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May

7

2020

Did You Know? Employee Handouts for COVID-19 Are Required at the Federal, State and Local Level

As if employers aren’t dealing with enough legislative change during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new area of responsibility is emerging. The laws being passed on the federal, state and local level during the crisis now require you to issue specific employee communications.

Employee handouts for COVID-19 function similarly, but are a separate obligation, from the physical postings you display in the workplace. They are written notices you distribute based on certain triggering events, such as an employee requesting sick leave or filing an unemployment claim. They are applicable throughout the year, but they’re becoming more prevalent under current COVID-related conditions.

New Laws Also Impact Mandatory Employee Handouts

This is an unprecedented time for new legislation, as federal, state and local governments respond to the tremendous impact of COVID-19 on individuals, families, communities and workplaces. It’s also a time when employers are making difficult decisions to reduce payroll expense and stay afloat by laying off and/or furloughing employees. These two factors — COVID-related legislation and employer action to reduce staffing costs — are ramping up the need for targeted communications to affected employees.

Before COVID-19, there were more than 400 potential federal, state and local employee notices to manage. As COVID-related legislation is passed, this number is growing.

As a result of legislation and employer response to the pandemic, businesses must communicate detailed information to existing employees. This includes:

  • Emergency leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
  • Paid time off
  • Earned sick leave
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Benefits
  • Separation
  • Mass layoffs

Some of these required employee notices are federal, while others are state-and local-specific. For example:

  • Federal: FFCRA Notice, COBRA Election Notice, COBRA General Notice, Premium Assistance Under Medicaid and CHIP
  • California: For Your Benefit California’s Programs for the Unemployed, Notice to Terminating Employee - Health Insurance Premium Payment
  • Connecticut: Information for Filing Your Initial Unemployment Claim, Family and Medical Leave Notice
  • District of Columbia: Family and Medical Leave Act During COVID-19, Notice to Employees Information on Paid Family Leave
  • Georgia: Separation Notice
  • Illinois: WARN Notices
  • Massachusetts: Family and Medical Leave Law Notices, Health Care Coverage Form
  • Michigan: Unemployment Insurance Notice
  • New Jersey: Family Leave Insurance Notice, Business Closing/Mass Layoff Notification Law, Instructions for Claiming Unemployment Insurance Benefits
  • New York: Record of Employment Notice
  • Ohio: Filing for Unemployment Insurance Guide
  • San Francisco, California: Public Health Emergency Leave Notice
  • Tennessee: Separation Notice
  • Washington: Paid Family and Medical Leave Notice

And just like labor law posters, the notices change frequently as new laws are introduced or updated. How can you keep up with the growing requirements — and what are your options when employees are not physically present at work?

How to Manage Employee Handouts for COVID-19

We recognize the challenges employers are facing during the COVID-19 crisis, so we’ve developed strategic solutions to help you manage. With the Mandatory Employee Handout Service, you get electronic access to the latest federal, state and local employee notifications. This service can be utilized year-round, but it’s especially helpful now when many employees are off-site and/or working remotely.

You can be confident you’re fully compliant because our legal team monitors and updates the handouts in real time as laws change, covering the latest COVID-related notices.

Administering these handouts is easy, too. You’ll receive timely email alerts informing you of mandatory updates, as well as online instructions to pinpoint which handouts to use and when. And depending on your circumstances now and post-COVID-19, you have flexible distribution options such as printing, attaching to email, incorporating into policy manuals or posting electronically on your intranet.

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