Human Resources Tips
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) passed on March 18, 2020 and goes into effect on April 2, 2020. Details on this legislation and other COVID-19 legislation and executive orders are changing on a day to day basis. Check with legal counsel before implementing any changes.
Communicate with Staff
Communicate with staff on a regular basis and by different means: conference calls, emails, one-on-one. Identify leadership so staff know with whom they should communicate and ask questions. Make sure that leadership is on the same page to ensure that all staff gets the same message.
Align staffing with the clinical and administrative workload:
- Develop reduced staff schedules in anticipation of reduced workload. Monitor appointments, in person and telehealth, and update schedules accordingly.
- Determine if any staff can work from home. For those who can, contact IT immediately for secure access. Examples may include business office, clinical and administrative phone calls, and patient portal management.
- Consider eliminating part-time and contract labor positions to reduce staff payroll and exposure.
Change in Staffing
Note that employers can generally change non-union staffing at any time without permission, but must meet the following requirements:
- Notify employees in advance (different states may have different notice requirements).
- Changes in pay or wage benefits cannot be retroactive.
- Employers cannot reduce non-exempt staff pay below minimum wage (which will vary by state) but can reduce it down to minimum wage with proper written notification.
- Employers cannot reduce pay for exempt employees below the threshold of $684 per week.
Reduce Employee Expenses
Other methods to reduce employee expenses may include:
- Voluntary resignations by employees
- Voluntary leave by employees
- Termination of poorly performing staff
- Reduction in work hours with commensurate reduction in pay
- Reduction in pay without reduction in hours
- Furlough without pay, but with benefits
- Staff terminations and workforce reduction
- Temporary Cessation of retirement benefits (requires a change in the Plan)
- Strategies will be based upon the specific conditions in the practice; discuss staffing plan, review weekly and revise as needed.
- Must comply with any written agreements, personnel policy manuals, and applicable law.
- Special rules and regulations related to COVID-19 are being introduced and modified almost daily. Check with legal counsel before making any staff changes.