Employers are facing many issues when rehiring or returning furloughed employees to work after the temporary shutdown due to COVID-19. The first step for any employer to take before rehiring or restarting an employee is to look back and see how the employer addressed the shutdown with employees when it closed operations.
Were employees actually terminated or did they remain employees that were just not working due to a temporary closure of business operations? If employees were actually terminated then employer needs to rehire any former employee and the best practice would be to provide employees with written offer letters. If employees were not terminated but just didn’t work due to the business closure, then those individuals remained employees and can simply be directed by written notice when to report to work and start working again.
Another consideration is whether or not the company will take a position that it is exempt from the Families First Caronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which went into effect on April 1 and provides emergency family medical leave and paid sick leave under certain circumstances. Upon the rehire of staff, if the office is not otherwise exempt, staff will have the right to partake in these paid leaves. It would be advisable that any employer consult with its advisors before approving or denying an employee a claim under FFCRA.
Thomas Law Group can help clients with this process and determine what steps should be taken to help ensure a smooth transition when business operations resume. There will continue to be employee issues related to the shutdown and the attorneys at Thomas Law Group look forward to assisting you through these unusual times.