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March 30, 2020 Employment Law

Handbook Updates that Companies Need to Make Immediately

As you likely know, Congress recently passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) and the Department of Labor (“DOL”) later issued some guidance and notice materials regarding two specific provisions in the FFCRA, the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLEA”) and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”).

Both require employers to grant paid and unpaid leave to employees suffering from specific COVI-19 issues and other public health emergencies. These two new acts take effect on April 1, 2020, and remain in effect until December 31, 2020. This means employers must adhere to the new leave laws for the remainder of the year, not just during the current pandemic.

With new employee leave laws to come new DOL notice posters. These posters should be displayed in a conspicuous place on the employer’s premises, similar to other wage and hour posters issued by the DOL. For employers with teleworking employees, the best practice is to email a copy of the poster to those employees. A copy of the official DOL notice poster for non-federal employers can be found here.

Handbook Updates that Companies Need to Make ImmediatelyUpdated Policies

In addition to the new laws, the various orders and mandates from both federal and state governments have caused the workplace as we know it to change drastically. As many businesses move to a telecommuting format and the workplace dynamic continues to change, it is important for employers to clearly communicate new policies and procedures to their employees. This is best done through updates to the company Employee Handbook.

Some new and updated policies that should be added to your Employee Handbook include:

  • Telework/Telecommute Policy
  • Facilities Safety and Reporting Policy
  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Policy
  • Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act Policy
  • Updated IT Resources and Communication Systems Policy
  • Travel Advisory Policy

While updating your Employee Handbook is not required by law, clearly communicating expectations and company policies to your employees is crucial in maintaining a successful business during these uncertain times.

Should you have any questions about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or any other employment matter, including COVID-19 issues, please feel free to contact any member of the Pierce/Jewett Labor and Employment team at 757-624-9323.