Santa Clara County Orders All Entities and Individuals Disclose Supplies of Personal Protective Equipment and Ventilators (US)

Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley, issued a new Health Order on April 8, 2020. [] This order requires every entity and individual in the county to submit an inventory of qualifying quantities of certain Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) and Ventilators by April 15. The County has provided an online site to report relevant inventories. Continue Reading

SPB IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS – The Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Part Five of a Five-Part Series (US)

Previous installments of our series analyzing in detail the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the regulations interpreting that law issued by the US Department of Labor addressed the following issues:

  • Part One – employee eligibility and employer coverage;
  • Part Two – the coronavirus-specific circumstances why eligible employees may take paid leave;
  • Part Three – the rules that apply to employees’ use of emergency paid sick leave and public health emergency paid family leave; and
  • Part Four – how employers calculate the amount of pay to be provided as paid FFCRA leave.

In this final installment, we close out our analysis of the FFCRA by discussing what happens at the end of FFCRA leave, including employee job restoration rights, and the protections in the law against discrimination and retaliation.

Click here to download Part Five of the series.

HMRC quizzed by Parliamentary Treasury Committee on Job Retention Scheme (UK)

Here is a quick glimpse behind the scenes of parliamentary process – some highlights from the Parliamentary Treasury Committee meeting yesterday when officials from HMRC were quizzed by the Committee about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, plus some thoughts of our own in bold.

  • The new scheme will be up and running on 20 April to allow HMRC to make payments before 30 April.   There have been rumours of delays but there was no sign of that at the meeting. If ever there was a time for a spot of judicious expectation management, surely that would have been it, so we must assume that HMRC is pretty gung-ho about this. After all, given the background of the government’s record with major IT projects, nothing can go wrong.
  • HMRC has been doing large-scale testing to ensure the scheme will be able to cope with the large volume of claims that is expected.  It wants employers to be able to “self-serve” so that they don’t need to contact HMRC once the scheme is up and running. To that end, further “practical operational” guidance will be coming out later this week telling employers how to compile their claims so they are ready to submit them once the scheme goes live.  It is to be hoped that this does not add materially to the reassuringly limited list of required information set out in the guidance issued on 4 April.

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WEBINAR – April 13: Addressing COVID-19 Practically and Legally – Part Three: What US Employers Need to Know (US)

Please join us on Monday, April 13 at 1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT as Jill S. Kirila and Laura Lawless present the third webinar in our series discussing employment issues stemming from COVID-19.  We will dig deep into the recent federal regulations, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and will discuss the CARES Act and how it applies to employers.

As we did in the first two webinars in this series, we will address practical and lawful ways to deal with the workplace realities presented in the current environment.

This webinar is intended to help you manage your organization’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and will be of interest to in-house counsel, HR professionals and all those involved in risk and compliance.

Registration is available here.

Update on Most Recent US DOL Guidance on Unemployment Provisions of CARES Act (US)

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a number of publications offering guidance to the states for implementing certain federal unemployment insurance provisions contained in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs.  As previously discussed here, these provisions of the CARES Act provide up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits and a $600 per week federally-funded additional benefit for eligible individuals, which includes individuals who are not typically covered by state unemployment programs, such as self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and gig workers, as well as those who do not have sufficient work history to qualify for state unemployment benefits.

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SPB IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Part Four of a Five-Part Series (US)

The first three installments of our five-part series analyzing the US Department of Labor regulations interpreting the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) examined eligibility and coverage issues.  Part One looked at which employees are eligible to take, and which employers are required to provide, emergency paid sick leave and public health emergency paid family leave under the FFCRA.  Part Two addressed the coronavirus-specific reasons why an eligible employee may take job-protected paid sick leave or paid family leave.  Part Three analyzed the unique rules regarding how emergency paid sick leave and public health emergency paid family leave may be used.

In this fourth installment, we consider how employers are to calculate the “regular rate of pay” in order to pay employees exercising paid leave rights under the FFCRA, a concept far easier in theory than in practice.

Click here to download Part Four of the series.

SPB IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS:  The Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Part Three of a Five-Part Series (US)

The first two installments of our five-part in-depth analysis of the emergency paid sick leave and public health emergency paid family leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) – see here and here – analyzed the statutory language and regulations governing employer coverage, employee eligibility, the circumstances under which employees can request leave under the FFCRA, and what documentation an employer can require to support those requests.

In Part Three, we now look at how employees may use leave under the FFCRA, including how the paid leave provisions of the FFCRA coordinate with existing employer and state law paid leave policies, how the two types of FFCRA paid leave coordinate with each other, and an issue under the FFCRA that vexes employers under even under non-pandemic circumstances: when can leave be used intermittently?

Click here to download Part Three of the series.

New York State Enacts Paid Sick Leave Program and Extends PAUSE Restrictions (US)

In light of the ongoing pandemic crisis, on April 6, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he is extending the “PAUSE” restrictions in New York State, which means that non-essential businesses will remain closed until at least April 29, 2020.

Additionally, last week on April 3, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed the FY 2021 Executive Budget: Making Progress Happen.  Among the legislation enacted is a paid sick leave program for workers in New York State.  Under this new law, employees will be entitled to sick leave beyond the temporary leave currently provided for workers due to COVID-19.

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SPB IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS:  The Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Part Two of a Five-Part Series (US)

In the first part of our in-depth analysis of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and its accompanying regulations, we addressed employer coverage and employee eligibility issues under the new law.   In the second installment of this series, we turn to looking at the coronavirus-specific reasons upon which an employee can obtain FFCRA leave, including a government quarantine order, the employee’s illness or seeking a medical diagnosis, the illness of a family member or other close relation, and caregiver and child care responsibilities.  We also examine the notice an employee must provide of the need for FFCRA leave, and what proof an employer can require an employee provide in order to support a request for leave under the FFCRA.

Click here to download Part Two of the series.

COVID-19 – Belgian government takes measures for those who can and can’t work

Credit where credit is due: even though we still don’t have a new Belgian government, our interim government has been extremely efficient and pragmatic in introducing measures to combat the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

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