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An update to our staff about coronavirus

4/7/2020

Good afternoon all,

As was discussed in previous communications, a new legislation called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) went into effect on Wednesday, April 1st.   In summary, this Act provides two things in support of employees who, for reasons due to the pandemic, are unable to work. The first is Emergency Paid Sick Leave for six specific illnesses and childcare related reasons. The second is an expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and is specifically for childcare needs during this pandemic.  If you are unable to work due to lack of child care, the first 80-hours will be paid by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave and the Emergency Family Medical leave would then pick up.

Below you will find a summary of the Act as well as the request forms that will need to be submitted to Human Resources if you need to utilize either one of these leave options.

Given the workload that most health care providers are experiencing right now, the Department of Labor has advised that individuals requesting leave do not need to provide notes/ documentation from their health care provider; at this time the request forms themselves suffice.

We understand that everyone’s circumstances will be unique and we are here to talk it through with you as you are preparing to submit the request form(s).  Below are some important notes for all to be mindful of:

Leave Requests:

  • When requesting time for either of these leaves, please be sure to share with your manager before submitting a request form to Human Resources.
  • Request Forms must be submitted electronically to ~hr@countrybank.com.  If you are unable to print and sign the form, please reach out to us and we will provide a form that will allow you to sign electronically.
  • Intermittent leave (leave taken in separate periods of time rather than for one continuous period of time) may be approved for leave related to childcare. Leave related to illness (self or a family member) must be taken as continuous until the illness is resolved. Please reach out to Joyce if you have questions related to childcare leave.

Timekeeping:

  • Once the request form is received, HR will manage and input the time in ADP for both Emergency Paid Sick and Emergency FMLA Leave.
  • If you are able to and working (either in the office or remotely) but are working reduced hours due to business circumstances through no fault of your own, continue to use the CV2020 pay code as outlined in our March 27th email/ text (see below) on timekeeping.
  • If you are uncomfortable coming in to work during this time, we understand and encourage you to stay home.  However, you will be required to use your Paid Time Off banks in the following order: Vacation, Discretionary, and finally Sick.
  • If you are unable to work for an illness that is non-Coronavirus related, regular sick time will apply.

Again, here is a link to the Department of Labor’s notice.   Employee Notice – Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Lastly, thank you for all you are doing to support Country Bank. Your focus on our Core Values of Integrity, Service, Teamwork, Excellence and Prosperity and your dedication to our customers and team members are inspirational.

If you have any questions, your primary contact is Joyce Stasinos at 413-277-2082 or by email at jstasinos@countrybank.com. However, all of us in Human Resources are available to you anytime day or night!

Take care,

Your Human Resources Team

3/27/20 Update

Hi All,

It’s hard to believe that it was only two weeks ago when all of our lives took a quick turn when the World Health Organization declared Coronavirus a global pandemic.  Day by day we’ve been navigating this new reality, and we’ve come together in a really amazing way.  At Country Bank, our Core Values of Integrity, Service, Teamwork, Excellence, and Prosperity have been our guide.  They drive the decisions we make every day; for our customers and for all of you!  In this spirit, we have paid with no use of PTO time for the past two weeks, and it’s in this spirit that we inform you of our plans to handle what we will call our “new normal” for the upcoming month.

This message shares a lot of information; so please be sure to take the time to read through it carefully.  Know that we understand there will be a lot of questions and a lot of unique situations.  While we can establish general guidelines for consistency, we also have to plan for a lot of case by case discussions and decision making.  In anticipation of that, we, in Human Resources, are available to you anytime day or night!  If you call either Miriam or Alyson, you will be forwarded to our cell phones and we are always connected via email.

So, what’s next?  Beginning Monday, March 30th the Bank will be returning to regular eight-hour workdays in the Back Office. In our branches, we continue with drive-up only service and understand that most of you are not working on a full schedule.  If you fall into the category of working a reduced schedule due to lack of work, the Bank continues its commitment to making your pay whole through the end of April, or sooner, if the State declares business as usual before that.  This time will be classified as “Corona Time”.

As Paul mentioned in his video yesterday, it’s important to recognize that our people are facing a multitude of different personal situations right now.  Those that are here working full time, those that want to be but the hours are not available, those that can work remotely vs. those that cannot, and those who are caring for families and children affected by the closures who cannot work at all.  So why do we bring this up again here?  Because in this trying time for all, and in the spirit of teamwork, equity has become relative to giving people what they need. Assessing that “need” is something we’re going to handle as uniformly as possible, but the solution may look a little different for each person.

Below provides detail on how you need to enter your time into ADP beginning Monday based on different scenarios:

Working Scenarios

If you are able to and working (either in the office or remote) but are working reduced hours due to business circumstances through no fault of your own, please be sure you are doing the following:

  • Non-exempt (hourly) employee :
    • Clock your actual time worked as normal.
    • At the end of the week, bring your timecard up to 40 hours (or your regularly scheduled workweek if part-time) using the new ADP payroll code “CV2020”.  You can enter this on multiple lines and do not need to worry about CV2020 being associated to a particular shift or time like you would for your actual time worked.
    • Saturday Pay (RWKD or BWKD) will still only be available at time and a half if the shift is a sixth day worked.
  • Exempt Employee:
    • Your pay will continue regularly.  In an effort to track Corona Time, please log your time not worked using “CV2020” with the total hours.

If you are working Remotely:

  • Non-exempt staff
    • Log your time worked remotely using a new “WFH” code in ADP.
    • If you are working less than 40 hours a week due to lack of work:
      • Worked time should be logged as “WFH” and the balance of time logged to “CV2020”.
    • If you are working less than 40 hours a week due to childcare issues related to Coronavirus closures:
      • You will use “CV2020” until Wednesday, April 1st when the FFCRA becomes effective (see below; more details to come).
  • Exempt staff
    • We will have you track your remote work time in a different way so you do not need to track the time you work from home in ADP.

Time Off Scenarios

As it pertains to time out of the office, again, we are faced with a variety of different scenarios. Last week new legislation was passed that goes in to effect next Wednesday, April 1st.  It is called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and below is a link to the details for employees. In summary, this act provides two things in support of the Coronavirus Pandemic; first is Emergency Paid Sick Leave (80 hours) for six specific reasons and the second is an expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act for reasons related to childcare needs specifically during this pandemic.  We will be sending out early next week more details on how the FFCRA will affect payroll.  Below details how we are handling the variety of different situations.

Employee Notice – Families First Coronavirus Response Act

If you are unable to work for a Coronavirus illness-related reason, you will log this time as “CV2020” Monday and Tuesday.  By Wednesday we will have a new code in payroll for the Emergency Paid Sick Leave that will be in effect.

If you are unable to work for an illness that is non-Coronavirus related, regular sick time will apply.

If you are unable to work at all, or can only work reduced hours, due to school closures and/or lack of childcare you will log this time as “CV2020” Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday we will have a new code in payroll for the Emergency Paid Sick Leave that will be in effect

If you are uncomfortable coming in to work during this time, we understand and encourage you to stay home.  However, you will be required to use your Paid Time Off banks in the following order: Vacation, Discretionary, and finally Sick.

Managers, timecard reviews and approvals by you will be extremely important during this time as well as paying extra attention.  We continue to ask you to approve weekly, rather than bi-weekly in order for us to be able to track on a weekly basis.  As you are already, please continue to notify Human Resources directly of any corona-virus related scenarios or absences.

Again, we thank all of you for your hard work.  We’re pleased to be able to continue pay so as not to add more anxiety in an already uncertain time, however, we ask you to keep in mind that depending on the longevity of this issue, once we return to “business as usual” we may need to adjust standard time-off policies and practices to transition us back to normal business operations.

It’s been great to see so many of us coming together in these difficult times; we’re showing our true Country Bank colors in displaying Integrity, Service, Teamwork, Excellence, and ultimately…Prosperity!

As always, please call or email your manager or Miriam or Alyson in HR with questions.

Enjoy your weekend and stay safe,

Your Human Resources Team

 

3/23/2020 Update

Hi All,

Well, here we are again; a new day, new message.  As you know, Governor Baker issued earlier today a “Stay at Home Advisory” through Tuesday, April 7th starting at noon tomorrow.  What does this mean for us?  What this means is that only those businesses deemed essential are to remain open and as a Bank, we are considered an essential business.  This means that we remain open to serve our customers and to maintain necessary banking and lending services in the back office.  The Governor also asked us to work from home when possible and urges anyone over the age of 70 and/or anyone with pre-existing conditions to stay at home.

So what’s next? We continue to actively set up folks to be able to work from home. However, there are still many functions that need to be in the office to most effectively perform their functions; mostly those that are considered “essential” functions.  Each department will be communicated with by their own Manager as to their departmental essential staffing schedule. As we expect all of our offices to be at minimal staffing, even if you have remote work capability, and prefer to come into the office, that is acceptable, with your supervisors’ approval.  However, on a bank-wide level there are a few things we would like you to know and keep in mind:

  • As of Wednesday, our branch hours will change back to our regular hours; 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  At this time all of the branches currently open will remain open but we will be constantly monitoring that based on transaction volume and staffing fluctuations.
  • If you are a non-exempt (hourly) employee and you are working remotely, you are required to be tracking your hours worked in ADP.  You and your supervisor should have discussed work expectations and a daily schedule prior to you starting remote work, so please be sure to be mindful of that agreement.  No overtime hours can be worked without written approval by your supervisor.
  • If you are working remotely, it is important to forward your work phone to your home or cell phone, as if you were in the office, during business hours.  IT will be able to help you set that up if you are not familiar with how to do it. However, please keep a couple of things in mind; First, if you are calling a customer from your personal cell phone you should be using “*67” before dialing so that your number remains confidential. Second, if you are non-exempt (hourly), you should not be answering calls forwarded from the Bank, or responding to emails, after your established working hours.
  • As you know, the bank has generously given everyone the gift of not having to use any Paid Time Off the past two weeks, regardless of your working or personal situation.  However, next week we will begin with a new approach, using some form of PTO banks while integrating with the terms of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which was passed last week and goes into effect April 2nd.  We plan to communicate on this subject with detail no later than this Thursday.  We continue to appreciate your patience with all of these questions, as each day seems to bring new answers to the same questions, so waiting was in our best interest.  If you have not reached out to us in HR or to your manager directly with your question, now is the time to do so.  Please send your questions to the HR mailbox; it will help us ensure that we address all of your concerns.
  • Even with fewer staff on our physical sites, the goal continues to be the minimal amount of contact with others as possible. Please keep this in mind if you are in the office. Maintain social distancing with at least six feet between you and someone else, in your workspace, in the hallways, and in the lunchrooms.  Be diligent!  In South Street, because of fewer bodies, we will be able to move workstations to create more distance and encourage all necessary meetings to be held via conference call.

Lastly, please let us know if you are not comfortable coming into the office, those concerns will be heard.  If you are in a high-risk category for COVID-19 or have had exposure to someone who has been diagnosed, please let us know that as well.  We will continue to notify you of any updates on those that may have had exposure to the virus. We appreciate all that you are doing for the Bank during this challenging time.

Stay safe everyone,

Your Human Resources Team