Employers should be aware of recent changes in state workers’ compensation laws which expand protections for “front-line” workers in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These laws make it easier for certain categories of employees to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for COVID-19 infections.

Employees contracting COVID-19 infections may be unable to succeed in bringing claims under traditional workers’ compensation statutory schemes because they must be able to show both that they contracted COVID-19 from the workplace as opposed to another source – a difficult task –and that the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 was peculiar to the nature of their job. Continue Reading States expand workers’ compensation law for “front-line” workers in response to COVID-19

On April 8, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated interim guidance (Guidance) advising that asymptomatic critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue to work onsite despite exposure to COVID-19, if certain precautions are taken. The Guidance applies to critical infrastructure workers, which CDC defines as including personnel in 16 sectors that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has deemed essential to the nation’s COVID-19 response, including law enforcement, hazardous material response, janitorial and other custodial staff, and “workers—including contracted vendors—in food and agriculture, critical manufacturing, informational technology, transportation, energy and government facilities.Continue Reading CDC issues new guidance regarding critical infrastructure workers with potential COVID-19 exposure

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) imposes new requirements – and offers off-setting tax credits – for employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid leave for COVID-19-related reasons, as previously explained here, here and here. That left many employers with more than 500 employees assuming they were off the hook, but if they have employees in certain California cities, that may not be the case. Continue Reading Larger California employers face growing local requirements to provide paid COVID-19-related sick leave and other accommodations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will begin issuing industry-specific guidance to protect American workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance to date has been in the form of “tips” rather than mandates, but employers in the applicable industries should pay careful attention to this guidance. Continue Reading OSHA to issue industry-specific guidance on COVID-19

Employers are understandably concerned about the possibility of being forced to furlough or lay off employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have covered some of the relevant considerations including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and local/state laws that provide some incentive for employers to retain employees during the pandemic, here, here and here (among other posts). At some point, however, the pandemic will abate, and employers will need to be prepared for issues that may arise. Continue Reading COVID-19 considerations: vacation and PTO

On April 4, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provided clarity on the scope of the US$600 per week supplemental benefit available under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), stating that even individuals entitled to partial unemployment compensation would nonetheless be entitled to the full additional US$600 per week benefit, including individuals receiving short-time compensation (STC) or work share payments. Continue Reading DOL clarifies CARES Act unemployment ambiguities

On April 1, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued regulations implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). In addition, DOL continues to update its FFCRA Q&As with further clarifications. Continue Reading DOL’s new FFCRA regulations and Q&As on COVID-19 paid leave clarify documentation and other requirements

On March 27, 2020, the President signed into law a massive two trillion dollar stimulus bill addressing a wide range of challenges to our economy caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The legislation, entitled the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), supplements and modifies prior bills, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which we previously blogged about here, here, here, and here. While the CARES Act is lengthy (800+ pages) and complex, this post highlights in digestible portions a few of the significant provisions that are likely of the most interest to employers. Continue Reading The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act: significant provisions for employers

Following two rounds of guidance on the paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) released additional guidance this weekend addressing issues of critical importance to many covered employers: the scope of the FFCRA’s health care provider and emergency responder exemptions, and the scope of the small business exemption for private employers with fewer than 50 employees, along with answering other questions. DOL’s most recent guidance is summarized below and can be found here. DOL has confirmed it will be issuing regulations to implement the FFCRA. Continue Reading Department of Labor clarifies health care provider, emergency responder, and small business exemptions and answers other questions under COVID-19 related paid leave law

As the April 1 effective date for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) paid leave requirements rapidly nears, the Department of Labor (DOL) continues to update its compliance guidance for covered employers. As a reminder, the FFCRA’s leave provisions — which mandate paid sick leave and paid expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for qualifying needs related to COVID-19 — apply to private employers with fewer than 500 employees and to many public sector employers, regardless of size. More information about the FFCRA is available in our initial post about the FFCRA and in our subsequent posts about DOL’s initial guidance (here) and about the tax credit available to employers who provide FFCRA leave to their employees (here). Continue Reading DOL issues corrected COVID-19-related paid leave poster and further compliance guidance for employers