Other resources for employees in terms of support, including training and upskilling, remote legal clinic, finance management, and unemployment benefits (e.g. insurance relief).

Information on providing emotional support and mental health resources for employees

Information on unemployment resources, such as unemployment insurance relief, benefits, workers' compensation, welfare or temporary assistance, and other unemployment programs and services

Helpful Links

US Chamber of Commerce website

(Articles like Expert Advice on How to Support Your Employees During a Crisis)

Mini-COBRA is a state program that small group carriers to provide qualified beneficiaries the right continue coverage if requested. Qualified beneficiaries could have to pay up to 102% of the cost of the small group benefit plan.

Resources to help small-business owners support their employees during the COVID-19 crisis. These resources range from grants to unemployment assistance. (Portal to helpful links and information in "healthcare and wellness," "unemployment resources," specific "local information" for FL, TX, and MN, and "additional resources")

The state of MA has developed a program to help employers avoid layoffs. The WorkShare program is an alternative for employers faced with a cut in workforce. Employers can divide available work between affected employees instead of laying off workers. It allows employees to receive a part of their unemployment insurance (UI) benefits while working reduced hours.

Free 3-month Skillshare membership (Skillshare is an online learning community for creative people, where millions come together to take the next step in their creative and business journeys). They offer thousands of classes, taught by industry icons and experts, in areas like entrepreneurship, leadership, branding, design, photography, and more

A non-profit that provides training / upskilling support for employees.

List of all of the testing sites in Massachusetts. Sites are appointment only and might need referral from provider. If you suspect having COVID-19 you can call 2-1-1 or check your symptoms online at the website here.

Provides locations of Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) health centers which provide care on a sliding fee scale so it is affordable for anyone. These centers can sometime provide care to people that are uninsured or cannot pay.

Facilities that provide a specified amount of free or reduced cost health care to low-income people. To find out if you qualify for Hill-Burton assistance you must apply at the admissions or business office at a Hill-Burton facility

United Way has established the COVID-19 Family Support Fund, a dedicated resource for working families affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency. They will mobilize their broad network of nonprofit agencies throughout the region to provide a flexible source of financial assistance to help families weather the COVID-19 crisis. Emergency financial assistance will support the basic needs of families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis meet their basic food, childcare or housing needs.

Chaired by First Lady Lauren Baker, the fund works in concert with regional non-profit leaders, community foundations, leaders on the ground and at the state level to understand the response and relief landscape to fill in where gaps are pronounced.

The Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund supports those across the state most impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis, focusing on essential frontline workers and vulnerable populations including the homeless, immigrant populations, people with disabilities and those facing food insecurity. Launched by First Lady Lauren Baker and the One8 Foundation along with the support of generous donors, Eastern Bank, the Foundation for Business Equity, and The Boston Foundation, the Fund works in concert with regional community foundations and non-profit leaders who partner with local leaders to understand the response and relief landscape, strategically filling in where gaps are pronounced.

The CARES Act makes small changes to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in regards to paid sick leave, paid FMLA and more. These changes include:

Paid Family and Medical Leave

Paid family and medical leave (FMLA) under the FFCRA is capped at $200 per day and $10,000 total per employee.

Paid Sick Leave

Paid sick leave under the FFCRA is capped at $511 per day and $5,110 total per employee. This amount drops to $200 per day and $2000 total for sick leave taken by an employee in order to care for a family member in quarantine or care for a child whose school has closed.

FMLA Leave Provisions

Workers that were laid off after March 1, 2020, but then rehired, are eligible for paid FMLA leave provisions described in the FFCRA immediately instead of needing to be an employee for 30 days.

Payroll Taxes

Businesses can keep money that they would have deposited for payroll taxes in anticipation of refunds from the Treasury Department for paid sick leave and paid FMLA leave outlined by the FFCRA, including amounts that would have been refunded later.

Read more about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) here from the US Chamber of Commerce.

Click here for more resources from the Department of Labor on COVID-19 and changes under the FFCRA.

By Rebecca Knight

  • When making the decision, first ask “Is downsizing your workforce truly necessary?” As a leader, you need to spark “resourceful, creative thinking about how your organization can save as many jobs as possible.” -Josh Margolis
  • Gather Information
  • If you decide layoffs are necessary, then make sure you are prepared before reaching out to affected employees. They will likely have a lot of questions about timing, severance, and benefits.
  • Even if you’ve presided over layoffs in the past, overseeing them in the coronavirus outbreak will be very different: they won’t take place in person. Margolis suggests asking your employee, “Is there a time when I can get 15 minutes of your full attention?”
  • Your aim is to “treat people with dignity, fairness, and respect”
  • Your message should be “clear, concise, and unequivocal.” Express gratitude for their hard work and dedication. Then offer a short and simple explanation about the economic conditions that led to the layoff.
  • Recognize that this person may need time to process the news and may have questions for you later.
  • Be transparent
  • Hold an “Ask me anything” session so that rumors don’t take over
  • Focus on your wellbeing
  • Offer assistance, but don’t overpromise
  • Be direct and human
  • Set the right tone
  • Understand your limitations