Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed a bill into law last month providing bonus pay for eligible COVID-19 frontline workers. Although the State is administering the program, which opens June 8, 2022, the Frontline Worker Pay law requires that employers in a “frontline sector” provide notice to current employees who may be eligible for the payment by June 23, 2022. We have put together a few key takeaways for you to consider in evaluating potential notice obligations.
COVID-19 for Employers
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Today, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) vaccine mandate by a vote of 5 in favor and 4 dissenting. The Supreme Court held that CMS did have statutory authority to issue its Interim …
UPDATE: In an order issued Jan. 13, 2022, the United States Supreme Court stayed enforcement of federal OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS pending the disposition of the petitions for review in the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. …
On January 7, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments over whether two sets of vaccine and testing mandates should go into effect: (1) the OSHA ETS, applying to private employers with 100 or more employees; and (2) the …
Originally published 11/08/21. Updated 12/01/21. As expected, the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) faced immediate legal challenge, and on Saturday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay blocking the law from going into effect. Below, we outline the …
Posted November 29, 2021 with Tags COVID-19 for Employers
Work-For-Hire Doctrine Under copyright law, artists generally own the rights to the work they create. However, an exception exists when an artist’s work qualifies as a “work made for hire” under Section 101 of the Copyright Act. A work made …
Summary of President Biden’s Two Executive Orders on Mandatory Covid-19 Vaccines and Safety Protocols
On September 9th, President Biden signed two Executive Orders; one requiring COVID vaccines for federal employees and another ensuring adequate COVID safety protocols for federal contractors. The administration also announced plans to develop rules impacting private employers with more than …
The CDC released new guidance on masking and other issues for fully-vaccinated individuals. As a result, we recommend employers update their return-to-work policies, including the Minnesota Preparedness Plan or equivalent safety plan, to address the new guidance.
California recently passed new legislation that will require employers to provide their California employees with up to 80 hours of supplemental paid sick leave for various COVID-19-related reasons. Sound familiar? There are some similarities between the new law and the 2020 COVID-19 supplemental paid sick law, but the differences are significant for many employers. We’ve put together key takeaways for you to consider before the law becomes effective on Monday, March 29, 2021.
Minneapolis employers in the hospitality industry will likely soon have to contend with a new set of worker protection laws. The Minneapolis City Council is currently considering a citywide Hospitality Worker Right to Recall Ordinance, which would require employers to rehire workers previously terminated due to the Coronavirus pandemic. If adopted, the Ordinance will go into effect on May 1, 2021. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Legislature is considering a similar right to recall law, which would apply statewide to a larger group of employers.
Many employers are seeking ways to encourage their employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19. For those wishing to stop short of making it mandatory, incentivizing voluntary vaccination is an option, but one that comes with its own set of potential legal pitfalls employers should be aware of.
With the presidential election looming, discussions about politics are happening in the workplace now more than ever. In the current political environment, these conversations may be disruptive and may not align with Equal Employment Opportunity and Harassment-Free Workplace Policies, diversity and inclusion goals, and organizational brands. This means that HR professionals and other supervisors walk a very fine line as they draw distinctions between what violates or contradicts employment policies versus free speech.
While the ordinance does not directly affect the increasingly complicated and ever-changing analysis of when an individual is properly utilized as an independent contractor (as opposed to being treated like an employee), Minneapolis businesses should be cautious when preparing the written agreement required under the ordinance.
The current administration has sought to expand the types of benefits that would give cause to believe that an individual is primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, and, thus, inadmissible under U.S. immigration law.
More than four months after Gov. Tim Walz declared a peacetime emergency in Minnesota, many employers are eager to return to normal (to the extent possible). But two recent developments in Minnesota that have further pushed back the timeline for returning to “business as usual.”
Business owners are facing decisions most never anticipated. Legal directives are not the only factor holding back the economy. Everyone is eager to see workplaces return to normal operations. At the same time, no business wants to put its workers and customers in danger.
This week, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed Emergency Executive Order 20-54 (“EO 20-54”), addressing the need for employers to protect all workers, regardless of immigration status, from unsafe work conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After sheltering-in-place, remote working, and business closures, employers across the country have started planning to bring employees back to work. The first item of business is how to ensure the workplace is safe for employees and the general public. For this, many employers are turning to employee health checks.
Home-bound employees must use their home internet to perform work, but is it reimbursable?
The COVID-19 pandemic and related "stay-at-home" orders have required changes to employers' everyday practices, impacting nearly all aspects of operations. Employers have worked hard to meet the demand for rapid flexibility in the interest of continuing operations and keeping their workforce safe and intact. For good reason, many of these policies (such as temporary remote work policies) may have been implemented outside of the traditional planning processes that employers use when rolling out new policies.
A significant concern for employers is potential liability to employees who contract COVID-19 at work – either employees in essential businesses who continued to work or employees who may be called back to work after restrictions are eased.
In this unprecedented business environment, many employers have been forced to take swift action to stay afloat during the pandemic. Two common actions have been furloughs and layoffs. But each raises legal risks under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“WARN”) and related state laws.
Returning to Work: Minnesota allows more businesses to resume in-person operations starting April 27
On April 23, Governor Walz issued Emergency Executive Order 20-40, which expands the number of businesses permitted to operate in-person during Minnesota’s “stay-at-home” order. Under the Order, individuals working in certain types of businesses are permitted to return to work starting next week, Monday, April 27, provided other conditions are met.
Ensuring that hourly employees accurately record their work time—and that employees are paid for all work time—can be a challenge even under the best of circumstances. But it’s crucial to avoid or defend costly class litigation or audits from the Department of Labor. These “off the clock” issues may be exacerbated for employers who now have hourly employees working remotely during the pandemic. Remote work means employers have less oversight and ability to enforce timekeeping rules. This is made even more complicated because employees may be working—and responding to work requests—during odd hours as they navigate other home obligations.
Last week, the EEOC issued additional COVID-19 related guidance designed to aid employers as they begin to welcome employees back to work, including disability accommodation requests under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and anti-harassment issues. The EEOC’s expanded guidance is summarized below.
ERISA lawsuits typically grow in numbers whenever there is an economic downturn. Though COVID-19’s financial impact is still unfolding, employer-sponsored employee-stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and the employers themselves are likely to once again face a heightened risk of litigation. In particular, we anticipate a rise in so-called “stock-drop” lawsuits involving ESOPs.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide Executive Order requiring large employers to provide up to 80 hours of Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) for food sector workers and to permit extra handwashing breaks, effective immediately (April 16, 2020).
On April 9, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new guidance to help employers manage workplace issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic without running afoul of federal non-discrimination laws. The EEOC’s updated guidance focuses primarily on employers’ obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We discuss the highlights.
During the week of April 6, 2020, several cities expanded paid sick leave entitlements during the COVID-19 crisis. We outline a few of these here.
CDC Issues New Guidance on Safety Measures for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Potential Exposure to COVID-19
On April 8, 2020, the CDC issued new guidance advising critical infrastructure workers (essential workers needed to maintain the services and functions that communities depend on daily) to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and certain precautions are implemented to protect them and the community.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) creates, for the first time, a federal requirement to issue paid sick leave and paid FMLA benefits for most private employers with fewer than 500 employees. To help offset the cost, the legislation permits employers to claim tax credits on qualifying paid leave wages, certain health plan expenses, and the employer's share of Medicare taxes.
Employers: How to Handle the New Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Law That Extends Greater Protection to Front-Line Employees
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed a workers’ compensation bill on April 7, 2020, to help first responders, healthcare workers and daycare workers who contract COVID-19 in the workplace. Here's what employers need to know about handling these claims.
Since shelter-in-place and self-isolation orders have become the norm around the country, more employers are utilizing video interview tools in lieu of interviewing candidates in person. These tools allow HR and hiring teams to continue to assess talent with little interruption. But Nilan Johnson Lewis labor and employment attorney Mark Girouard urges companies to keep certain legal requirements in mind before turning on the cameras.
On April 1, 2020, the Department of Labor issued a temporary rule interpreting the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLEA”) found in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). The unpublished rule includes over 80 pages of discussion followed by specific guidance on key aspects of the FFCRA’s paid leave requirements, including the scope of exemptions for small employers, calculations of leave benefits for part-time employees, and notice and certification requirements. For the most part, the regulations mirror the FAQs recently released by the DOL.
As life has been upended by COVID-19, we are quickly adapting to an intensified “on-line” world. Among other uncertainties, we have been thrown into a swirl of technological challenges surrounding the practice of law.
The President declared a national emergency in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic triggering Section 139 of the Internal Revenue Code. Thus, disaster assistance/relief payments are not taxable to the recipients if they meet certain requirements.
The Department of Labor has started issuing interpretive guidance on the FFCRA, which provides for paid sick and FMLA leave for certain employees.
In response to the enduring COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed Emergency Executive Order 20-20 on March 25, 2020. The Governor’s order directs Minnesotans to remain at home, work remotely if possible, and limit their outside activities to those that are essential. The order also contains exemptions for businesses that are part of certain “critical sectors,” as defined in the order. Executive Order 20-20 takes effect on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. and will remain in effect for two weeks, until Friday, April 10, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., unless extended.
COVID-19 Employment Law Q&A for Hospitality Minnesota: State and Federal Requirements Impacting Employers
NJL’s Joel O’Malley and Courtney Blanchard joined Emily Mauter of Hospitality Minnesota for a Q&A regarding labor and employment issues facing the Minnesota Hospitality Community.
On March 18, 2020, the New York State Assembly passed and Governor Cuomo signed into law a response to the novel coronavirus that provides certain employees sick leave and job protection in the event they are subject to quarantine or isolation due to an order by a public health official. The new law also expands protections to certain employees under the New York Paid Family Leave and the New York disability benefits law to provide some measure of salary continuation during a quarantine or isolation order period.
On March 18, 2020, President Donald Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The new law requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid FMLA and paid sick leave related to the current pandemic. We address some of the major requirements of the new law.
Update March 19: via emergency order, California modified notification requirements under the state’s mini-WARN Act retroactive to March 4, 2020, and extending through the duration of the emergency
In the last few days, Minnesota has closed schools, restaurants, theaters, fitness centers, and other gathering places (Emergency Executive Orders 20-02 and 20-04). Minnesota has also started to provide much-needed relief to Minnesota employers and employees facing the immediate loss of work because of COVID-19 (Emergency Executive Order 20-05), including making unemployment benefits immediately accessible rather than requiring a one-week waiting period for out-of-work individuals. Below, we answer some frequently asked questions we have received since these orders were issued.
[UPDATED MARCH 18] Employers Ask: Can We Check All Employees for a Fever Before They Walk in the Door?
As businesses navigate the unprecedented waters surrounding COVID-19, some are considering using thermometers to screen employees and keep the workplace safe. But does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allow employers to check employees for a fever at the door? Right now, the answer is “yes.”
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has created significant workplace concerns for U.S. employers. Companies are balancing the need to continue their operations against the desire to keep their employees safe. The Frequently Asked Questions below, and those answered by Courtney Blanchard on this news broadcast, address some of the more difficult employment law-related issues that have arisen as employers confront the coronavirus threat.
The circumstances surrounding COVID-19 (commonly referred to as the “coronavirus”) are unfolding each day. Currently, there is no evidence of widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the U.S. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that most American workers are at a low risk of contracting coronavirus absent sustained human-to-human transmission with infected travelers from abroad or other close contact with infected persons. Nonetheless, as individuals take steps to prepare for a potential outbreak, employers must also prepare for the possibility of a workforce impacted by an outbreak of COVID-19. There are several legal issues to consider.