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     Back to School Plans
This has caused healthcare employers to weigh the
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By Jodi Schafer, SPHR, SHRM-SCP HRM Services www.WorkWithHR labor pool is not very deep right now given increased
for Employers
unemployment compensation and peoples’ general
By Jodi Schafer, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
As schools start back
up for the fall, COVID continues to create challenges for employ- ees and employers alike. Many districts have moved their curriculum to a virtual setting, while others are offering hybrid
models. Even in-person classes are no guarantee that an employee will be able to work as scheduled. All it takes is one outbreak and in-person classes will be suspended unexpectedly. It is inevitable that employees will need assistance juggling the increased demands on their time.
The federally funded Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provides employees with paid time off in the form of emergency paid sick leave (EPSLA) and expanded family medical leave (EFMLA) that could be used to supplement time away from work due to childcare issues resulting from COVID- related school or daycare closures. However, these hours are only available if the employer has less than 500 employees AND the employer has not exempted themselves from offering FFCRA leave. This last part is significant to healthcare providers because under the current FFCRA legislation and subsequent Department of Labor guidance, healthcare employers can choose to exempt themselves from FFCRA compliance. Which means, employees with school- aged children may find themselves without a safety net to assist with wage continuation or job protec- tion outside of existing employer benefit programs like PTO, vacation and/or sick banks.
a. Social distancing measures
programs willbn. oStcrbeeneinagspilryotroecoplsla–cReedfe. r Fto rlotchalactoruenatyshoena,lth departm employers are wesclrle-eandinvgisqeuedstionas asnsdisptrowtoitcholsresources
HRM Services
Steps for Recalling Employees to Work
pros and cons of FFCRA leave very carefully. The
1. Determine when you will reopen and what your business model will
anxiety around COVID exposure in the workplace.
a. Ensure compliance with federal and state executive orders Current staff who feel forced to choose between work
2. Draft your COVID-19 Preparedness and Response plan and their children’s education due to inflexible leave
 c. Protocols for COVID-19 contact tracing/isolation
that can aid employees in their decision-making
d. PPE by risk category – order PPE and install barriers as neede process. To begin, survey your staff to learn what the
e. Sanitation and hygiene protocols – order hand sanitizer and current needs are so you can predict potential impact
f. Safety communication plans and training
to work schedules and staffing needs. If you have
3. Determine which employees/employee groups will return to in-perso
multiple team members that are struggling with
a. Rely on business necessity vs. protected classifications w
childcare/school closures, it is time to get creative.
eligible for recall
FFCRA is one solution, but consider assembling a list
4. Determine which requirements you must comply with when employ ofalternativeao.pFtFioCRnAs–aFvaamiillaiebslFeirsitnCyorounravciroumsRmesuponnisteyAct
b. FMLA – Family Medical Leave Act
and using this to facilitate discussion among affected
c. ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act
team members. Employees can share their plans with
d. PMLA – Paid Medical Leave Act
others who are in a similar situation and employers
e. PTO – Paid Time Off
can provide additional ideas that may be of interest.
f. Medical or Personal Leave of Absence (paid or unpaid)
Ie: Facebook groups for schools in the area where
5. Send a recall notice to the employees you intend to recall learning pods are being formed, summer camps that
a. Clearly communicate start date, hours, pay, benefits, etc.
are retooling their offerings to provide a place for
i. Reduced hours may make employees eligible f
online learning, names of tutors and/or licensed
underemployment benefits through UIA (Unemploym teachers in thbe. aCroemamwuhniocaaterethwatilyloinu’gvetopuat sasfiestty wpriotthocols in place to
in-home learning, employer-funded childcare subsi-
c. Require employees to document their intentions regarding r
dies to assist with increased financial burdens or
return/resign or unable to return for a reason that may requ
employer contracted arrangements with a childcare/
6. Communicate with employees that will be coming back
learning center that would offer discounted rates to
employees in need.
a. Share updates you’ve made to ensure their safety while
preparedness and response plan)
These are just a few of the many solutions parents
b. Share any changes to workplace policies, procedures, benefi and employercs. aTrreaicnoenmspildoyeereisnogntaonymnienwimsaifeztey tphroetocols and procedure
disruption that COVID has caused to our school
7. Communicate with employees that may be unable to return
a. Clarify reason for their inability to return and determine if th
systems, and as a result, to the workplace. While it is
leave or accommodation
not typical for an employer to be so involved in an
i. FFCRA, FMLA, ADA, PMLA, PTO, Medical or Personal
employee’s personal life, these are times are anything
Jodi Schafer is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR, SHRM-SCP) and the owner of Human Resource Management Services. Jodi has a bachelor's degree in psychology and education from Kalamazoo College and over 20 years of experience in human resource management. She was recognized as one of the ’10 Over the Next Ten’ in the next generation of business leaders by the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, and accepted the MSAE Association Choice award on behalf of HRM for the consulting services category. Jodi sits on several statewide committees focused on human resource policy and leadership development. She is a regular contributor to various industry publications and author of a ready-to-use HR system for small employers. Jodi conducts speaking engagements and training seminars on all aspects of human resources including employee relations, leadership skills, performance development, on-boarding, recruitment and retention.
b. If eligible for accommodation or extended leave, document a
but typical. Practices who do their homework to offer flexibility and choice will weather this storm much better than those who draw a hard line and place the burden of nontraditional school arrangements solely on the shoulders of their staff.

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