NVR Homes

Workers enter the main security gate at NVR Homes in Thurmont last week.

Mayor of Thurmont John Kinnaird said he heard from about 20 employees of NVR, the manufacturing facility, that they felt unsafe going into work due to fear of the coronavirus, two weeks ago.

Since then, he’s done everything he could to help. He reached out to Congressman Jamie Raskin. He reached out to Frederick County Health Officer Dr. Barbara Brookmyer.

But at the end of the day, NVR falls into an “essential business” category — construction — and are therefore allowed to stay open during the statewide stay-at-home order.

Employees, according to Kinnaird, said that with over 300 employees working each shift, they felt unsafe going into work for fear of contracting the coronavirus or unknowingly spreading it. NVR’s employees travel from a range of places to get to work, including parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Kristy Eriksson, principal and co-leader of the Labor, Employment, Benefits & Immigration Practice Group at Miles & Stockbridge, said that under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act, employees of essential businesses are not granted special time off for avoiding work due to a general coronavirus fear.

“Unfortunately, that’s the situation that we’re all in right now, everybody is afraid and everybody is at risk for going out, and so that doesn’t set you apart and give you a reason to take leave or probably not even to collect unemployment,” Eriksson said.

However, if that employee has an underlying condition or has been asked to self-quarantine by a healthcare professional, they are entitled to paid leave.

That paid leave is in addition to the employee’s paid time off, and will be reimbursed to the employer by the government through a payroll tax credit, Eriksson said.

Additionally, employers with more than 500 employees are not subject to the FFCRA. 

Kinnaird received a letter from the company outlining what they are doing to keep their workers safe during the pandemic, and noted that they are offering unpaid leave but not firing any workers for choosing to stay home. Kinnaird sent the information to The Frederick News-Post.

The company is also staggering arrival times, break times and departures; encouraging employees who can work from home to do so; and eliminated and reduced common employee areas and “choke points” throughout the facility.

Denise Jacoby, the executive officer of the Frederick County Building Industry Association, said that there is a concern among construction workers county-wide about going into work, but that employers are doing all they can to keep them safe.

“We’ve slowed everything down, and the reason you slow things down is to accommodate fewer people at the same time on the job site, that’s very important,” Jacoby said.

Jacoby also said that only one trade is allowed on a site at a time to limit the amount of people working at once. And all workers are recommended to stay six feet away from each other.

Eriksson said that there are no federal mandates yet in place for what employers have to do to keep their workers safe specifically from the coronavirus, but that the Occupational Safety and Health Act requires all employers to provide a safe working environment for their employees.

Eriksson’s clients have had numerous questions about what the FFCRA means for their businesses. While she did her best to parce the 125-page act into a webinar that could answer their questions, she knows that things are likely to change again within the upcoming weeks.

“If you think about what it looked like now as opposed to what everything looked like three weeks ago, could I say, what are we going to be looking at three weeks from now? Who even knows,” Eriksson said. “So we’re just trying to keep up.”

Follow Erika Riley on Twitter: @ej_riley.

(36) comments

sjrcpa

mjdickerson, while that may be true, MD's interpretation guidance used the federal guidance.

Russian

Support the economy attend Easterday Sunday Services

KR999

Are you going to?

The Grape of Wrath

There is much nonsense about all these closures. Grocery stores, pharmacies and critical doctor/dental appointments must remain open. But how can restaurants be considered essential to anything other than their own profit? If Kohls and JCP which sell only clothes, are considered non-essential, then Walmart must be forced to rope off the clothing aisles, the toy aisles, the home decor aisle, the home office aisle, the auto supply aisle, the furniture aisle, the sporting equipment aisles, the pet supply aisle, ALL aisles except the pharmacy and food aisle. Same goes for grocery stores that sell non-essential items like toys, bbq equipment and paper. If they don't want to do that then let Kohls and JCP open in the online pickup mode at least, just like restaurants are doing. All the employees at Kohls, JCP, Macys and the like can return to work and fill online orders. There are plenty of those. They can also accept returns and exchanges. They can even let limited people inside, just like Home Depot does. There is no basis at all for allowing some businesses to operate normally and some not at all when those that operate normally are competitors to those that are forced to close. These doctors who give such advice are medical doctors who know nothing about commerce. Governors are politicians who know nothing about anything. So we have commerce being run by two commerce idiots. Economic figures prove that out. Sad!! Screw all the governors, including Hogan!

Lev928

Construction is NOT an essential business right now. If we had a hurricane or other natural disaster, sure. This is a BIOLOGICAL emergency ... a medical emergency. In fact, too many businesses are trying to be accepted as "essential" when they are not. Too bad, so sad. Deal with it. Stop being a part of the problem.

Jenn8805

Some people might not have any where else to go. They paid for a new house by selling their old house, so they still need their new house built. That’s why this is essential business.

machinehead666

Lets keep it honest. Any company that can keep the revenue coming in is going to do so - "essential" or not. Hey, those 2 employees going through the gate are NOT social distancing! and there you have it...

Russian

Covid 19 is a republican pandemic

KR999

Yeah, yeah, yeah. [yawn]

KR999

In part, this article reads: "Additionally, employers with less than 500 employees are not subject to the FFCRA. Employers such as NVR would then not be entitled to these benefits." This is, plain and simple, wrong and to print it is typically irresponsible. The FFCRA states: "Covered employers: 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.”

https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/Pandemic/FFCRA-Employee_Paid_Leave_Requirements.pdf

Additionally, the FFCRA noticed posted in my company's office states “In general, employees of private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees, and certain public sector employers, are eligible for up to two weeks of fully or partially paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons (see below.) Employees who have been employed for at least 30 days prior to their leave request may be eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of partially paid expanded family and medical leave for reason #5 below.” Following this on the notice are the reasons why employees may qualify to receive the paid leave benefits. Reason #2 states that the employee "has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine related top COCID-19."

Unless I'm missing something, I believe a correction to the article is in order.

InHouseCounsel

Not sure how many employees NVR has, but the FFCRA only applies to companies with fewer that 500 employees. Right or wrong, this was apparently a legislative compromise, based on an assumption that larger companies already has some sort of sick leave benefits. Even when FFCRA applies, it does not cover leave if a company is not operating, it only covers leave for employees who are out for up to 80 hours for a variety of COVID-19 related reasons, and then for another 10 weeks only if out because the employee has no other options to care for a child. It also does not cover anyone who does not come to work for fear of becoming infected.

KR999

"Employees, according to Kinnaird, said that with over 300 employees working each shift...." In excess of 500 it seems.

sjrcpa

Agreed. I was going to point this out, too.

Dwasserba

I had noticed "less than" 500 employees in the article butbthe quoted reference does state "fewer than." Third paragraph. "Fewer" is used with people. It's petty. It shows how weary I'm feeling not to have bothered to mention it until the quoted text reaffirmed it. I hope this is not the high point of my day...

rlmmkm

You are 100% correct KR999. Where was the editor that should have caught this huge mistake?

sjrcpa

They corrected it in the online version.

Russian

10 NYPD officers died

because Trump lied

The Grape of Wrath

A lot more than 10 have died because the Dotard lied. A lot more than that. A lot more.

rikkitikkitavvi

2010[edit]

The Officer Down Memorial Page reports 180 deaths in the line of duty.[3] 161 law enforcement officers were killed in 2010. The average from 1990 to 2010 was 164 per year.[4]

2011[edit]

The Officer Down Memorial Page reports 187 deaths in the line of duty.[5] The FBI reported that in 2011, "69 law enforcement officers from around the nation were killed in the line of duty, while another 53 officers died in accidents while performing their duties."[6] (released November 19, 2012) NBC News reported 165 dead.[7]

2012[edit]

The Officer Down Memorial Page reports 141 deaths in the line of duty.[8] For 2012, the FBI records 49 deaths in the line of duty.[9] The FBI Fund counted 49 federal, state and local officers to have been killed in 2012.

2013[edit]

The Officer Down Memorial Page reports 128 deaths in the line of duty.[10] The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund counted 102 federal, state and local officers to have been killed in 2012.[11] The official count from the FBI is that 27 law enforcement officers were 'feloniously' killed in the line of duty in 2013 (the lowest in a 35-year period 1980-2014), and an additional 49 died in accidents (total: 76).[2][12]

2014[edit]

The Officer Down Memorial Page reports 158 deaths in the line of duty.[13] The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund counted 126 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers killed.[14] The preliminary count from the FBI is that 51 law enforcement officers were 'feloniously' killed in the line of duty in 2014, and an additional 44 died in accidents (total: 95).[12]

2015[edit]

The Officer Down Memorial Page reports 164 deaths in the line of duty.[15] The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund counted 124 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers killed. 42 officers were shot and killed and 52 officers were killed in traffic-related incidents.[16]

2016[edit]

The Officer Down Memorial Page reports 171 deaths in the line of duty.[17] The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund counted 135 federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officers killed. 64 officers were shot and killed and 21 were ambushed.[18]

KellyAlzan

NVR. First step would be to send immigration agents there to conduct an I-9 verification audit. They will lose 2/3 of their work force.

KR999

If immigration agents went to your company to conduct an I-9 verification audit you'd probably loose closer to 95% or so of your work force, wouldn't you Pb?

KellyAlzan

You should pause before responding. How do you think I know about I-9 audits?

We were audited in March 2018. Went smoothly.

KR999

So you say...….

steelersfan2005

So Kohl's who sells clothes cannot be open, but Wal-mart can who also sells clothes, can be opened.

The Grape of Wrath

Like the old blue laws, "drug stores" like Peoples which happened to devote 5% of their floor space to a pharmacy could open on Sunday, while "variety stores" like Woolworth which didn't, could not open even though both stores sold the same repertoire of cheap junk. Finally lobbyists got the state to force "drug stores" to rope off everything but the pharmacy. You know how long that lasted.

Crab0721

Because they don't have other things like groceries or a pharmacy so they can not be open.

butterflygirl

They also sell MEDICINE AND OTHER PHARMACY NEEDS. They also sell FOOD!!!!!’

naturegirl

What would really be nice around here is if non-essential people would stop leisurely shopping and coming out in public so frequently in order to keep those forced to work safe. I am seeing a fine line between exerting one's independence and just plain selfishness. Why won't the people in this area take this virus seriously? Do you all want to take the chance you are a carrier, infecting medical personnel, your local grocery employees stocking your goods, or an employee forced to work construction so s/he can spread it to their family?...or do your actions show you don't give a darn and if that's the case, how many need to die or get sick before you do?

Crab0721

Who are you to say that they are leisurely shopping you don't know everything about everyone so mind your own business.

rlmmkm

I work in a grocery store. We have people who feel the da**n need to shop everyday for groceries for that days meals. Don't those idiots realized they are exposing themselves and us daily? Shop once a week morons!!!

Crab0721

Well if everything was in stock we would not have to go to the store every day and some of us don't have the money to buy food all at once and if you know who is coming in every day can I say stalker much because obviously you are not doing your job if you can tell us who comes in and out of the grocery store every day that is a little creepy

The Grape of Wrath

This company appears to be taking reasonable steps to keep workers safe. However one must question how making trailer parts is 'essential'. Essential to what? That's the question nobody asks. Why is construction an essential business?? All construction? Construction of a new doughnut shop is essential?? What about construction of a new police station? What this state and country is a good definition of essential. With gun shops, sex toy shops, liquor stores and churches among "essential" operations depending on the state, while clothing retailers, shoe stores, restaurants and offices are forced to close, the whole sham needs to be cleaned up. And that's what it is, a stupid lousy no-good sham. My bet is essential businesses are those whose owners kiss the butt of the governor the loudest, and nothing more.

tatt2ed

Would nearly agree, but the essential business / workers are defined by the federal govt., not states.

steelersfan2005

Thank you Tatt2ed, people don't know or do not realize, that the essential list is provided by the federal government, not the States.

mjdickerson

That's incorrect. An advisory list is provided by DHS (CISA); the states etc. are responsible for issuing their own guidance.

https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce

dtarleton128

You are pathetic

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