As reports of coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) begin to inundate news and social media feeds, employers around the globe are struggling to keep up with the recommendations and updates health-related organizations are providing. In response, we’ve created an Employer’s Resource Guide to Coronavirus. Below are vetted and reliable resources to help employers prepare their workforce for this evolving public health concern.
Updated as of November 3, 2020
Back to Work Resources
As the nation begins to address the potential of returning to work, state and federal guidelines continue to be revealed. Below are some of the most recent “Back to Work Plans” as of May 22, 2020.
- The White House released the Federal Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the guidance of public health experts.
- To further support these efforts to return to work, the CDC has published information on Contact Tracing – the process of tracing and monitoring those who have been infected and those they may have come into contact with.
- Governor DeWine released his “Responsible Restart Ohio” plan, structured throughout May and June 2020 to allow for a staggered return to work.
- Governor Andy Beshear released “Healthy at Work“, Kentucky’s approach to reopening the state. The State of Kentucky has also published an interactive map of testing locations.
- Indiana has published several resources (found below in our State Resources section), the most recent being a list of Testing Sites locations and Mental Health & Well Being Resources. Governor Eric Holcomb’s “Back on Track Indiana” was published May 1.
Urgent COVID-19 Employer Resources
We have compiled the most up-to-date and immediately relevant information and resources to prepare and protect your business. These resources are updated daily, if not hourly, to ensure the most accurate information to help you navigate through this unprecedented time.
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has prepared a general summary page to answer many of the basic questions surrounding COVID-19, as well as a list of symptoms and a self-checking quiz to help the public determine if they may have COVID-19.
- In October 2020, The CDC updated their definition of close contact.
- The CDC has also published a report on the number of cases and the spread of the disease, which will be updated every business day at noon.
- Additionally, the CDC has prepared the COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review to provide a weekly surveillance of U.S. COVID-19 activity, including studies, COVID-19 cases, variants, testing and vaccination status, hospitalizations, and deaths.
New Laws & Business Resources
- The White House has published The National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, as well as several Executive Orders related to the Coronavirus Pandemic which can be found on the Presidential Actions page.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created an Employer’s Guide to Coronavirus Paid Leave Programs.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
- As of April 2, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was put into place to cushion our economy in this time of crisis. This bill addresses concerns such as leaves of absence, workplace postings and more.
- Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) & Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA) – Federal Register.
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employee Leave Rights – Q & A
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements – Q & A
- Employers must post the Employee Rights Poster in the workplace. Electronic emails or company intranet or websites are acceptable.
- To understand how COVID-19 and the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) interact, check out this extensive accommodation and compliance resource provided by the JAN (Job Accommodation Network).
- For more ADA information related to COVID-19, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has prepared “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and other EEO Laws” as a resource for employers.
- On September 3, 2020, The CARES Act simplified the process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications for coronavirus loans made before September 30, 2020
Coronavirus Aid, Response, Economic Stimulus Act (CARES Act)
- Congress enacted the CARES Act to aid employers on March 28, 2020.
- For a thorough CARES Act FAQ, review this webpage created by the Tax Foundation.
- On August 14, 2020, the President extended the resident Trump extended current stimulus programs by executive order as Democratic and Republican negotiators reached an impasse over the scope of another round of federal economic relief.
- The Dept of Homeland Security has created a homepage in order to share necessary updates and information surrounding national security.
- To learn more on how the Department of the Treasury is taking action, visit their dedicated webpage on the CARES Act and access several of the necessary forms needed for the Paycheck Protection Program.
- On April 2, 2020, The Department of Labor released further guidance on unemployment insurance for states in response to COVID-19.
- The Employment and Training Administration announced new guidance outlining state flexibilities in administering their unemployment insurance programs to assist American affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will provide tax credits to employers to reimburse them for the cost of providing paid sick leave and family leave wages related to COVID-19.
- The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. Visit Coronavirus Tax Relief for details.
- The Employee Retention Credit FAQ explains how employers are reimbursed for paid leave related to COVID-19.
Small Business Resources
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides COVID-19 Relief Options, including information on Economic Injury Disaster Loan Programs, SBA Debt Relief, and more.
- The SBA site also provides a full overview of the Pay Protection Program to help business owners navigate the regulation.
- The U.S. Department of Treasury has provided detailed information related to the Paycheck Protection Program, with resources such as a general overview, borrower and lender application forms, as well as eligibility requirements.
- The U.S. Department of Labor published Fact Sheet #70 to address FAQ Regarding Furloughs and Other Reductions in Pay and Hours Worked Issues.
- To understand the differences between a layoff and a furlough and how employee benefits are impacted, access the National Law Review’s “Leave in the Time of COVID-19” article (published April 7, 2020).
- Downsizing, restructuring and layoffs can negatively impact company brands. Consider Randstad Risesmart “Improving Employee Retention After a Layoff or Workforce Restructure” for items to consider.
- Be sure to read about employer rights and responsibilities under the FFCRA topic below related to leaves of absences.
- The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) provides this helpful article to help employers understand “What to Do When Scared Workers Don’t Report to Work During COVID-19” (April 29, 2020)
- The U.S. Department of Labor published Fact Sheet #70 to address FAQ Regarding Furloughs and Other Reductions in Pay and Hours Worked Issues.
- Review the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division to gain Resources for Workers.
- Be sure to read about employee rights and responsibilities under the FFCRA topic below related to leaves of absences.
- To start, consider reviewing Franczek’s FAQ “Coronavirus: How to Properly Pay Employees in the Event of a Pandemic.“
- In their HR Tip of the Week, ADP compiled recommendations of how to address both exempt and hourly pay concerns.
- This Wall Street Journal article shares how employers from different industries are navigating the challenges of this virus and how to handle sick time.
- The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation has been monitoring the situation very closely, and has prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions in order to provide some answers in regards to claims and policy processing.
- For information for families, individuals, healthcare providers, employers and employees, visit the Ohio Department of Health Coronavirus Website.
- Included in this portal is a go-to reference for some of the basic questions the public is asking. We recommend distributing educational materials like this to address the risks and necessary safeguards.
- They have also provided a list of public health orders to help reduce the amount of mis-information.
- The ODH is available to answer COVID-19 related questions at 833-ASK-4-ODH.
- For daily updates from Governor Mike DeWine, visit Coronavirus.Ohio.gov.
- The Office of Small Business Relief (OSBR) under the Ohio Development Services Agency is focused on identifying and providing direct support to the state’s nearly 950,000 small businesses to help during the current public health crisis and to position them for a strong rebound.
- Unemployment: For those in need of unemployment answers, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has created a Q&A to provide guidance for those affected by any shutdowns.
- Jobs: The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has created a free Job Search Board for both employers and candidates to access.
- For Cincinnati-specific resources, please visit the Better Business Bureau’s Greater Cincinnati COVID-19 Resources page.
- The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber has published their Coronavirus Resource Hub for businesses in need.
- KY has set up an official “Team Kentucky” source for information from Governor Andy Beshearer and all government departments related to COVID-19. This site includes hotlines, confirmation reporting, a Human Infection with Person Under Investigation Care Report Form, mental wellness guidance , Governor Beshear’s daily actions and executive orders and more.
- Unemployment: The Kentucky Career Center page found under KY.gov provides information on how to apply for unemployment insurance related to COVID-19. It also provides an Employer section that covers topics such as mass electronic claims, tax credits and more.
- The KY Chamber of Commerce provides COVID-19 resources for employers, SBA Disaster loan information, unemployment insurance information, best practices and more.
- A COVID-19 Hotline operated by healthcare professionals at the KY Poison Control Center is available to provide advice and answer questions at (800) 722-5725.
- Jobs: Kentucky.gov has provided a list of job openings and training opportunities.
- The Indiana government has developed an extensive Coronavirus publication and resource page. This site includes public updates, a data report map, orders from Governor Eric Holcomb.
- General questions from the public or healthcare providers about COVID-19 can phone the ISDH Call Center at toll free (877) 826-0011 – available 24/7.
- The IN.gov website provides information for Child Care Resource and Referral Changes to connect parents with local child care options.
- Jobs: Work for Indiana provides job opportunities and resources.
- Time.com provides these “5 Tips for Staying Productive and Mentally Healthy While You’re Working From Home.”
- Fortune.com provides guidance on “3 ways to manage conflict when you work remotely”.
- For guidance on managing your remote team, read Robin Throckmorton’s article “How to Effectively Manage Remote Workers” or check out Harvard Business Review’s ”A Guide to Managing Your (Newly) Remote Workers.”
- Check out this article titled, “Remote Work: 20 Ways to Engage and Connect with Your Remote Employees.”
- If you’re looking for information on what to do post-exposure in your workplace, check out the CDC’s recommendations on Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility.
- WebMD has pulled research from multiple sources together to get a better understanding of how long the coronavirus can last on surfaces.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, a comprehensive guide to preparation and prevention.
- OSHA also released a fact sheet, Protecting Workers During a Pandemic, where they addressed the risk levels associated with today’s work environment – including the need for masks or special accommodations.
- Should I wear a mask? Many states are now encouraging the use of masks when outside the home. However, their guidance remains to insure that front line healthcare workers have an adequate supply. Families and individuals at home are asked to make their own masks for use in public. The CDC has put a recommendation for DIY masks to reduce the spread of the virus. They’ve also created instructions for how to make a safe mask at home.
- The CDC shared a checklist for businesses to utilize as they protect their workplaces and their employees against pandemic influenza and COVID-19.
- The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) shared basic ways to keep your workplace clean amidst rising concerns of COVID-19.
- Our eLearning partner, MYCA:Learning, has culled the best advice from experts into an easy-to-read, easy-to-digest, informative eBook. This eBook comes free of charge in order to further encourage safety in the workplace.
- Resources for Living shared “Ways to stay connected without leaving your home” to promote health connections with co-workers while social distancing.
- The World Health Organization has prepared this “Healthy at Home” site for remote workers.
Employee Assistance Program
- For employees who are employed or on furlough, but still eligible for employer benefits, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) may provide counseling services to aid employees with stress, financial advice, marital counseling and grief due to the loss of a loved one. Employees should consult their Human Resources Department or their direct supervisor to learn more. Follow this Society for Human Resources link to learn more about an EAP.
- To learn how to ease your employees fears related to COVID-19, read “Easing Employee Stress Surrounding the Coronavirus Pandemic” provided by HRInsights from HORAN.
- If you believe that you could have COVID-19, read the CDC’s recommended steps to care for yourself and prevent the spread of illness.
- If an employee begins to feel ill, Dr. on Demand has created an assessment to help guide you through any potential symptoms and related recommendations.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) put out an informational piece on what COVID-19 is, how it spreads, and things to consider before you or your team travel for business.
- The CDC provides the latest updates on travel information to protect and prepare those who are on the road. For the most up-to-date information, we highly recommend keeping an eye on the site as the CDC will not only have the most recent, but the most accurate information.
- If you have overseas operations, pull the CDC’s Overseas Checklist into your preparations. This will outline the necessary steps and precautions you should be taking while working towards business continuity.
- Check out our Emergency Preparedness Toolkit – a customizable policy and planning tool with documentation templates and advice on how to organize your committees and planning teams.
- The CDC includes an Emergency Preparedness and Response section with resources and information on their website.
- To find educational resources on Emergency Preparedness and Response, check out the OSHA site under the U.S. Department of Labor.
Emergency Relief Funds/Organizations
Below is a list of non-profit entities that are providing assistance to individuals, families and/or businesses.
- United Way – Provides food, shelter and more to those left vulnerable by the pandemic.
- Veterans and service members may apply for COVID-19 emergency assistance at the PENFED Foundation.
- FEMA is processing and funding Public Assistance projects related to COVID-19.
- Meals on Wheels in providing meals to millions of shut-in seniors nationwide. To find a program near you or to donate, click here.
- To gain support for people with disabilities who live in poverty and are affected by COVID-19, connect with humanity & inclusion.
*strategic HR inc. is not endorsing any particular group or association and are not intentionally excluding any group or association. We’re accepting recommendations for consideration in this area.*
Protecting your workforce moving forward
Educate your employees on good hygiene practices – this is truly your best defense in the workplace to reduce the spread of infection. Frequent hand washing, properly covering sneezes and coughs, and cleaning/disinfecting of work surfaces will provide many of the necessary protections in the workplace.
In order to make sure that you’re well informed, keep your eye on websites like the CDC’s and the WHO’s to ensure that the information you’re consuming is accurate and up-to-date.
We will continue to add new information and links to this article as new information is available.
Want to ensure that your organization is fully prepared for workplace emergencies? Check out our Emergency Preparedness Toolkit – a customizable policy and planning tool with documentation templates and advice on how to organize your committees and planning teams.