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FAQs: Human Resources

CHA has compiled a comprehensive list of FAQs related to general employment, labor relations, and furlough and layoff issues; the American Hospital Association has prepared a summary of federal legislation employers should know about. Other commonly asked questions are below.

Some hospital employees want to stay at a hotel, concerned about exposing their family members to the virus. Are there any resources for that?

Yes. These resources offer free or discounted rooms for exposed or COVID-19 positive health care workers: (7/2)

1.  The Non-Congregate Sheltering for California Healthcare Workers Program provides hotel rooms to front line health care workers who are exposed to or test positive for COVID-19 and do not have the ability to self-isolate or quarantine at home. The cost is covered by the federal or state government. On June 17 several important changes to the program were implemented in an effort to address fraudulent use of the program:

  • In order for an employee to qualify for the program, the employing hospital must have a certification letter on file with the Office of Emergency Services (OES). The certification letter is referenced in the April 20, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) All Facilities Letter.  If a hospital has not yet submitted a certification letter, they may do so at any time. Once that letter is on file,  the hospital does not need to submit another one.  If a hospital is submitting a certification letter after June 17, they should copy the California Department of General Services at covid19lodging@dgs.ca.gov in addition to sending to OES at  HealthcareNCS@caloes.ca.gov .
  • Employees may continue to make reservations directly with CalTravelStore.  They will be required to provide a credit card upon check in to be pre-authorized for the full amount of the stay. If the pre-authorization declines, the employee will not be permitted to check in. Upon check-out, and with no reported policy violations (hotel’s policy and guest obligations), the charges for room and tax will be paid for by the state if the employee meets income eligibility. All participants will be required to pay for incidental charges.
  • Alternatively, hospitals may now make reservations for employees directly. If a hospital wants to do that, it must designate a point of contact and notify the DGS at COVID19Lodging@dgs.ca.gov. Reservations should be made using the reservation request form, which the point of contact should submit to COVID19Lodging@dgs.ca.gov. If a hospital makes a reservation on behalf of an employee, the employee will still be required to provide a credit card upon check-in, but the card will be held for incidentals only. Room and tax charges will immediately go to the state’s account.

The program is authorized on a monthly basis, and authorization for the following month may not occur until the last day of the preceding month — making it difficult to determine how long the program will continue. If you have any questions about the program contact Gail Blanchard-Saiger or Teri Hollingsworth.

2.  The American Hospital Association has provided this list of hotels, airlines, and food service companies that are offering discounts or complementary services for health care workers. Note, however, that not all hotels with in a group are participating in the discount program.

Our staff needs help with childcare. What resources are available?

The California Childcare Resource and Referral Center California Child Care Resource & Referral Network has created a list of available resources and contacts. Additionally, all levels of government are working on childcare solutions for health care workers, with several available resources. Read more  (7/15)

On May 6, the Governor issued an Executive Order creating a rebuttable presumption in the workers’ compensation system for COVID-19 claims. That order expired on July 5. What does that mean for my hospital’s workers compensation program?

The Governor’s Executive Order N-62-20 implemented a presumption in the workers’ compensation system that expires on July 5, and the Division of Workers Compensation recently issued FAQs to assist employer in complying with it.

While the order has not been extended beyond July 5. three bills are pending in the Legislature that seek to create a presumption, each with varying scope, conditions, and requirements. It is unlikely that any legislation, even if passed, would be signed before September. Because workers’ compensation legislation can be applied retroactively, hospitals need to decide how to handle COVID-19-related workers’ compensation claims during the period from July 6 through September — specifically, whether to continue to apply the presumption assuming a new law will pass, or whether to discontinue applying a presumption with the understanding that, if a new law passes, they will likely need to convert some situations as covered by workers’ compensation. (7/5)

I am concerned about the emotional well-being of my staff. Are there resources beyond my Employee Assistance Program benefits?​

The Hospital Quality Institute’s “Care for the Caregiver” webinar is now available as an on-demand recording. The webinar includes practical and necessary tools to assist hospitals and their employees in creating a peer support model for adverse events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the training offers information on how to engage in empathic conversation with both patients and families. More information and the recording are available here.

Various associations representing California’s licensed mental health professionals have joined together to provide support to health professionals, first responders, and essential workers on the front lines fighting the COVID pandemic. On this website, health care workers can locate licensed providers who are offering services for free during the crisis.

In addition, behavioral health professionals in the Bay Area have created a pro bono project for Bay Area front-line health care workers. The COVID-19 Pro Bono Counseling Project is a project devoted to helping health care workers locate free convenient short-term psychotherapy during the COVID19 crisis. For more information, email therapy4frontlinescovid19@gmail.com. A short video on the program is also available. (7/14)

Are there any resources to help hospitals understand the Paycheck Protection Program in the CARES Act?

The American Hospital Association hosted a webinar to explain this new law, which provides forgivable loans when the funds are used for payroll and other allowable costs.

In March, the federal government passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which contains two leave provisions. Does this law apply in California since we have our own leave laws and, if so, what am I required to provide?  

Yes, the act applies to California employers with fewer than 500 employees and all public employers. It went into effect on April 1. However, the law contains an optional exemption for health care providers. On April 1, the Department of Labor issued emergency regulations, adopting a broad definition of health care provider to include anyone working in a hospital, doctor’s office, long-term care facility, and other health care-related workplaces. However, on August 3, a federal judge concluded the department exceeded its authority in applying such a broad definition and invalidated that portion of the regulations. It is likely that the department will appeal that decision. Read more (8/5)

Has there been any change to the California meal and rest period rules?

Not specifically. However, with the waiver of the nurse-to-patient ratios in CDPH AFL 20-26, the ratios, including the “at all times” requirement is no longer in place, so hospitals have a bit more flexibility with regard to meal and rest period coverage. Hospitals with represented employees, however, should review their collective bargaining agreements to determine if they address this issue. (4/9)

Many counties have been issuing shelter-in-place orders over the past few weeks and on March 19, the Governor issued an Executive Order that required most people in California to shelter in place. Does this apply to hospital and other health care workers? Can I require them to come to work?

The Governor’s Executive Order allowed individuals needed to maintain continuity of operations of critical infrastructure to be able to travel to work. Health care is a critical infrastructure, but the Executive Order did not address whether some individuals were deemed essential to support health care while others may be non-essential. The following day, the Governor issued a list of “essential critical infrastructure workers.” In the health care sector, the definition of “essential” workers is broad. We understand that some hospital staff are being stopped by law enforcement on their way to work and that their hospital badge may not be sufficient to demonstrate that they are critical infrastructure staff.  CHA is working with the CalChamber to find a solution that will allow all essential critical infrastructure employees to travel easily to work.  (4/9)  

I understand some cities and counties are developing expanded sick leave ordinances. Do they apply to hospitals and health systems?

There are a number of proposals across the state, and each has its own provisions related to health care workers. Current local ordinances include the cities of Los AngelesSan Jose, San Francisco, OaklandLong Beach, Sacramento, San Mateo, Santa Rosa, and Emeryville, as well as Los Angeles County. (7/16)

    Complying with all aspects of California Labor law is challenging during the best of times. Am I expected to comply right now as my hospital is faced with preparing and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic?

    To date, the Governor’s Executive Orders have not relaxed any provisions of California Labor Code or the wage orders. CHA, along with CalChamber, appreciates the operational realities of complying with California’s hundreds of employment laws and are strategizing on ways to limit liability. We will keep hospitals posted about any developments. ​(4/9)

    I may have to lay off staff. Does California’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act still apply?

    Only parts of the California WARN Act apply.  On March 17, the Governor issued an Executive Order suspending many aspects of the California WARN Act. The executive order suspends, starting March 4, 2020, Labor Code Sections 1402(a), 1402, and 1403 for an employer that orders a mass layoff, relocation, or termination at a covered establishment. Certain conditions apply: Read more (4/9)

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