As the global community wrestles with the Coronavirus outbreak, public and private employers scramble to implement workplace policies that protect the health and welfare of employees, customers, and the general public. If you plan to close your office or plant, or to send home sick employees, make sure you take stock of your legal obligations under state and federal law, as well as under your workplace handbook or collective bargaining agreement. Here are a few points to keep in mind:
- Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers must pay hourly, non-exempt workers only for actual time worked. Salaried workers, however, must be paid their full salary with two exceptions; if they do not work for a full week, or if absent for personal reasons in full day increments, pay can be deducted.
- If you aren’t paying someone, they truly need to be off work. Actively monitoring emails, answering phone calls, or being on standby can qualify as hours worked.
- You can send a sick employee home from work. A salaried employee will still be pay eligible for full pay, and certain states’ laws require base compensation for hourly workers sent home for illness or for lack of work.
- Many states (like Michigan) have mandatory paid sick days. Review your obligations under state law, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and your company’s employee handbook to make sure sick employees receive proper compensation and accommodation as the circumstances may require.
If in doubt, the U.S. Department of Labor’s website is always a good place to start. And of course, feel free to contact us at Wright Beamer at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 248-477-6300.