COVID-19 Benefits Update: May 8, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect our lives and organizations, and is evolving quickly each and every day. Parker, Smith & Feek is dedicated to keeping you informed on the latest information.

New Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Guidance on Employee Testing Permission

As employers prepare for the return of their workforces, the EEOC has provided guidance on permissions for testing employees for COVID-19 prior to entering the workplace. Read more on their website.

Guide to Creating a Return to Work Action Plan

As our states move closer to bringing employees back to the workplace, we are making a template available that our clients may use as a starting point for planning and communication. It includes guidelines regarding modifying workspaces, disinfecting areas, social distancing, personal hygiene, reviewing policies, and more. Remember to work with your legal counsel to assure that local regulations; city and state are included.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Interactive Map for State-Specific Reopening

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce published an interactive map to help businesses with local rules and guidelines that provides details on state-specific reopening information. This map includes helpful information on employee screening, crowd size limitations, personal protective equipment workplace requirements, cleaning and sanitation procedures, and more. Visit the website to learn more and explore the map.

Washington State Updates Exchange Special Enrollment

Employees currently enrolled in COBRA continuation coverage may now qualify for a special enrollment period if their coverage costs change due to their former employer stopping contributions. Learn more and get answers to other frequently asked questions on the Washington Healthplanfinder website.

City of Seattle Expands Paid Sick Leave

The City of Seattle has amended their Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance to expand the accepted types of absences to include when their family member’s school or place of care has been closed. Read more about the ordinance and temporary emergency rule on their website.

Oregon Issues Emergency Order for Health Insurance Companies

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services issued a new emergency order for health insurance companies during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The order requires health insurance companies to:

  • Provide at least a 60-day grace period to pay any past due premiums
  • Pay claims for any covered services during the first 30 days of the grace period
  • Extend all deadlines for reporting claims and other communications, and provide members with communication options that meet physical distancing standards

The order is in effect through June 3 and will be extended in 30-day increments during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read the complete health insurance order.

Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay (HELP) Expands to More Industries

Colorado issued an amendment to their HELP rules making paid leave available for up to two weeks, with a maximum of 90 hours. The pay will be two-thirds of the employee’s usual rate, with no dollar caps. The leave will end following certain periods of being symptom free. Read the update to learn more.

Colorado Business Recommendations – At-The-Door Symptom Checking

During Colorado’s Safer-at-Home Phase, the Department of Public Health recommends businesses to conduct daily temperature checks and monitor symptoms in employees for businesses with 25 employees or more. Smaller businesses may ask employees to do self-temperature and symptom checks at home daily before coming in to work. All symptomatic employees should be referred to the CDPHE Symptom Tracker. Learn more about how to conduct a facility health screening at their website.

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The views and opinions expressed within are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Parker, Smith & Feek. While every effort has been taken in compiling this information to ensure that its contents are totally accurate, neither the publisher nor the author can accept liability for any inaccuracies or changed circumstances of any information herein or for the consequences of any reliance placed upon it.