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01 May

April 2020 Pennsylvania HR Legal Updates

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Safety Measures for COVID-19

What happened?
All non-healthcare businesses who are authorized to be open must make the changes listed below.

What are the details?

  1. Ensure workspaces are cleaned regularly in compliance with CDC guidelines;
  2. Provide soap and hand sanitizer;
  3. Provide masks to all employees to wear while on the worksite;
  4. Stagger arrivals, departures, and breaks;
  5. Provide sufficient space for employees to have breaks or meals at least six feet apart;
  6. Limit in-person meetings to no more than 10 people;
  7. Do not have too many staff in the workplace to conflict with the social distancing guidelines;
  8. Non-essential visitors should be prohibited from entering the workplace; and
  9. Employees must be informed of these requirements orally or in writing.

All Businesses with Probable or Confirmed COVID-19 Case

  1. Close off the areas visited by the person, open doors and turn on fans, and then clean after 24 hours or as long as practicable;
  2. Identify all employees who were in close contact with the diagnosed individual (within six feet for at least 10 minutes) within the previous 48 hours;
    1. Asymptomatic – Adhere to CDC guidelines
    2. Symptomatic – Send home immediately
  3. Promptly notify other employees determined to be in close contact;
  4. Implement temperature screening and send employees home who have a temperature of at least 100.4 degrees;
  5. Sick employees should stay home if they have any symptoms related to COVID-19; and
  6. Ensure the business has enough staff to comply with these directives effectively and timely.

Additional Rules

  1. Businesses should operate by appointment only, or limit occupancy to no more than 50% of limit;
  2. Adjust hours to ensure cleaning and restocking is completed;
  3. Schedule hourly breaks for staff to wash hands;
  4. All customers must wear masks, unless under the age of two or cannot wear a mask due to health reasons;
  5. Social distancing must be maintained;
  6. Signs should be placed informing public of social distancing rules;
  7. Install shields or other barriers;
  8. Companies with registers may only use every other register;
  9. Carts are required to be cleaned;
  10. Online ordering should be encouraged; and
  11. Elderly/high risk shopping time must be provided at least once a week.

What do employers need to do?
Comply with the above stipulations.



Philadelphia Fair Workweek Law

What happened?
On April 21, 2020, the Mayor’s Office of Labor issued a post restating the key provisions of the city of Philadelphia’s new Fair Workweek law, which took effect on April 1 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fair Workweek law in Philadelphia requires covered employers to provide service, retail, and hospitality workers with a predictable work schedule. It also requires employers to provide good faith estimates and 10-day advance notice of work schedules, along with other worker protections.

What are the details?
Covered employers include retail, hospitality, and food services establishments with 250 of more employees (including full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary workers) and 30 or more locations worldwide, including chain establishments and franchises. While many such employers are currently not operating as a result of COVID-19, the new law presents an issue for them as they restart operations.

The new ordinance requires covered employers to:

  • Post and provide 10-day advance notice of work schedules;
  • Provide new employees with a written, good faith estimate of the employee’s work schedule and revise the good faith estimate when there is a significant change to the employee’s work schedule due to changes in the employee’s availability or to the employer’s business needs (employers have until July 1, 2020, to provide existing employees with a written good faith estimate of average work hours);
  • Obtain employee consent when requesting to add hours to the employee’s posted work schedule;
  • Obtain employee consent in writing, and compensate the employee $40, in the event it wants the employee to work any hours scheduled less than nine hours after the end of the previous day’s shift;
  • Offer existing employees the right to additional work shifts before hiring new employees;
  • Notify each employee of its policy for offering and distributing work shifts under this law, at the time of hire and within 24 hours of any change in the policy; and
  • Award predictability pay, a premium pay given to employees when there is an employer initiated change to the 10-day advance notice of work schedule (the city has confirmed that this predictability pay requirement will not by enforced until further notice due to COVID-19 and associated impacts on business activity).

As mentioned above, the city will not be enforcing the predictability pay requirement until further notice. Aside from that, employers are expected to comply with all other provisions of the law at the present time.

What do employers need to do?
The Fair Workweek law is complex and requires employers to adjust their practices relating to scheduling of employees and assignment of work. To the extent employers are not already in compliance with the law, they should begin by taking the following first steps in order to meet the challenges of fulfilling their obligations: (1) Begin averaging hours for existing employees in order to meet the good faith estimate deadline of July 1, 2020; (2) Change scheduling practices to account for the 10-day advance notice of work schedules; and (3) Develop a written policy that complies with the law. Employers must prove compliance with the law if an employee files a complaint, and employers are in the best position do so when they have specific policies and procedures in place that have been developed or modified to conform with the law, such as the following: policy for call-outs; procedure for documenting shift swaps; procedure for how time stamped schedules will be recorded and kept; procedure for monitoring good faith estimates; and policy on how new work hours will be distributed to existing employees. Because the law provides that its provisions may be waived in a collective bargaining agreement, covered employers with collective bargaining agreements should consider seeking a waiver of the law’s requirements.