opens in a new window03.25.2020 – Benefits Info COVID-19 Resources Newsletter
We hope this post finds you well… here are some of the latest updates related to COVID-19.
Under the opens in a new windowFamilies First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), covered employers must post a notice of the FFCRA requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. The attached HR Compliance Bulletin includes frequently asked questions issued by the DOL on this notice requirement.
As business closures increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are faced with questions about compensation and health benefits coverage for their employees. Government relief measures may provide compensation for businesses and individuals in certain situations. In other cases, existing rules on employee rights will apply. The attached Compliance Overview provides a summary of the issues that employers may encounter when terminating or suspending employment due to COVID-19.
Please also be aware of a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) currently offered by the major medical providers. UHC has published the details of their SEP which we have attached here. Others have simply shared the range of dates. In essence the medical carriers are affording plan administrators the ability to hold open enrollment for those who previously waived during the last open enrollment to join between now and early April (for example, April 3rd with Anthem or April 6th with UHC) to be effective April 1st. Major medical carriers are also relaxing the requirement that eligible employees maintain 30+ hours per week to be eligible through at least the end of May for those who wish to maintain benefit eligibility.
If you have any questions, please contact your Crane Agency Service Team. We are here for you and will keep you posted on major developments. For the latest information and updates on COVID-19, please visit the opens in a new windowCrane Agency Blog. Be well.
opens in a new window3.24.2020 Benefits Info COVID-19 Resources Newsletter
Crane Agency continues to monitor the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and we are doing everything we can to assist you during these difficult times. First and foremost, we hope this finds you and your families all doing well, remaining healthy and adjusting to your new work environments for those who are now working remotely. Here are some of the latest updates we have prepared in response to this fluid situation. As we await word from Washington regarding the latest proposal for a COVID-19 Relief Bill, we will share some resources we have available now:
For the latest information and updates on COVID-19, please visit the opens in a new windowCrane Agency Blog.
This UPDATED FAQ covers the general topic of COVID-19 virus to explain how various insurance policies could respond to claim scenarios related to the COVID-19 virus. If your business experiences a loss, we recommend you submit a claim to your insurer. They will give their position about coverage under your policy. No one can say for certain what might happen in the future, but we always recommend insureds should submit a claim. As always, please contact your Crane Agency Service Team with any questions and check the opens in a new windowCrane Agency Blog frequently for updates.
Dear Valued Clients, Partners, and Friends:
At Crane Agency, serving the needs of our clients, employees and communities is at the heart of our mission and today, safety is our greatest concern. In accordance with CDC guidelines, we have limited all unnecessary face to face interaction within our organization. Effective March 17th, we began transitioning our staff to work from home, where we continue to be fully operational and committed to serving the needs of our clients.
Crane Agency has added a page to our website with additional resources to help you manage this crisis. We also encourage everyone to stay informed through trusted sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Thank you for your continued partnership.
To reduce the impact of COVID-19 outbreak conditions on businesses, workers, customers, and the public, it is important for all employers to plan now for COVID-19. For employers who have already planned for influenza pandemics, planning for COVID-19 may involve updating plans to address the specific exposure risks, sources of exposure, routes of transmission, and other unique characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 (i.e., compared to pandemic influenza viruses). Employers who have not prepared for pandemic events should prepare themselves and their workers as far in advance as possible of potentially worsening outbreak conditions. Lack of continuity planning can result in a cascade of failures as employers attempt to address challenges of COVID-19 with insufficient resources and workers who might not be adequately trained for jobs they may have to perform under pandemic conditions.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed this COVID-19 planning guidance based on traditional infection prevention and industrial hygiene practices. It focuses on the need for employers to implement engineering, administrative, and work practice controls and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as considerations for doing so.
This guidance is intended for planning purposes. Employers and workers should use this planning guidance to help identify risk levels in workplace settings and to determine any appropriate control measures to implement. Additional guidance may be needed as COVID-19 outbreak conditions change, including as new information about the virus, its transmission, and impacts, becomes available.
opens in a new windowOSHA Health & Safety Topics COVID-19
opens in a new windowCDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
opens in a new windowWorld Health Organization Coronavirus Guidance
opens in a new window03.24.2020 – Please see our updated FAQ for additional guidance, as it pertains to COVID-19.
As concerns about COVID-19 continue to rise, many are left wondering what they can do to protect their families, businesses and their workforce. In order to help our clients plan and prepare, Crane Agency has created a document to help explain how some commercial insurance policies may respond.
The CDC has also provided interim guidance for opens in a new windowBusinesses and opens in a new windowFamilies on their website. Recommended strategies for employers to use now:
Actively encourage sick employees to stay home
- Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
- Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
- Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
- Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
- Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
Separate sick employees
- CDC recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).
Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees
- Place opens in a new windowposters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
- Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
- Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
- Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
- Visit the opens in a new windowcoughing and sneezing etiquette and opens in a new windowclean hands web page for more information.
Perform routine environmental cleaning
- Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, counter tops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
- No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
- Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps
- Check the opens in a new windowCDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found at on the CDC website.
- Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of opens in a new windowacute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
- Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
- If outside the United States, sick employees should follow your company’s policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.
Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of the COVID-19
- Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for opens in a new windowhow to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
- If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for opens in a new windowhow to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure. Please visit the CDC website for more information.
Other helpful resources include:
opens in a new windowNational Institutes of Health – COVID-19 Landing Page
opens in a new windowNational Retail Federation – Coronavirus Resources for Retailers
opens in a new windowOSHA COVID-19 Website Landing Page
opens in a new windowUS Department of Education COVID-19 Landing Page
opens in a new windowUS Food & Drug Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Landing Page
opens in a new windowWorld Health Organization Website
We will continue to monitor current events, but as with any developing situation, please consult local and governmental health agencies for the newest developments.