News and Analysis
As the COVID-19 emergency continues, employers, employees and their families are experiencing immense uncertainty. Employees are looking for guidance. OMA Connections Partner OneSource Advisors says employers can help calm employees’ fears by taking these actions:
- Acknowledge employee fears surrounding their jobs and the company, but also reassure them of their value to the company and the company’s desire to keep them as members of the team.
- Be open with employees about management decisions and ask for suggestions to rectify problems.
- Provide as much information as possible about the pandemic.
- Highlight employee benefits that employees might not know about to relieve any financial stress.
- Encourage employees to take advantage of any telemental health services to preserve their mental well-being.
- Communicate the future of the business with employees often — in meetings, on the company intranet site, in newsletters and in blogs.
- Be empathetic in your communications, as every employee’s situation is different.
In uncertain times, it’s imperative to clearly communicate your business’s plans as frequently as possible. 4/1/2020
With more employees working from home — including many manufacturers’ administrative staff — cyber-attacks are disrupting businesses. OMA Connections Partner Roetzel has put together this list of best practices to follow while working remotely. 4/1/2020
Churches, schools, libraries and theaters closed. No public weddings or funerals. Loitering in restaurants or taverns is prohibited. Those orders aren’t from 2020, but from Cleveland during the influenza pandemic of 1918-19. The Lexington (Ky.) Herald Leader recently published a story examining the similarities between today’s pandemic and the one that struck a century ago.
Case Western Reserve University research says the 1918-19 flu killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide. The estimated death toll for the U.S. was 675,000, and more than 4,400 in Cleveland. 3/31/2020
This week, the Ohio General Assembly approved sweeping legislation (House Bill 197) in response to the coronavirus outbreak. There were no votes against the bill. Gov. DeWine said he will sign the bill today, March 27.
- Aligning the state tax filing deadline with the delayed federal deadline;
- Extending the dates for estimated payments;
- Waiving interest on tax filings; and
- Extending the “20-day rule” for municipal tax withholding for employees who are now working from home.
The bill also expands eligibility for unemployment compensation and extends the mail-in ballot period for the primary election. For a more complete overview, see the summary by OMA legal counsel Bricker and Eckler.
Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) said approval of the COVID-19 package will likely be the final legislative action for the near future. 3/27/2020
Speaker Larry Householder, Senate President Larry Obhof, and Gov. Mike DeWine have announced that the State of the State Address, which had been set for next week, will be postponed. The three leaders vowed to hold the address after the COVID-19 emergency passes. 3/27/2020
Speaker Householder has announced he will be creating a bipartisan task force to prepare the state to return to work after the coronavirus emergency subsides. Hannah News Service quoted Householder as saying that while the focus now is on keeping Ohioans safe, state leaders must also begin to focus on tomorrow. “How we transition and restart Ohio’s economic engine is critical,” he said.
Details of the task force will be forthcoming, the speaker said. 3/26/2020
The OMA has received some questions about “force majeure” clauses in business contracts between manufacturers. Plante Moran has developed this helpful insight.
Manufacturers will want to consult legal counsel for specific contract questions. 3/27/2020
Under the state’s comprehensive COVID-19 legislation (House Bill 197) passed and signed this week, Ohioans have until April 28 to mail their absentee ballot for the 2020 primary election. Only those who require special assistance will be allowed to vote in person.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose had wanted to give voters until June 2. Instead, HB 197 allows electors who have not already cast a ballot — and who were registered to vote in Ohio as of the Feb. 18 deadline — to cast absentee ballots through 7:30 p.m. on April 28. Absentee ballots may be requested at the secretary of state’s website. 3/25/2020
Manufacturers across the nation are innovating, retooling and repurposing to produce the goods and products needed during the COVID-19 crisis. One such story by IndustryWeek spotlights Ohio’s Cleveland Whiskey, which “announced a partnership to devote its distillery talents to producing free hand sanitizer for the Cleveland Clinic.” Of course there are many other examples from across the state — too many to list here. 3/25/2020