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COVID-19 resource center

Stay up-to-date and informed with the latest company information and helpful links on our COVID-19 resource center.

Unum COVID-19 Response

Unum is taking several steps to ensure we can support customers and their employees through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As always, the health and safety of our customers, colleagues, and communities remain our top priority. Our business continuity program prepares us to respond to disruptive events through robust planning, regular testing, and constant monitoring – ensuring we can continue to support you and your employees as the situation progresses.

Our commitment to customers and their employees

During this time of uncertainty, you can count on our unwavering support. We’re committed to meet your needs and deliver quality, dependable service. This includes processing and paying claims, answering questions and providing infor¬≠mation as you navigate the impacts to your own workforce.

Some of Unum’s products cover coronavirus-related claims, and we will follow the provisions outlined in your policies and service agreements to determine coverage – just like we would for any other diagnosis.

Our business-continuity program prepares us to respond to disruptive events through robust planning, regular testing, and constant monitoring, and our risk-management program ensures our financial strength – to make sure we can continue to support you and your employees as the situation progresses.

Our business continuity efforts

To minimize exposure to our employees and ensure stable service experiences for you, we’ve taken steps to:

  • Restrict all business travel for employees. Require employees who travel internationally to self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Increase workplace sanitation and educate employees on health and safety best practices.
  • Enhance our remote-work capacity to handle a higher volume of people working from home, and encourage employees who can do so to work remotely.
  • Test technology to confirm we can shift critical tasks to other worksites and our remote workforce.
  • Make flex schedules an option for employees who are working around personal and family obligations during the disruption.
  • Give financial support to employees who may need additional help or equipment to make working from home possible.
  • Provide emergency pay to employees in situations where flex scheduling or remote working are not possible.
  • Make access to free COVID-19 tests available for employees covered under Unum’s medical plan.
  • Identify critical system needs and ensure they will remain operational.
  • Account for variables in our planning, such as an increase in the number of claims filed and the closure of banks and post offices.
  • Work with our vendors to ensure data transmission remains secure and information is protected as they temporarily shift their workforce to remote working.
  • Seek input from vendors, state officials, and local governments, and incorporate best practices from external organizations.

Frequently asked questions

View our frequently asked questions for information about Unum products, coverage and leave management services.

New Legislation

Families First Coronavirus Response Act:

On March 18, the President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The law becomes effective April 1, 2020. Although the bill covers a wide range of COVID-19 related issues, of particular interest to Unum and our customers is the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. Both are summarized below. Please know that as an FMLA administrator, Unum is committed to ensuring our service is compliant with the FMLA changes. We are already diligently working to make all the necessary changes to our process and communications to enable us to administer the new reason for leave on April 1st. As we progress through this implementation, we will be communicating directly with our leave services customers, ensuring they are informed and know what to expect.

Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

The Act expands the FMLA on a temporary basis (through December 31, 2020). The expansion applies to all private employers with less than 500 employees and most public employers.

This Act expands the FMLA to provide up to 12 weeks of protected leave to an employee who is unable to work (or telework) and needs to care for the employee’s child (under 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. Employees are eligible for leave specific to this reason if they’ve worked for their employer at least 30 days.

The first 10 working days of leave are unpaid. An employee can choose, but the employer cannot require, to use accrued earned time off during this period of leave. After the first 10 days of leave, an employer must pay the employee at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate for the number of hours the employee would otherwise be scheduled. However, the Act limits the amount of pay to $200 per day (or $10,000 total if the employee takes 10 full weeks of leave).

Employers of health care providers and emergency responders may elect to exclude such employees from the provisions of this law.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act

In addition to the FMLA amendment outlined above, the bill included an Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. It is also effective April 1 through December 31, 2020. At this time, Unum’s leave services offering does not include administration of paid/earned sick laws including this new federal law. For complete details on our coverage, click here.

This new law requires private employers with less than 500 employees and most public employers to provide job protected paid sick leave to an employee who is:

  1. subject to a federal, state or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; 
  2. advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns; 
  3. experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking medical diagnosis; 
  4. 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; 
  5. caring for the employee’s child if the child’s school or place of care is closed or the child’s care provider is unavailable due to public health emergency; or 
  6. 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.

 

Full time employees receive 80 hours of paid leave while part time employees receive a prorated number of hours based on what they would work during a two-week period. The amount of pay depends on the reason the employee is on leave. If they are on leave for one of the first three reasons listed above (the employee themselves being the subject of quarantine), the employee is paid 100% of their regular rate of pay up to $511 per day. If the employee is on leave for one of the other reasons (an individual other than the employee is the subject of quarantine or creating the need for leave), then the employee is paid two-thirds their regular rate of pay up to $200 per day.

Employers will have to post a general notice which will be released by the Secretary of Labor prior to the law becoming effective.

Employers of health care providers and emergency responders may elect to exclude such employees from the provisions of this law.

Employers can receive federal tax credits as a form of reimbursement for paid sick leave benefits required by the Federal bill. We recommend consulting your internal legal counsel or tax consultant to discuss the specifics of the federal tax credit program. This act expires on 12/31/2020.

The New York Bill:

On March 18, 2020, New York Governor Cuomo signed a bill impacting the New York DBL & PFL program. Effective immediately, NY employees working for businesses with <100 employees are eligible for up to 14 calendar days of benefits while out of work due to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19, or to provide care for a minor child who is subject to such an order. One or two weeks of that time may come from the DBL/PFL program based on the size of the employer, its net income and the reason for leave.

  • Businesses with more than 100 employees & State/Public employees: Employers are required to provide employees with at least 14 calendar days of paid sick leave if the employee is subject to a mandatory or precautionary quarantine order.
  • Businesses with 11 – 99 employees & businesses of 1-10 employees with net income of $1M or more: Employers are required to provide five days of paid sick leave if the employee is subject to a mandatory or precautionary quarantine order. After 5 days have exhausted, employees are eligible to collect both PFL and DBL benefits to supplement the remainder of missing income. PFL and DBL are to be paid concurrently to a maximum PFL benefit of $840.70, and a maximum DBL benefit of $2,043.92.
  • Businesses of 1 – 10 employees and net income of less than $1 million: No requirement for employer-paid sick leave, and the combination PFL/DBL benefit described above will be available for the duration of quarantine from day one.

If the employee’s dependent minor child is subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine, the employee may file for NY PFL benefits immediately.

Eligibility for the NY DBL/PFL COVID-19 quarantine benefit is limited to those under direct quarantine order issued by the state New York, the Department of Health, local board of health, or other authorized governmental entity. The Governor’s order for all workers in non-essential services to stay at home is not a quarantine order as defined so does not qualify for benefits under the NY PFL program, but workers may be eligible for unemployment or other federal or state benefits.  

The law does not apply to an employee who is asymptomatic or has not yet been diagnosed with any medical condition and is physically able to work while under a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation, whether through remote access or other similar means. All employees are given full job protection during this time of absence. The New York bill does not include coverage for employees who are home because their employer has temporarily closed, or due to a minor child’s school closing.

Employees shall not be able to claim the benefits provided by this act if they can claim sick leave benefits under the federal legislation. If, however, the benefits provided by state law are greater than those provided by the federal government, employees shall be able to claim the difference. Unum will reduce the NY DBL/PFL benefit by the amount the employee receives or is entitled to receive under the federal law starting 4/1/20.

The Unum team is prepared to administer NY DBL/PFL COVID-19 claims starting today. Directions on how to submit a quarantine claim can be found on this website, which includes a COVID-19 quarantine specific claim form and FAQs on the program. In addition to the claim form, we will also need the government-issued mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine. No changes to your contract and/or policy administration procedures are required at this time other than the claim submission information outlined above.

Unum is monitoring the regulatory and legislative environment very closely and we are committed to keeping our clients updated on new developments impacting Unum coverage. If you have any questions, please reach out directly to your broker advisor or Unum account management team. You can also contact Ask Unum at askunum@unum.com or 1-800-ASK-UNUM (800-275-8686).

Frequently asked questions

View our frequently asked questions for information about Unum products, coverage and leave management services.

Contact us

Employees & Families:
866-679-3054
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET

Employers & Plan Administrators:
800-ASK-UNUM ( 800-275-8686 )
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET
AskUnum@unum.com

Brokers & Sales Partners:
800-ASK-UNUM ( 800-275-8686 )
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET
AskUnum@unum.com