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COVID-19 Employment Resources

Furloughs, Layoffs, & Terminations

In talks with an NC Works executive, we confirmed that if you need to lay off staff, the best terminology for the letter to your employee is “temporary layoff due to the COVID-19 virus.”  Doing this should help expedite your employee’s access to unemployment benefits. (Note: employees who have been laid off for COVID-related reasons are able to answer “yes” to the question “Did you look for work?”) Learn more and apply here

The following are excellent resources re: unemployment from the NC Department of Commerce: Q&A for Employers and Q&A for Individuals.  

If your employee will lose their health coverage as a result of layoffs, they may qualify for a special enrollment period for marketplace healthcare provided by the Affordable Care Act. Direct them to NCNavigator.net for assistance. 

Paid Sick Leave & Extended Family Medical Leave

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“Families First”)

The Act requires employers to provide employees with paid sick leave/extended family medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19. This went into effect on April 1, 2020.

Through this act, employers with fewer than 500 employees receive refundable tax credits that reimburse them for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave wages to their employees for leave related to COVID-19. Read more on employee new paid leave rights and refer to this comprehensive portal on the U.S. Department of Labor website for COVID-related workplace questions. 

In addition, there are helpful summaries of Families First from the U.S. Chamber and Ogletree Deakins, and the U.S. Chamber offers a helpful document: What Businesses Need to Know

Also, the Brooks Pierce Law Firm Labor & Employment team has an excellent dashboard of employer resources, including this Covid Checklist for NC Employers.

Healthcare

All members of the Chamber For a Greater Chapel Hill and the Carrboro Business Alliance have access to low-cost, high-quality health care with Piedmont Health. This is a benefit we negotiated for our members and it includes flat $60 doctor visits and ~$10 for most generic meds, regardless of insurance status. Please make sure your employees, especially hourly workers, know about this benefit. Go here and click the link for “Health, Dental & RX” to learn more and access affordable health care

In addition, our Chamber has negotiated discounted telemedicine for you, your employees, and their families. Through this partnership with RelyMD, for just $8/month per employee, you all have access to a local urgent care doctor from home, office, or anywhere, 24/7/365. This is high-quality, low-cost health care by computer or phone, and immediate access to a prescription-writing doctor with a 10 minute or less wait time and a $10 co-pay. For more information and to sign-up, visit RelyMD/chamber.

Community Resources

What happens if my employee or patron tests positive for COVID-19? 

According to Orange County Health Department on 3/18/20: 

  • Businesses are guided to have people who may have been in contact with a patron who was diagnosed with COVID-19 to be quarantined and inform local public health officials. Other than this, businesses should consider informing the public when a person with COVID-19 may have been in their facility. 
  • Businesses may make an announcement regarding COVID-19 confirmed cases in their facility. In coordination with their local health department, they can publish their cleaning and disinfecting efforts and many have already done this across the state.
  • Additional resources: Guidance for environmental cleaning for non-healthcare settings and Guidance for any employees who are sick