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Summaries of Federal COVID-19 Legislation

March 27, 2020

Last week, Congress passed and President Trump signed a second coronavirus emergency aid package called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) — known as “phase two” of the federal response. The bill addresses the growing health and economic crises with provisions for paid sick leave, free testing and expanded unemployment benefits.

Members have raised questions about this new law, so we thought we would share insight published by selected OMA Connections Partners regarding the FFCRA:

If you’re looking for analysis of the pending $2 trillion emergency package — known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, or “phase three” — Clark Schaefer Hackett has an early summary, as does Calfee, Fisher Phillips, and the National Association of Manufacturers. The House is scheduled to vote on the legislation later today, March 27. 3/27/2020

State Guidelines for Essential Businesses

March 27, 2020

This State of Ohio website has been created for essential businesses — including manufacturers and their suppliers — to help ensure compliance with Ohio’s stay-at-home order. It includes the workplace safety “checklist” that is contained in the order. Please take time to visit this site. 3/26/2020

NLRB Suspends Representation Elections

March 27, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has suspended all representation elections, including mail ballot elections, for the next two weeks effective immediately, through and including April 3, 2020. The NLRB said it will monitor the situation and adjust the date as necessary. 3/23/2020

Visit OMA’s COVID-19 Resources Page for More Information

March 27, 2020

Due to the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) — and government’s response — the OMA this week emailed special updates to members and hosted two briefings to address concerns and questions raised by manufactures. These updates and recorded briefings are available at the OMA’s COVID-19 Resources Page, which also contains important links to federal, state, and OMA Connections Partner resources.

For health-related questions about COVID-19, contact the Ohio Department of Health’s call center at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634) or visit the ODH website. 3/26/2020

COVID-19 Update: Week Ending March 20

March 20, 2020

Due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) — and government’s response to it — the OMA this week sent members special updates on Thursday, March 19, Wednesday, March 18, and Monday, March 16. (Click on the email dates if you missed our communications.) The OMA will continue these special updates as necessary — and will warehouse content on the OMA’s COVID-19 Resources Page.

This outbreak is first and foremost a human resources crisis, but its impact now reaches far beyond the HR space. Therefore, there are several other virus-related updates throughout this Leadership Briefing.

At last check, Ohio had 119 confirmed cases and 33 individuals hospitalized. Positive test results have been found in 24 counties.

Counties with confirmed cases were: Ashland (1), Belmont (2), Butler (8), Clark (1), Coshocton (2), Cuyahoga (53), Darke (1), Delaware (2), Franklin (10), Geauga (1), Hamilton (1), Huron (1), Lake (2), Lorain (6), Lucas (1), Mahoning (5), Medina (5), Miami (1), Montgomery (1), Richland (1), Stark (5), Summit (6), Trumbull (2), Tuscarawas (1).

Here is new COVID-19-related guidance from OMA Connections Partners:

  • Clark Schaefer Hackett has published this summary of the new federal “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” which takes effect April 2. The firm notes that employers may be eligible, depending on the direct or indirect impact to their employees, for up to a total of $12,000 in tax credits for employees that are on sick leave and/or emergency leave.
  • Frantz Ward has also published a summary of the new federal law. Bricker & Eckler has posted its analysis, too.

For health-related questions about COVID-19, contact the Ohio Department of Health’s call center at 1-833-4ASKODH (1-833-427-5634). 3/20/2020

Coronavirus Update: K-12 Schools to Close for Three Weeks, Large Gatherings Banned

March 13, 2020

Here’s the latest regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • Gov. Mike DeWine has announced he will close all K-12 schools — public, private and charter — at the end of the day Monday, March 16, until April 3. (Please check with your local schools for exact details.) The closures do not include child-care facilities.
  • Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Amy Acton has signed an order banning gatherings of 100 or more people. The ban does not include grocery stores, forms of transit, typical office environments, or factories, among others places.
  • Because community spread is occurring, Dr. Acton said it’s likely that at least 1% of Ohio’s population is carrying this virus today. One percent of the state’s population is roughly 117,000 people. (See video of the governor’s latest COVID-19 update.)
  • As of Thursday, five Ohioans had tested positive for the coronavirus. There are 52 Ohioans awaiting coronavirus test results, while 30 have tested negative and 333 are under health supervision. This website provides real-time, Ohio-specific information regarding the coronavirus.
  • If you have questions regarding how to protect your employees and prepare for COVID-19, the ODH coronavirus call center can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH. The agency operates the center seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and staff includes infectious disease experts.
  • ODH has released this brief guidance document for employers, as well as a list of frequently asked questions.
  • OSHA has published 35 pages of guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19.
  • The World Health Organization has published a five-page guidance document for employers.
  • The CDC has published a list of frequently asked questions about the coronavirus, and a short document on keeping workplaces and homes safe.
  • The U.S. EPA has published a list of disinfectants to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, as has the American Chemistry Council’s Center for Biocide Chemistries. The latter says “this product list is not exhaustive but can be used by business owners to identify products suitable for use during the COVID-19.”
  • Several OMA Connections Partners have published guidance for employers:
    • RSM has created its coronavirus resource center to help business leaders stay on top of this developing situation, including this article on five things businesses can do operationally to prepare.
    • Bricker & Eckler has posted this guidance on maintaining a healthy workplace after employees have traveled.
    • Dinsmore published this article covering the many laws an HR manager needs to consider while implementing practical business solutions required during a pandemic.
    • Calfee reports the IRS has announced that high-deductible health plans are allowed to cover costs associated with testing and treatment for COVID-19 without violating current regulations.
  • This interactive map by Johns Hopkins shows the location of every reported COVID-19 case in the world. At last check, more than half of the cases were listed as “recovered.”

The OMA continues to monitor updates from ODH, as well as the latest situation summaries from the CDC. 3/12/2020

NAM Offers COVID-19 Response Plan to Federal Policymakers

March 13, 2020

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has shared its COVID-19 response recommendations with federal policymakers. NAM’s plan identifies key policy areas where legislative and administration action would help combat the health and economic impact of COVID-19, as well as future public health emergencies.

A new NAM survey shows that 78.3% of respondents say the COVID-19 outbreak is likely to have a financial impact on their businesses; 53.1% of manufacturers are anticipating a change in their operations in the coming months; and 35.5% say they are already facing supply chain disruptions.


Coronavirus Update – Week Ending March 6

March 6, 2020

Here’s the latest regarding the coronavirus (COVID-2019):

  • This week, Gov. Mike DeWine held a conference call with OMA President Eric Burkland and leaders of other business organizations to provide an update on actions and planning efforts by state officials. This website provides real-time, Ohio-specific information regarding the coronavirus.
  • As of Thursday, there were still no confirmed cases in Ohio, but three people were under investigation. Seven Ohioans have been tested but are negative, and 255 Ohio residents remain in self-quarantine, having traveled recently to China.
  • Ohio will be able to test for coronavirus starting late this weekend after it received testing kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to reports. Until now, the state health department had been forced to defer tests to the CDC, which took up to five days.
  • The National Association of Manufacturers has published a comprehensive site with useful information.
  • The Ohio Department of Health has composed this checklist to prepare your household for an outbreak of any infectious disease.
  • Several OMA Connections Partners have published guidance for employers:
    • Roetzel says employers should do these four things to prepare for coronavirus.
    • Calfee has produced a practical list of steps to help prevent workplace exposure and plan for a widespread outbreak.
    • Dinsmore offers this guidance on what employers must know about quarantines and preventing the spread of disease at work.
    • And Clark Schaefer Hackett has published a post on the coronavirus’ impact on the global manufacturing supply chain and how manufacturers can respond.
  • This interactive map by Johns Hopkins shows the location of every reported COVID-19 case in the world. At last check, more than half of the cases were listed as “recovered.”

The OMA continues to monitor updates from the Ohio Department of Health, as well as the latest situation summaries from the CDC. 3/5/2020

Fines for Federal Labor Violations Just Went Up

March 6, 2020

OMA Connections Partner OneSource Advisors reports that the U.S. Department of Labor recently announced its 2020 inflation-adjusted penalties for employer violations of a wide range of federal labor laws. New maximum penalties include:

  • $2,050 for violations of federal minimum wage or overtime requirements increases.
  • $2,233 per day for failing to file a Form 5500 for an employee benefit plan.
  • $176 per offense for violations of the posting requirements under the FMLA.

Employers should become familiar with the new penalty amounts and review their pay practices, benefit plan administration, and safety protocols to ensure compliance. 3/5/2020

Does Your Company Have a Hiring Program for Vets?

March 6, 2020

The HIRE Vets Medallion Award is the only federal-level veterans’ employment award that recognizes a company’s commitment to veteran hiring, retention and professional development. If your business is interested in participating in this program, apply before April 30. 3/2/2020