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Managing your club's workforce during COVID-19


Review club emergency response and communications plans and establish flexible leave policies and procedures for staff during an epidemic.

  • Educate staff on hygiene, sanitation and food handling to learn about epidemic prevention and control.
  • Educate staff to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 and to act responsibly if they detect or exhibit symptoms.
  • Develop a monitoring system to track staff absences due to illness.
  • Encourage staff to practice healthy behaviors (staying home if ill, coveringcoughs, washing hands often).
  • Provide supplies (tissues, soap, single-use gloves, disposable wipes).
  • Encourage staff to frequently clean their phones, POS/keyboards andtablets.
  • Look at cross-training for critical jobs. Ensure every role at your agency has at least one or two others who could perform the job if necessary. Back-up plans are critical – especially for payroll and employee benefits.
  • Consider ancillary workforce. Do you have access to contractors? What jobs could they do? Have job titles and job descriptions determined. Contact them to ensure you know if they may be available and at what cost.

Explore flex working options

  • Determine policies and practices, such as telecommuting and flexible work hours.
  • Supervisors should educate employees that if they become sick they should telework instead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved.

Decide how to handle an increase in absenteeism

  • Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children if dismissed from school.

H2B Visa Workers

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions, US Department of Labor

GOP Lawmakers Look to Protect H-2B Visas During Pandemic, Law360

Keith Pabian from Pabian Partners LLC. has provided information to the private club industry related to the impact on H2B visas and immigration. Listen to Keith’s webinar: The Immigration Impacts of the Coronavirus (aired 3/17).

Pabian Law’s webinar: “Planning Winter-Season H2B Visa Petitions in a Changed COVID-19 World” (aired 4/14)


As new information is released regarding labor and workforce we will provide links to resources here.

Department of Labor Resources
OSHA Resources
Legal Issues (From AALRR)
General Resources

Technology Preparedness in the Modern Workplace, RSM recording on enabling a remote workforce in a secure manner, embracing change and adopting appropriate technologies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and answers are for informational purposes and not for the purposes of providing legal advice. Viewers should not rely upon the information shared as legal advice.

Yes. Generally, if an employee reports to their regularly scheduled shift but is required to work fewer hours or is sent home, the employee must be compensated for at least two hours or no more than four hours of reporting time pay.

The Labor Commissioner’s FAQ further expanded on this answer with an example:

A worker who reports to work for an eight-hour shift and only works for one hour must receive four hours of pay, one for the hour worked and three as reporting time pay so that the worker receives pay for at least half of the expected eight-hour shift.

As such, it appears that a non-exempt employee who reports for a regularly-scheduled shift—but is sent home with symptoms of COVID-19 or another respiratory disease—must be compensated for at least two hours, and up to four hours, depending on shift length.

Lastly, the Labor Commissioner’s FAQ highlighted the civil authority closure exception in its FAQ, suggesting that the exception may apply under some circumstances.  However, until civil authorities issue recommendations to cease operations due to COVID-19, employees should be compensated for reporting time pay if they are sent home due to COVID-19 concerns. From Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo: Atkinson’s Answers

An employer must provide respirators when necessary to protect the health of the employees.  Cal/OSHA addresses the use of respirators in Title 8, California Code of Regulations, §5144. This usually comes up in situations of a known exposure to a hazardous substance/environment where the employer has performed a hazard assessment and determined that a respirator is required.  We are not addressing those environments here.

We are getting questions regarding the use of respirators in light of the coronavirus outbreak for employers that do not normally require the use of respirators. Unfortunately, Cal/OSHA has not provided direct guidance on when employers should require respirators in response to this pandemic.  But, before discussing respirators, Cal/OSHA recommends eliminating airborne hazardous by using engineering controls (i.e. mechanical ventilation) and administrative controls (i.e. reducing exposure such as the infection prevention measures suggested by the CDC, allowing flexible work schedules, telecommuting, increasing distance between employees.)

The next step is to determine if the exposure requires the use of respirators and here we focus on the exposure.  Fed/OSHA has provided a hierarchy of classifying worker exposure to coronavirus ranging from “Very High” to “Lower Risk”.  “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19” which is helpful.   The “Very High” and “High Exposure” categories include healthcare and healthcare related workers who are likely to treat, diagnose and/or transport known or suspected coronavirus patients.  In California, these employers probably have to comply with the Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standard (Title 8, CCR §5199)

Most questions are coming from employers who have “Medium Exposure” and “Lower Exposure.

Medium Exposure” includes jobs where employees have frequent and/or close contact (within 6 feet of each other) with people who may be infected but who are not known or suspected coronavirus patients. This includes areas where there is ongoing community transmission and employees may have contact with the general public (i.e. schools, high density workplaces, high-volume retail settings).  ”Lower Exposure” includes jobs that do not require contact with people known or suspected to have coronavirus and do not have frequent contact (within 6 feet) with the general public.

The “Lower Exposure” and “Medium Exposure” workers should all follow the “Steps All Employers Can Take to Reduce Workers’ Risk of Exposure to SARS-CoV-2:”  Employers in “Medium Exposure” workplaces should consider implementing engineering controls(i.e. physical barriers, sneeze guards, etc.) and administrative controls like offering facemasks to ill employees to contain secretions until they are able to leave the workplace, informing employees and customers  about symptoms and minimizing contact, limiting customer access to public areas, minimize face-to-face contact (drive-through windows, phone-based communication, telework, etc.). From Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo: Atkinson’s Answers

Exempt, salaried employees generally must receive their full salary in any week in which they perform any work, subject to certain very limited exceptions.  The FLSA does not require employer-provided vacation time. Where an employer offers a bona fide benefits plan or vacation time to its employees, there is no prohibition on an employer requiring that such accrued leave or vacation time be taken on a specific day(s). Further, this will not affect the employee’s salary basis of payment so long as the employee still receives in payment an amount equal to the employee’s guaranteed salary. However, an employee will not be considered paid “on a salary basis” if deductions from the predetermined compensation are made for absences occasioned by the office closure during a week in which the employee performs any work. Exempt salaried employees are not required to be paid their salary in weeks in which they perform no work.

Therefore, a private employer may direct exempt staff to take vacation or debit their leave bank account in the case of an office closure, whether for a full or partial day, provided the employees receive in payment an amount equal to their guaranteed salary. In the same scenario, an exempt employee who has no accrued benefits in the leave bank account, or has limited accrued leave and the reduction would result in a negative balance in the leave bank account, still must receive the employee’s guaranteed salary for any absence(s) occasioned by the office closure in order to remain exempt. For more information, see WHD Opinion Letter FLSA2005-41From the Department of Labor Wages and the Fair Standard Act

Section 5103 of the EPSLA requires covered employers to post  and  keep  posted,  in  conspicuous  places  on  the  premises  of  the  employer where notices to employees are customarily posted,  a  notice,  to  be  prepared  or  approved  by  the  Secretary of Labor, of the requirements described in the Act

On March 24, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a poster found here that will satisfy the above requirement.  The poster defines which employees are eligible to receive paid sick leave, sets forth the qualifying reasons for leave and the entitlements covered employers must provide its employees. For poster FAQ click here. From Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo.

The FLSA generally applies to hours actually worked.  It does not require employers who are unable to provide work to non-exempt employees to pay them for hours the employees would have otherwise worked. From the Department of Labor Wages and Fair Standard Act

If you permit teleworking—for example, you allow employees to perform certain tasks or work a certain number of hours from home or at a location other than their normal workplace—and they are unable to perform those tasks or work the required hours because of one of the qualifying reasons for paid sick leave, then they are entitled to take paid sick leave.

Similarly, if an employee is unable to perform those teleworking tasks or work the required teleworking hours because they need to care for their child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons, then they are entitled to take expanded family and medical leave. Of course, to the extent they are able to telework while caring for their child, paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave is not available.

Anne Catherine Nielsen, EquaMagna