19 Mar 2020

COVID-19 Update

To our loyal clients and local businesses:

First and foremost, we are overwhelmed by the support and gratitude we are receiving from our clients during this difficult time and we cannot thank you enough!  While we do not have all of the answers we are doing our best to help you navigate through COVID-19 issues that are having a significant impact in our workplaces.  As you know the situation is fluid and is changing every hour (or that is certainly what is seems like) and we are all learning as we go.  We will continue to provide updates we believe might be helpful for businesses as well as provide recommendations as to how to handle specific situations.  If you need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Further to the Order announced yesterday, The Evans HR Group is considered an essential business under the Shelter In Place Order and we will continue to provide support to our clients although we are not scheduling face-to-face meetings at this time.  Some of us are working remotely to comply with social distancing requirements, but we are here for you!

We wanted to share a few updates with you regarding some questions we have received from clients.

We are an essential business and our employee is refusing to come to work due to the “shelter in place” Order, what can we do?
  • Normal attendance rules are applicable unless they are over the age of 65, have a compromised immune system, or are a parent of a child affected by school/daycare closure, have been told to self-quarantine (certified by a Health Care Provider), or are caring for an ill or quarantined family member (certified by a Health Care Provider), and other protected criteria as previously noted.
  • Prior to issuing disciplinary action up to and including termination, please review with Legal Counsel.
What should we communicate to employees regarding hygiene?

Every person has a role to play. So much of protecting yourself and your family comes down to common sense.  We have included a flyer that you can post in common areas to remind employees of the importance of proper hygiene.

  • Stay home if you are sick!
  • Cover nose/mouth if you sneeze
  • Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth, etc)
  • Washing hands with soap and water.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. If surfaces are dirty, clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
  • Following guidance from public health officials.
How do we clean/sanitize our work surfaces and touch points when cleaning supplies are limited?
  • In compliance with CDC Guidelines and OSHA/General Industry requirements, employers must ramp up their cleaning/sanitizing measures.  Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
  • Clean first!  Disinfectant, bleach, wipes, etc. will not be effective if the surfaces are not cleaned first.  Mild dish soap and water can be used.
  • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
  • We have included a link to alternative disinfectants approved by the EPA to fight against COVID-19
We are not required to close our business, but have more than 10 employees working in certain areas, what do we need to do?
  • Comply with Social Distancing Requirements
    • This requirement applies to workplaces and areas where employees may congregate.
      • Maintain (6) feet of distance between you and others
      • Review and implement telework alternatives
      • Separate/spread out employees work stations and/or rotate the number of employees that are allowed to work in the office at any given time
      • Limit meetings to ensure compliance with social distancing (i.e. have employees call in by phone, video, etc.)
      • Eliminate all non-essential interaction with outside visitors
      • Eliminate all non-essential business travel
      • Post notices/reminders around the facility/office to remind employees (near restrooms, break areas, conference rooms, etc).

Additional updates:

WARN NOTICE (Portions suspended)- NOTICE IS STILL REQUIRED

  • California Labor Code sections 1400 to 1408 – known as “Cal-WARN,” the state version of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act – provided little flexibility to help employers who have had to suddenly and quickly lay off and furlough much of their workforces during these fast-moving times. Late on March 17, however, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order that provides some relief during the time that California is in a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. The Order clarifies employers’ responsibilities, lifting some of the uncertainty about conducting layoffs legally.
  • There are still certain notification and other provisions that HAVE NOT BEEN RELAXED, see link for more information

Resources

Employment Resources

Health Resources

PLEASE NOTE: This is general information, not legal advice.  Please consult your Attorney to address specific legal issues and impacts within the workplace.