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
The New York State Department of Labor (“NYS DOL”) has launched a new webpage dedicated to alerting workers regarding COVID-19 related employment protections and allowing them to submit a complaint online by simply clicking the “File a Complaint” link. The new webpage encourages workers to file a complaint with the NYS DOL if their employers violate any provisions of the state’s new law providing sick leave, paid family leave and disability benefits to employees impacted by mandatory or precautionary orders of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19, including any violations of Governor Cuomo’s recent Executive Order mandating all non-essential workers to stay home. These violations include being forced to perform work at an employer’s worksite if the employer is a non-essential business or being threatened if an employee does not work at a place other than the employee’s home. It should be noted that the NYS DOL appears to be creating the right to file a complaint on a number of issues that are not explicitly addressed within the legislation or guidance regarding the legislation and it remains to be seen whether the NYS DOL has authority to pursue alleged violations of the legislation for the reasons described below. READ MORE
The New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) has issued guidance (the “Guidance”) and answers to frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) relating to various aspects of the newly-enacted legislation providing emergency sick leave, expanded New York Paid Family Leave (“NYPFL”) and expanded short-term disability benefits to certain employees unable to work because of COVID-19. Our previous analysis of this legislation (the “Act”) and what it means for employers can be found here: https://blogs.orrick.com/employment/2020/03/. 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.
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
On March 18, 2020, New York State passed legislation (the “Act”) to provide emergency sick leave and other benefits to employees who are unable to work because they are subject to a government order of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19. The key provisions of Act, which took effect immediately, are as follows: READ MORE
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
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
On Wednesday, the Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or H.R. 6201. The approved legislation has been sent to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature. On Monday evening, the House passed its amended and final version of the bipartisan legislation, which we outline below. Stay tuned for updates as the approved legislation awaits the President’s signature. READ MORE