On September 17, 2020, California Governor Newsom signed SB-1159. Effective immediately, the bill adds three new sections to the California Labor Code (§§ 3212.86-3212.88) which create a rebuttable presumption that certain employees who test positive for COVID-19 contracted it in the workplace. For these employees, the legislation modifies the definition of “injury” for the purposes of workers’ compensation, to include illness or death resulting from COVID-19. The legislation also creates a COVID-19 reporting requirement for employers who employ at least five employees, and makes several other nuanced changes to the way employers must treat workers’ compensation claims based on COVID-19 infections. READ MORE
On September 9, 2020 Governor Newsom signed AB 1867 into law, giving California employers just 10 days to implement new COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave statewide. Below we highlight the major provisions of the new law (Labor Code 248.1, or “LC 248.1”) as well as nuances employers should keep in mind as they put their program into place. (For clarity, we refer to this new leave as “LC 248.1 leave” to avoid confusion between this new statewide mandate and other federal and local laws expanding available paid sick leave due to COVID-19.) READ MORE
[Update: The Ordinance was enacted on July 3, 2020.]
In an unprecedented move, on June 23, 2020 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted in favor of legislation that requires San Francisco employers with 100 or more employees to “offer a right to reemployment” to certain workers whom the employer laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting shelter-in-place orders. According to the city’s rules, this ordinance goes into immediate effect upon signature by San Francisco Mayor London Breed, which must occur within 10 calendar days of receipt of legislation. Unless reenacted, the ordinance will expire on the sixty-first day after its enactment. READ MORE
Earlier this month, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-51-20, mandating that certain “hiring entities” provide supplemental paid sick leave for food sector workers. The executive order (EO) acknowledges that workers who help grow and provide food, work in food facilities and deliver food are essential critical infrastructure workers who continue to work outside their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to prevent food sector workers from having to go to work when they are sick, which increases health and safety risks, the EO mandates supplemental paid sick leave for certain COVID-19-related reasons. Here’s what hiring entities need to know about the EO.
Although COVID-19 continues to disrupt the daily lives of American workers, employers are beginning to plan for a possible return to work. This includes retailers, which have been particularly impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic with a widespread shutdown of stores. Now, OSHA has released specific guidelines for keeping retail workers safe. READ MORE
“Unlimited” vacation policies have become incredibly popular throughout California, particularly in the tech industry, as a means of offering greater flexibility to employees. Under typical unlimited vacation policies, employees can take as much vacation as they like, subject to their manager’s approval. Because employees do not accrue vacation under these policies, there is presumably no obligation for an employer to pay employees for any unused vacation upon their departure from the company, as required by Labor Code section 227.3. READ MORE
On April 7, 2020, Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an emergency order providing supplemental paid sick leave to certain employees working within the City of Los Angeles for a variety of reasons related to COVID-19 (the “Order”). Notably, Mayor Garcetti issued the Order after declining to sign the COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) approved by the Los Angeles City Council (“City Council”) on March 27. Our previous post summarizing the City Council’s Ordinance is located here: https://blogs.orrick.com/employment/. READ MORE
Employers’ obligation to provide safe workplaces for employees is hardly new. The current COVID-19 pandemic, however, has forced health and safety at work to be top-of-mind across U.S. industries in ways not previously contemplated. Over the past several weeks, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued important guidance regarding COVID-19, focusing specifically on what employers can and should do to ensure their workplaces are safe. Not only is compliance with OSHA’s guidelines important from the standpoint of ensuring worker safety, but failing to do so also can lead to legal risk and liability, as evidenced by a recent OSHA investigation involving Amazon, litigation filed this week, and an April 8 OSHA press release explaining how workers can file OSHA whistleblower claims. READ MORE
On Thursday March 26, the Department of Labor issued additional guidance about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). The new guidance addresses a variety of topics including how the FFCRA applies to remote working, intermittent leave, worksite closures, reduction of hours and furloughs.
This week, the DOL also issued a fact sheet for employees and a fact sheet for employers. The required poster can be found here as well as FAQs about notice requirements. The DOL plans to implement formal FFCRA regulations in April.
Stay tuned for updates and check out our FFCRA FAQs here.
On Friday afternoon, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). The Act addresses the coronavirus pandemic by directing funds to address the strains on the health care system as well as alleviate the intense economic stress facing the country’s employers and workers. The President has stated that he will sign the bill immediately. This post focuses on those provisions that may impact employers. Below are answers to some questions that we expect employers will have about the CARES Act.