COVID-19 response

SLPC 30019 3/20 (exp 3/22)

Learn more about how Sun Life can help you in light of COVID-19




We’re here to help.

Our people are here for you. Our business continuity efforts have long been in place for moments like this. And we have operated with an agile work approach for years with robust capabilities for employees to work remotely, allowing us to pivot quickly in this crisis. Nearly all Sun Life U.S. employees are working from home during this pandemic, which helps ensure their well-being while continuing to serve our Clients.

COVID-19 has also raised challenging issues for employers. This resource can help you address these compliance issues with confidence and keep you updated about new leave law and other employment legislation that is being proposed and adopted.

We’re prepared.

We have been serving Clients for 155 years, through crises and across continents. Our Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery letter of readiness outlines Sun Life’s established program and practices, which exceed industry standards. It addresses our pandemic planning preparedness and work from home procedures.

Here are some of the actions we have taken to ensure the safety of our employees and Clients, and our commitment to flattening the curve.

  • Nearly all employees are working from home
  • We’ve moved to a fully virtual business approach with no business travel
  • We have added resources to this site to help you reach us easily

We can keep you informed.

Watch our next webinar, on Tuesday April 7, 2-3 p.m. E.T., and check this resource page often for updates and answers to your questions.

The response to COVID-19 has prompted swift economic and employment legislation.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, creating new paid leave requirements for employers with less than 500 employees. The law will require these employers to offer up to 10 paid sick days for COVID-19 related issues. Based on their salary, employees will be eligible for up to $511 per day. Employers will be eligible for a payroll tax credit to offset the full cost of providing employees with this paid time.

Additionally, employers with less than 500 employees will also be required to offer 10 weeks of paid leave under the FMLA. Employees will be eligible for up to $200 per day in the event they cannot work (or telework) because their minor child’s school has been closed due to a public health emergency related to COVID-19. Employers will be eligible for a payroll tax credit to offset the full cost of providing the employee with this paid time.

Employers with fewer than 50 employees can apply for an exemption from both of the above requirements.

Employers with less than 500 employees have 15 days from March 18, 2020 to comply with the law’s requirements.

Watch our recorded March 25 webinar to learn more about the employer compliance implications of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and related state leave legislation.

FFCRA Overview

FFCRA At-a-glance

FFCRA for existing Sun Life Absence Management Services Clients

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the third major piece of legislation passed to address the COVID-19 outbreak.  This legislation, which contains more than $2 trillion of spending, has a number of provisions that will impact individuals and businesses.

Items Impacting Businesses:

Paycheck Protection Program
  • Businesses with under 500 employees, and those businesses designated as small business concerns by the Small Business Association, are eligible for loans of up to 2.5 times their average monthly payroll costs
  • These loans can be used to pay for items including wages, mortgage interest, utilities and insurance premiums
  • Up to 100% of the loan amount can be forgiven based on how the loan is used, how many employees are retained, and what percentage of employees’ wages are paid
  • The Treasury Department has indicated that lenders can begin processing loan applications on April 3, 2020.
  • The application for the loan can be found here.
Payroll Tax Deferral
  • Businesses can delay submitting the employer's share of Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Tax (Social Security) – which is 6.2% of wages – between March 27, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Half of these payments must be submitted by December 31, 2021 and the remainder by December 31, 2022.

Items Impacting Individuals:

Paycheck Protection Program
  • Single tax filers will receive up to $1,200. This amount begins to phase out for those with Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) above $75,000 and will phase out entirely at $99,000
  • Married tax filers will receive up to $2,400. This amount begins to phase out for those with AGIs above $150,000 and completely phase out at $198,000M.
  • Individuals and married couples are eligible for $500 payments for each qualifying child 16 years or younger. The AGI phase-outs also apply to the qualifying child payments, meaning those over the thresholds above are not eligible for these payments.
Expanded Unemployment Benefits
  • Individuals filing for unemployment will be eligible for their states’ unemployment benefits and up to an additional $600 of additional unemployment insurance benefits.
Penalties Waived For Certain Retirement Account Withdrawals
  • Individuals in need of funds for certain COVID-19 reasons will be able to withdraw funds from their retirement accounts without paying a 10% early withdrawal penalty (state and federal taxes may still apply).

For more information about the CARES Act, join us for our next webinar, on Tuesday April 7, 2-3p.m. E.T.

Here are answers to some important questions

Are my employees eligible for the New York COVID-19 Quarantine Order PFL and DBL benefits?

If you have New York Disability Benefits Law and Paid Family Leave coverage with us and you are a private employer (not public) with fewer than 100 employees in total, your employees who are subject to an individualized precautionary or mandatory order of quarantine or isolation relating to COVID-19 (Quarantine Order) may qualify for special COVID-19 related DBL and PFL benefits. These special COVID-19 Quarantine Order PFL benefits also may be available for employees caring for minor dependent children who are subject to a Quarantine Order. Additional scenarios involving COVID-19 may qualify an employee for regular DBL or PFL benefits or for unemployment insurance.

If you have questions or think your employees may qualify for benefits, call Client Services Support at 800-247-6875, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. (Employees can call Member Services at the same number.) Our team can talk with you or your employees and can provide the appropriate claim forms.

Read our web page for more information.

Read our overview of the law.

Does COVID-19 qualify a person for Short-Term Disability benefits?

We recognize the importance in this time of uncertainty that Sun Life be the kind of partner that you have come to trust for communication, information, and compassionate, professional claims handling.  To that end, Sun Life’s Disability Claims Department has taken several proactive steps to help ensure the appropriate handling of COVID-19 claims.  In evaluating disability claims, we are taking a forward-facing approach to gathering all the necessary information important in the claims process.  This may include contacting the member’s physician(s) directly to gathering information which is critical to making a disability decision. We will always ensure clear lines of communication to address any questions that members or employers may have.

Additionally, we have established a specially-trained COVID-19 Short-Term Disability Team consisting of our top technical experts to review any related claims, help to answer questions and ensure benefit decisions are made timely.  This specialized Short-Term Disability team will work closely with Sun Life’s Medical Director as well as trained clinicians to deliver the highest quality of service and claim handling.

We have also developed claim guidelines to assist in addressing the COVID-19 virus disability claim evaluation process:

Positive COVID-19 Test

If a plan member has tested positive for COVID-19 and cannot perform the duties of their job, we will consider the member Totally Disabled for at least 14 days from when the member was first unable to perform his or her duties.  Benefits will start after the member meets the applicable elimination period. Benefits may be offset by other sources of income.  If the employee remains disabled after that time, we will work them to obtain required medical documentation.

Plan members and plan sponsors still need to complete a Short-Term Disability claim statement as part of the application process. This allows us to validate important information such as health status, last day worked, salary information, and also confirm coverage.

Our Claims and Medical Teams will assist in gathering the information needed. We realize that, given current conditions, employers and healthcare providers are operating and communicating in non-traditional ways.

No Positive COVID-19 Test Result and Displays Symptoms

If a plan member has a flu-like illness but has not been tested or does not have a positive test result for COVID-19:

  • We will continue to adjudicate each claim based on the definition of total disability and,
  • We will apply the elimination period

Self-Isolation

We will not pay Short-Term Disability benefits to a plan member who does not have a positive COVID-19 test, is not ill, and otherwise does not meet the applicable policy’s definition of disability.  This applies whether they self-isolate:

  • Voluntarily
  • At the direction of their employer, or
  • Following any government or public health directive that recommends employees stay home as a precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

For clarity, if plan members do not have signs of an illness, or have not tested positive for COVID-19 but are placed under quarantine by a doctor or public health official, they will not be eligible for Short-Term Disability benefits.

Employees may qualify for other benefits including, but not limited to, unemployment compensation, and other federal, state, or local statutory benefits or other absence-related benefits.

Please note that the information above is intended to be a summary, and all claims decisions are subject to the terms of your group’s specific insurance policy.

 Sun Life wishes that all of its valued Clients stay safe and healthy and offers the following website with recommendations by the CDC

Does COVID-19 qualify a person for FMLA?

Eligible Employees may be eligible for a leave under the FMLA for their own serious health condition or to care for a family member with a serious health condition. As an employer, you are entitled to require medical certification of the need for the leave. Watch our webinar for issues related to FMLA applicability, and bear in mind that there may be other federal, state or local laws that apply.

What continuation measures are in place to help employees impacted by COVID-19?

We recognize that changes are occurring in the workplace that impact employers and employees, sometimes forcing difficult decisions. Sun Life is here to help. We have made several changes to our provisions for continuation, reinstatement, portability and conversion. Please read details.

What if I have difficulty paying my bill on time?

We understand the COVID-19 crisis creates challenges for all of us and we are committed to supporting you and your employees. Given the disruption, we are extending our standard policy grace period for another 30 days, should you need it, on all coverages. There is no need to contact us as it will be applied automatically.

Note: We are continuing to monitor activity from our state regulators, and may further extend the grace period as required by applicable mandates.

if you have any questions, please contact the Client Services Support team at 800-247-6875, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. E.T. or call your Client Relationship Executive. 

Here’s a flyer version of these questions.

Addressing your Stop-Loss coverage and claim questions
We are actively monitoring the changing situation related to COVID-19 (or Coronavirus) and would like to share a few updates with you based on questions we have received about your Stop-Loss coverage. Our dedicated team of experts is committed to doing everything that we can to support you. You can count on us to continue to deliver excellent service and be a resource for information during this challenging time.

Your most frequently asked stop-loss questions answered:

  • Will costs associated with testing and treatment for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) be covered under my Stop-Loss policy?
  • If a Plan is amended to include testing and/or treatment costs associated with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) as preventive or diagnostic with no member cost sharing, will you require the plan amendment be sent to you for approval? Is it possible, based on these changes, you might consider mid-policy year rate adjustments?
  • If COVID-19 (Coronavirus) causes your current plan members to no longer meet eligibility requirements for coverage under your plan (for example, as a result of a furlough, reduced hours, or extending coverage through the end of the month for a terminated employee), how will Stop-Loss claims for those members be handled?

Find answers to these stop-loss questions and more in our most recent Q&A on COVID-19.

You can work with us anytime from anywhere.

Our handy flyer summarizes all the ways you can work with Sun Life digitally.

Submit disability claims and check status online
With recent enhancements, it’s now easier for you and your employees to submit disability claims online and to check claims status information. Access Sun Life Connect at www.sunlife.com/account.

Submit Short-term Disability/FMLA Leaves online
With Sun Life Absence Management Services, you and your employees can visit www.sunlife-ams.com to add new leaves, report time, or view leave requests/disability claims. You can also work on behalf of employees, review leave letters sent, and generate reports.

Submit Evidence of Insurability (EOI) online
Both you and your employees can complete and submit EOI applications online. You must be registered on Sun Life Connect for at least 24 hours before employees can use this online service. Visit www.sunlfe.com/account to get started.

Getting your Stop-Loss claim reimbursements faster!
We want to make sure that you get your claim reimbursements as quickly as possible. Our claims team is prepared to process reimbursements as usual with no anticipated changes to our standard turnaround time. Check out the below resources to ensure you get your stop-loss claims reimbursed as fast as possible:

For more information, reach out to your Sun Life Stop-Loss Sales Specialist with any questions. We are here to help you.

Pay your bills online
We can quickly switch you to electronic bills. Please call Client Services at 800-247-6875, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET or email us at your.bill@sunlife.com. You can also make payments online by visiting www.sunlife.com/account. You can choose one-time payments or recurring auto payments. If it’s your first time paying your bill online, you’ll first need to set up a payment profile.

Here are videos to walk you through the steps of paying a bill online:

Bring your benefits enrollment experience online
At Sun Life we have the solutions you need to bring your benefits enrollment experience online and provide added support virtually.

If you have an upcoming, in-person meeting or event, we are ready to continue serving you and collaborating with you virtually. Here are just a few of the options to assist our Clients in communicating benefits to their employees. Speak with your Sun Life representative to learn more. We also invite you to learn about:

  • Maxwell Health our robust, easy-to-use digital benefits education and administration technology platform that allows you to easily manage enrollment and streamline your administrative task

Complete implementation forms electronically
If you are currently going through implementation, DocuSign will save you time. Our new tool provides a guided electronic form experience, allowing a more effective way to complete and sign required forms. See this video to learn more.

Call us
Our Client Services Support team is working from home and operating fully, so you will not experience any disruption to service. Don’t hesitate to call us at 800-247-6875, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, or reach out to your Client Relationship Executive.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

This is a trying time for everyone. You and your employees might need help.

We’re all in this together. Please tell us how we can help you.

Watch our webinars

Upcoming events

Date: April 07, 2020
Time: 2 p.m. E.T.
Title: NEW updates on COVID-19 economic and employment legislation, including the CARES Act

During this pandemic, we are hearing new developments every day. Since our last webinar on March 25, we have more updates to share with you around economic support and compliance updates for employers and COVID-19.

Add to calendar

 

Past events

Date: March 25, 2020
Time: 2 p.m. E.T.
Title: Employment Law Compliance Issues for Employers in Responding to COVID-19

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Download the slides

Download the FAQs

Edited New Jersey status on 3/27/20


This content is not to be considered legal advice. We recommend Clients speak with legal counsel specializing in labor and employment law to ensure your organization meets requirements.

Group insurance policies are underwritten by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (Wellesley Hills, MA) in all states, except New York. In New York group insurance policies are issued by Sun Life and Health Insurance Company (U.S.) (Lansing, MI). Product offerings may not be available in all states and may vary depending on state laws and regulations.

© 2020 Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481. All rights reserved. Sun Life Financial and the globe symbol are registered trademarks of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. Visit us at www.sunlife.com/us.