Like the rest of the world, PeopleStrategy is closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As a full-service broker and HR technology solution provider, we serve employers and, more specifically, HR, benefits and finance professionals. During unsettling situations such as the one we face today, employees rely on HR to provide guidance on how best to protect their health and that of their families. One of the best ways for HR professionals to assist employees is to be informed and prepared for the questions you will undoubtedly receive.
Prevention is Key
Prevention is key and we encourage you to follow the guidance provided by local health authorities, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additional resources you can reference:
- PeopleStrategy partner, ThinkHR, has compiled helpful information, templates and other resources for employers. Their most recent blog, When Business Threats Are Contagious: 10 Answers for Employers Navigating the Coronavirus, provides answers on employee leave, pay and other top-of-mind questions for employers.
- HR.com offers an AI-charged Coronavirus FAQ chatbot providing up-to date tips, facts and help in dealing with Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace and is offering webcasts to help businesses deal with the growing concerns. You must be logged into HR.com to register; registration with HR.com is free.
- There are extensive resources available on SHRM.org – from general and employee leave questions to communication templates and employer policy suggestions. NOTE: you must be a member of SHRM to access many of the materials.
Employee Leave & Health Coverage
Leave policies and coverage for employees will most likely be frequently asked questions. The following resources provide guidance in both areas:
- Employees who are quarantined as a result of a possible COVID-19 infection, or are caring for family members who are quarantined, may be eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Visit this page on the Department of Labor website for information on COVID-19 and other public health emergencies FMLA questions & answers: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla/pandemic
- Many insurers have announced they will waive costs associated with testing and treatment for coronavirus, but there is still confusion about what plans will cover. To alleviate one aspect of confusion, the IRS has issued guidance on testing as it relates to high-deductible health plans. Specifically, individuals using their HDHP to pay for testing for coronavirus can do so without having to satisfy the minimum deductible requirements. For other carrier announcements: check out the blog post, Health Insurance Providers Respond to Coronavirus (COVID-19), from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP); visit your carrier’s website; or, contact your broker.
- PeopleStrategy broker clients: please reach out to your Account Executive for specific questions related to your group insurance policies. Also be sure to check what coverages are available for employees under your state’s temporary disability benefits laws.
Steps PeopleStrategy Is Taking
As we do in all emergency settings, we are partnering closely with our providers to ensure our customers have uninterrupted access to the PeopleStrategy platform and client support. Below are a few ways in which PeopleStrategy is protecting our business operations and the health and safety of our employees.
- PeopleStrategy has a unique advantage of being a predominantly “remote work” organization with employees geographically dispersed amongst twenty (20) states. We offer flexible work options, including working from home when needed. Most of our workforce currently works from home and we have tools in place that enable all employees to interact internally and externally.
- Another advantage our clients and employees have is that our software is accessed via the Web, which means critical business processes such as processing payroll can be completed remotely. PeopleStrategy clients and your employees, and our support and development teams can securely access our platform anywhere – all that is needed is a web browser and an internet connection.
- The software is hosted remotely with redundancy; our colocation partner has multiple interconnected data centers across the United States, which provides for high availability and protects our data.
- We have provided guidelines for any employee who has flu-like or other symptoms, or has a household member with symptoms, to self-quarantine. We have stocked our offices with extra hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes and communicated additional preventative measures all employees should be taking.
The information contained on this page is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any wording be construed as legal or tax advice.