COVID-19 has disrupted life in ways we couldn’t have imagined just a few short weeks ago. In response, legislators and regulators at many levels of government have passed transitional measures to help those impacted by the pandemic.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-ASK-UNUM (800-275-8686).
For your convenience, we have summarized some of the key provisions of COVID-19 legislation and how they may affect employers.
Signed into law: March 18
Under this new legislation, employees working for businesses with fewer than 100 employees are eligible for up to 14 calendar days of benefits due to COVID-19-related circumstances.
Key things to know:
Businesses with more than 100 employees, and state/public employees: Employers must 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, and businesses with 1–10 employees and net income of $1 million or more: Employers must provide five days of paid sick leave if the employee is subject to a mandatory or precautionary quarantine order. After five days have been 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 with 1–10 employees and net income of less than $1 million: Employer-paid sick leave is not required, and the combination PFL/DBL benefit described above will be available for the duration of quarantine from day one.
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, and so does not qualify for benefits under the NY PFL program, but workers may be eligible for unemployment or other federal or state benefits.
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.
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 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 cannot 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 April 1, 2020.
Unum NY DBL & PFL Coverage: The Unum team has started administering NY DBL/PFL COVID-19 claims. 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 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.
Signed into law: March 25
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill expanding state-required earned sick leave, Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI), and Family Leave Insurance (FLI) to include illnesses and family-events related to epidemics of communicable disease, effective immediately. Unum manages the TDI program for many clients and their employees.
New Jersey has created a website with the most detailed information on the legislation, including employer requirements and worker benefits during the COVID-19 crisis. We recommend visiting this site regularly for the most up-to-date news on the TDI program.
Unum has updated its policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the expanded TDI coverage provided by the recent legislation.