We would like to share this Chicago Tribune article—‘PTO Bomb’ as vacation-starved employees make time-off requests.— featuring a quote and commentary by Hogan Lovells employment lawyer David Baron.  As we predicted in our April 8, 2020 blog post on the topic (re-posted below), this article discusses the issues employers face, and what they can and should consider, as they brace for a deluge of employee requests for paid time off.

Continue Reading COVID-19 considerations: vacation and PTO

On Friday June 26, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued clarification guidance regarding the availability of Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) leave.  Specifically, the DOL stated that FFCRA leave is equally available for summer camps, summer enrichment programs or other summer programs as it was available for day cares or schools.

As a reminder, the FFCRA requires covered employers to provide eligible employees with up to two weeks of paid sick leave and up to twelve weeks of expanded family and medical leave, of which up to 10 weeks may be paid.  FFCRA leave may be taken if the employee is unable to work or telework due to the need to care for his or her child whose “place of care” is closed due to COVID-19 related reasons.
Continue Reading Department of Labor clarifies FFCRA Leave based on summer camp closure is similar to leave based on school or day care closure

On Thursday, June 18, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a pamphlet with “guidance to assist employers and workers in safely returning to work and reopening businesses deemed by local authorities as ‘non-essential businesses’ during the evolving [COVID-19] pandemic.”  OSHA states that the guidance does not create new legal obligations and instead is advisory. OSHA’s guidance tracks the three reopening phases identified by the White House in its “Opening Up America Again” guidelines, which in turn are based on proposed state or regional gating criteria.
Continue Reading OSHA issues return-to-work guidance for non-essential businesses

Hollywood got the greenlight to resume film and television productions from Los Angeles County Public Health officials last week. But art – like life – in a COVID-19 world could look very different under the detailed new safety regulations promulgated by public health officials. Crowd scenes, intimate scenes, and fight scenes are discouraged. Dialogue with no masks is permitted but should be brief. And actors are not supposed to touch their faces during filming.

Some of the protocols for film and television productions are similar to other businesses, including requirements for social distancing when possible, cloth face coverings, and frequent hand washing and sanitization. But many of the rules – perhaps reflecting the unique work environment – will require a major overhaul.
Continue Reading “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”: COVID-19 reopening protocols require Hollywood to adopt significant changes to production

As employers across the country are implementing return to work procedures and are gradually opening up their workspaces, many employers were left with unanswered questions regarding what testing they may conduct prior to permitting entry into the workplace.  The EEOC has previously taken the position that employers may test employees for an active COVID-19 infection (through a viral COVID-19 test) prior to entry into the workplace, and may conduct other screening mechanisms in an effort to prevent employees from entering the workplace with COVID-19, such as temperature checks. In recent guidance, however, the EEOC has stated that, at least for now, an employer may not require employees to undergo serological (antibody) testing as a condition of returning to work.
Continue Reading EEOC states that requiring antibody tests prior to entry to the workplace is unlawful

The CDC recently released new guidance on considerations for events and gatherings. The scope of the guidance is broad, covering any planned or spontaneous event, even those with only small numbers of people. CDC has reminded event-holders that the guidance is meant to supplement any safety laws, rules, or regulations applicable to events or gatherings, such as requirements under state or local law.
Continue Reading CDC releases new guidance on considerations for events and gatherings

As cities and states around the United States are gearing to reopen facilities, employers are tasked with the daunting responsibility of ensuring that their workspaces are safe. As we previously posted, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently issued guidance expressly stating that employers may require employees to be tested for COVID-19 before they are allowed to enter the workplace. While the EEOC offered guidance signaling that employers may only administer COVID-19 tests that are “job related and consistent with business necessity,” the guidance fell short of clarifying certain practical considerations surrounding the testing. One such consideration was whether employers are required to compensate employees for the cost of and time spent undergoing the COVID-19 test. The EEOC has been silent on these points – so has the federal Department of Labor (DOL).
Continue Reading Employers need to consider whether they must compensate employees for mandatory COVID-19 testing