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Practice Management FAQs

June 23, 2020 1745

Quick Summary:

A practice management resource that answers frequently asked questions about unemployment laws, sick leave polices and managing employee wages.

When to update sick leave policies

Employers should ensure that their local or state-mandated written paid sick leave policies are compliant, flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies. Employers should also be aware that some local cities, for example, San Jose, have passed local emergency paid sick leave ordinances that enhance compliance requirements. Employers are encouraged to visit their local city website for more information.

CDC also encourages employers to maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member and be aware that more employees than usual may need to stay home. In the event of a potential staff shortage, employers should prepare alternative staffing plans to ensure as many of their facility’s staff are available as possible.

When can I lower my employees pay?

Ideally, the answer to this question is never. However, the reality is, business needs may warrant this difficult decision. In all cases, the reduction should never be based on a discriminatory reason and employees should be provided an updated job description.

Employees paid on an hourly basis should be paid in accordance with wage and hour laws and provided an updated Wage Theft Prevention Notice and Change in relationship document.

Employers who wish to change an exempt employees’ wages must be mindful of salary basis requirements and that the duties meet the exemption criteria. The employee should also be provided new notices and an updated job description. The new pay rate for any employee cannot take effect until after notice is provided to the employee.

The California Labor Commissioner's Office has also developed answers to common employment law questions concerning COVID-19.

Practice Support offers resources to help with these transitions.

How do I notify EDD that an employee has refused work or has chosen to voluntarily separate?

All employees have an obligation to self-certify the offer and refusal of work or employment separation. In addition, an employer may notify EDD of the employee’s refusal and separation of employment using:

Employees should be made aware that some of the preventive measures may result in a loss of income if an employee has exhausted paid sick time or other paid time off.

CDC advises employers not to require a healthcare provider's note to validate an employee's illness because healthcare facilities may be extremely busy and unable to provide such documentation in a timely way.

If I require my employees check their temperature from home prior to reporting to work and the employee indicates an elevated temperature and per practice policy should not report to work, do I owe my employees any wages?

Yes. If you require your employee to take their temperature prior to arrival at the practice the employer is in control of the employees time and the employee should be compensated. If the employee reports an elevated temperature and is unable to report to work per practice policy the employee would be owed wages in accordance with Reporting Time Pay law. The employee must be paid for half the usual or scheduled day's work, but in no event for less than two hours nor more than four hours, at his or her regular rate of pay. In addition, the employee may also be offered the use of any unused paid sick leave time to make up the difference of the workday scheduled hours.

Further, if an employee is asked to return home due to a positive response to the screening questions or a documented fever, employers should comply with the provisions of reporting time pay, mandated paid sick leave and eligibility under FFCRA.

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