<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://px.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=1663114&amp;fmt=gif">

FAQ for Talent during COVID-19

Updated: March 31, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to rapidly evolve, Procom will release updates on this FAQ page to ensure we are providing you with the most current and up to date information. 

> Is Procom still open?

Absolutely. All Procom staff is 100% working from home, operational and working to find your next great opportunity during this challenging time. 

> Are there still job available?

Yes, clients are still hiring – however, we have seen a dip in some industry sectors.  

The hiring process has also slightly changed. While we no longer conduct in-person interviews, video conferencing has become the new norm and we continue to hire great candidates found by our recruitment teams. 

Please contact your Procom Client Services representative if you have any questions about your applications.  

> Will I notice a disruption in my pay?

Our Contractor back office team is fully engaged and actively processing time and expense payments.  We have had no interruptions in our core payment practices, nor do we anticipate any. 
 
However, we have identified a potential future risk regarding payments processed by physical cheque, which will become more difficult to distribute or collect in a largely remote work configuration.  

In the limited instances where cheques continue to be used, we are reaching out to offer our services to support a transition to EFT. 

> I’m not sure if I have a typical cold or COVID-19 symptoms. What should I look for?

If you’re displaying any symptoms of being sick, stay home and self-isolate for 14 days. If you are currently sick or think you’re becoming sick, contact your Procom Client Services representative and/or your workplace manager to report your absence and discuss the next steps. 

Symptoms to look for include: Fever, sore throat, coughing, shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing, vomiting, severe headaches, diarrhea and ear pain. 

> I think I have been exposed to COVID-19. What should I do?

If you suspect you may have been exposed to COVID-19, do not self-diagnose.  Symptoms will differ from person to person with people displaying few, all or no symptoms. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, you should: 

  • Immediately call the public health authority in your province or state – each will have its own support number. 

  • Stay inside and practice self-isolation. Do not go into your workplace until you are properly diagnosed and receive clearance from your healthcare practitioner. 

  • Follow the protocol of your workplace for reporting an absence, and contact your Procom Client Services representative and workplace manager to report your absence. 

> What do I do if I, or an immediate family member/roommate, contracts COVID-19, and I can’t work at my workplace or from home?

In Canada, if you cannot work because you or someone in your home contracts COVID-19, you will be entitled to an unpaid job protected leave of absence under applicable provincial and federal employment standards legislation (e.g., statutory sick leave, medical leave, family care/responsibility leave).  

In the event that you request to take a certain unpaid leave of absence (and you meet the requirements of that leave), your employer must grant the unpaid leave of absence to you, and you cannot be terminated or laid off while you are on that leave of absence.  

Entitlements depend on prevailing provincial and federal employment, and potentially client Sick leave policies. In this scenario, it is best to contact your Procom Client Services representative for clarification and help during the process. 

In the United States, The U.S. Department of Labor’s Families First Coronavirus Response Act requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. 

The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division administers and enforces the new law's paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. 

Generally, If you work for the government or for a company with fewer than 500 employees,: 

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave 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 (up to 80 hours) of 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), or care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the secretaries of the Treasury and Labor. 

A covered employer must provide to employees that it has employed for at least 30 days: 

  • Up to an additional 10 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.

> What if I work for a non-government organization or for one with under 500 employees?

The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees. 

Most employees of the federal government are covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was not amended by this act, and are therefore not covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA. 

However, federal employees covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act are covered by the paid sick leave provision.  

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or childcare unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern. 

If you are still unsure of your options, contact your Procom Client Services representative, who will help you determine the best course of action. 

> If my current workplace temporarily closes, what do I do, and will I get paid?

In Canada, if your workplace closes, reach out to your Procom Client Services representative to discuss the details of the closure, including how long it’s expected to last. You should also visit the Government of Canada website for information on how to Apply for Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits as soon as you stop working and before you receive your Record of Employment.  

In the United States, federal law permits significant flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19.  

If this is the case for you, Procom will work diligently to help you find another assignment during the closure that fits your qualifications and skills. 

> Will I receive any income support from the government if my workplace closes or if I am under quarantine?

Yes. There are programs in place to help financially support those who cannot work due to COVID-19.  

In Canada, under The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB): 

  • The Government of Canada has waived the one-week waiting period for individuals who cannot work that claim EI sickness benefits. 
  • Workers do not need to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits. 
  • Coming into effect in April 2020, the Government of Canada will introduce Emergency Care Benefits to provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to: 
    • workers who must stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support. 
    • workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19. 
    • working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures. 
    • workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work. 
    • wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance. 

 

In the United States, federal law allows states to pay benefits where: 

  • An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work. 
  • An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over. 
  • An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member. 
  • In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19. 

> COVID-19 has affected my income, and I may not be able to pay my mortgage/rent. What other types of support is the government offering?

The Government of Canada has announced several support programs. These include: 

  • Deferred mortgage payments on homeowner CMHC-insured mortgage loans. 
  • Implementation of Employment Insurance (EI) Work Sharing Program to provide EI benefits to workers who agree to refuse their normal working hours. 
  • One-time special payment by May 2020 through the Goods and Services Tax Credit. 
  • Increase in the maximum annual Canada Child Care Benefit (CCB) payment amounts. 
  • Deferment of tax return filings until June 1, 2020. 

The United States Government has announced several support programs. These include: 

  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) delays federal tax filing until July 15. 
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to suspend evictions and foreclosures for the next 60 days. The moratorium only applies to homeowners with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), a part of HUD that insures home loans made by FHA-approved lenders. The moratorium only covers FHA mortgages for single family homes. The order not only prevents new foreclosure actions but will also suspend all foreclosure actions currently in process. 
  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees Fannie MaeFreddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan banks, will provide payment forbearance to borrowers impacted by the COVID-19 for up to one year due to hardship. 
  • Freddie Mac has implemented a program offering relief to multifamily landlords whose mortgages are financed with a Freddie Mac multifamily fully performing loan. Under this program, landlords can defer loan payments for 90 days by showing hardship because of COVID-19. In return, landlords can’t evict any tenant based on nonpayment of rent during the forbearance period. 
  • While some individual states are stopping evictions and foreclosure, mortgage and rent payments might still be mandatory. Many state officials say these measures are in flux and will be subject to change. 

 

> How can I protect myself against COVID-19 in the workplace or at home?

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19. The most effective way to avoid contracting COVID-19 and flatten the curve is to wash your hands often with the proper 20 second technique and practice social distancing. It’s imperative to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer and listen to healthcare professionals. 

Remember to regularly clean surfaces and devices you often use.  

> I had recently travelled or am planning on travelling. Do I have to inform my employer?

Yes! It’s important that you inform your Procom Client Services representative and your workplace manager if you have been outside of Canada or the United States within the last 14 days. 

You will be asked to inform us of the following: 

  • If you, or a member of your family, have travelled outside of Canada or the United States. 
  • If you have come into contact with any individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. 
  • If you have been in contact with any individual who has been in quarantine or currently is. 
  • As of March 27, 2020 any individual entering into Canada must self-isolate in quarantine for 14 days.  

> An individual at my workplace has been diagnosed with COVID-19, can I be forced to go into work?

If you feel as though your workplace is unsafe, contact your Procom Client Services representative immediately so that we can assess the situation and determine a course of action. 

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, a worker has the right to refuse work if the conditions are “likely to endanger” their health or safety – this includes encountering COVID-19. If this is the case, the refusal will be immediately investigated. 

Individuals can file work refusals based on: 

  • A confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the workplace. 
  • A confirmed case of COVID-19 in an individual’s immediate family or other close contact. 
  • The potential exposure to COVID-19 from contractors, customers or clients. 
  • Concerns from other workers who are particularly vulnerable (over age 65, compromised immune system, pre-existing medical condition). 
  • Individuals who have a fear of being exposed to COVID-19 by travelling to or attending the workplace. 

As COVID-19 continues to rapidly evolve, we understand your concerns, and encourage you to reach out to your Procom Client Services representative to discuss them and options for moving forward. 

> I have been diagnosed with COVID-19, what do I do now?

Individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 must stay in self-isolation (quarantined) for a minimum of 14 days. After 14 days, requirements for returning to work can vary depending on your employer and your contract. Some individuals may be required to provide a medical clearance document before they can return to their workplace. 

When you are ready to return to the workplace, contact your Procom Client Services representative to determine if and what documentation will be required.  

> If I cough in my workplace but feel fine, can my employer send me home if they suspect I have COVID-19?

Yes. Under prevailing employment and occupational health and safety law in most provinces and states, employers have the right (and obligation) to send any worker home who displays a symptom of COVID-19. They also have the right to send an individual home who: 

  • Has been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19. 
  • Has been in quarantine. 
  • Has travelled to areas where there has been an outbreak. 

If your employer has sent you home under suspicion of COVID-19 exposure, contact your Procom Client Services representative immediately to discuss the situation and to determine whether you qualify for Employment Insurance Benefits if you can’t work. 

> My workplace is open, but I don't feel safe going into work in fear of exposing myself and others to COVID-19. What can I do?

If you have any concerns, immediately contact your Procom Client Services representative.  We understand your fears regarding COVID-19 in the workplace and will discuss what options are available to ensure your health and safety as a top priority.  

> Is working from home an option for me?

Working from home options may be possible on a case-by-case basis. Gaining approval to work from home will depend on the company you work for, your job requirements, technology requirements and other factors unique to your role. Contact your Procom Client Services representative to discuss if working from home is an option for you.

> Where can I find more information about COVID-19?

The Canadian and United States governments, along with health agencies, are the best possible resources for information. However, Procom is dedicated to keeping our Talent up to date on the latest news as it is released.