Light may be in sight at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel for some Washington state employers. Governor Inslee’s Safe Start plan, announced on May 4, is a phased approach to re-opening Washington’s economy for business. Each phase will be at least three weeks in length. Health data and metrics will determine when Washington state can move from one phase to another.
Oregon’s governor issued a plan to begin reopening the state and its businesses on May 15, assuming certain health metrics are met. Alaska began Phase One of Reopen Alaska Responsibly on April 24. Businesses must comply with the mandates issued in each state where they operate, so you should confirm those requirements before opening up for business and bringing employees back to work. The following checklist should help your business develop a safe workplace plan for doing so.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s website provides further guidance. Sick leave under the FFCRA will remain available to employees until December 31. Importantly, the sick leave benefits and the paid family leave are capped at different rates depending on the qualifying reason for the leave. Private employers are entitled to refundable tax credits for the FFRCA benefits paid out to employees. For more information on the FFCRA caps and tax credits, please consult Lane Powell’s COVID-19 Resource Center.
While returning to work may be much-anticipated for both employers and employees, it is critical to develop a plan tailored to your workplace, taking into account the needs of your employees and the various health guidelines that remain in place as economic reopening occurs.
Determining how best to meet your business needs during these uncertain times can be challenging. Lane Powell’s team of attorneys are here to help you develop and implement the strategy that supports your business and your employees.
For more information, consult Lane Powell’s COVID-19 Resource Center or contact Hannah Ard, Katheryn Bradley or Mike Kitson.
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