Return To Work Guide 5.2020 vff.pdf
On Monday, March 16, Mayor LaToya Cantrell issued a proclamation limiting gatherings and closing certain establishments. The New Orleans Health Department issued further guidance on Friday, March 20 mandating residents to stay home except for essential needs.
Link to READY NOLA - COVID19 News & Resources
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2020
Everyone in Louisiana should wear masks when in public; Next announcement will be May 11
BATON ROUGE — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced he will extend Louisiana’s Stay at Home order until May 15 to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19. Louisiana does not currently meet the White House criteria for entering Phase One of reopening.
While Louisiana has seen positive, improving trends statewide in terms of new case growth and new hospitalizations, in several regions across the state, new cases and hospitalizations continue to increase or to plateau, according to data from the Louisiana Department of Health. The White House criteria calls for declining numbers of new cases and hospitalizations, among other things.
“Thanks to the commitment of the people of Louisiana, our state has made progress in flattening the curve and reducing the spread of the novel coronavirus. Unfortunately, we still have a little work to do before we meet the criteria to safely move to the next phase of reopening, so I will extend the state’s Stay at Home order until May 15, with a few minor changes,” Gov. Edwards said. “While this is not the announcement I want to make, I am hopeful, and all of Louisiana should be hopeful, that we will enter into the next phase of reopening soon, in mid-May. I am anxious to get all areas of our economy reopened, but if we accelerate too quickly, we may have to slam on the brakes. That will be bad for public health and for businesses, bad for our people and bad for our state.”
Gov. Edwards’ decision is based on regional data that shows that while overall new cases and hospitalizations have decreased, this is not the case in several regions. In the Baton Rouge and Monroe regions, both new cases and new hospitalizations have increased. Some increases are also being seen in terms of new cases in Acadiana and a plateau for hospitalizations in Southwest Louisiana and a plateau of new cases on the Northshore.
Under the extended order, which will be issued on Friday, May 1, businesses that previously were directed to be closed will remain closed, including salons, barber shops, bars and casinos, among other things. Businesses that are deemed essential under the third phase of federal CISA guidance may still be open. Non-essential retail businesses in Louisiana continue to be able to open with fewer than 10 people total inside.
Three major changes in the new Stay at Home order include:
Additionally, both the CDC and the Louisiana Department of Health strongly urge everyone to wear masks when in public.
“Wearing cloth masks or protective face coverings is part of the new normal,” Gov. Edwards said. “Wearing a mask is being a good neighbor and in Louisiana, we pride ourselves on being good neighbors. Your mask protects me and other people and my mask protects you.”
Hopefully, Louisiana will meet the White House criteria and move to Phase 1 on May 15, provided symptoms, new case counts and hospitalizations decrease and the state continues to surge testing and contact tracing capacity. Phase 1 lifts the Stay at Home order and eases restrictions on some public spaces like houses of worship and restaurants and opens other businesses that have been closed such as barber shops and salons, but with restrictions on occupancy and strict requirements for personal distancing and masks to keep everyone safe. Phase One occupancy for these businesses will be limited to 25 percent.
As Louisiana prepares for its next phase of reopening, business owners and faith leaders are encouraged to plan as well, including understanding their building’s maximum occupancy limits, which may require contacting local government or the State Fire Marshal’s office. They should also plan on ensuring their employees have masks.
Gov. Edwards intends to make his next announcement on moving to Phase 1 in Louisiana on or by May 11. Members of the public can continue to get information from the Governor’s office on coronavirus.la.gov and by texting LACOVID to 67283.
Return to Work – Assessing the Risk and Actions to Mitigate Them
This document is meant to provide a framework for deciding and preparing a company to return employees to work. We will all continue to navigate and learn within the landscape of COVID19. Our hope is this resource helps your organization prepare for returning employees to a place where they feel comfortable performing their jobs safely.
Returning to work should be something that the leadership team carefully debates and decides. Under the circumstances today, this decision is layered with complexity and should not be taken lightly.
NOLA SHRM Return To Work COVID19.pdf
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its guidance on April 23 on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and coronavirus, explaining that employers may screen employees for COVID-19. Any mandatory medical test must be job-related and consistent with business necessity, the EEOC explained.
"Applying this standard to the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers may take steps to determine if employees entering the workplace have COVID-19 because an individual with the virus will pose a direct threat to the health of others," the agency stated. Consequently, an employer may administer COVID-19 testing to employees before they enter the workplace.
The tests should be accurate and reliable, the agency added, noting that employers should review guidance from the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and check updates.
Click for Full SHRM Article
The impact of the coronavirus on the working world was hard to imagine just two months ago. Since early March, a wide range of predominantly service-sector businesses have closed, most either furloughing or laying off their staffs. Companies that are still operating are relying on legions of employees to work remotely or are equipping their workers (many now considered "essential") with personal protective equipment, hand-washing stations and other tools to minimize risk so they can do their jobs onsite.
New research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) sheds a light onto just how significantly employers and workers have been impacted by the coronavirus. For instance, 40 percent of employers have had to shut down certain aspects of their businesses, while 83 percent have adjusted their business practices, according to the survey of more than 2,200 human resource professionals. In addition, 71 percent of employers said they are struggling to adjust to remote work, while 65 percent said that maintaining employee morale has been a challenge.
Link to Full Survey Results
State and local officials may need to tailor the application of these criteria to local circumstances (e.g., metropolitan areas that have suffered severe COVID outbreaks, rural and suburban areas where outbreaks have not occurred or have been mild). Additionally, where appropriate, Governors should work on a regional basis to satisfy these criteria and to progress through the phases outlined below.
Link to US Guidelines for Reopening The Country
April 17, 2020 Update from Michael Hecht at GNO Inc.
Are you looking for:
As always, general information is on the GNO, Inc. Coronavirus Business Resource Page.
Please feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or VP Policy Ileana Ledet at email@example.com with any questions or suggestions.
President & CEO
Greater New Orleans, Inc.
1100 Poydras Street, Ste. 3475
New Orleans, LA 70130
The FFCRA requires employers to provide paid leave through two separate provisions: (i) the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA), which entitles workers to up to 80 hours of paid sick time when they are unable to work for certain reasons related to COVID-19, and (ii) the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (Expanded FMLA), which entitles workers to certain paid family and medical leave. The FFCRA provides that employers subject to the EPSLA and the Expanded FMLA paid leave requirements are entitled to fully refundable tax credits to cover the cost of the leave required to be paid for these periods of time during which employees are unable to work (which for purposes of these rules, includes telework). Certain self-employed persons in similar circumstances are entitled to similar credits.
The following section provides an overview of FFCRA’s refundable tax credit provisions, and the FAQs that follow provide more detailed information regarding the requirements, limitations, and application of the paid leave credits. The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (DOL) administers the EPSLA and the Expanded FMLA and has posted FAQs and relevant information about the paid leave requirements at the Department of Labor's Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers.
Eligible Employers are entitled to refundable tax credits for qualified sick leave wages and qualified family leave wages (collectively “qualified leave wages”), under sections 7001 and 7003 of the FFCRA respectively. These tax credits are increased by the qualified health plan expenses allocable to, and the Eligible Employer’s share of Medicare tax on, the qualified leave wages. Eligible Employers are businesses and tax-exempt organizations with fewer than 500 employees that are required to provide paid sick leave under the EPSLA and to provide paid family leave under the Expanded FMLA (note that although the FFCRA requires most government employers to provide paid leave, it does not entitle those governmental employers to tax credits for this leave). For more information about Eligible Employers, see “What employers may claim the tax credits?” Under sections 7002 and 7004 of the FFCRA, self-employed individuals are entitled to equivalent credits based on similar circumstances in which the individual is unable to work. For more information about how self-employed individuals can claim the credits see “Specific Provisions Related to Self-Employed Individuals”. The refundable tax credits apply to qualified sick leave wages and qualified family leave wages paid for certain periods when an employee is unable to work, as described below, during the period beginning April 1, 2020, and ending December 31, 2020. The same period is used to determine credits for qualified sick leave equivalent amounts and qualified family leave equivalent amounts for certain self-employed individuals.
The April 2020 issue of HR Professionals Magazine features Talent Management and Recruiting. Some key articles include "The Need for Business Continuity," by Dr.Kim LeFavor; "What Do People Need Now?" by Cammie Scott; Pandemics: "Plan But Don't Panic," by Stuart Jackson. Some excellent articles on talent management include "The Future of the Organization is Now," by Brad Federman; "Build Talent Bench Strength Now," by Dr. Trish Holliday; and "Boulo Uncovers a Hidden Workforce."
Link to HR Professionals Magazine