These unprecedented times have been challenging to say the least. However, we’re proud of you for helping our community succeed, from donating meals to essential employees, to sewing masks, to simply sharing resources on social media. We are truly #StrongerTogether.
As we move forward, we know you are anxious to open your doors. To ensure the safety of our community and to help you navigate the new normal, we have created the Work Hard. Work Smart. Work Safe. Playbook. This resource will act as a living document, which we will update as this fluid situation changes.
Though we know we wish to return to our regular lives, we must take necessaryprecautions during this time. The last thing we want is for the virus to grow during this phase. This playbook is a guideline to help you safely serve your customers and accommodate your employees. If you have any questions, please contact the Chamber/West Alabama Works. We are here to help you.
What does a business do if employees refuse to return to work because they are making more money with their unemployment benefits?
This handbook will give you steps you can take if employees refuse to come back to work. It also included helpful letters which can be used to reengage furloughed or layed-off employees.
The Alabama Department of Labor allows employers with five or more employees or routine layoffs to file “lack of work” claims. Generally speaking, employers can file claims up to three consecutive weeks on behalf of their employees. Although, if the temporary furlough is a result of COVID-19, employers may file employee claims beyond the three consecutive weeks limit. By submitting a partial claim on behalf of your employees, the employer is certifying a “lack of work” claim and thereby eliminating the need for further adjudication. The claim can be processed and paid in a short period of time, usually two days.
Another benefit for employers during COVID-19 is when you file partial unemployment claims, your unemployment tax experience rating is not charged. The partial unemployment system is ideal for furloughed employees, who are employees that are not separated and will return to work. The program is not necessarily the appropriate system for laid-off employees. Laid-off employees are those that have generally been separated and do not have a return to work date. In the instance of a laid-off employee, the employee generally needs to file a full claim.
At the height of the lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our region's manufacturers and businesses idled their operations and sidelined thousands of workers who call West Alabama home. Our state's unemployment rate increased from 3.5% in March to 13.8% in April as businesses closed down in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Clearly, this was an unsustainable trend that would have led to economic calamity for our state's citizens had it continued.
While we acknowledge that it is important to be back to work, it is equally important that we stay at work. This will be harder to do if the current COVID-19 trends in our state and region continue.
"Let's Keep West Alabama Working" is a grassroots campaign designed to encourage safety beyond the workplace. Download our business kit to help spread the word and Keep West Alabama Working!.