Top Concerns on Coronavirus (COVID-19) for Small and Medium Size Businesses Addressed by TriNet

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DUBLIN, Calif., March 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — As the spread of COVID-19 continues to cause uncertainty, it presents unique challenges for small and medium size businesses (SMBs). TriNet is addressing questions that are top of mind with their more than 18,000* clients and business owners—and offers advice on how to prepare for the virus’ impact.

TriNet President and CEO, Burton Goldfield, appeared on Fox Business Network’s Mornings with Maria today to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on small and medium size businesses. “Our thoughts go out to all those impacted by the virus. For small and medium size businesses, liquidity is the issue at hand,” he said. “We need the stimulus to help these small businesses. However, I believe this will be solved by the private sector, in supporting their employees. We had a healthy small business environment before the Coronavirus and I believe we’ll have a healthy environment after the Coronavirus,” he added.

To further support SMBs, TriNet will host a free webinar to help SMBs prepare for the impact of COVID-19. The webinar will be held Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET. The webinar will be led by Samantha Wellington, SVP, chief legal officer and secretary at TriNet, in collaboration with Fisher & Phillips LLP, a leading labor and employment law firm and will provide critical up-to-date information on employer-related legal and compliance requirements, as well as best practices to help SMBs during this pandemic. A replay of the webinar will be available on TriNet.com.

The webinar builds on a series of blogs launched last week by TriNet to tackle some of the hard COVID-19 related questions confronting SMBs, including:

1. Should my business halt all international travel? What about domestic travel?

For international travel, the first question is whether the travel is permitted by law. New European travel restrictions were recently announced that will impact nonimmigrant visa holders and certain immigrants (as well as visitors) who need to fly into the U.S. and who have been physically present in the Schengen Area in Europe during the 14-day period preceding their entry (or reentry). Prior presidential proclamations limited entry of foreign nationals who were physically present in China and Iran. A variety of exceptions apply to the restrictions currently in place; however, the State Department issued a travel advisory urging U.S. citizens to reconsider all travel abroad, even to non-restricted zones and regardless of whether exceptions might allow travel.

Domestic U.S. travel generally is not banned in the same sense as some international travel, but there are regional restrictions across the country on various activities, such as large gatherings, which is likely to severely limit the ability of employees to conduct business on the road.

2. Is Coronavirus a covered disease for workers’ compensation eligibility?

It depends. If the employee is a health care worker or first responder, the answer is likely yes (subject to variations in state law). For other categories of employees, a compensable workers’ compensation claim is possible, but the analysis would be very fact-specific. Importantly, the workers’ compensation system is a no-fault system, meaning that an employee claiming a work-related injury does not need to prove negligence on the part of the employer. Instead, the employee need only prove that the injury occurred at work and was proximately caused by their employment. Additionally, the virus is not an “injury” but is instead analyzed under state law to determine if it is an “occupational disease.”

3. What if one of my employees refuses to work for fear of contracting Coronavirus?

Employees are only entitled to refuse to work if they believe they are in imminent danger. The threat must be immediate or imminent, which means that an employee must believe that death or serious physical harm could occur within a short time, for example, before the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) could investigate the problem. Most work conditions amongst small and medium size businesses in the U.S. do not meet the elements required for an employee to refuse to work.

To stay updated on the latest news on COVID-19 and recommendations for SMBs, please check out https://www.trinet.com/info.

About TriNet

TriNet (NYSE: TNET) provides small and medium size businesses (SMBs) with full-service HR solutions tailored by industry. To free SMBs from HR complexities, TriNet offers access to human capital expertise, benefits, risk mitigation and compliance, payroll and real-time technology. From Main Street to Wall Street, TriNet empowers SMBs to focus on what matters most—growing their business. TriNet, incredible starts here. For more information, visit TriNet.com.