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Paid Time Off and Health Benefits to Minimize the COVID-19 Impact

In the last few weeks, governments have started rolling out legislation around paid time off during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Traditional rules are now giving way to more specific mandates designed to tide both organizations and their employees through this period. You can offer a coronavirus-specific paid time off policy in line with these mandates and explore several other ideas when revising your employee benefits plan.

Additional Paid Time Off

The U.S. federal government recently passed a law that requires SMBs to provide paid time off to the following employee categories:

· Those who have taken leave to undergo treatment for coronavirus

· Those taking care of an unwell family member

· Those who are the primary caregivers for a child at home due to school closures or other current issues with Covid19 in the schools.

This is in addition to existing paid time off laws for medical reasons. You can add coronavirus-specific leaves to your employees’ calendars, clearly communicating its availability so that employees can opt in as necessary.

The recent PTO law does not apply to companies with 500 workers or over. It also doesn’t apply to retail chains such as Amazon, whose delivery workers may be at risk of contracting the virus on the job. The government assumes that larger organizations are already providing PTO to their employees. However, if they are not, now is the time to extend this benefit to them.

Health benefits for dependents

COVID-19 is mainly known to affect the elderly as well as very young children, which means that your employees may be taking care of vulnerable dependents. A “family-first” benefits plan would take this into account, extending the medical health benefits that your employees enjoy to the rest of their family.

If possible, increase existing health insurance coverage for family members. Removing co-payments and co-insurance (where employees must first pay a specific amount before accessing medical services) is also a good idea. Several health insurance providers such as Cigna and Aetna have waived co-pays for COVID-19-related diagnostic testing.

Given the outbreak of COVID-19, employees may not be able to come in and collect a physical paycheck or weekly wages. A cashless insurance system for both themselves and their dependents would reassure them at this time. With the situation surrounding Covid19 it is important to make sure all aspects of time off and health benefits are in compliance and HR Compliance can help you. Contact us for more information.

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