Client Alert

COVID-19 Update: FAQs on Employment-related Aspects of the Coronavirus Pandemic for Employers in Germany

The consequences of the spread of the novel coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2) have reached the German labour market. Many companies are daily confronted with new and complex legal questions regarding the handling of coronavirus-related issues in employment relationships.

The following overview shows the most frequently asked questions and answers. 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

COVID-19 Update: Update to California’s Executive Order N-33-20

As a follow-up to Executive Order N-33-20, on March 20, Governor Newsom’s office released a 14-page report which provides additional guidance regarding “essential business operations” in California.  Originally, the Governor’s Executive Order directed California workers to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) website to determine whether they qualify as essential to one of 16 federal critical infrastructure sectors.  The 14-page report narrows “essential business operations” to workers in 13 sectors: (1) Healthcare/Public Health, (2) Emergency Services; (3) Food and Agriculture, (4) Energy, (5) Water and Wastewater, (6) Transportation and Logistics, (7) Communications and Information Technology (8) Other Community-Based Government Operations and Essential Functions, (9) Critical Manufacturing, (10) Hazardous Materials, (11) Financial Services, (12) Chemical, (13) and Defense Industrial Base. READ MORE

New York Governor Cuomo Orders all Non-Essential Workers to Stay Home

In what he described as the “most drastic action” he can take, New York Governor Cuomo has ordered all non-essential workers to stay home, in his latest Executive Order 202.08 issued yesterday afternoon. As we reported, Governor Cuomo had previously ordered businesses to reduce their in-person workforces at any work locations by 75%, unless they qualify as an “essential business.” Now, that number has been expanded to New York’s entire non-essential workforce. READ MORE

UK Government Agrees to Pay Employees’ Wages

The UK Government has said they will step in and pay up to 80% of wages subject to a cap of £2500 per month for any employee who is not working but kept on payroll, rather than made redundant.  This is intended as an incentive to keep people in work and means that if an employer is considering redundancies or unpaid sabbaticals because its employees have no work due to the impact of the coronavirus, then provided these employees are kept on payroll instead, companies of all sizes will be able to apply to HMRC for these grants to keep paying their employees.  According to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, the system should be up and running in a matter of weeks and be fully operational by the end of April. READ MORE

COVID-19 Update: DHS Modifies I-9 Physical Presence Requirements

On March 20, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will defer the physical presence requirements associated with I-9s. Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. The new process is only for employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being implemented at this time for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9. However, if newly hired employees or existing employees are subject to COVID-19 quarantine or lockdown protocols, DHS will evaluate on a case-by-case basis. READ MORE

COVID-19 Update: California Governor Orders 40 Million Californians to Stay Home

On the evening of March 19, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newson issued Executive Order N-33-20, which requires all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence except “as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors,” as outlined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). This order, which applies to 40 million California residents, is intended to slow the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). In issuing the Order, Governor Newsom suggested that 56 percent of Californians (more than 25 million people) could be infected over the next eight weeks. Although the Order states it is to go into effect immediately and shall stay in effect until further notice, Governor Newsom also emphasized this is “not a permanent state.” READ MORE

Update: New York Governor Cuomo Orders Non-Essential Businesses to Reduce In-Office Workforce by 100%

Update: At approximately 11:00 a.m. EST, Governor Cuomo announced that 100% of the non-essential NY workforce must now stay home. This directive is expected to take effect on Sunday evening March 22. Gov. Cuomo is expected to issue a new Executive Order regarding this directive shortly. Please check back here for updates. READ MORE

The Coronavirus in the International Workplace – How do Multinational Employers React Appropriately?

This updated overview provides multinational employers practical advice to develop their coronavirus response strategy on an international level and to ensure a safe working environment for their employees under local employment and labor laws of UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Stay tuned for updates as new developments occur.
READ MORE

COVID-19 Update: Germany to Give Easier Access to State-Funded Short-Time Working Allowance

On March 13, 2020 the German parliament passed the “law on the crisis-related temporary improvement of the regulations for short-time work allowance” (Gesetz zur befristeten krisenbedingten Verbesserung der Regelungen für das Kurzarbeitergeld) in a fast-track procedure which gives companies easier access to state-funded short- time work allowance (Kurzarbeitergeld) amid the coronavirus outbreak. READ MORE