COVID-19: Human Resources Information 

If I close my office, do I have to pay my employees? 
Hourly (non-exempt) employees you do not have to pay — if they don’t work, then they don’t get paid. However, you may consider paying them as a gesture of goodwill. See financial section below for information to address the cash flow situation in your office.

For exempt (salaried) employees, you will have to pay them if they are willing and able to come to work, but you closed the office. You may direct exempt staff to take vacation or other time off (i.e. sick or personal) during a disaster, whether for a full or partial day’s absence, provided the employees receive in payment an amount equal to their guaranteed salary. 

For more information, or questions on specific circumstances, please always defer to the U.S. Department of Labor’s website.

Legal alerts and updates regarding COVID-19 and employers are available from reputable law firms, such as Fisher & Phillips LLP.

If I close my office, does my staff qualify for unemployment benefits?
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has made recent changes in response to COVID-19.  Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19.  Below are two questions that arise commonly to COVID-19 specifically, but please refer to the IDES COVID-19 Unemployment website for updates and any other unemployment questions.

GENERAL ELIGIBILITY 1. You are unemployed through no fault of your own. 2. You were paid $1,600 or more in wages during your base period for insured work 3. You were paid at least $440 of your base period wages at any time during the base period outside the calendar quarter in which your wages were highest.

You may claim some benefits for a week if you work less than full-time because of lack of work. Your earnings for the week must be less than the weekly benefit amount you would receive if you were totally unemployed for the week. You must report all of your earnings from part-time work.

Am I required to pay employees while they are on call?
It depends, take the Department of Labor questionnaire to determine if you must pay your employees to be on-call.

What is the federal legislation “Families First Coronavirus Response Act”? 
President Trump has signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law, effective April 1.  Please view this PDF from the ADA for more detailed information.

Illinois is under a “Shelter in Place” emergency order from Governor Pritzker through April 7th, which is not considered a state quarantine or isolation order.

What do I do if an employee is exhibiting symptoms? 
Always err on the side of caution and send the employee home, and encourage any employee feeling sick to stay home. Please visit the Illinois Department of Public Health Website for additional info.

For general questions about COVID-19 and Illinois’ response and guidance, call 1-800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV.

*This information and any hyperlinks are provided as a benefit of your ISDS membership and should in no way be considered as legal or financial consulting advice.  Please always seek the advice of an attorney, financial advisor, accountant, or other trained professional, as applicable. 



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