COVID-19

COVID-19 UK: Employment – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Legal Framework published and more questions raised – Update

On 15 April 2020, the Treasury, in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 71 and 76 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, gave a Direction to HMRC, setting out the mechanics of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Note, the Direction does not replace the HMRC Guidance, but a valid Direction has the standing of an Act of Parliament and is therefore subject to the usual rules of statutory interpretation. By way of background, please refer to our recent insight piece with the previous details of the Scheme and guidance for employers and employees: read here.

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EEOC Expands Guidance Regarding COVID-19

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently updated their guidance relating to the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, addressing several additional FAQ in response to inquiries from the public. In the updated guidance, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws,” the EEOC expands on its previous publication issued in March and based on guidance it issued in response to the H1N1 outbreak in March 2009. 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

San Francisco and San Jose Enact Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinances

In response to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, on April 7, 2020, San Francisco and San Jose issued emergency orders providing supplemental paid sick leave to certain employees working within their cities. Below are the key points Bay Area employers need to know. READ MORE

New York COVID-19 Developments: NYS DOL Encourages Workers to File a Complaint Online

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

COVID-19 UK: Employment – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: further clarification – Update

Following our update last week around the guidance from the UK Government on the announced Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, further clarification on some (but not all) of the grey areas has now been provided. We have set out below some of the main points of clarification. READ MORE

COVID-19 Update: Germany to Give Working Parents State-Funded Compensation Claim During Closure of Childcare and Schools

Deutsch: COVID-19-Krise: FAQ zum neuen Entschädigungsanspruch für berufstätige Eltern nach § 56 Abs. 1a IfSchG

For working parents who are unable to fulfil their working duties due to the closure of kindergarten, day care centre and/or school as a result of the pandemic, the German parliament has passed a new law in a fast-track procedure. The essential aspect under this legislative change is that under certain conditions, affected parents are granted a state-funded compensation claim under the German Infection Protection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz – IfSchG), which is legally distinct from the contractual remuneration claim. READ MORE

Responding to Healthcare Employee Concerns in the COVID-19 Age

As the battle against COVID-19 intensifies, healthcare workers have become vocal about their perceptions of deficiencies surrounding patient care and safety within their workplaces and have expressed their views publicly on social media and other platforms. Videos, photographs, and testimonials underscore employees’ concerns about patient care and the availability of protective gear and other supplies. Healthcare employers have, at the same time, struggled to regulate the flow of information and misinformation about COVID-19 in their facilities. In some cases, healthcare employers have prohibited employees from speaking to the media without express authorization under new or existing policies. READ MORE

FFCRA Guidance from the IRS: How To Secure Tax Credits for COVID-19 Leave Payments

On March 31, 2020, the IRS issued “COVID-19-Related Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave Provided by Small and Midsize Businesses FAQs” to help small and midsize employers navigate the tax relief available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). READ MORE