Business of Medicine

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Employment Practices during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

March 19, 2020

Disclaimer: As this situation is evolving daily, MagMutual recommends reviewing the latest guidelines for the most current information. Visit the MagMutual COVID-19 Resource Center to learn more.

As new information surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic emerges daily, our PolicyOwners should be taking all of the necessary safety precautions. This includes creating the safest situation for your organization and your employees. MagMutual provides the following suggestions when it comes to your staff during this unprecedented time.

  1. Communicate frequently with your employees what your organization is doing to best handle the situation.
  2. Include your employees in decision-making when appropriate. It is important to be transparent and fair as everyone is concerned with not only their well-being, but also their job.
  3. Educate your employees on current CDC guidelines. This can include sharing materials with safety directions, as well as recommendations for reporting.
  4. Follow the CDC guidelines yourself and ask employees who are experiencing any symptoms to stay home for the safety of everyone at your workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is allowing employers to take employee temperatures before shifts but caution that not everyone with the virus may experience high temperatures.
  5. Determine the remote working capacity of your employees and how they could function in a telehealth role.
  6. Think about what tasks an employee may be able to perform that they usually do not, to account for other employee absences. Or if you are only seeing a limited number of patients, consider how you might use employees for multiple roles during this time.
  7. If your employees are feeling overly burdened, try to implement a rotating schedule with equal shifts if possible.
  8. Review the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Paid Sick Leave options that apply to your employees.

President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law on March 18, 2020, and it applies to companies with 500 employees or fewer, but employers with fewer than 50 employees may seek an exemption. Additionally under the Act, “healthcare providers” may be excluded by their employer. The Department of Labor broadly defines healthcare provider as anyone employed at, or employed at an entity that contracts with, either doctor’s offices or a hospital, healthcare center or clinic. This broad language applies to both clinical and non-clinical staff (all employees). Accordingly, it appears that almost all MagMutual PolicyOwners could exempt themselves from the paid sick leave and FMLA requirements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Please see our other resource on The New Employer Obligations under Families First Coronavirus Act by Jackson Lewis, P.C.

If your organization has employment practices liability (EPL) coverage with MagMutual and has any specific employment related questions, please utilize the Jackson Lewis, P.C. Hotline by calling 1-866-758-6874.

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Disclaimer

The information provided in this resource does not constitute legal, medical or any other professional advice, nor does it establish a standard of care. This resource has been created as an aid to you in your practice. The ultimate decision on how to use the information provided rests solely with you, the PolicyOwner.