Concerns for Employers During COVID-19 Shutdown
Our Gwinnett County business law attorneys address common concerns for employers amidst shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Businesses are facing massive disruptions as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Efforts to ‘flatten the curve’ and reduce the potential for community spread has caused many companies to shut down, either due to government orders or dramatic downturns in business. At the same time, new and current legislation may provide protections for both employers and employees. Our business law attorneys address common concerns you may have during this difficult time.
Is Your Business Required to Shut Down Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic?
As the number of coronavirus cases in Georgia continues to climb, Governor Brian Kemp took the dramatic step of issuing a stay-at-home order. An April 2, 2020 article by US News and World Reports states the order is in effect until mid-month. Prior to this, Gwinnett County had already taken steps to reduce the risks of community spread, closing schools and non-essential businesses in mid-March.
Businesses who have been forced to close need to be aware of provisions under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act that may apply in this situation. The Act requires employers with at least 100 employees to provide 60 days’ notice of shutdowns. This requirement is waived in situations involving natural disasters, a category COVID-19 would likely fall in, but employers do need to provide as much advance notice as possible.
What Business Owners Need to Know About COVID-19 Shutdowns
On March 26, 2020, the Wall Street Journal announced that the Senate had passed a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. Provisions include close to $900 billion in government loans to businesses, of which nearly $400 billion is earmarked to help smaller companies stay afloat. These loans can help employers continue to meet company overhead amidst pandemic related shutdowns. Repayment plans are flexible and, depending on the size of the company, portions may not have to be repaid.
These loans can help companies be better prepared to reopen once the immediate danger surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has passed. In the meantime, you need to be aware of requirements regarding wages and benefits for employees. In general, these requirements will be influenced in part by employee contracts and job agreements currently in place:
- Salaried employees may be entitled to their full pay during the shutdown;
- Contract provisions may allow some workers to use sick days or personal time to make up for any losses in income;
- Generally, hourly workers are only entitled to be paid for time they actually work but may be eligible to claim unemployment benefits under new coronavirus stimulus package guidelines.
Our Gwinnett County, GA Business Law Attorneys Provide the Trusted Legal Guidance You Need
The coronavirus pandemic presents unique challenges for business. How matters are handled now could impact your company for years to come. To protect yourself and your employees, get the trusted legal guidance you need from Zimmerman & Associates. Contact our Gwinnett County business law attorneys today.