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Covid19: Information for Small Businesses in Massachusetts and North Carolina

Covid19: Information for Small Businesses

Communicating quickly, and often with employees to help ensure worker safety, minimize damage to your brand, return your workforce to productivity, and build trust among employees. There are more questions than answers! We are experiencing numerous calls from our clients asking, “What should we do? We must layoff some of our employees.” The simple truth is to let your employees know where they stand.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management you should:

1.“Be proactive. Anticipate and plan for crises that your organization could encounter before they happen.
2. Get a team together. During the planning phase, identify employees who will make up the crisis management team—the people who will know what to do when disaster strikes.
3. Don’t expect employees to come to you. Implement a notification system that quickly reaches out to employees with accurate information and guidance.
4. Don’t put up roadblocks. Trying to keep employees from communicating about crises via social media is futile. Instead, help them shape their messages by giving them correct information in a timely manner.
5. Act fast—but only say what you know to be true. Speed is of the essence when it comes to crisis communications, but it shouldn’t come at the price of accuracy.
6. Don’t go silent. If your organization is not yet ready to respond to an emergency, HR should at least let staffers know that the organization is gathering information and will follow up as soon as it can.
7. Test—then test again. The most well-crafted communication plan won’t be very helpful if employees have no idea what it is or how to use it. At least once a year, test the process to find out from workers what it does and doesn’t do well, and then adjust accordingly.
8. Evaluate. Post-crisis assessments are as important as pre-crisis plans. After the fact, review how the internal communication plan was executed. Determine what succeeded and what can be improved.”

According to Massachusetts Unemployment the following conditions apply to temporary shutdowns:

Workers must remain in contact with their employers during the shutdown.

Workers must be available for any work their employer may have for them that they are able to do.

An employer may request to extend the period of the covered shutdown to 8 weeks, and workers will remain eligible for the longer period under the same conditions described above.

If necessary, DUA may extend these time periods for workers and employers.

Employers who have been paying into the system for themselves (are receiving a W-2) are able to apply as well.

Currently self-employed individuals and 1099 contract employees are not eligible for unemployment benefits. If the President of the United States makes a disaster unemployment declaration for Massachusetts or nationwide, the self-employed and 1099 contractors would become eligible for unemployment assistance. This is already coded into the DUA system and would be available immediately upon declaration and press release announcement.

According to the North Carolina DES you may file for unemployment as of 3/17/2020.   DES is working to ensure that necessary unemployment insurance benefits will be available to eligible North Carolinians affected by job loss due to the COVID-19 coronavirus disease in our state.  Click here to find out more from unemployment as it becomes available.

If Dube Consulting can help you in some small way, please reach out.  (508)769-2294 or nancy@dubeconsulting.com.  Be safe!

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