The reopening of America’s workplaces is creating a variety of challenges for employees and employers alike. In some cases, employers attempting to resume operations are hampered, and in some instances, they are unable to do so due to laid-off employees’ reluctance or refusal to return to work. Many are receiving more in unemployment benefits as the result of the $600 per week federal enhancement than they would make working. That additional amount was scheduled to end July 31.
Despite the recent comments by some in the federal government that it will not be extended, the staggering numbers of unemployed—many of whom worked at jobs that have been eliminated due to business closures—will require a continuation of enhanced benefits in addition to the increase from 26 weeks to 39 weeks of eligibility, which was also provided.
There has been some speculation that if the federal add-on is continued, it could be reduced to some lesser amount. The figure of $450 per week has been mentioned. This could exacerbate the refusals to return to those jobs that are available. For some, the short-term additional benefits outweigh returning to a job they fear may be lost in the near future anyway. Click here to read entire article.
The AGC has been petitioning Treasury to provide more detailed guidance for the PPP program, which is being administered by the Small Business Administration through traditional lenders. The loans are meant to help business owners continue to pay employees rather than lay them off and cover payroll and other specific expenses for eight weeks after receiving the loan proceeds.
However, the guidance that the federal government has issued thus far regarding which firms are eligible for loans and exactly how that money can be used has been vague, according to the AGC, and has led some companies, including those in the construction industry, to either return or consider returning the money they received through the PPP to avoid potential punitive action. Click here to read the entire article.
As many states are starting to go back to work, employees are expressing concern about their safety. In fact, 54% of U.S. employees say they are worried about exposure to COVID-19 at their job, according to a new poll by Eagle Hill Consulting.
The survey, which included 1,000 respondents from a random sample of employees, was conducted from April 22-27, 2020.
Workers indicate that several factors would make them feel safe going back to work; the availability of protective protections like masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer (58%) mandating employees with symptoms stay home (55%) and making COVID-19 tests available (53%).
Fifty-six percent say that employers have the right to know if workers have tested positive for COVID-19, while 43% support employers testing for symptoms. Few employees (17%) believe their jobs would be impacted by their test results. Click here to read the entire article.
The United States Department of Homeland Security has issued guidance on what and who makes up the "essential critical infrastructure workforce." While not meant to be an all-inclusive list, the advisories identify workers who conduct operations and provide services that are essential to the U.S. infrastructure, which include: workers who support crucial supply chains, those who maintain and repair critical infrastructure, construction work, etc.
Here's some of what's now included pertaining to construction work:
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