New Compliance Laws Bring Changes to Paid Leave, Private Health Information

A picture of two medical masks

RV dealers, manufacturers and suppliers are gearing up to get back to work as state and federal governments consider rolling back business restrictions.

The return to normal operations, however, will come with some changes to workplace compliance and other laws governing employees’ private healthcare information. The RV Industry Association hosted a webinar with compliance expert Bill Freeman on Wednesday, April 22 to answer members’ questions about getting back to work.

Freeman is the Compliance Director at AHT Insurance, who works with AHT’s employer clients to give regulatory compliance and training. He spoke about the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act, emergency sick/family leave and other workplace considerations regarding COVID-19.

“The whole idea is that we want to reduce the transmission of the virus and protect people who are at higher risk,” Freeman said. “But we recognize that you have to maintain your business and you have to keep it running at a reasonable pace, so you can minimize any adverse effects.”

The webinar focused on new options for emergency paid sick leave and emergency paid family leave under the March 18 Coronavirus Relief Bill.

That new federal legislation essentially gives two paths for employers to utilize federal funding to provide for emergency leave:

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay (max $511/day, $5,110 aggregate) where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay (max $200/day, $2,000 aggregate) because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor

“What you should be doing is making sure your sick employees stay home,” Freeman said. “If someone is sick keep, them away from your other employees. You should emphasize good medical or personal hygiene.

Among many other changes to these laws, Freeman said the new paid family leave legislation expands the definition of “eligible employee” and “covered employee.” He also said the new laws allow employers to access certain “private medical information.”

“It must be reasonable, must be for treatment, and must be to protect public health,” Freeman said. “If you do collect PHI (private health information) you must not share it with anybody who is not involved in the care of the patient.

Freeman holds a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist designation from the International Federation of Employee Benefits and Wharton School of Management, and is an active member of the Society of Human Resource Management and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists.

The RVIA shared the following resources related to the webinar:

RV Industry Association COVID-19 Resources:

Helpful Links From the Presentation:

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