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.
Tag: COVID-19 for Employers
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.