FFCRA Summary of Temporary Final Regulations

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Summary of Temporary Final Regulations Emergency Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (EPFMLA) Cannot Work or Telework Up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave Care for child due to school closure, childcare unavailable due to coronavirus Eligible Employees All employees on payroll for 30 days or more Amount of Pay After first 10 days, receive no less than 2/3 employee regular rate of pay. Not to exceed $200 per day, $10,000 in the aggregate Reinstatement/Return to Work Must reinstate to same or equivalent position Unless position was eliminated Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) Cannot Work or Telework due to: Quarantine, advised to self-quarantine, seek diagnosis, preventative care or diagnosis for coronavirus (Quarantine order includes orders that advise citizens to shelter in place, stay at home, otherwise restrict their mobility) Caring for an individual who subject to quarantine or isolation order or advised to self-quarantine Eligible Employees All Employees Amount of Hours & Pay Full-time employees entitled to 80 hours (14 days) Part-Time entitled to average number of hours employee is scheduled per day over six-month period. Full pay, not to exceed $511 per day, $5,110 in the aggregate for employee Quarantine, self-quarantine, or...

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FFCRA Emergency Paid Leave Posting

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Emergency Paid Leave Posting As many of you are aware, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Emergency Paid Family & Medical Leave Act and Emergency Paid Sick Leave provisions become effective tomorrow, April 1st.  I had hoped that the U.S. DOL would have published draft Regulations by the close of business today and prior to April 1st to give employers an indication as to how these provisions will be administered by the U.S. DOL.  As of the time of this email, the U.S. DOL has not published anything aside from the Frequently Asked Question (FAQs).  The U.S. DOL published FIELD ASSISTANCE BULLETIN No. 2020-1 that states that they will not bring enforcement actions against any employer who is out of compliance provided they can demonstrate that they have made a reasonable good faith effort to comply with the law.  We will make sure that we notify you as soon as the draft Regulations are published to ensure your organization is compliant. In the meantime, covered employers are required to post the Federal Employee Notice or the Non-Federal Employee Notice  in the same locations that they post similar notices by April 1, 2020.  Additionally,...

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Updated U.S. DOL Definition of Health Care Provider & Emergency Responders

The United States Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) has recently published an updated version of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that provide further insight into which employees are included in the definition of “health care provider” and “emergency responder”. After the final language of the FFCRA was released, there were numerous questions about which EMS agency employees were considered “emergency responders” and potentially subject to being excluded from the group of employees eligible for Emergency Paid Family and Medical Leave and Emergency Paid Sick Leave.  The U.S. DOL has provided clarification in FAQ numbers, 55-57 respectively. 55. Who is a “health care provider” for purposes of determining individuals whose advice to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 can be relied on as a qualifying reason for paid sick leave? The term “health care provider,” as used to determine individuals whose advice to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 can be relied on as a qualifying reason for paid sick leave, means a licensed doctor of medicine, nurse practitioner, or other health care provider permitted to issue a certification for purposes of the FMLA. 56. Who is a “health care provider” who may...

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EMS Agencies Can Take Advantage of Accelerated or Advanced Payment Opportunities from CMS

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has expanded the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program to a broader group of Medicare Part A providers and Part B suppliers in an effort to provide financial relief and to increase cash flow to providers of services and suppliers impacted by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. To be eligible to participate in the Accelerated and Advanced Payment Program, providers and suppliers must meet the following criteria: Have billed Medicare for claims within 180 days immediately prior to the date of signature on the provider’s/supplier’s request form; Not be in bankruptcy; Not be under active medical review or program integrity investigation; and Not have any outstanding delinquent Medicare overpayments. Qualified providers and supplies will be asked to request a specific amount using an Accelerated or Advance Payment Request form provided on each MAC’s website. Generally, most providers and suppliers will be able to request up to 100% of the Medicare payment amount for a three-month period.  Payment is typically processed in about seven (7) days.  Ambulance providers and suppliers can utilize these accelerated or advanced payments to ease cash flow disruptions during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  To access these payments, select...

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impacts on the EMS Workplace

There has been a great deal activity and press coverage over the past few weeks relative to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This activity has generated several questions from EMS organizations regarding how to handle the impact on the workplace. Healthcare workers have been identified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as a group of workers who are at an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. There are many steps EMS organizations can take to best prepare their workplace and protect their personnel. EMS agencies are already required to follow and maintain OSHA’s Infection Control Standards for Bloodborne and Airborne Pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030). If EMS organizations and their employees are diligent in maintaining these standards, they will already be doing nearly everything that is being recommended for employers to combat the spread of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released their Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers, which includes additional practical recommendations for employers to utilize to further combat the spread of COVID-19, including: Actively encouraging sick employees to stay home; Separating sick employees from the rest of the workforce; Encouraging workers to stay home when sick, respiratory etiquette, and hand hygiene by all employees; Performing routine environmental (more…)

Injury Tracking Application Update

This is a reminder for ambulance service providers that the deadline for submitting your OSHA Form 300A Injury Data electronically through OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA) is March 2, 2020. All employers are required to electronically submit a summary of their workplace injuries to OSHA. The Form 300A Summary of Workplace Injuries is the same information that employers are required to post annually from February 1 through April 30 in all work locations. If you have not already done so, make sure you submit your information no later than March 2, 2020. This requirement applies to all employers in any state. Even if your state has an OSHA approved state-level workplace safety plan. If you need any assistance, please contact the AAA for guidance....

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January Law Changes– OR, NJ, NY, NV

Oregon Pregnancy Accommodations Law   Following many other states, the new law prohibits employers from deny employment opportunities to applicants or employees who need reasonable accommodations due to or related to their pregnancy or childbirth.  New Jersey Pay Inquiry Restrictions   This law prohibits screening candidates based upon an applicant’s prior wage history. It is also illegal to establish a job candidate’s salary or benefits compensation based upon their prior salary or wage history. New York Pay Inquiry Restrictions   This law prohibits all employers from inquiring about a job candidate’s wage history or relying on prior wage levels in establishing compensation or benefits. Nevada Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing Restrictions   This law exempts employees who are firefighters, EMTs or who operate motor vehicles during the course of their duties.  While this would eliminate many positions within an EMS agency.  EMS employers who are not Federal Contractors or Grantees, need to heed these restrictions for those positions within their organization that do not fit into one of the exempt positions below....

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Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Overtime Update

The U.S. DOL issued the final rule that will update the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) beginning on January 1, 2020. Under the final rule, nearly 1.3 million workers who were previously exempt from overtime pay will now be eligible. These changes, which were initially proposed by the Obama Administration in 2015, were updated under the Trump Administration this year to provide an increase to the minimum salary level under the so called “white collar” exemptions. The minimum salary level will increase from $455 per week to $684 (new level $35,568 annually) for those employees who meet the “white collar” positions as Executive, Administrative, Professional or Computer employees.  Services are encouraged to conduct an analysis of all positions that they currently pay on an exempt salary basis to ensure that these roles will continue to meet the exemption requirements under the new FLSA provisions. Assistance is available for all AAA members. Please email info@ambulance.org with any questions....

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Proposed Rule Impacts Employer Sponsored Health Plans

A proposed rule published on November 27th by the IRS, U.S. DOL, and HHS would place new requirements on group health plans and health insurance providers. The rule would require providers to disclose cost-sharing information to participants, beneficiaries, and other covered individuals which would outline their liability to pay certain cost-sharing amounts and out-of-pocket expenses. This rule is part of a Trump Administration effort to foster competition among insurers and healthcare providers in the marketplace. An article published by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) outlines the concerns many employers have regarding the costs associated with implementing the requirements of the proposed rule. These requirements include providing plan enrollees with an online self-service portal where they can see these cost-sharing amounts, as well as require greater collaboration between third party plan administrators, pharmacy benefit managers, and other specialty providers to ensure the accurate disclosure of enrollee financial obligations. Comments on the proposed rule are due by January 14, 2020....

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U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Overtime Rule

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Overtime Rule The U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) issued the final FLSA overtime rule which will make nearly 1.3 million workers eligible for overtime pay. In the announcement published yesterday, the DOL finalized the first updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in fifteen years. This ends a several-year battle over the adjustments to the FLSA which have continued since they were initially published in 2015 during the Obama Administration. The new rules become effective on January 1, 2020, which will give employers a few months to prepare. The changes to the FLSA include updates to the standard salary level for each of the exemptions to the overtime provisions. Under the new rule, the minimum salary threshold would increase from the current level of $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year). In addition, the Highly Compensated Employee (HCE) salary level is increasing from $100,000 to $107,432 annually. Also, the rule permits incentive pay and bonuses to count towards up to 10% of the standard salary level provided it is paid at least annually. These changes will require that employers conduct an analysis of any...

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Nevada Passes Law that Restricts Employer Drug Test Use in Hiring

A new Nevada law that bans employers from refusing to hire job candidates who fail a drug test due to the presence of marijuana has specifically carved out Fire, EMS, or employers whose employees must operate a motor vehicle.  The new law, which was signed by Governor Sisolak on June 5th makes it unlawful for most employers to fail to hire a job candidate on the basis of failing a drug screen due to the presence of marijuana.  Nevada is the first state to pass a law of this nature.  The new law takes effect in 2020. Many employers are struggling to address their employee’s drug use and its impact on the workplace as thirty-three (33) states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that legalize marijuana in some form.  This is particularly difficult with EMS and public safety employers.  Generally, most EMS and public safety employers prohibit employee use of marijuana and other drugs because they are federal contractors and are subject to the Drug Free Workplace Act.  Other employers prohibit employee drug use because EMS personnel perform “safety sensitive” positions as defined under the Department of Transportation Regulations.  However, those employers who are not subject to the...

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EEO-1 Reporting Requirement Update

In February the American Ambulance Association (AAA) alerted members that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) had announced that it has postponed the opening of EEO-1 data reporting until early March and also extended the deadline for employers to submit their EEO-1 data until May 31, 2019.  Each year, certain federal contractors and employers with 100 or more employees are required to report the EEO-1 Component 1 data which includes information about gender, and race/ethnicity of the employer’s workforce by job type groupings.  This data is used by the EEOC to ensure compliance with the Federal non-discrimination laws. In 2016, the Obama administration required that covered employers report wage and hour data (Component 2) along with their EEO-1 Component 1 data starting in 2017.  However, the Trump administration suspended the EEO-1 pay and hour reporting (Component 2) requirements stating that they were too burdensome for employers.  ON March 4, 2019, after a lengthy legal proceeding, a federal judge lifted the Trump administration stay on wage and hour reporting stating that there was no reason to delay this reporting the Component 2 data. Last week, the EEOC announced that it will collect pay and hour data for the 2017 and 2018...

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The Paycheck Fairness Act

Following many states that have enacted laws geared towards preventing or eliminating inequities in pay between men and women, The Paycheck Fairness Act which was introduced on March 27, 2019, will prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their salary histories or using those histories to base pay or compensation rates.  The Act would require that employers to justify any pay disparities as job-related and would also permit employees to file class action lawsuits based on pay discrimination.  Numerous states around the country have passed laws that prohibit pay history inquiries.   It is strongly recommended that employers conduct a wage analysis to identify any pay disparities between individuals from any of the protected classes performing comparable work....

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