HR / Legal Information & Updates
Provided below is a list of HR / Legal resources and information for Iowa City Area businesses during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. We will continue to update this page as more resources become available.
Suggestions for Safely Reopening Your Business
Reopening our economy will be a community wide effort to ensure that both employees and customers remain safe. Any phased reopening must be in accordance with sound public health decisions, and with proper safety protocols outlined by local and state health departments. Although each industry will require unique and robust guidelines to safeguard against future breakouts, we wanted to lay out some general best practices to help you begin planning to reopen.
Mental Health During COVID-19
Mental Health is Workforce Health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the combination of increased anxiety coupled with the increased expectations of their employment has created the perfect storm for an over 59% increase in anxiety levels among Americans. Mental and behavioral health is just as important to maintain, if not more, than one’s own physical health. Together, we can provide the necessary resources and support to our employees to ensure their health is protected in this unprecedented time.
COVID-19 Recovery FAQ
Have questions about legal issues regarding reopening, testing and screening, or employee and customer safety? We’ve got answers to common questions on our COVID-19 Recovery FAQ page.
Communicating with your Team During COVID-19
Communication during this time is incredibly important. Remain available to and transparent with your employees. Have conversations with employees about their concerns. Your team’s health is of the utmost importance, so get your employees in on your COVID-19 planning strategy for reopening. We’ve put together a list of a few ways you can work as a team to reopen your business safely.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Emergency Family & Medical Leave Expansion
Effective April 2, 2020-December 31, 2020
- Employers with fewer than 500 employees
- Employees must be employed 40 days prior to leave
- Excludes healthcare providers and emergency responders
- Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt if required leave would jeopardize the viability of the business
- Various levels of leave
Emergency Family Leave:
- ONLY reason for emergency leave of up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave is to care for employee’s child (under 18 years of age) if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the childcare provider is unavailable due to public health emergency.
- First 10 days must be unpaid
- Employee may elect to use available PTO to cover some or all of 10-day unpaid leave
- Employer must pay full-time employees 2/3 of the regular rate of pay for the # of hours employee would normally be scheduled to work
- Part-Time employees are eligible based on the average hours per week in the 6-month period prior to leave or the expected hours to work per week if employed less than 6 months
- Reasonable attempts should be made to return employee to equivalent work for up to a year following leave
Emergency Paid Sick Leave
Effective April 2, 2020- December 21, 2020
Reasons for Paid Sick Leave
Employee’s regular rate of pay:
- Subject to federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19
- Advised by physician to self-quarantine due to COVID-19
- Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis
Paycheck Protection Program
- Check with your current lender to see if they are a participating SBA 7(a) lender, bank, or credit union.
- Start working on your loan application. The U.S. Treasury Department has the application form on their website now.
Voluntary Shared Work Program
The Voluntary Shared Work Program (VSW) is Iowa’s version of Short Term Compensation (STC).
The VSW program is intended for use as an alternative to layoffs and has been an effective tool for Iowa businesses experiencing a decline in regular business activity. Under VSW, work reductions are shared by reducing employees’ work hours and Unemployment Insurance (UI) partially replaces lost earnings. By avoiding layoffs, employees stay connected to their jobs and employers maintain their skilled workforce for when business improves.
Learn More about the advantages and requirements
COVID-19 Legal Information Hotline
Governor Reynolds announced a new hotline for Iowans who have questions or are experiencing legal struggles during the coronavirus outbreak. Starting April 1, the COVID-19 Legal Information Hotline can be reached at 1-800-332-0419. It was developed in partnership with Iowa Legal Aid, the Iowa State Bar Association and the Polk County Volunteer Lawyer Project.