COVID-19 Business Status
OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Belco has been categorized as an "Essential Business." What that means is, with a few exceptions, we will be operating business as usual. All employees are encouraged to have an open dialog with your direct supervisor if situations in your life change. We also ask that you check back to this page each day for any potential changes in business operation.
We have also posted (below) information on current protections to your job and income.
This is a constantly evolving situation. Please check back for updates.
March 20, 2020
Memo: To All employees
From: Mike Misik, President
Re: Covid-19 Virus
This memo is to you inform you of the changes that have taken place with respect to your employment with Belco Packaging System, Inc.
The Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act on March 18, 2020. This is an economic stimulus plan aimed at addressing the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Americans and introducing paid sick leave and an expanded Family and Medical Leave Act to the nation’s employers.
This act goes into effect on April 2, 2020.
There are two provisions providing paid leave to employees forced to miss work because of the COVID-19 outbreak: an emergency expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and a new federal paid sick leave law.
Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act
Expanded Coverage and Eligibility
The act significantly amends and expands FMLA on a temporary basis. The current employee threshold for FMLA coverage would change from only covering employers with 50 or more employees to instead covering those employers with fewer than 500 employees. It also
lowers the eligibility requirement such that any employee who has worked for the employer for at least 30 days prior to the designated leave may be eligible to receive paid Family and Medical Leave. However, the act now includes language allowing the Secretary of Labor to exclude and to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees if the required leave would jeopardize the viability of their business. Belco has fewer than 50 employees.
Reason for Emergency Leave
Any individual employed by the employer for at least 30 days (before the first day of leave) may take up to 12 weeks of job protected leave to allow an employee who is unable to work or telework to care for the employee’s child (under the age of 18 years of age) if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the childcare provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency. This is now the only qualifying need for Emergency FMLA.
The first 10 days of Emergency FMLA may be unpaid. During this 10-day period, an employee may elect to substitute any accrued paid leave (like vacation or sick leave) to cover some or all of the 10-day unpaid period. After the 10-day period, the employer generally must pay full-time employees at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate for the number of hours the employee would otherwise be normally scheduled. This new act now limits this pay entitlement to $200.00 per day and $10,000.00 in the aggregate per employee.
Calculating Pay for Non-Full Time Employees
Employees who work a part-time or irregular schedule are entitled to be paid based on the average number of hours the employee worked for the six months prior to taking Emergency FMLA. Employees who have worked for less than six months prior to leave are entitled to the
Employee’s reasonable expectation of the average number of hours the employee would normally be scheduled to work.
Employers with 25 or more employees will have the same obligation as under traditional FMLA to return any employee who has taken Emergency FMLA to the same or equivalent Position upon the return to work. However, employers with fewer than 25 employees are
generally excluded from this requirement if the employee’s position no longer exists following the Emergency FMLA leave due to an economic downturn or other circumstances caused by a public health emergency during the period of Emergency FMLA. This exclusion is subject to
the employer making reasonable attempts to return the employee to an equivalent position and requires an employer to make efforts to return the employee to work for up to a year following the employee’s leave.
Effective Date and Expiration
These provisions become effective on April 2, 2020 and remain in effect until December 31, 2020.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
Reason for Paid Sick Leave
This act now allows an eligible employee to take paid sick leave because the employee is:
Subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
Advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis;
Caring for an individual subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order or advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
Caring for the employee’s child if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the childcare provider is unavailable due to public health emergency; or
Experiencing any other substantially similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor. Of note, caring for another who is subject to an isolation order or advised to self-quarantine as described above is no longer limited to just family members.
This provision requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide full-time employees (regardless of the employee’s duration of employment prior to leave) with 80 hours of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate to care for qualifying reasons 4, 5 or 6 listed above.
Cap on Paid Sick Leave Wages
This act places limits on paid sick leave. Specifically, paid sick leave wages are limited to $511 per day up to $5,110 total per employee for their own use and $200 per day up to $2,000 total to care for others and any other substantially similar condition.
Carryover and Interaction with Other Paid Leave
This paid sick leave will not carry over to the following year and may be in addition to any paid sick leave currently provided by employers.
Calculating Rate of Pay
Employees who work a part-time or irregular schedule are entitled to be paid based on the average number of hours the employee worked for the six months prior to taking paid sick leave. Employees who have worked for less than six months prior to leave are entitled to the
average number of hours the employee would normally be scheduled to work over a two-week period. A business employing fewer than 500 employees is required, at the request of the employee, to pay a full-time employee for 80 hours of mandated Emergency Paid Sick Leave instead of the initial 10 days of unpaid leave permitted by the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act
Effective Date and Expiration
This program will become effective 15 days after it is enacted by President Trump and remain in effect until December 31, 2020.