Documents & Resources
Treasury/IRS defers tax day
Following President Donald J. Trump’s emergency declaration pursuant to the Stafford Act, the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) yesterday announced that the tax filings and payments for all federal income taxes (including self-employment tax) due on April 15, 2020, regardless of amount, will now be due on July 15, 2020. View the Press Release
H.R. 6201 signed into law
On March 18, the President signed H.R. 6201 (Families First Coronavirus Response Act) into law. This legislation extends additional assistance to individuals affected by the COVID-19 outbreak by providing paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers. Here are the main points of H.R. 6201:
Requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave related to caring for a child via an expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (with the first 10 days unpaid).
Requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide up to 80 hours (generally two weeks) of emergency paid “sick” leave to full-time employees (with special rules for part-time employees).
Provides tax credits for required paid sick leave, paid family and medical leave and certain health plan expenses.
Requires group health plans, health insurers and government programs to provide free coronavirus testing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you are permitted to ask them to seek medical attention and get tested for COVID-19. The CDC states that employees who exhibit symptoms of influenza-like illness at work during a pandemic should leave the workplace. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) confirmed that advising workers to go home is permissible and not considered disability-related if the symptoms present are akin to the COVID-19 coronavirus or the flu.
Yes. The EEOC confirmed that measuring employees’ body temperatures is permissible given the current circumstances. While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) places restrictions on the inquiries that an employer can make into an employee’s medical status, and the EEOC considers taking an employee’s temperature to be a “medical examination” under the ADA, the federal agency recognizes the need for this action now because the CDC and state/local health authorities have acknowledged community spread of COVID-19 and issued attendant precautions.
However, as a practical matter, an employee may be infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus without exhibiting recognized symptoms such as a fever, so temperature checks may not be the most effective method for protecting your workforce.
You should send home all employees who worked closely with that employee for a 14-day period of time to ensure the infection does not spread. Before the employee departs, ask them to identify all individuals who worked in close proximity (three to six feet) with them in the previous 14 days to ensure you have a full list of those who should be sent home. When sending the employees home, do not identify by name the infected employee or you could risk a violation of confidentiality laws. If you work in a shared office building or area, you should inform building management so they can take whatever precautions they deem necessary.
On March 19, the U.S. Department of State issued a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” advisory warning U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. The U.S., Mexico, and Canada have also suspended all non-essential travel between the two countries. However, you generally cannot prohibit otherwise legal activity, such as travel abroad by an employee. While a federal court of appeals recently held that it is not necessarily a violation of the ADA to terminate an employee who refuses to cancel personal travel to an area of the world with a high risk of exposure to a deadly disease, you still could risk legal exposure, reduced employee morale, and negative publicity if you do so. This includes pregnant employees or those with medical conditions. However, you should educate your employees before they engage in travel to risky environments to try and work out a solution, and you can – and should – monitor those employees returning from such travel for signs of illness.
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