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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.

How do we find out more about childcare resources available to our essential workers? 

The California Childcare Resource and Referral Center California Child Care Resource & Referral Network has created a list of available resources and contacts. (5/27)

We have a temporary pop-up childcare area at our hospital but understand that the state is beginning to phase these out. How can we help our employees secure other childcare services? 

The Department of Social Services is contacting all operators to assist in transitioning the emergency temporary sites to permanent care sites, or to help the sites assist families with finding other permanent care. Questions about the emergency pop-up site changes can be directed Shanice Orum, program administrator for the Childcare Licensing Program, at (916) 651-6040.  (5/27)

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

The Governor’s Executive Order creates a time-limited rebuttable presumption for accessing workers’ compensation benefits applicable to Californians who must work outside of their homes during the stay at home order. The Executive Order covers the period from March 19 through July 5 and requires a positive COVID-19 test. The Division of Workers Compensation recently issued FAQs to assist employer in complying with the Executive Order.

Hospitals are encouraged to consult with their third-party administrators and/or insurers to confirm that appropriate policies and procedures are in place.

Several bills are pending in the Legislature that also touch on this subject. Senate Bill (SB) 1159 would create a statutory rebuttable presumption for COVID-19; the bill passed the Senate Labor Committee and is now in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Another bill, SB 664, would create a conclusive presumption for any communicable disease during a public health emergency. It applies to first responders and health care workers. In addition to the workers’ compensation provisions, the bill requires employers to pay for hotel accommodations and other benefits; it will be heard later the current legislative session. Finally, Assembly Bill 196 is a similar bill that applies to other essential workers.  (5/20)

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.

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. (5/4)

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.

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

All levels of government are working on childcare solutions for health care workers. Currently, several resources are available. Read more (5/1)

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:

  • 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 April 20, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued an All Facilities Letter updating the process. Hospitals must submit a letter to the Office of Emergency Services (OES) certifying that the hospital treats COVID-19 patients. Letters should be submitted by April 30.  CHA has created a template letter to send to OES, as the one included in the AFL does not track the language of the AFL. A fact sheet about the program is available here.
  • 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.

The federal government recently 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. Read more (5/18)

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 (awaiting mayor’s signature), Oakland, and Emeryville. Both Los Angeles County and Long Beach are considering a local ordinance. (5/18)

    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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