California Developments

San Francisco Offers “Right to Reemployment” For Local Workers Laid-off Due to COVID-19

[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

California Mandates Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for Food Sector Workers

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.

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Are Your Retail Workers Ready to Return to Work? OSHA Releases New Guidance

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

A California Court of Appeal Tests the Limit Of “Unlimited” Vacation Policies

“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

Los Angeles Mayor Issues Emergency Order Establishing COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

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

Minimizing Employer Liability in the Face of OSHA-Related Claims

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

COVID-19 Update: Department of Labor Issues Further FFCRA Guidance

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.

CARES Act: What Do Employers Need to Know?

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.

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Families First Coronavirus Response Act: What Employers Need to Know

On March 18, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) into law. The FFCRA is effective April 1, 2020. The Department of Labor also issued guidance and detailed FAQs, addressing various hypotheticals.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about provisions of the FFCRA that are of particular importance to employers: the emergency expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and emergency paid sick leave. READ MORE

California Executive Order Allows Businesses To Assert An “Unforeseeable Business Circumstances” Exception to California WARN Act For Events Caused By COVID-19; Notice Must Be As Soon As Practical.

California maintains its own “mini” WARN Act, Labor Code section 1400, et seq., which requires employers with 75 or more employees to give 60 days’ notice prior to mass layoffs, substantial relocations, or termination of operations at a covered establishment.  Unlike the federal WARN Act, California’s statute also applies to furloughs as few as three weeks, according to a 2017 Court of Appeal decision in Int’l. Bhd. of Boilermakers, etc. v. NASSCO Holdings Inc., 17 Cal. App. 5th 1105, 226 (2017).  Also, unlike the federal WARN Act, California does not have an unforeseeable business circumstances or natural disaster exception to the 60-days’ notice requirement. READ MORE