Since early March, the world has significantly changed due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has affected the personal and works lives of billions. Due to the pandemic, federal, state, and even local legislators have sought to put measures in place to protect workers and companies. Several pieces of legislation have passed or have been presented that would directly affect part-time, full-time, exempt, and non-exempt employees. Each law tries to fill gaps and temper the social, emotional, and economic repercussions of COVID-19 for people and businesses.
In mid-March, the House introduced and passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Now a law, the FFCRA expands paid leave for employees who cannot work due to COVID-19. This includes workers who have tested positive for the virus, as well as those expected to stay at home to care for sick relatives.
The FFCRA also expands food assistance for people around the nation, including families with small children and the elderly, to ensure they can pay for grocery items. People who are dealing with the problem of limited food and were previously ineligible for help through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program may now be able to receive emergency benefits. The goal of the FFCRA is to provide a fiscal bridge for individuals and families hit the hardest during the medical crisis.
Legally, businesses that have not entirely shut down due to the pandemic can allow their employees to work from home. Though, according to the Department of Labor (DOL) guidelines, teleworking protocols and expectations have not changed. The DOL emphasizes that companies must make accommodations for teleworkers as needed, such as providing workers with resources to perform their jobs as assigned. This may include setting up special phone lines or internet access at the expense of the employer. However, working from home may prove difficult if a worker suffers an injury and needs to file a Workers’ Compensation claim. A knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation lawyer will review the details of your case and determine if you are eligible for benefits.
As of March 22, many Pennsylvania businesses had to cease their physical location operations. Businesses that did not follow the order faced potential fines and criminal charges. These businesses were called non-essential, although many professionals have argued that they provide essential services that cannot be completed unless all or part of their team comes into the office. To sort through these issues, the Commonwealth has created an online system for companies to submit waiver requests. If a waiver is accepted, the corporation may continue to run a physical location unless other measures are taken.
Are you experiencing problems with a Workers’ Compensation claim made before or during the COVID-19 pandemic? If so, contact our Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Gross & Kenny, LLP today. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-512-1500. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania.