COVID-19 - Workforce Issues

LAST UPDATED: July 23, 2021

The RI Hospitality Education Foundation launched the RI Hospitality Employee Relief Fund. To see who qualifies, or to make a donation, or to apply, please read more here.


Updates coming soon

Health Insurance

There are other Health Care products available that are not insurance benefits but can help your staff and workforce, including telemedicine, home testing, and an Rx card. Learn more about these options here.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a federal law concerning an individual’s right to continue health insurance benefits at his or her own expense for up to 36 months in the immediate aftermath of a qualifying event.

Qualifying events are those which cause an individual to lose health insurance coverage. The type of qualifying event determines who the qualified beneficiaries are and for how many months a plan must offer health coverage under COBRA.

COBRA qualifying events for employees are:

  • Voluntary or involuntary termination of employment for reasons other than gross misconduct; and,
  • Reduction in the number of hours worked.

COBRA qualifying events for spouses are (all events pertain to the covered employee, not the spouse):

  • Voluntary or involuntary termination of employment for any reason other than gross misconduct;
  • Reduction in hours worked;
  • Becoming eligible for Medicare;
  • Divorce or legal separation; and,
  • Death.

COBRA Financial Responsibility

The employee or their beneficiary customarily pays for the extended coverage after a qualifying event.

COBRA Qualifying Employers

Under federal COBRA law, qualifying employers are those with 20 or more full-time employees on 50% or more days of the year. Smaller employers are exempt from federal COBRA requirements but may fall under state COBRA law depending on the state wherein they live.

For more information on federal COBRA law, the Department of Labor has published, An Employer’s Guide to Group Health Continuation under COBRA. It is available to view or print at this link.

HealthSourceRI has opened a Special Enrollment due to COVID-19: Due to the potential spread of COVID-19, a special enrollment period is now available until April 15 for Rhode Islanders seeking health coverage.


Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) - If employee or family is sick/quarantined

Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) provides benefit payments to insured RI workers for weeks of unemployment caused by a temporary disability or injury.

Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) provides eligible claimants up to 4 weeks of caregiver benefits to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, parent-in-law or grandparent, or to bond with a newborn child, new adopted child or new foster-care child.

TDI/TCI are funded by an employee payroll tax. Employees will need to apply through DLT to achieve the benefit.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, employees who have been exposed to the virus, may be eligible for TDI/TCI benefits. The State is waiving the seven day waiting period for those affected by COVID-19.

Paid Sick Leave

Paid Sick & Safe Leave - If employee or family is sick/quarantined

Employees are entitled to up to 40 hours of Paid Sick & Safe Leave (PSSL).

Under the law, employees may use PSSL to care for themselves or a family member.

Download our PSSL Flyer or contact Sarah Bratko at with questions.

No. Paid sick leave does not need to be paid out. If the employee has been with the company for over a year, any vacation or paid time off does need to be paid out.