By Kyle SchwarmPosted
Emergency Order #8 from Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC), which goes into effect on Monday, July 13, will require everyone age 5 and older to wear a face covering in any indoor space. [...]
ABC of Wisconsin
The latest information on COVID-19 for ABC of Wisconsin members
ASSOCIATED BUILDERS AND CONTRACTORS
ABC is closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and how the virus is impacting our workplaces and communities. ABC of Wisconsin staff members are actively cultivating new information and resources to help construction companies through this difficult time. In addition to these resources, members can find the latest scheduling changes for member events and apprenticeship classes below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Information for Contractors
Effective Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 a.m. Friday, April 24, 2020, or until a superseding order is issued, Gov. Tony Evers’ “safer at home” emergency order is effective statewide. The order closes nonessential businesses, directs everyone to stay home and practice six feet social distancing when outside or in public specifically deemed essential. Travel is prohibited except when deemed essential.
Construction is deemed essential and generally exempt from the “stay at home” requirement.
Construction is deemed essential and generally exempt from the “stay at home” requirement. The term “construction” is to be construed broadly to avoid any impacts on essential infrastructure. This includes:
Ancillary Businesses also deemed essential:
All essential businesses to the greatest extent possible, are encouraged to use technology to avoid meeting in person and engage in social distancing.
Essential workers do not need documentation to prove they are essential, according to state agency staff. Police are generally not going to be stopping individuals and asking for proof.
In some rare instances, construction employees have been asked to provide documentation to prove they are essential and exempt from the “safer at home” order. While not required, it may be helpful and prudent to provide your employees with a letter explaining their exemption from the emergency order.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), which is the government agency charged with determining whether businesses are “essential,” has indicated that if your type of business is listed (i.e. construction) there is no need to get a designation to become exempt; you are already included under exempt. If your business type is listed as essential, there is no further action required.
While it is not explicitly required in the state’s order, the WEDC encourages each business to develop a written COVID-19 response plan that is unique to each individual business and type of work being done. Guidelines for planning are provided in this document from WEDC. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services also provides guidelines for planning here.
We can maintain distance of at least six feet. No sharing of tools or equipment. Avoid working in confined spaces. Keep doors open and use ventilation equipment and filtering processes where needed. Eliminate touch processes wherever possible. Where employees may have to be closer than six feet to get their work done, use PPE such as nitrile gloves and respiratory protection. All workers should wash hands before breaks and food or beverage consumption.
Try to outsource disinfectant and any other protective product purchases. It may be easier to obtain a smaller quantity from several different sources vs. ordering in bulk from one supplier.
Yes. Be sure to follow the CDC and the distributer/manufacturer guidelines for proper ratios, application, use and limitations, and how to protect yourself during mixing and application. Be sure all products are properly labeled, especially when using a secondary container, and that SDS information is made available for these products.
Follow the CDC guidelines, found at https://www.cdc.gov/ and listed below:
Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions (at least 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite) can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring a contact time of at least 1 minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
You still have a duty to protect employees under OSHA’s General Duty Clause which states:
“Each employer shall furnish to each of his employee’s employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees”
It is best to minimize hazards using what is called the Hierarchy of Controls. Eliminate hazards, substitute methods and approaches, use engineering controls, administrative controls, and lastly require the use of PPE to protect workers.
If you cannot engineer the hazard out, look at administrative controls as the CDC suggests; Wash hands, use hand sanitizers, clean/disinfect the work area, tools etc. maintain the six-foot distancing rule, etc.
Follow CDC guidelines. Symptoms may include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. This will have to be determined on a company by company basis. Some companies say if they have a persistent or difficult to control cough they will not be allowed on site. Some companies will not let them even approach their Wellness Checkpoint if they have symptoms.
These symptoms can mimic other health issues as well, such as allergies. No matter what we recommended that you error on the side of safety.
Yes. That is one way to keep distance while we are monitoring employees. They should document the date and time they took their temperature and what the results were. If you have a smaller job site this is probably a realistic approach. If you have personnel coming into the office you could monitor that way as well.
The potentially exposed person should be quarantined for up to 14 days, or until test results come back negative. Again, we need to error on the side of safety. Continue to monitor yourself and follow CDC protocol.
People should be working remotely where possible. We should also be teaching this to our employees in the opposite manner, not just protecting our jobsites but protecting your family when you return home from work.
Talk to your eye doctor. Eyeglasses may be less invasive when it comes to eyecare and cross contamination. As a best practice we all wear a hard hat and safety glasses and gloves on site. Disinfect regularly and try not to touch your face.
Distancing becomes hard, the easiest and best answer to this is don’t share rooms. If two people have to share a room evaluate to see if they can safely maintain the recommended distance apart, as well as sterilize common areas.
It is best to minimize hazards using what is called the Hierarchy of Controls. Eliminate hazards, substitute methods and approaches, use engineering controls, administrative controls, and lastly require the use of PPE to protect workers.
With a shortage of protective masks/respirators we want to reduce the need for the use of this type of equipment.
Have a procedure in place. Maintain distance upon approach. Try not to sign forms and do not touch anything that you do not have control of decontaminating. Have alternative methods for the exchange of communication where possible. Where it cannot be avoided use gloves and ensure proper disposal and handwashing procedures upon completion.
A best practice would be to issue these types of equipment to the same person the entire day. If that is not practical or feasible, ensure hygiene practices are in place. You should have disinfecting procedures and affected site employees should be properly trained in these procedures. This equipment should be disinfected regularly and gloves in use.
We are in a very communicative business. We are trying to make this happen wherever possible to limit close interaction between employees, as well as subcontractors on site, and all other site personnel.
Non-essential visitors should not be allowed on site. Post signage to communicate this requirement. This is in place to protect the visitor as well as all site workers. If it is not critical, do not go on site. Communicate/work remotely wherever possible.
Contact your local health department for guidance. Have a checklist ready to go to ensure we have the best coverage and shutdown protocol goes as smoothly as possible keeping site workers comfortable with the process.
Identify the infected person and all other site personnel they may have come in contact with.
Understand that the job site may have to be shut down for at least 24 hours for follow-up procedures. Cleaning and disinfecting protocols should be followed. This will include any potentially contaminated surfaces including, common areas, tools, equipment, machinery, and any other potentially contaminated surfaces. Employees who are disinfecting these areas should be trained in these procedures. PPE should be issued and worn in accordance with training and procedures. There may be a need for a third-party cleaning service to come in.
Yes, a few. There has been a change in the exchange of information. We are trying to distance and minimize or eliminate contact wherever possible. Eliminating group site walks and things of that nature. Independent audits continue to be conducted. We added COVID 19 protocols to our checklists to oversee implementation.
Yes. We should continue to conduct regular site inspections. It is important and remains essential our health and safety programs and procedures continue. These audits need to remain as we promote and protect the health and safety of our workers.
If there is a confirmed case on your job site, you should conduct a thorough investigation and determine if it did occur on the job site. Below is the OSHA outline for determination. If you have any questions contact ABC of WI. See below for OSHA’s recordability criteria:
COVID-19 can be a recordable illness if a worker is infected as a result of performing their work-related duties. However, employers are only responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if all of the following are met:
When it comes to an OSHA reportable incident or illness it must be reported within 24 hours for: a hospitalization for anything other than diagnostic purposes, an amputation, loss of an eye. If there is a fatality, it must be reported within 8 hours.
When it comes to the OSHA criteria for reportable cases this may be difficult due to the fact that a hospitalization must occur within 24 hours of initial exposure and a fatality has to be reported within 30 of initial exposure. Most cases may not fall underneath OSHA’s guidelines. If there are any questions regarding this call ABC of WI for assistance.
The information does not list mental health issues relating to Covid-19 as a qualifying reason for emergency paid sick leave under the FFCRA. A company can consider managing this issue under their company’s leave of absence policies or under State/Federal Family and Medical Act for employers with 50 or more employees.
The $511/day (for the proper qualifying reason) is for salaried (exempt) and hourly (non-exempt) employees. It is also further understood that the owners may qualify for emergency paid sick leave if they receive a W-2.
This can be found by referring to the Department of Labors FAQ’s regarding FFCRA. Please refer to #5, #6, #7 or #8. The link is: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions
By choosing not to work and not meeting the qualifying reasons for leave, the employee will not meet the requirements of the FFCRA emergency paid sick leave nor the expanded paid family and medical leave requirement.
It depends on why you are taking paid sick leave and whether your employer agrees. Unless you are teleworking, paid sick leave for qualifying reasons related to COVID-19 must be taken in full-day increments. It cannot be taken intermittently if the leave is being taken because:
Unless you are teleworking, once you begin taking paid sick leave for one or more of these qualifying reasons, you must continue to take paid sick leave each day until you either (1) use the full amount of paid sick leave or (2) no longer have a qualifying reason for taking paid sick leave. This limit is imposed because if you are sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, or caring for an individual who is sick or possibly sick with COVID-19, the intent of FFCRA is to provide such paid sick leave as necessary to keep you from spreading the virus to others.
If you no longer have a qualifying reason for taking paid sick leave before you exhaust your paid sick leave, you may take any remaining paid sick leave at a later time, until December 31, 2020, if another qualifying reason occurs.
In contrast, if you and your employer agree, you may take paid sick leave intermittently if you are taking paid sick leave to care for your child whose school or place of care is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons. For example, if your child is at home because his or her school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19 related reasons, you may take paid sick leave on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to care for your child, but work at your normal worksite on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The Department encourages employers and employees to collaborate to achieve maximum flexibility. Therefore, if employers and employees agree to intermittent leave on less than a full work day for employees taking paid sick leave to care for their child whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, because of COVID-19-related reasons, the Department is supportive of such voluntary arrangements.
Yes, the FMLA expansion for Covid-19 is as follows: the Act amends the FMLA to allow an employee who is unable to work (or telework) to take leave due to a need to care for the employee’s son or daughter (under 18 years of age) if the child’s elementary or secondary school or place of care has been closed, or the childcare provider is unavailable, due to a “public health emergency.” A public health emergency means an emergency with respect to COVID-19 declared by a federal, state, or local authority.
The Act also adds a paid sick leave obligation. Employers with fewer than 500 employees must immediately make available 80 hours of paid sick leave for full-time employees (or the equivalent of the average number of hours over two weeks for part time employees) for the following reasons:
Under the FMLA provisions, when leave is needed due to a school or day care closure, the employer can provide the first 10 days of leave unpaid, then subsequent absences for this reason must be paid at 2/3 the employee’s regular rate of pay. The Act includes a cap of $200 a day and $10,000 in aggregate. If the first 10 days are unpaid, an employee may elect to substitute any accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medial/sick leave for the unpaid absence.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave is paid at the employee’s regular rate for a use of 1, 2, or 3 above and 2/3 of an employee’s regular rate for use of 4, 5, or 6 above. Full-time employees will be entitled to up to 80 hours of paid leave based on their normal wage. Part-time employees will be entitled to paid leave equal to the number of hours worked, on average, over a two-week period. This paid sick leave is capped at:
This paid sick time would be in addition to any other paid leave made available to the employee by the employer. Employers are prohibited from requiring an employee to use other paid time before using this paid sick time. This sick leave cannot be carried over year-to-year and is not required to pay out any unused sick time at the time of separation.
Employers will be required to post and keep posted a notice to employees describing these paid sick leave requirements. The US DOL will make a model notice available.
Employers are entitled to tax credits on their employer’s portion of payroll taxes for wages paid to employees.
The US Department of Labor is authorized to issue regulations that would exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees if such payment obligation would jeopardize the viability of the employer’s business as a growing concern. NOTE – After the regulations are issued, an employer taking advantage of this provision risks being subject to having to defend the decision.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published workplace posters that small and midsize employers can use to fulfill their obligations to notify employees of their rights to Expanded Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Paid Family and Medical Leave Act leave under the Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA).
The DOL also issued frequently asked questions and answers regarding FFCRA employee notices.
WCRB has established a new unit statistical code for reporting certain payroll for this unprecedented event: Carriers may implement code 0012 as a class code in their operating system. All insurance carriers in Wisconsin will be allowing companies to utilize the new worker’s compensation COVID-19 code for employees that are furloughed per the WCRB.
Unit Statistical Code 0012 – Paid Furloughed Workers During A Governmental Emergency Order Impacting Employment
By definition, a paid furloughed employee is one who is still being paid where they have been given a temporary layoff, an involuntary leave or another modification of normal working hours for a specified duration. This is for payments made by the employer during the paid furloughed time under the Governmental Emergency Order regardless of when it was earned.
No. Paid furloughed time is the time period where a state-wide emergency order has been issued by a public official and is for an extended period. The employee is not performing work duties for the employer.
Idle time is “down” time when an employee is waiting for materials or products in order to perform their duties. The employee is still under the total direction and control of the employer.
If an employer continues to pay furloughed employees their normal wages and the employer keeps separate, accurate and verifiable records, the payroll will not be included for the basis of premium.
If the employee is performing work duties for any portion of the day, no division of payroll is acceptable.
If accurate, verifiable payroll records are not maintained, 100% of the wages are assigned to the employee’s normal classification.
WI Basic Manual Rule IV E.2.b.2. states:
“Estimated or percentage allocation of payroll is not permitted.”
Code 0012 can ONLY be used if an emergency order is issued by a governmental official. Code 0012 is defined as: Paid Furloughed Workers During A Governmental Emergency Order Impacting Employment. If a governmental emergency order is not in effect, code 0012 cannot be used. During a declared government emergency order, improper use of this code or the use of false or misleading documentation in support of reallocation of payroll to this code is a violation of the law and may subject the employer/owners to fines, penalties and/or imprisonment for fraud.
Yes. The WCRB believes there is no justification for charging premium based on payroll that creates no worker’s compensation exposure.
Statistical code 0012 Paid Furloughed Workers During A Governmental Emergency Order Impacting Employment will be a permanent reporting code and will be implemented whenever an emergency order is in effect.
Governmental Emergency Order means any order, decree, stipulation, or determination, promulgated or entered by any public official or governmental body representing the state in which a statewide emergency is declared.
Public Official means someone who has authority to exercise the power of the state government and does so in his or her official capacity as an employee of the state government.
No. The use of statistical code 0012 is directly linked to an executive order made by a state official with the authority to do so. In the case of COVID-19, it’s Governor Ever’s Executive Order #72, which is currently effective from March 17, 2020 through April 24, 2020.
Per the “General Duty” clause from OSHA, employers are to provide a safe and healthy workplace free from hazards that could cause death or serious physical harm.
Employers should follow the recommendations for number of employees on a particular worksite and instruct employees on the practice of social distancing, or ensuring employees keep a six foot distance between one another while working. Employees should not share tools.
Employers should remind employees to take basic, preventative measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus at the workplace, including these recommendations:
Employers should provide adequate supplies in the workplace for employees to follow these recommended practices.
CDC guidelines for protecting employees: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
The Centers for Disease Controls (CDC) specifically recommends that employers immediately send home employees who appear to have symptoms of any acute respiratory illness. Employers should also investigate symptoms by asking the employee about their symptoms to keep an open environment of communication. Employers should try to assess if employees came into contact with other employees and send home employees who may be exposed for 14 days. Employers should encourage employees to stay home if they have been exposed to someone who has any illness and stay home until fever or other symptoms have subsided for at least 24 hours. Employers should not share names of individuals who may have contracted an illness. You may require a “fit for duty” certification or verification from a doctor, but that may not be realistic considering healthcare facilities may be overwhelmed.
Yes, under normal circumstances this would be considered a medical exam under ADA and not allowed, but because of COVID-19, the CDC and local Health Departments are allowing this. Keep in mind this should be related to COVID-19 and you should be specific to COVID-19 symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, shortness of breath). All employees should do this consistently and not discriminate based on protected classes. Employers are reminded that doing this can provide a false sense of security. Be sure to continue with CDC recommendations on cleaning and keeping the workplace safe.
At this point OSHA has not indicated that it is necessary to do so, however that could change.
OSHA has said that outside of healthcare facilities, there is no need to clean “contaminated” work environments unless there are bodily fluids present. However, with COVID-19, you will want to take measures to clean the jobsite wherever and whatever the employee may have encountered, including all tools, common surfaces, porta potties, etc. This can be done by your employees, but should only be done with a respirator, eye protection and other personal protective equipment.
Most likely, no. As an employer, you should determine whether there was any exposure that occurred in the work environment that caused or contributed to the test positive. As a practical matter, it is very difficult to do this and not practical to ascertain there was exposure on the worksite. OSHA would have to prove that the employee testing positive was work-related. If you have a COVID-19 case that results in a fatality or in-patient hospitalization, you would want to call OSHA. You would also likely be engaged with your local health department if this were to occur.
If you’re a general contractor, OSHA could not cite you for a general duty clause violation related to COVID-19 on your worksite due to other employers’ employees.
No. OSHA has not weighed in on this issue so you should make sure you are in compliance with OSHA standards, respiratory standard and every other standard because OSHA has not granted any pass on this.
There will be situations where the six–foot minimum distance is not feasible. The best action in this situation is for employees to be using N-95 respirators, gloves, etc. However, given the nature of the work, OSHA would not likely be able to take action on this.
You should send home all employees who worked closely with that employee for a 14-day period of time to ensure the infection does not spread. Ask them to identify all individuals who worked in close proximity (three to six feet) with them in the previous 14 days to ensure you have a full list of those who should be sent home. When sending the employees home, do not identify by name the infected employee or you could risk a violation of confidentiality laws. You may also want to consider asking a cleaning company to undertake a deep cleaning of your affected work spaces. If you work in a shared office building or work area, you should inform building management so they can take whatever precautions they deem necessary. Employers should proceed to clean the work area or jobsite the employee may have come into contact with.
Yes, authorities have concluded that employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 should leave the workplace. You should consider the CDC guidelines. These guidelines will give employers guidance and information on risk levels. If an employee has traveled from a level 2 or 3 area whether for work or personal a company can require the employee to quarantine for 14 days.
Yes, but only around Covid-19 symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, shortness of breath). Due to the sensitivity of this information, confidentiality is imperative.
Yes, but keep in mind the CDC is advising employers not to require doctor’s notes or proof that someone has tested positive for the virus at this time. The thought is to not overwhelm the health care system. Employers are struggling with this a little bit. Someone with no symptoms may not be able to get a note. It is recommended employer’s watch this. If employees are unable to get a doctor’s note an employer may want to have flexibility in their policy regarding this and make it clear that this it temporary and when this has past the policy will require documentation.
There are various legal issues that need to be considered:
A force majeure or other change clauses may free parties in a contract from their liabilities when an “extraordinary event” or “act of God” prevents them from fulfilling their obligations.
It depends on the contract and whether such a clause is included. Review each contract to determine whether there are clear, comprehensive and adequate protections for your company and whether “epidemic” or “pandemic” or “public health emergency” are included. Courts often interpret the clause based on what is specifically listed. Then consider whether your project has, in fact, been affected by the pandemic, e.g. labor or equipment shortages; is there a schedule impact?
For companies that have force majeure clauses in their standard contracts, it would be wise to review those provisions to make sure they provide clear, comprehensive, and adequate protections for the company and consider whether terms such as “widespread epidemic,” “pandemic,” and/or “public health emergency” should be added to their force majeure clauses in light of the threat posed by the current coronavirus outbreak, as often courts will interpret the clause based on what is specifically listed in the contract.
In a recent ABC webinar, attorneys from the legal firm Bradley recently recommended these five important points when it comes to force majeure clauses:
This does not constitute legal advice. Consult an ABC attorney for more details. ABC members are entitled to a free call for legal education on a specific issue and are not limited by the number of issues they can call about. Contact ABC of Wisconsin at 608-244-5883 or 800-236-2224 and chapter staff will help you determine if a free legal call is necessary and which attorney can best answer your question.
The DOT has announced that driver licenses and CDLs that expire during the public health emergency will be automatically extended 60 days and the driver record visual to law enforcement will show the extension and that the driver license is valid.
It covers emergency paid sick leave, family medical leave, tax credits for employers on the employer’s portion of payroll taxes for wages paid to employees.
You can find more details through this link.
GET AN EXPERT OPINION
Have a Question?
ABC of Wisconsin is here to help you navigate through this extraordinary time. Have a question? Contact our team of experts and we’ll get an answer for you!
Director of Human Resources Member Services
Human Resources & Safety Director
News & Event Updates
Jobsite Safety Precautions and Best Practices During COVID-19
Speakers: Don Moen, ABC of Wisconsin; Matt Morley, Kraemer Brothers; and Cullen Schmeling, Stevens Construction
With construction in Wisconsin declared an “essential service” and most, if not all, sites operational, how do you maintain a safe jobsite during these epic times? In this recorded webinar, ABC of Wisconsin Safety & HR Director Don Moen and ABC of Wisconsin Safety Committee Chair Matt Morley of Kraemer Brothers and Vice Chair Cullen Schmeling of Stevens Construction provided guidance to members on employer and employee responsibilities and best practices, as well as OSHA reporting and recordkeeping.
Other On-Demand Webinars Available
ABC of Wisconsin members can view and download past webinars on demand, including our ongoing COVID-19 series. Member login for the ABC of Wisconsin website is required.
Available COVID-19 Webinars
Need assistance logging in? Contact us at email@example.com or 608-244-5883.
View Past Webinars in the ABC Academy for Construction Ethics, Compliance & Best Pratices
All ABC National webinars will be archived in the ABC Academy for Construction Ethics, Compliance & Best Practices. The Academy is restricted to ABC members in management positions and chapter staff. If you don’t yet have a login for the academy, please complete the login request form to gain access.
DOCUMENTS & ARTICLES
COVID-19 Resources for Contractors
ABC of Wisconsin has compiled some resources to help you navigate the COVID-19 crisis:
ABC of Wisconsin
Department of Labor
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Internal Revenue Service
Small Business Administration
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
SAFER AT HOME UPDATE
Local Restrictions in Effect
As a result of the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling that Governor Evers did not have the authority to issue the stay at home order, some Wisconsin Counties and municipalities have been issuing their own stay at home orders until state government decides on their next step. Today it is unclear if local governmental entities have the authority to do that.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, ABC’s government affairs team has successfully advocated that construction be deemed an essential service and our efforts have not changed. So far, local government’s own orders have not changed the essential service designation. ABC’s legal and government affairs professionals will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates when necessary.
Included here is an alphabetical list of local governments that have issued their own COVID-19 emergency orders, with a link to the language if available. As this list is a moving target, it is always best to reach out to a specific local government if you have any questions, or the ABC one-call for legal education service. Also, please consult the best practices we have produced over the last several weeks on this page.
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