Coronavirus Update March 18, 2020: Reducing Onsite Workforces, FMLA, Unemployment Claims

On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced an agreement on the paid sick leave bill for those impacted by the virus. The provisions are set to take place immediately upon passage. As soon as this is finalized, we will provide updated information.

Work From Home Policies

Governor Cuomo’s website stated that he will issue an executive order directing non-essential businesses to implement work-from-home policies.  This is effective Friday, March 20, 2020. Businesses that rely on in-office personnel must decrease their in-office workforce by 50%. Many businesses have already shifted a number of employees to work from home and by Friday, March 20th needs to increase that number to reach 50%. Exemptions from the order will include shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks, and related financial institutions.

There have also been updates made to the proposed federal emergency bill for FMLA and paid sick leave at the federal level. There are significant changes as the government works to finalize this bill into law. We will update you when this is signed by the President.

Uptick in Unemployment Claims

In other matters, with the uptick in unemployment claims due to layoffs caused by COVID-19, the DOL has issued guidance on filing. The date that an employee can file for unemployment is based on the first letter of their last name, as listed below.

• A-F, file on Monday
• G-N, file on Tuesday
• O-Z, file on Wednesday
• Thursday & Friday will be for those that miss the above filing day

The DOL advises that filing later in the week will not delay payments or affect the date of the claim; all claims are effective on the Monday of the week in which they are filed.

For additional information the following resources are available to you and your employees:

CDC Coronavirus/COVID-19: What You Need to Know
Erie County Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources
Monroe County Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources