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UPDATE: US Department of Labor Publishes Further Guidance Concerning Paid Sick Leave and Paid FMLA Leave under FFCRA; Finally Clarifies Small Business Exemption (US)

Since the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) became law last week (amazing how long ago that feels, right?), the US Department of Labor (DOL) has been publishing and updating guidance concerning the public health emergency paid sick leave and emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave required under the law.  (See our prior … Continue Reading

NLRB General Counsel Issues Memorandum Summarizing Bargaining Obligations During Emergency Situations (US)

For those employers whose employees are represented by labor unions, the extraordinary circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have presented unique complications not shared by their employer counterparts whose operations are union-free.  Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), an employer is obligated to bargain with its employees’ exclusive bargaining representatives concerning mandatory subjects … Continue Reading

The CARES Act of 2020: Key COVID-19 Relief Provisions Impacting Your Employer-Sponsored Benefit Plans (US)

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020, enacted and sent to the President for his signature on March 27, 2020, is bipartisan legislation providing more than US$2 trillion in relief for both companies and families affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. It includes a number of provisions designed to … Continue Reading

US DOL Releases Additional Guidance Regarding Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Coverage, With Special Focus on Employers Facing Furloughs and Worksite Closures

On March 25, we reported that the US Department of Labor (DOL) had begun to release informal guidance regarding its interpretation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which requires that certain employers, including, among others, private employers with fewer than 500  employees, provide paid sick and paid family leave in certain circumstances resulting … Continue Reading

CARES Act Passes Senate—Current Version Contains Major Implications for Employers (US)

In a late night vote on March 25, 2020, the Senate unanimously passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (‘‘CARES Act’’).  The CARES Act will, among other things, inject $2 trillion into the US economy if passed by the House of Representatives and signed by President Trump.  This is widely anticipated to occur … Continue Reading

Looking for a Way to Save on Severance Costs? Why Not Consider a SUB Plan? (US)

US employers who pay severance benefits may realize substantial savings by structuring their severance payments under a Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) plan. A SUB plan provides benefits similar to a traditional severance plan. Unlike traditional severance payments, benefits under a SUB plan are tied to the former employee’s receipt of state unemployment insurance (SUI) benefits … Continue Reading

US Department of Labor Releases Required Notice of Employee Rights Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (US)

  The US Department of Labor (DOL) released on March 25, 2020 the notice to employees required under Section 5103 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.  The Notice is available here. The DOL also published responses to frequently asked questions about the notice, including where the notice must be posted and how it must … Continue Reading

DOL Issues Guidance, Clarifying Families First Coronavirus Response Act is Effective April 1 and Answering Some Open Questions (US)

While promising that the official regulations are still forthcoming, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has just issued additional guidance in the form of questions and answers for employers and employees regarding application of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). These questions and answers – available here – include confirmation that the FFCRA’s paid … Continue Reading

Regulations under Families First Coronavirus Response Act Not Anticipated Until April (US)         

As we previously blogged, last week Congress passed and the President signed into law the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” which contains sweeping provisions requiring employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide emergency paid sick leave and emergency leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to employees impacted by in specific, enumerated … Continue Reading

Ohio Stay at Home Order as Applied to Schools and Other Public Employers (US)

All individuals in Ohio have been ordered to stay home except as necessary to engage in essential activities, and all non-essential businesses and operations have been ordered to cease, beginning at 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 23, 2020, under the Ohio Department of Health Director’s Stay at Home Order issued on March 22, 2020. The Stay at Home … Continue Reading

US Department of Homeland Security to Permit Flexibility Relating to I-9 Compliance for Hiring of Remote Employees

On March 20, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it would exercise discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) in relation to hiring and re-verifying employees.  Prior to this announcement, DHS policy required employer representatives to conduct the I-9 verification process in person, examining an employee’s … Continue Reading

US Issues Joint Initiatives with Canada and Mexico Temporarily Restricting Travel Across Borders

Effective March 21, 2020, the United States entered into joint initiatives with Canada and Mexico to restrict travel across the land borders with each country.  All non-essential travel across the US-Canada and US-Mexico borders is temporarily restricted.  The restrictions are to remain in place for 30 days subject to review by each of the respective … Continue Reading

Employers Can Take Advantage of Tax Credits Offsetting Emergency Leave-Related Expense Under Families First Coronavirus Response Act (US)

What a week it’s been.  As of today, March 21, it has been three days since Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or the Act) and it was signed into law.  It’s also been three days during which employers have faced dwindling workforces due to employees who are self-quarantining due to exposure, … Continue Reading

OFCCP Exempts New Federal Contracts Entered Into to Provide COVID-19 Relief From Certain Equal Employment Opportunity Requirements (US)

On March 17, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued a temporary, three-month exemption from certain equal employment opportunity requirements for new supply and services and construction contracts “entered into specifically to provide Coronavirus relief.”  In the National Interest Exemption Memorandum (NIE Memorandum), the OFCCP provided modified equal … Continue Reading

UPDATE – 20 March 2020:  New York Orders All Non-Essential Workers to Stay Home

With the number of coronavirus cases now topping 7,000 in New York state, on Friday, March 20, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo officially declared that all workers in non-essential businesses across New York state are required to remain at home starting Sunday evening, March 22 in order to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  Businesses that do … Continue Reading

A WARNing – Business Closings and Mass Layoffs: The Unfortunate Reality In Light of COVID-19 (US)

In light of COVID-19’s global economic impact, employers continue to face the harsh reality that significant and even perhaps permanent changes to their business, including their workforce, will be necessary.  As employers consider their options, unfortunately, closings and mass layoffs are amongst them. In the US, employers must consider the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining … Continue Reading

New York Orders All Non-Essential Businesses to Reduce In-Person Workforce (US)

On March 18, 2020, New York Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order that all non-essential businesses shall reduce their in-person workforce by March 20 at 8 pm.  On March 19, guidance was released clarifying that in-person workforces at each location must be reduced by 75% from pre-state of emergency declaration employment levels.  Employees are of … Continue Reading

Ohio Unemployment Expansions Amidst COVID-19 Crisis (US)

Ohio, like all other states, is facing an unprecedented rise in unemployment claims as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In Ohio, 111,055 unemployment claims were filed between March 15-18, 2020.  At the same point just one week ago, there were under 4,000 claims.  These numbers are expected to increase in the coming days and … Continue Reading

Staying Open in California (and Elsewhere) During Mandatory Coronavirus-Related Closures (US)

At last count, ten counties in Northern California have issued Health Orders dictating the mandatory shut down of all but “Essential Businesses”.  The Counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco, Sonoma, Monterey, and San Benito.  These Orders are substantially similar and, as drafted, specify numerous exceptions to permit Essential … Continue Reading

Top 10 Employee Benefits Issues in a Slowing Economy (US)

The changes in the economy brought on by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), commonly known as the “coronavirus,” present challenges to employers trying to manage their greatest resource – employees. A cross-practice team involving our Tax Strategy & Benefits, Labor & Employment and Data Privacy & Security lawyers have published this alert that identifies some of … Continue Reading

UPDATED: President Signs Sweeping Congressional Action In Response to Coronavirus (US)

On March 18, 2020, the U.S. Senate approved a bipartisan bill aimed at addressing the coronavirus. After rejecting two attempted amendments to the House bill, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” passed the Senate by a vote of 90-8. As we reported on March 17, the comprehensive emergency measure expands nutrition and food assistance, unemployment … Continue Reading

New York Governor Enacts Emergency Paid Sick Leave Bill to Address Coronavirus (US)

On March 18, 2020, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law providing emergency paid sick leave to New Yorkers. The proposed bill provides job-protected leave benefits for employees affected by COVID-19. Effective March 18, 2020, employees subject to mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation issued by the state of New York, the … Continue Reading

Congress Passes Sweeping Employment Protection In Response to Coronavirus (US)

On March 18, 2020, the U.S. Senate approved a bipartisan bill aimed at addressing the coronavirus. After rejecting two attempted amendments to the House bill, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” passed the Senate by a vote of 90-8. As we reported on March 17, the comprehensive emergency measure expands nutrition and food assistance, unemployment … Continue Reading
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