The Covid-19 outbreak, school closures, restaurant and other business closures, are having a significant impact on our business. In response, many of our properties have needed to reduce employee hours or complete temporary layoffs to help offset the decline in business. Please see below for some responses to frequently asked questions that we have received.
As always, please reach out to us if you have any questions that were not addressed in this update. Please continue doing what you are doing and know that we are here to support you through this difficult time.
Can employees receive unemployment due to a reduction in hours or temporary property closure?
Yes, unemployment is available to employees that have experienced a total or partial reduction of hours in response to the covid-19 outbreak. Please see additional documents for specifics for both Oregon and Washington.
If employee hours are reduced partially or completely due to a decrease business, can employees use their available PTO?
Potentially,yes. However, you cannot draw unemployment benefits and PTO at the same time so when you file your weekly claim with unemployment, you will need to report any wages received in that week, including PTO/sick time wages. If you want to use PTO/sick time, please let you manager know so they can fill out the proper paperwork.
If employee hours are reduced due to a decrease business, can employees use their available sick time hours in addition to available PTO?
Typically, sick time can only be used on days you are scheduled to work and are unable to, due to being sick or caring for a sick family member. However, given to unique circumstances we are currently facing, we will allow available sick time to be used to offset any loss of hours.
If I opt to use PTO/sick time, prior to temporary layoff will I still be paid via direct deposit?
Yes, pay will still come via direct deposit. Unemployment benefit payments will need to be set up with the unemployment office
Will Employees get to keep their medical benefits if they are on standby or drop below 30 hours?
If your position is placed on standby or you have a reduction in hours worked, your benefits will remain intact for up to 8 weeks in Washington and 4 weeks in Oregon. In addition, we have suspended the quarterly benefit hours audit for time being. This means that any employee that is currently enrolled in our benefits will not lose benefits if they average less than 30 hours per week. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer benefits to employees that are not currently eligible or enrolled in our benefits at this time.
In addition, if your property is in Washington, the state has opened up a special enrollment period for those living in Washington that are uninsured. This will be available through April 8th. Individuals seeking a special enrollment must contact the Customer Support Center between 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday at 1-855-923-4633; TTY: 855-627-9604, or a local certified broker or navigator, request the SEP, and select a plan by April 8 for coverage start date beginning April 1, 2020. Language assistance and disability accommodations are provided at no cost.
Oregon has not made the same option available as of yet, but we will keep you updated if this changes.
Can employees draw from their 401k to help with reduction in hours or on unemployment standby?
Employees can take out a loan against their 401k if they have at least $2000 available. They are eligible to withdraw 50% of the balance without penalty and without having to prove a hardship. Employees are able to withdraw the entire balance of their 401k if they are experiencing a significant financial hardship such as an eviction or foreclosure. Hardship withdraws are subject to a 10% penalty. To learn more or to help decide if a unique situation would qualify as a hardship, employees can contact Fidelity directly at 800-835-5097. There is a new CARES act being voted on now that would allow 401k withdraws without penalty. We are monitoring this act carefully and will update this page as we learn more.
Have there been any other changes to the 401k at this time?
Yes, effective 3/23/20 the NPM 401(k) Plan Employer Match will be suspended indefinitely. The Employer Match that will be made on the 3/20/20 paychecks will be the last one until further notice. If you would like to update your 401(k) contribution percentage, you can go to Fidelity online at 401k.com or call Fidelity at 1-800-835-5097 to make changes.
If our property remains open, what steps are we taking to protect employees and customers/guests?
We continue to follow CDC guidance regarding cleaning, sanitizing and social distancing monitoring.
What do you know about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that passed a few days ago, and how this will help us?
Effective April 1st
Up to 2 weeks paid sick leave will be available at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
Two weeks paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider),
Up to 12 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
We are working on additional communications regarding this Act and what our employees will need to do to request pay for one of the above reasons. We will be posting an update regarding this, on this page on March 31st 2020.
What is the current ruling regarding business closures?
In Washington, all restaurants, bars and recreational facilities have been asked to temporarily close effective 8 PM on 3/16/20. Restaurants will still be able to provide takeout, drive-thru, and delivery service. Additionally, all gatherings over 50 people will be prohibited, while gatherings under 50 people will need to meet strict criteria for hygiene and social distancing. These closures also apply to: Coffee shops, doughnut shops, salons, barbers, tattoo parlors, movie theaters, performance theaters, bowling alleys, gyms, museums, art galleries, and youth sports among other activities. On March 23, 2020, Governor Inslee issued an Executive Order stating all people who are not a part of an essential workforce, should stay at home.
In Oregon, as of 3/16/20, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown ordered Oregon restaurants and bars to stop all on-site dining and limit sales to takeout and delivery. The closures come amid a larger ban of gatherings of more than 25 people for at least a month, with Brown urging Oregonians to avoid being around more than 10 people at a time. Exemptions to the closure list include grocery stores, pharmacies, retail stores and workplaces. As of 3/23/20 Oregon Gov. Kate Brown ordered all non-essential businesses to close effective 3/24/2020. For businesses not specifically called out in the executive order, they can remain open as long as they establish social distancing policies.
What happens if an employee tests positive for Covid-19?
We will follow the direction of the local health authority
The employee should use any available sick days, first; and PTO days, second.
If the employee needs additional time, we will use ADA guidelines and follow the interactive process
What we decide to do will be on a case-by-case basis depending on what the circumstances dictate
The business will only close if the local health authority and/or the CoHo leadership deem that to be the best course of action
We should avoid making blanket or generally sweeping statements when asked about this scenario since each situation will likely be unique.
We should, stay calm, and rational; ask for help; never feel you have to make a decision on the spot, or by yourself
What happens if an employee needs to stay home due to their child’s school closure?
We will follow the direction of the local health authority
We will allow employees to use available PTO and sick time
Employees will be allowed to work from home if approved by Coho Services leadership and the following conditions are met
They have signed a telecommuting agreement (If approved, will be provided by your manager)
They have the proper equipment and technology at home to perform all functions of their job
Their primary position is not customer facing
If paid hourly, they track their hours worked daily (If approved, an hours tracking sheet will be provided by your manager)
They are able to communicate with their supervisor daily to provide a work status report
If an employee needs to stay home with their child and is unable to telecommute, their time at home may be paid through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act described above, if requested documentation is received.
Can employees bring their children to work in response to school closures?
Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate this at this time.
As employers, can we offer daycare to our employees children, so they can continue to work?
Unfortunately, this is not an option because we do not have the proper permits to offer this service.
What happens if an employee is exhibiting symptoms that mirror Covid-19 symptoms (fever, cough, respiratory distress)?
The employee stay home until symptoms have subsided for at least 24 hours from the last sign of fever, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants).
I am enrolled in benefits, what happens to my benefits now that I am not working?
The company will allow you to stay enrolled in benefits through this standby period. If you have the ability to pay your premiums while you are out, please contact the HR department at HR@cohoserv.com so we can arrange a payment plan. If you do not have the ability to pay, your premiums will be caught up when you return to work.
If I want to use PTO/sick prior to starting unemployment, how do I do that?
You can request this in ADP within the current pay period which ends on 3/31/20.
If I am using my PTO/sick time prior to starting unemployment, how does this impact the unemployment benefit I receive?
You will want to file your unemployment claim the week of your last day worked. If you receive PTO/sick time after your last day worked, you will need to report this information to the state when you file your weekly claim.
What hours and wages are being used to calculate my eligibility for unemployment and the amount of benefit I will receive?
Both OR and WA use information from your “base year” which is the first four of the last 5 quarters. If you file your claim in March, this means they will be using data from Oct 2018 – Sept 2019. If you did not work for the company at that time, you will be given the opportunity to enter prior employer information as well.
When I am asked for a return to work date, what should I put?
The most you can request your standby to last is 4 weeks, pick a date prior to that 4 week mark. It is hard to estimate an exact return date during this unprecedented time, so an estimation is ok here.
Some frequently asked Unemployment questions for WA employees
The address the unemployment system generated for my employer seems incorrect, should I be worried?
At this time, we know the address for NORTH PACIFIC MANAGEMENT and H LODGE LLC do not match the physical address of the properties. We have looked into it and confirmed there is nothing to worry about and the claims are being received accurately
Q/A: If you are on standby, when the system asks “why did you separate from your employer?” select “laid off”. When the system asks for you to provide more information about this separation choose “on call or on standby with my employer