Over the last month, The Workplace podcast presented by the California Chamber of Commerce has uploaded a variety of episodes addressing workplace-related issues concerning the COVID-19 crisis.
Topics covered include how to smoothly transition into remote work, apply for business loans, and comply with employment laws regarding layoffs and more. To listen to the episodes in full, please visit www.calchamber.com/theworkplace.
COVID-19 Podcast Episodes
Here are a few COVID-19-related podcast episodes you might have missed:
• COVID-19: Preparing for Remote Work. On Episode 53 of The Workplace podcast, CalChamber Executive Vice President and General Counsel Erika Frank and employment law expert Jennifer Shaw offer advice on working remotely, as well as discuss resources available to employees and Governor Gavin Newsom’s guidance on California’s aging workforce. According to Shaw, employers should uphold “business as usual” to the best of their ability when deciding which tasks to give to their employees at home.
• COVID-19 Business Loans Explained. On Episode 58, CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg, Golden Pacific Bank President and CEO Virginia Varela, and Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer Joseph P. McClure explain the programs and federal loans available to small businesses through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Some of the programs they highlight are a debt relief program for businesses with fewer than 500 employees offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Paycheck Protection Program, and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance Program.
• COVID-19 Workforce Reduction Guidance (including Furloughs vs. Layoffs). On Episode 59, CalChamber Executive Vice President and General Counsel Erika Frank is again joined by employment law expert Jennifer Shaw to talk about important considerations and requirements for employers when they undergo a reduction in force (RIF). Given the uncertainty of this crisis, Shaw says, business owners are left to make determinations on their businesses’ future with few concrete details—including laying off their employees. Shaw clarifies the difference between a furlough and an RIF/layoff and details the steps employers must take when laying off an employee at this time due to COVID-19, including how to address advanced notice and final paychecks.
• COVID-19: Telework Best Practices. On Episode 60, CalChamber Executive Vice President and General Counsel Erika Frank and employment law expert Jennifer Shaw convene again to discuss remote work best practices—such as ways to ensure workers are taking mandated rest breaks, reimbursing expenses, establishing COVID-19-specific policies, and maintaining a harassment-free environment. For nonexempt employees especially, managers must set clear expectations and perform check-ins to make sure employees are taking their meal and rest breaks and not working off the clock. Frank recommends redrafting and tailoring any telework agreements to address the COVID-19 crisis. Shaw and Frank further agree that, even though employees are working at home, harassment policies should be upheld and emphasized.
• COVID-19 Loans and the New Economy. On Episode 61, CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg and Mark Vitner, managing director and senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, examine the variety of federal COVID-19 loan programs available to businesses of all sizes and provide tips on how businesses can prepare for the new economic landscape. Vitner acknowledges that the economy reopening will be a gradual process, but a significant number of lost jobs will return over the course of the year. Helping expedite the economic recovery are a number of federal business loan programs encouraging businesses to rehire their workers by the end of June. Vitner also recommends that employers utilize this time to reevaluate their business models because change is inevitable.
• COVID-19 Paid Leaves Explained. On Episode 62, CalChamber Executive Vice President and General Counsel Erika Frank and employment law expert Jennifer Shaw discuss how the federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act interact with California laws; how to handle paid time for these new laws; the importance of written documentation; and recommendations for employers.
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To listen or subscribe, visit www.calchamber.com/theworkplace.
A resource page with a list of relevant COVID-19 articles and links to government resources is available on the CalChamber website, www.calchamber.com/coronavirus. The page is regularly updated to ensure readers are accessing the most current information available.