Keeping You Connected

The RCMA keeps you up to date on the latest news,
policy developments, and events


Employers’ Top COVID-19-Related FAQs

RCMA's legal Business Partner, Thakur Law Firm, has provided the following answers to the most frequently asked questions by Employers with COVID-19-related questions.


The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered the way many of us work and live, leaving employers suddenly faced with a seemingly endless stream of new and unfamiliar workplace issues and an array of rapidly implemented new federal, state, and municipal employment laws. With federal social distancing guidance and California’s stay-home order in place for an undetermined time, it is imperative that employers stay up to date on the latest developments in COVID-19-related workplace issues and new changes in the law.


Over the last several weeks, Thakur Law Firm, APC, an RCMA Business Partner, received an unprecedented amount of urgent inquiries from employers with COVID-19-related questions. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions, and the answers as provided by Thakur Law Firm.


Is my business an “essential business” under the “shelter-in-place” orders?


Many California employers are currently wondering if their business qualifies as an “essential business” under the statewide orders. The list of the types of businesses deemed “essential” is lengthy, technical, and varies according to the applicable state or local order. Employers should refer to the California Governor Gavin Newsom’s state order to determine if their business is deemed essential. Employers who are uncertain as to whether their businesses are explicitly essential should contact the Thakur Law Firm for assistance.


What is the difference between “furloughing and “laying off” employees?


Many employers have asked for advice regarding their decisions to furlough or lay off certain employees in response to the crisis. Employers must first, however, understand the difference between furloughs and lay offs to make a properly informed decision.


Basically, a furloughed employee remains an employee, but with reduced or eliminated work hours, while a layoff generally means a complete employment separation due to the job being eliminated. In certain circumstances involving COVID-19, however, the California Labor Commissioner may not distinguish between a temporarily furloughed employee without any work hours and a laid-off employee. The Labor Commissioner has stated that if an employer reduces an employee’s scheduled work hours to zero and doesn’t reschedule that employee within the same pay period, the employer has effectively laid off the employee, which triggers the final pay requirements under Labor Code section 201, addressed below.


How do we issue employees their final paychecks, if they have been laid off or we must close due to COVID-19?


Employers still must meet California’s final pay requirements and are subject to waiting time penalties if payment of final wages is not timely made. By law, employers must provide the final paycheck at the time and location that a severance occurs, but, due to social distancing, it may not be feasible to do so. Once the employee has their employment severed, they must be paid their final pay, including owed vacation and paid time off, to the best of the employer’s ability. 


If employers must mail or overnight an employee’s final paycheck, they may choose to add the appropriate waiting time penalties to the final paycheck, which is one day of wages for every day the final paycheck is late, capped at 30 days. The Labor Commissioner is currently looking at this issue and is expected to issue guidance related to COVID-19-related separations of employment.


Can an employer take an employee’s temperature before they start work?


Yes, effective March 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) are permitting employers to take employees’ temperatures only if specifically related to COVID-19. Employers should carefully consider hygiene and social distancing precautions for any temperature-taking program. Employers should also bear in mind that taking an employee’s temperature is subject to American with Disabilities Act confidentiality requirements.


Are we required to notify our employees if we learn an employee tested positive for COVID-19?


If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, employers should immediately contact their county health officials and the California Department of Public Health. These agencies will direct employers on what steps they need to take, but we strongly recommend that our clients do not make any notifications without first consulting with an attorney to avoid possibly violating employee healthcare privacy rights.


Employers must be mindful of employees’ privacy, and not divulge names. Employers can alert employees with a general statement that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, and other employees may have been exposed.


Can we require our employees wear protective gear, such as masks?


Yes, employers can require employees to wear personal protective equipment, but should make reasonable accommodations if certain employees have disabilities that limit their ability to wear such gear. For example, if an employee has a latex allergy, the employer should provide non-latex gloves.


How can we keep up to date on changing rules and employment laws related to COVID-19?


One of the biggest challenges for employers is keeping up with the various local, state, and federal rule changes that have occurred over the past several weeks — which also includes the new federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave and expanded Family and Medical Leave Act rules resulting from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Thakur Law Firm attorneys have already accumulated a great deal of knowledge and experience regarding these new laws, as well as the possible exemptions from the paid leave requirements of the laws. We urge you to contact the Thakur Law Firm immediately, if you have any questions regarding the FFCRA.


Employers should share these links to important government websites with all managerial employees and other decision makers so handy so they can access them daily to keep abreast of the rapidly changing news and utilize the valuable resources they provide.


California Governor’s COVID-19 page.


U.S. Department of Labor’s FFCRA FAQ.


U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s COVID-19 guidance.


California Department of Fair Employment and Housing COVID-19 guidance.


California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement’s COVID-19 guidance.


California Employment Development Department COVID-19 guidance.


We further recommend that employers often check with their county and city government agencies on COVID-19-related local ordinances or orders in effect or that may take effect.  


Thakur Law Firm, APC has made a concerted effort to stay informed of the latest key developments in the COVID-19 pandemic as it affects the workplace and the law so we can provide our employer clients practical solutions for navigating this ever-changing crisis.


The foregoing is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the hands-on, individually tailored analysis and advice that is called for to properly address all of the issues discussed above. If you are facing such an issue or have any questions about COVID-19, do not hesitate to contact Thakur Law Firm.

Thakur Law Firm, APC

Thakur Law Firm, APC is a full service law firm with expertise in Health Care Law, Business & Employment Law, Estate Planning, Real Estate, Tax Law and Litigation and is offering RCMA members complimentary consultations up to 30 minutes, 10% off hourly rates for pre-litigation, litigation and hourly matters along with flat fees for various contracts, agreements and handbooks.  Download Flyer To access this benefit, please contact Pamla Thakur, esq. at or (714) 853-9919.

Comments are closed.


2013 2014 Ebola Outbreak 2014 Election 2016 Abuse ACA Addiction AIDS All Physicians Annual Report Appointments Assembly Business and Professions Committee Awards Ballot Initiatives Boxer Budget Burnout CA Ballot Initiatives CAFP California CMA CMA Annual Report Comments Congress Construction Controlled Substance COVID-19 Discontent Dolores Early-Career Physician EHR Election Election 2014 Exchange Financial Governance Grace Period H.R.2. Health Exchange Health Laws Healthcare Laws HIE HIT HIV Hizon HOD House House of Delegates ICD-10 IEHP Languages Lee Legislation Mahdi Meaningful Use Medical Medi-Cal Medical Office Safety Medicare MICRA Mode of Practice New No on 46 NoOn46 Opioids Outstanding Contribution Palm Springs Patients Paul Green Physicians for a Healthy California Practice Management Prop 46 Prop 56 Proposition 46 Public Health Public Health Alert Public Safety Power Outage Rajaratnam Ranch Mirage Rancho Springs Rating RCMA RCMA President Repeal Residents Risk Management Riverside Community Hospital Riverside County Schedualing Senate SGR Shooting Southwest Healthcare Stage 2 Stress Termination Trial Lawyers Uppal Vaccines White Wilson Creek Winery #GivingTuesday #MeToo 2014 2014 Election 2014 laws 2015-2017 2016 2016 Election 2018 2019 2020 2021 taxes 46 AB 2770 AB 3087 AB 3109 AB 5 AB 880 AB5 ABMS ABX2-15 ACA Advisory Council Advocacy Affordable Care Act AHCA AMA Anthem Blue Cross Asian Violence Assembly Assembly Bill Attestation Awards Awards Committee Behavioral Health Big Tobacco Blue Shield of California board certification board certified Bruce Holmblad Burnout CA CA Senate Cal INDEX CalHealthCares California California Laws California Legislation California Society of Plastic Surgeons Californian Physicians Call for Nominations Cameron Kaiser CCI CDC CEO certification Childcare City of Riverside Claims Clearinghouses CMA CMS Coalition for Patient Access and Quality Care Committee Confidential Congress Contributions to Medicine controlled substances Coronavirus Coronavirus Testing Coroner Council on Graduate Medical Education Covered CA Covered Califonria Covered California COVID-19 COVID-19 Employer Concerns COVID-19 Financial Assistance COVID-19 Resources COVID-19 Response COVID-19 Testing COVID-19 Updates COVID-19-Resources CPT modifer CSPS Cultural Diversity CURES Cuts David Duffner Deadlines deductible Delegates Delivery Models Depression DHCS donate Donate to RCMA Donations Drugs Dual Elligibles Ebola EHR eligibility employee Employee Classification Employer Concerns Employer Guidance employment employment law Employment Status End-Of-Life Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans enrollment ERISA Ethnic Unity Exchange FAQ Federal Federal Legislation Feinstein Financial Assistance financial planning Free Free PPE Funding Future Gary Honts GivingTuesday Governor Governor Newsom Grace Period Health Care Reform Health Information health information exchange Health Reform Healthcare Information Technoloogy Healthcare Legislation Healthcare Rates Healthcare Reform Healthcare Workers Hernandez HIPAA Holiday Giving ICD-10 IEHIE IEHP IEPCC Imagine Plastic Surgery Increase Installation Installation of Officers insurance investments JFK Memorial Hospital Jiangmen China Hospital Kaiser Permanente lactation accomodations Laws legal Legislation Legislative Alert Loan Assistance Loan repayment Loan Repayment Progam Loan Repayment Scholarship Program Loma Linda long term disability LTSS MA Mahdi Maintenance of Certification Managed Care Manifest MedEx marketing Meaningful Use Measles Medcare Medicaid Medi-Cal medical board medical practices Medical Student Scholarship Fund Medical Students Medical Supply Donations Medicare member benefit Mental Health Mentoring MICRA minimum wage minimum wage increase MIPS MOC Molina Molina Healthcare NAACOS National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day News Nomination Nominations Nondiscrimination Posting Non-profit Donations norcal Noridian Obamacare Insurance October 22 On-Call ONET ONET Physicians opiod opiod advocacy opiod crisis opiod enforcement opiod epidemic opiods opioid opioid abuse Outstanding Outstanding Contributions Outstanding Contributions Awards Palmetto GBA Patient Patient Care Patient Data patients pay equity Paycheck protection Payment Models Pediatric Physicians PHA PHC Physician Aid-in-Dying Physician Awards Physician Burnout physician certification physician medical board physician mentoring Physician mentors Physician Recruitment Physician Wellness Physicians for a healthy California Pietro Wellness Fund Plastic Surgery POLST Power Outage PPE PPE Provider Survey PPE Supplies practice management practice managment Practice Mangement prescribing opiods prescription drugs President Priorities privacy Professional Liability Project K.I.N.D. Project Kind Prop 46 Prop 56 Proposition 46 Proposition 56 PSPS Public Health Public Health Alert Public Safety QPP Quality Payment Program RCH RCMA RCMA Business Partner RCMA Business Partners RCMA Member RCMA Scholarship Program RCMA Stands RCMA Year In Review RCPMF Real-time Patient Data Red Tape Repayment Demands Reputation Retreat Risk Management Riverside County Riverside County Physicians Memorial Foundation Riverside County Public Health RIVPAC RUHS RUHS-PH SB 1343 SB 491 SB 492 SB 493 SB 62 SB1343 SBA Scholarships Scope of Practice Sequestration sexual harassment sexual harassment preventation sexual harassment training SGR Small Business Small Business Resources Small Businesses social media State Capitol Stress Survey taxes Telehealth Telemedicine Tenet Thakur Law Firm The Unforgettables Foundation Timothy Pietro Wellness Fund Toolkits Top Doctor Awards Transforming Your Practice UC Riverside UCR School of Medicine United Vaccines Management Vaccines Management Plan Vantage Virtual We Care for California WestPac Wealth Worker Classification Workers' Comp workplace compliance Year in Review

Current Initiatives

Medical Scholarship Programs

Scholarship Programs

Medical Student & Early-Career Physician Loan Repayment Programs

View Program
Member Benefits

Member Benefits

Resources that support our members’ practices.

Member Benefits
Physician Wellness

Physician Wellness

Supporting the health of physicians

Wellness Resources

Not an RCMA member?

Join 1,900 Riverside County physicians and 50,000 physicians making a direct impact on health care legislation.