COVID-19

Oregon OSHA Issues Revised Standards Regarding COVID-19 – Employers Should Take Note and Take Action

Oregon employers should take note of new state Occupational Health & Safety Administration (“OR OSHA”) standards that are likely to take effect soon.  On September 25, 2020, OR OSHA’s Infectious Disease Rulemaking Advisory Committee published its final COVID-19 Temporary Standard (following a brief notice and comment period). READ MORE

California Enacts Legislation Codifying COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Presumption for Certain Groups of Employees and Imposing Employer Reporting Requirement

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

Navigating California’s New Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law – Guidance on Key Provisions and Common Employer Questions

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

Regulators Offer Insights Into SEC, CFTC, and OSHA Whistleblower Program’s Trends and Priorities

On July 13, 2020, three prominent whistleblower law regulators spoke at PLI’s Corporate Whistleblowing in the Coronavirus Era 2020, which was co-chaired by Orrick partners Mike Delikat and Renee Phillips. With the standard disclaimer that their comments and opinions were their own and not the official comments of their respective agencies, each spoke about their agencies’ whistleblower program’s current progress, challenges, and priorities. READ MORE

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

Immigration Proclamation: What does this mean for your foreign national workforce and hiring?

On June 22, 2020, the White House issued the “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak” which is the latest in a series of U.S. immigration restrictions purportedly tied to the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on the American economy. READ MORE

EEOC Updates its Guidance on Important COVID-19 Return to Work Issues

On June 11, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) again updated its compendium FAQs on COVID-19 and the workplace. The latest revisions provide additional guidance on non-discrimination obligations under various federal non-discrimination laws as employees return to work. We previously blogged about the agency’s FAQ guidance here. READ MORE

COVID-19 Premium Pay Legislation

I. Premium Pay and COVID-19

Although many Americans have suffered furloughs or job losses while those more fortunate are able to work, albeit remotely, workers deemed “essential” under state executive orders and federal guidelines continue to perform their job functions in public-facing circumstances outside of the home. State lawmakers across the country have introduced measures to provide premium or hazard pay to compensate essential workers for the heightened risk of exposure to COVID-19. In addition, the House of Representatives included a premium pay component in its latest COVID-19 response measure. These measures impose the benefits and obligations of additional pay upon different groups of workers and employers, respectively, despite the same overlapping legislative intent. Moreover, the measures raise several important legal questions regarding employment classification and state pre-emption laws. As many states begin to reopen their economies while both the public and private sectors face significant budget constraints, a question remains: will these premium pay measures be dismissed by lawmakers in light of the economic downturn or set the stage for further discussions on either the state or federal level in providing additional pay to those who continue to work during a declared public emergency. READ MORE

SEC Awards Largest Bounty Ever and More Expected to Come Out of the COVID-19 Pandemic

As we reported last month, the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has continued to award numerous multi-million-dollar bounties under its Dodd-Frank whistleblower program notwithstanding the current COVID-19 crisis. READ MORE

Furloughs and Redundancies – COVID Creative Compensation: Pandemic Pay and Equity Awards Globally

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to financially impact companies worldwide, employers have been working to implement creative compensation strategies to mitigate the financial impact on their workforce, continue to incentivize employees and reward on-site essential workers. While cash is king, equity awards have long been a key component of an overall compensation and benefits strategy for many companies, from small to large, private and public. In difficult economic times such as these, granting equity awards can help companies save cash while filling a compensation gap created by salary reductions, unpaid furloughs or decreased benefits. Equity awards could also soften the blow to employees losing their jobs due to layoffs and redundancies resulting from an employer’s Coronavirus-related financial losses and cost-cutting measures. READ MORE