COVID-19

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Pennsylvania Hazard Pay for COVID-19 Frontline Workers (US)

On July 16, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced a hazard pay grant program to help employers provide additional pay for employees engaged in life-sustaining occupations during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This hazard pay is funded by $50 million from the CARES Act and is intended to recognize and reward frontline workers and to help eligible … Continue Reading

School’s Out For….Ever?? Preparing for COVID-19-Related Attendance Challenges (US)

It seems like just yesterday that spring school terms were cancelled thanks to the coronavirus. Employees left the workplace en masse, sometimes without choice thanks to government shutdown orders, while others left suddenly to begin involuntary tours of duty as homeschool teachers with no training whatsoever, myself included. (My daughter’s strident request for a substitute … Continue Reading

OSHA Updates Guidance On COVID-19-Related Workplace Safety (US)

As businesses continue to reopen and more workers return to the workplace despite significant increases in infection rates in some parts of the country, many questions have surfaced about employers’ obligations to provide employees with a safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently updated its informal COVID-19-related guidance to address a number … Continue Reading

DOL Update: COVID-19-Related Guidance and New Opinion Letters (US)

During the week of June 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) issued three Field Assistance Bulletins, each providing guidance to WHD field staff regarding three unique compliance issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, on June 25, 2020, the DOL released five fact-specific opinion letters discussing various … Continue Reading

Walking The Tightrope: Dealing With Employees’ Different Viewpoints On COVID-19, Racial Justice, and Partisan Politics (US)

We’re living through a period of time in the US unlike any we have previously experienced,  simultaneously grappling with a deadly public health emergency, mass protests – some peaceful, some not – seeking racial justice and police reform, and an increasingly bitter, partisan political landscape that likely only will intensify as we get closer to … Continue Reading

An Extended Pause: New Presidential Proclamation Halts US Entry for Thousands of Workers

As expected, President Trump signed a presidential proclamation (“Suspension of Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants who Present a Risk to the United States Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak” hereafter “Nonimmigrant Proclamation”) extending the duration of his prior suspension of immigrant visas (for those entering the U.S. permanently) and … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Temperature Testing? Yes. Viral Testing? Yes. Antibody Testing? No! (US)

Employers undertaking the reopening process following COVID-19-related shutdown orders are grappling with what measures they can implement to reduce the potential for transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in their workplace. In addition to requiring face masks, mandating physical distancing, and encouraging regular handwashing, some employers also are requiring employees to submit to medical testing as … Continue Reading

EEOC Updates COVID-19 Guidance With Answers To More Return-To-Work Questions (US)

Throughout the current public health emergency, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been providing regular updates to its guidance on COVID-19 and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal employment statutes (see our prior posts here). On June 11, 2020, the EEOC provided answers to approximately 10 new questions, … Continue Reading

Take Two: Illinois Enacts Law Providing Presumption of Workers’ Compensation Coverage for COVID-19 (US)

On June 5, 2020, Illinois Governor Pritzker signed into law HB 2455, which creates a rebuttable presumption of workers’ compensation coverage for first responders and front-line workers who are exposed to and contract COVID-19. This recent legislative enactment follows the withdrawal of Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission’s emergency rule which included similar language. In enacting this … Continue Reading

New PPP Legislation Provides Employers More Flexibility On Use Of Loans For Payroll Expenses (US)

In this post from Squire Patton Boggs’ Capital Thinking blog, our colleagues Kirk Beckhorn, Pablo Carrillo, Keith Bradley, Karen Harbaugh, George Schutzer and Tom Reems discuss changes to the Paycheck Protection Program established by the CARES Act as a result of the signing of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 in to law on June 5, 2020. ***  ***  … Continue Reading

Venture Law Meetup Webinar June 5: COVID-19: Considerations for Getting Back to the Office (US)

Please join colleagues in our Venture Law Meetup Group for a monthly webinar on Friday June 5 at 9 am EDT. Leah G. Brownlee will be joined by Matthew Cooper and Matt Secrist to discuss considerations for getting back to the office in the COVID-19 pandemic. Register using this link. This complimentary webinar series aims … Continue Reading

WEBINAR May 28: Mandatory COVID-19 Updates to Injury and Illness Prevention Programs for California Employers (US)

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued new guidelines for protecting workers as businesses expand activities during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. These guidelines include updated control measures as well as specific topics which must be addressed in employers’ COVID-19 response plans and written Injury and Illness Prevention Programs. Not only could failure to … Continue Reading

Updated OSHA Guidance Demonstrates Employers’ Need for Further Pandemic Planning (US)

On May 19, 2020, OSHA issued two updated memorandums to regional administrators and state plan designees. The first updated the agency’s enforcement guidance for recording COVID-19 cases in the workplace. As we discussed here, OSHA originally indicated on April 10, 2020 that it would be exercising “enforcement discretion” and focusing COVID-19 recordkeeping requirements in the … Continue Reading

White House Expands COVID-19 Travel Ban to Cover Brazil (US)

The Trump administration announced an expansion of its COVID-19 travel ban to include those seeking to enter the U.S. from Brazil.  The new Proclamation issued on Sunday, May 24, 2020, bars all non-U.S. citizens who have been physically present in Brazil during the 14-day period prior to entering or attempting to enter the United States. … Continue Reading

“I Am Not Wearing That!” – What Can An Employer Do When An Employee Refuses To Comply With COVID-19 Workplace Requirements? (US)

With the reopening process well underway in all 50 states, employers are implementing a variety of plans, policies, and protocols to minimize the potential for employee transmission of the coronavirus in the workplace. These plans – discussed in our Employer’s Guide to Return-to-Work Issues – include making physical changes to the workplace, rearranging employee schedules, … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Continues to Loosen Restrictions on Calculating Overtime (US)

In what Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia called a step in the US Department of Labor’s (DOL) goal of lessening “unnecessary regulatory burdens” on businesses, on May 20, 2020 the DOL released a final rule regarding the calculation of overtime for salaried non-exempt workers with fluctuating workweeks. The rule change may encourage payment of additional incentive … Continue Reading

IRS Guidance Provides Employers with the Ability to Offer a Second Open Enrollment Period for the 2020 Plan Year and Provides Greater Flexibility for Making Mid-Year Cafeteria Plan Elections (US)

Providing much needed assistance to employees’ who were blindsided by COVID-19 and who were incapable of making health care coverage elections with COVID-19 in mind, the IRS on May 12, 2020, provided temporary relief that allows employers, during 2020, to expand the permissible reasons for employees to make prospective mid-year election changes to their health … Continue Reading

Top 10 Employment and Employee Benefit Issues in US Bankruptcy Cases

Bankruptcy is a term that tends to instill images of “For Sale” or “Everything Must Go” signs posted in windows, but this often is not the case. In fact, a bankruptcy filing is one way for a business to refocus its efforts and reorganize. Indeed, throughout history, many Fortune 500 companies have at some point … Continue Reading

Treasury Department Eases Minds of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Borrowers With Additional Informal Guidance (US)

The 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), which Congress passed in late March 2020 in order to provide relief to businesses and taxpayers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, included the Paycheck Protection Program (or PPP) loan program – which allowed small business concerns (generally speaking – albeit with some notable, high … Continue Reading

Navigating Employee Return-to-Work Issues (US)

On Friday, May 15, 2020, Arizona’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” order will expire. At that time, only a handful of states (Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey) will still be under broad stay-at-home restrictions, but even those remaining states will begin the phased reopening process between May 15 and 30. As employers begin … Continue Reading

US Department of Labor Issues Additional Informal Guidance on Families First Coronavirus Response Act (US)

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) has been in effect for nearly six weeks and, as practical challenges with interpreting and implementing the Act surface, the Department of Labor (DOL) continues to update its informal guidance in piecemeal fashion. On May 12, 2020, the DOL added five additional questions and answers to its FFCRA … Continue Reading

City of Los Angeles Right of Recall and Worker Retention Ordinances Take Effect (US)

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Los Angeles, California Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the Right of Recall and Worker Retention Ordinances into law to protect employees in some of the industries hardest hit by the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus.  The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is considering extending these ordinances to … Continue Reading

California Governor’s Order Creates Workers’ Compensation Presumption For COVID-19 Diagnosis (US)

As California employers prepare for the gradual re-opening of business, they must now take into consideration Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order N-62-20 executed on May 6, 2020, making any COVID-19 infection diagnosed within two weeks of an individual working outside of their home presumptively work-related. This has the effect for employers of reversing the burden … Continue Reading
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