Employment Law

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

Market-by-Market Overview: COVID-19 Lockdowns

We’ve been following COVID-19 around the globe since January when it became clear that the outbreak in Wuhan, China was having broader employment and business implications. Under the general pattern, countries with a few confirmed cases act to contain the spread of the virus through a combination of inbound travel barriers, mandatory isolation/quarantines and aggressive testing and follow up of suspected contacts of the confirmed cases. If the number of new cases become too numerous to source (i.e., people are getting infected in the community), the focus shifts from containment to damage control in a predictable way. Lockdowns are part of that equation – often beginning with school closures, the ban of large gatherings and the cancelation of events, progressing to the closure of an increasing list of “non-essential businesses” and culminating in mandatory stay at home orders. READ MORE

UK Job Retention Scheme and Gender Pay Gap Reporting Update

On 20 March 2020, in a bid to prevent mass job losses as a result of the coronavirus, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The government has agreed they will reimburse 80% of wages for all employees who are ‘furloughed’ but still on the payroll, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. READ MORE

New York State Passes Paid Leave for Quarantined Employees

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

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