COVID-19 Resources

Employer Guidance During COVID-19

Resources for Business Owners

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, ACCA is committed to providing the most recent information as it arises. For the latest on COVID-19, members are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments, and visit our coronavirus hub for more updates.

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3/27/2020

President Trump Signs $2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Act into Law

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3/27/2020

DOL Issues Enforcement Guidance for FFCRA

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3/27/2020

DOL Issues Mandatory Posters for FFCRA

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3/26/2020

SBA Loans Available to Businesses Affected by Coronavirus

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3/25/2020

COVID-19 Phishing Schemes Escalate; FBI Issues Warning

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3/25/2020

Department of Labor Releases Guidance on Sick Leave and Extended FML

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3/24/2020

Results From COVID-19 Benchmarking Survey

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3/23/2020

Essential Services in the Eye of COVID-19

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3/21/2020

Coronavirus Business Disruption Supply Checklist

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3/20/2020

Local Jurisdictions Relax Inspection Requirements Due to Coronavirus

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3/20/2020

HVACR Essential Services? Updates From Across the Country

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3/19/2020

President Signs Coronavirus Legislation: Paid Sick Leave and Other Requirements

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3/19/2020

Coronavirus - "Special Rules Now Apply": Frequently Asked Questions

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3/19/2020

Families First Coronavirus Response Act Signed Into Law – New Regulations for Small Companies Under FMLA

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3/18/2020

ACCA Fights for Contractors During National Emergency

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3/18/2020

Do I Have to Service a Customer's House Who Is Quarantined, and Other Pressing Matters in the Current Pandemic Climate

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3/17/2020

Employer Guidance During COVID-19

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2/26/2020

It's Getting Scary Out There: What Employers Should Be Aware of for the Coronavirus in the United States

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State-Specific Resources

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#1 – Problem Containment – Say Less, Listen More

A service professional’s job is to make sure things don’t get worse. One way to ensure that the problem doesn’t get worse is to contain it. The word Contain implies keeping something within fixed limits so it doesn’t spread and make a mess. A service professional’s emotions, if not contained can make a mess with incorrect words or a arrogant tone of voice. Satisfying irate customers begins with a strategy of not making things worse. This is what containment is all about. Courtesy of Coscia Communications.

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#2 – Listening Skills

Listening requires lots of mental energy to keep a service professional’s mind active and attentive to what a customer is saying. In the absence of energy, the mind drifts off to La La Land and there’s a good chance that when this happens, vital information is being lost. When an irate customer believes you are really listening and making them feel understood, then they will sense your empathy. Enhanced listening improves an irate customer’s behavior. It begins with your willingness to listen.  Courtesy of Coscia Communications.

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#3 – Dreaded Morning Customers

What happens in the morning can often set the pace for the remainder of the day. Sometimes the most challenging customers call first thing in the morning. Why? Perhaps the customer had a problem the day before so, in an effort to get their situation resolved, they call early the next morning. These are Dreaded Morning Calls. Start each day being prepared for anything. Irate customers can disrupt our morning optimism and ruin our day. Preparation is the key towards an effective irate customer handling strategy. Courtesy of Coscia Communications.

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#4 – Root Cause Resolution

When serving customers and solving problems it’s important to understand that every problem has a Root Cause. The customer’s behavior bad is not the root cause. The bad behavior is a symptom and a service professional’s role is to remain calm, qualify the details and get to the root cause. Never let an irate customer’s behavior rattle you. Their behavior is NOT the problem. Remain calm, focus on root causes and resolve the root cause. This critical thinking strategy will serve you well. Courtesy of Coscia Communications.  

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ARCHIVED WEBINARS

Members Only

Keep Your Business Moving Forward During Coronavirus

Just because we weren’t able to come together in St. Louis for ACCA’s annual conference doesn’t mean that the show can’t go on! Join 1SEO Digital Agency’s Lance Bachmann and Google’s Derek Hartman on Thursday, March 26th at 12 pm eastern as this dynamic duo takes ACCA members on a digital deep-dive into the world of search marketing and what they need to be doing right now on Google to grow their businesses online as customers practice social distancing throughout the United States.

Members Only

What Businesses Need To Be Focusing On Right Now!

Learn strategies to help your employees, your families and your communities to thrive right now. Hear the latest information about the pandemic; government legislation; and actions that other "Scaling Up" companies are taking.

Topics include: Scenario Planning, Disaster Recovery Preparedness, Employee Engagement, Customer Outreach, Resiliency Thinking, Government Assistance and Legislation

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Technology To Maintain Good Customer Relations & Keep Everyone Safe!

It's hard to miss the news that says we should all be participating in social distancing due to the threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). But, how can your team do that when they are entering homes and businesses every day? During this special webcast, three of ACCA's partners, Ray Clark of Schedule Engine, Alex Donofrio of XOi Technologies and Allison Vavra of Nexa Receptionist share technology solutions that will keep your team and your customers safe and while maintaining great customer relations during this outbreak and beyond.

RESOURCES

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Social Media Downloads

Access free COVID-19 social posts to share on your business's social channels.

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COVID-19 Executive Summary

Read results from the COVID-19 Impact & Implementation Survey.


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Sample Alert on COVID-19

Here is a sample alert that contractors can us on their website, in emails to consumers, and on social media posts.

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CISA Guidance On COVID-19

The U.S. DHS guidance identifying plumbers and other tradespeople as essential workers during the threat of COVID-19.

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FAQs - Employer Guidance During COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Labor announced in a press release on March 9, 2020, that the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is "providing guidance and information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19." The WHD provided two question-and-answer documents related to COVID-19. One of the documents deals with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the other deals with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

The Fair Labor Standards Act

In its Q&A related to the FLSA, the WHD deals with common questions related to pay requirements for employees, volunteers, and others. Below are just a few of the questions and answers from that guidance (quoted verbatim):

How many hours is an employer obligated to pay an hourly-paid employee who works a partial week because the employer's business closed?

The FLSA generally applies to hours actually worked. It does not require employers who are unable to provide work to non-exempt employees to pay them for hours the employees would have otherwise worked.

If an employer directs salaried, exempt employees to take vacation (or leave bank deductions) or leave without pay during office closures due to influenza, pandemic, or other public health emergency, does this impact the employee's exempt status?

Exempt, salaried employees generally must receive their full salary in any week in which they perform any work, subject to certain very limited exceptions. The FLSA does not require employer-provided vacation time. Where an employer offers a bona fide benefits plan or vacation time to its employees, there is no prohibition on an employer requiring that such accrued leave or vacation time be taken on a specific day(s). Further, this will not affect the employee's salary basis of payment so long as the employee still receives in payment an amount equal to the employee's guaranteed salary. However, an employee will not be considered paid "on a salary basis" if deductions from the predetermined compensation are made for absences occasioned by the office closure during a week in which the employee performs any work. Exempt salaried employees are not required to be paid their salary in weeks in which they perform no work. [Constangy Note: In order to be relieved of the obligation to pay the full weekly salary, the employee cannot perform any work, remote or otherwise, within the seven-day work week designated by the employer, which may or may not coincide with the calendar week.] Therefore, a private employer may direct exempt staff to take vacation or debit their leave bank account in the case of an office closure, whether for a full or partial day, provided the employees receive in payment an amount equal to their guaranteed salary. In the same scenario, an exempt employee who has no accrued benefits in the leave bank account, or has limited accrued leave and the reduction would result in a negative balance in the leave bank account, still must receive the employee's guaranteed salary for any absence(s) occasioned by the office closure in order to remain exempt. For more information, see WHD Opinion Letter FLSA2005-41.

What are an employer's obligations to an employee who is under government-imposed quarantine?

WHD encourages employers to be accommodating and flexible with workers impacted by government-imposed quarantines. Employers may offer alternative work arrangements, such as teleworking, and additional paid time off to such employees.

How many hours per day or per week can an employee work?

The FLSA does not limit the number of hours per day or per week that employees aged 16 years and older can be required to work.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

In its Q&A document related to the FMLA, the WHD reminds employers that employees out with the flu or caring for ill family members may be entitled to FMLA leave: "Under the FMLA, covered employers must provide employees job-protected, unpaid leave for specified family and medical reasons, which may include the flu where complications arise. Employees on FMLA leave are entitled to the continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms as existed before they took FMLA leave."

Which employees are eligible to take FMLA leave?

Employees are eligible to take FMLA leave if they work for a covered employer and:

  • have worked for their employer for at least 12 months;
  • have at least 1,250 hours of service over the previous 12 months; and
  • work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.

Special hours of service requirements apply to airline flight crew employees and to breaks in service to fulfill National Guard or Reserve military service obligations pursuant to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). (See the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division or call 1-866-487-9243 for additional information on FMLA.)

Must an employer grant leave to an employee who is sick or who is caring for a family member that is sick?

An employee who is sick or whose family members are sick may be entitled to leave under the FMLA under certain circumstances. The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a designated 12-month leave year for specified family and medical reasons. This may include the flu where complications arise that create a "serious health condition" as defined by the FMLA. Employees on FMLA leave are entitled to the continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same conditions as coverage would have been provided if the employee had been continuously employed during the leave period.

Workers who are ill with pandemic influenza or have a family member with influenza are urged to stay home to minimize the spread of the pandemic. Employers are encouraged to support these and other community mitigation strategies and should consider flexible leave policies for their employees.

Can an employee stay home under FMLA leave to avoid getting pandemic influenza?

The FMLA protects eligible employees who are incapacitated by a serious health condition, as may be the case with the flu where complications arise, or who are needed to care for covered family members who are incapacitated by a serious health condition. Leave taken by an employee for the purpose of avoiding exposure to the flu would not be protected under the FMLA. Employers should encourage employees who are ill with pandemic influenza or are exposed to ill family members to stay home and should consider flexible leave policies for their employees in these circumstances.

Covered employers must abide by the FMLA as well as any applicable state FMLA laws. An employee who is sick, or whose family members are sick, may be entitled to leave under the FMLA. The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a designated 12-month leave year for specified family and medical reasons which may include the flu where complications arise that create a "serious health condition" as defined by the FMLA.

There is currently no federal law covering non-government employees who take off from work to care for healthy children, and employers are not required by federal law to provide leave to employees caring for dependents who have been dismissed from school or child care. However, given the potential for significant illness under some pandemic influenza scenarios, employers should review their leave policies to consider providing increased flexibility to their employees and their families. Remember that federal law mandates that any flexible leave policies must be administered in a manner that does not discriminate against employees because of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age (40 and over), disability, or veteran status.

Employers should be aware that the circumstances related to COVID-19 are constantly evolving, and should seek timely legal advice to address any issues or concerns.

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