Employee Resource Guide During COVID 19

This is created as a draft resource guide to help businesses impacted by COVID 19, particularly those in the service industry, communicate about policy changes and available resources to help support employee needs during this time. It is a living document and will continue to be updated as new information becomes available, and should be tailored to the needs of individual businesses

 

COVID 19 Resource Guide for Employees 

Updated 4/27/2020

[Sample Language: Employer Statement]: Our leadership at [Company] understands that the COVID 19 pandemic is taking a significant toll on people’s lives in many ways, and we want to be here to support you in any way we can. While we are doing everything we can to preserve as many jobs and a safe and healthy working environment for our team, we also want to share the following resources to lessen and help you navigate the impacts on your financial stability and physical and mental health. 

 

What are your rights in the workplace during COVID 19? 

  • You can expect that we will take every precaution possible to create a clean and safe working environment [describe company’s specific health policies related to covid 19]— if you would like to request additional measures or accommodations, please speak with [describe to whom and how to make these recommendations]
  • Team members who do not feel comfortable coming in to work may be eligible to apply for unemployment assistance, but we cannot guarantee eligibility, you should check with the MD Division of Unemployment Insurance 
  • You cannot be terminated because you test positive for COVID 19, and those exhibiting symptoms should not come in to work and notify their supervisor [or give other company specific instructions]
  • All team members are eligible for Paid Sick Leave and Paid Family and Medical Leave under the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act 
  • If a Team Member tests positive for COVID 19 we will share that information with the rest of the team, but keep their identity private, and implement thorough cleaning measures
  • Additional Resources: from the Public Justice Center http://www.publicjustice.org/en/legal_help/workers-rights-and-covid-19/?fbclid=IwAR19FcfWBWNyvBd7sr5iQPWRoCjA_L-9CnEzn_kG3VICowmXl5zvdy_YHGw and the National Employment Law Project: http://unemployedworkers.org/

 

What happens if I get sick, need to self-quarantine, or care for family members?

  • Take Paid Sick Leave: Under the new federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, all employees are entitled to 10 days of sick leave paid at 100% of your average reported pay or at minimum, the minimum wage. 
  • If you experience symptoms of COVID 19, need to self- quarantine because of COVID 19, or need to care for a family member due to COVID 19 you may first use paid sick leave.
  • This is in addition to any existing paid sick leave you have accrued under the existing Maryland Healthy Working Families Act. 
  • You do not need to make a special application, you may use our normal procedures to call out sick and notify your supervisor [Describe any details of your company policy, and any ways that this new legislation will interact with your existing paid leave policy] 
  • Take Paid Family and Medical Leave: If you need to take more extended leave due to illness, self-quarantine, to care for family members, or if your child’s school is closed and you cannot work, The Families First Coronavirus Response Act entitles all employees to up to 12 weeks of family and medical leave paid at 2/ 3  of your average reported pay.
  • You do not need to make a special application, but should notify your supervisor by [Describe any details of your company policy, and any ways that this new legislation will interact with your existing family and medical leave policy]
  • File for Unemployment Insurance: Maryland recently extended Unemployment Benefits to any individual who needs to leave their jobs to prevent risk of COVID 19 exposure, or to care for a sick family member. Unemployment benefits are usually awarded at about half of your average pay. 
  • More information at: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave and https://www.dllr.state.md.us/paidleave/paidleavefaqs.shtml

 

What if I’m laid off or my hours are cut? 

  • File for Unemployment Benefits: While we are doing everything we can to keep all team members fully employed for as long as possible, if we need to make the difficult decision to temporarily lay off employees or limit the number of hours available, you are eligible to apply for Maryland Unemployment Insurance benefits. 
  • Apply online or over the phone: 410-949- 0022 M-F 7:30am -3:30pm. 
  • Under the new federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Recovery (CARES) Act you may also be eligible for an additional payment of $600/week in unemployment assistance.
  • Stimulus Payments: Under the CARES Act, every individual will receive a one-time $1,200 stimulus payment plus an additional $500 per dependent child. If you received a tax refund via direct deposit, you will receive this payment via direct deposit, otherwise it will be sent to your address on file with the IRS. For frequently asked questions consult this guide from Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service
  • Help finding a new or temporary position: The Mayor’s Office of Employment Development is helping jobseekers look for employment and seek other support, make a request here 

Additional Financial Support 

 

When am I eligible for Unemployment Insurance and how do I apply? 

  • If your hours are significantly cut
  • If our business needs to close due to social distancing regulations, even if you are still technically employed
  • If you are unable to work because of self-quarantine, illness, or care for a family member due to COVID 19
  • If you leave your job to prevent risk of exposure to COVID 19 
  • Your benefits will be calculated at about half of your average reported pay. The recent federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Recovery (CARES) Act also will provide an additional $600 payment per week for those who are eligible
  • Application Instructions
  • You can apply at the Division of Unemployment Insurance online or over the phone: 410-949- 0022 M-F 7:30am -3:30pm. In order to manage call volume, the Maryland office is stagger applications, applicants should file their claim based on the day assigned by their last name: Monday: if your last name starts with A – F; Tuesday: if your last name starts with G – N, Wednesday: if your last name starts with O – Z,  Claim filing is open to all last names by phone on Thursday and Friday and online Thursday through Sunday
  • Filing later in the week will not delay your payments or affect the date of your claim
  • Once your application is submitted you will receive an email confirmation and a letter in the mail, scheduling a phone interview– be aware, in some cases phone interviews are scheduled for a date before you receive notification in the mail, try to take calls, even from numbers you don’t recognize during this time 
  • After your phone interview and your application has been approved, you will receive a debit card with your benefit payments, this may take a week or more to receive after approval 
  • Once you start receiving benefits you must complete a weekly WebCert process– at this time the Governor has waived all job search requirements
  • Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/uicovidfaqs.shtml
  • More information: https://www.baltimoresun.com/coronavirus/bs-md-unemployment-coronavirus-20200318-3uaqvtlqfvfwlaweah4sjnwgdy-story.html

 

Resources for Health & Health Insurance 

  • Stay up to date with resources and health information on COVID 19 from the Baltimore City Health Department
  • Questions about COVID 19: The University of Maryland has a free 24/7 nurse hotline– 1-888-713-0711
  • A List of Baltimore Health Clinics that accept uninsured patients
  • Currently testing for COVID-19 is free nationwide for all individuals regardless of insurance coverage. Maryland Insurance Administration FAQ 
  • Apply for Health Insurance Under the ACA: The Maryland Health Connection is offering a special enrollment period for the ACA between March 16- April 15. Visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov or download the free “Enroll MHC” mobile app. Request or select “Coronavirus Emergency Special Enrollment Period.” Free help is available by calling 1-855-642-8572 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays.
  • Apply for the Maryland Children’s Health Insurance Program (MCHIP) for families with children under 19 who make under 200% of the federal poverty line
  • For Caregivers
    • Seek Support: Caregiver Help Desk, staffed by caregiving experts to help you navigate challenges  855-227-3640 available 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM EST.
    • Apply for Medicaid Long Term Care Assistance: Long Term Services and Supports target individuals over 65, individuals with physical disabilities, individuals with intellectual disabilities, chronically ill children, and individuals eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare (“dual eligibles”). Medicaid covers certain services available to these participants based on medical necessity and technical and financial eligibility

 

Free Mental Health Resources

  • Baltimore Pro Bono Counseling Project: talk to a counselor for free between 9:00am- 2:00pm call 410-825-1001
  • Baltimore Crisis Response: a central city hotline for crisis response services, 410-433-5175, to find mental health counseling resources call the Baltimore Behavioral Health System Baltimore at 410-637-1900, option #1. 
  • Maryland New Directions: no-cost tele-counseling from a licensed Mental Health Counselor, call 410-357-6091 to schedule an appointment
  • Maryland Peer Warm- Line: Provides support and resources around mental health or substance abuse needs, and someone to talk to for those having a difficult time. 1-877-794-7337 Tues- Sat 3:00- 9:00pm 
  • SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline: Provides free phone crisis counseling,1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
  • NAMI HelpLine: mental health resource hub, 800-950-NAMI (6264) Monday through Friday, between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm EST 
  • Trans Lifeline: Peer support hotline staffed by Trans people, for Trans and Questioning individuals, 877-565-8860
  • Additional resources at: https://mhanational.org/covid19

 

 

Free Substance Abuse Resources: 

 

Resources for Domestic Violence Support 

 

Resources for Food Assistance 

 

Resources for Childcare

  • Parents who are designated as essential personnel are eligible for free childcare that is continuing to operate with enhanced health and safety precautions during the COVID 19 crisis
  • To Apply
  • Check this list to see if there is child care near your home or work and contact the provider directly.
  • If you don’t see a child care provider that meets your needs, call the trained LOCATE: Child Care Referral Specialists to help you select the best child care option for your family at (Toll-Free) 877-261-0060. Monday – Friday between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM.
  • Download these four (4) forms, complete and take to the provider of your choice

Housing Resources

Legal Services

  • Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service: Intake Hotline (410) 547-6537 or 800-510-0050 or apply online. Can provide assistance with some cases related to child support, criminal defense, family law, immigration, housing vouchers, juvenile court, and SSI & SSDI applications. You should have the following information ready:
    • Income information for all members of your household
    • The value of your house, if you own one
    • The value of your car, if you have one
    • How much you have in any checking, savings, or investment accounts
  • Maryland Legal Aid: Help with civil legal matters, Telephone Intake: (410) 951-7750 or Toll Free: (866) 635-2948 Mon, Thurs, & Fri: 09:30 AM – 04:00 PM, Tues: 09:30 AM – 07:00 PM, Wed: 09:30 AM – 01:00 PM or apply online

Other Changes to Services You Should Be Aware of 

  • The IRS has extended the deadline to file and pay federal income taxes to July 15
  • Comcast, through May 12th will
    • Not disconnect or impose a late fee for any customer who notifies the company that they cannot pay (https://www.xfinity.com/support/account-billing)
    • Offer free Xfinity Hotspots to everyone
    • Offer unlimited data for no extra charge
    • Provide free Internet Essentials package for new customers

Additional Resources: Baltimore Mutual Aid Spreadsheet and Baltimore Restaurant Relief Facebook Group