Employment Law Provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Posted in coronavirus, Labor & Employment

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” (the Act). This Act is a broad response to many of the challenges caused by the current and impending spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Families First Coronavirus Response Act has eight provisions intended to assist people during the public health emergency caused by COVID-19 and to allocate federal funds intended to provide such assistance. This GT Alert addresses two of the eight provisions of the Act that require certain private employers to provide paid leave to employees who cannot work because of coronavirus and/or the public health emergency surrounding it. Specifically, this Alert will address the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (Division E) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (Division C). This Alert supersedes our previous Alerts reporting on the versions of H.R. 2601 which led to the Act.

In combination, the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act may require certain private employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide up to 14 total weeks of leave, 12 weeks of which must be paid leave. Such paid leave is required for employees whose absences from work become necessary due to COVID-19 and its consequences. All new requirements on private employers will take effect 15 days after “final enactment” of the Act (presumably April 2, 2020) and continue through Dec. 31, 2020.

Read the full GT Alert: “Employment Law Provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.”

Georgia Department of Labor Issues Emergency Rule Requiring Employers to File Claims for Employees Affected By COVID-19

Posted in coronavirus, Department of Labor, Labor & Employment

On March 16, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of emergency proclaimed by federal and state governments, the Georgia Department of Labor issued a new Emergency Rule. This new Rule shifts the burden of filing claims for unemployment compensation from employees to employers. Specifically, starting after the week of March 15, 2020, employers must file partial unemployment claims online for any week during which an employee works less than full time due to a partial or total company shutdown resulting from COVID-19. According to the Georgia Department of Labor and guidance provided by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, the mandate requiring that employers file partial claims for all employees whose employment is affected by COVID-19 – either because of reduced hours or a temporary shutdown of business – will streamline the process and result in employees receiving benefits more quickly. Under this Emergency Rule, if an employer fails to file a claim, the employer will be required to reimburse the Commissioner the full amount of unemployment insurance benefits paid to the employee.

For more information, read the full GT Alert: “Georgia Department of Labor Issues Emergency Rule Requiring Employers to File Claims for Employees Affected By COVID-19.”

COVID-19: Legal Obligations Regarding Employment Matters in Mexico

Posted in coronavirus, Labor & Employment

Mexico is starting to experience the first effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Among the first preventive measures being implemented in our country to prevent the growth of infections of said virus is “social distancing”. This strategy includes new coexistence rules in the workplace, quarantines, home office and the possibility of the announcement of a sanitary contingency. Below, we describe some of the possible legal effects of these measures under Mexican employment legislation.

For more information, read the full GT Alert: “COVID-19: Legal Obligations Regarding Employment Matters in Mexico.”

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Dutch Government Issues Emergency Measures for Employers and Entrepreneurs

Posted in Labor & Employment

On 17 March 2020, the Dutch government announced that exceptional economic measures must be taken in relation to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) crisis. Part of the measures entail the withdrawal of the Reduction of Working Hours Scheme (werktijdverkortingsregeling). Under the Reduction of Working Hours Scheme, it was possible for employers to apply for a permit under which it could temporarily apply for unemployment benefits for its employees under the Unemployment Insurance Act (Werkeloosheidswet) to prevent (collective) dismissals. The Reduction of Working Hours Scheme has been declared not to apply to the current situation and an Emergency Bridge Measure for Conservation of Work (Tijdelijke Noodmaatregel Overbrugging voor Werkbehoud) has been instated (the Emergency Measure).

For more information, read the full GT Alert: “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Dutch Government Issues Emergency Measures for Employers and Entrepreneurs.”

New York Sick Leave, Disability, and Paid Family Leave Benefits for Employees Quarantined Due To COVID-19

Posted in Benefits, Compensation, coronavirus, Disability, GT Alert, Legislation, New York, New York Department of Labor, Paid Leave, Wage & Hour, wages

On March 18, new legislation was enacted in New York state to provide additional paid sick leave, as well as insurance benefits under paid family leave (“PFL”) and statutory disability (“DBL”) policies to employees subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine.

This legislation is limited to where there is a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation issued by the state of New York, the department of health, local board of health or any governmental entity duly authorized to issue such order due to COVID-19 (an “Order”). This legislation ensures that New York employees who are in receipt of such an Order will be able to receive a paycheck without having to charge their accrued sick leave. This legislation, however, does not extend additional benefits where the employee is deemed asymptomatic or has not yet been diagnosed with any medical condition and is physically able to work while under an Order, whether through remote access or other similar means.

Read the full GT Alert, New York Sick Leave, Disability, and Paid Family Leave Benefits for Employees Quarantined Due To COVID-19.

House Modifications to H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Posted in coronavirus, Employee Policies, FMLA, GT Alert, Labor & Employment, Legislation, Paid Leave

Late on Monday, March 16, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives modified H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and substantially narrowed the employer leave requirements under Division C – Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and Division E – Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. As of the time of this Alert, H.R. 6201 has not been taken for consideration by the Senate. This GT Alert summarizes the major changes from the previous version as well as the new features of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.

Read the full GT Alert, House Modifications to H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

EEOC Coronavirus Disease 2019 Guidance to Employers

Posted in Discrimination, EEOC, GT Alert

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a bulletin this morning advising that Field Offices have temporarily stopped conducting in-person intake interviews due to the current health situation. Before closing its doors, though, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) confirmed in a short online article, What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19, that the anti-discrimination laws it enforces do not interfere with or prevent employers from following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines related to planning, preparing for, and responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The EEOC provided a link to EEOC guidance issued in 2009 regarding the H1N1 pandemic, guidance that provides timely and helpful information applicable to today’s COVID-19 pandemic. This GT Alert summarizes the EEOC guidance on pandemic preparedness in the workplace.

The guidance focuses on legal restrictions on disability-related inquiries and medical examinations. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) generally prohibits them, subject to two major exceptions. Employers can make disability-related inquiries and conduct medical examinations if the inquiries and examinations are job-related and consistent with business necessity – that is, if there is objective evidence that (a) an employee’s ability to perform essential job functions will be impaired by a medical condition, or (b) an employee will pose a direct threat due to a medical condition.

Click here to read the full GT Alert, “EEOC Coronavirus Disease 2019 Guidance to Employers.”

Employment Law Provisions of H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Posted in Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (ESSTA), GT Alert, Paid Leave

Just after midnight on March 14, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6201, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” as a broad response to many of the challenges caused by the current and impending spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 (“coronavirus”). H.R. 6201 has eight provisions intended to assist people, and free up the federal government resources to do so, during the public health emergency caused by coronavirus. This GT Alert addresses two of the eight provisions of H.R. 6201 that would require certain private employers to provide paid leave to employees who cannot work because of coronavirus and/or the public health emergency surrounding it. Specifically, this Alert addresses Division C – the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and Division E – the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. Please note the House and Senate are still working out details of this package, and H.R. 6201 is not yet law. There may be further changes before anything is final, and we will continue to keep you apprised as the situation develops.

In combination, the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act may require private employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide up to 14 total weeks of leave, 12 weeks of which must be paid leave. Such paid leave would be required for employees whose absences from work become necessary due to the coronavirus and its consequences. There are key differences between the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and how they may, if they become law, apply to the implementation of emergency paid leave policies and practices. As presently written, all new requirements on private employers will take effect 15 days after final passage and continue through Dec. 31, 2020.

Click here to read the full GT Alert, “Employment Law Provisions of H.R. 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act.”

PAGA Plaintiffs: No Injury, No Problem, Says Unanimous California Supreme Court

Posted in California, California L&E Group, Litigation

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Kim v. Reins International California, Inc. and unanimously reversed the California Court of Appeal. The Court held an employee does not lose standing to pursue claims under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”), Cal. Lab. Code § 2698 et seq., even when that employee settles his individual Labor Code claims asserted in that same action.

In Reins, the plaintiff claimed his employer had misclassified him as an exempt employee. He alleged the usual panoply of Labor Code claims (failure to pay overtime, failure to provide meal and rest breaks, failure to provide accurate wage statements, waiting time penalties) and sought civil penalties under the PAGA. The plaintiff later settled all of his individual claims, but not the PAGA claims. Continue Reading

Employers: Stop, Drop, and Ensure CCPA Compliance as to Employees Residing in California

Posted in California, California L&E Group, Employee Policies, Labor & Employment, Legislation, Litigation, Privacy & Cybersecurity

Despite being in effect since Jan. 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) continues to generate confusion for employers of California residents. Much attention has been given to the CCPA’s effect on a business’ obligations in collecting, using, and sharing California customers’ data. However, given the CCPA’s broad “consumer” definition includes “employees,” it also imposes duties on any in-scope business that manages California employees’ data. Notably, under the CCPA, “employees” include job applicants. The CCPA thus applies to both California customers and employees/job applicants of any “business,” which is defined as a for-profit organization doing business in California that controls how personal information is processed and: (i) has gross annual revenue exceeding $25 million; (ii) buys, receives, sells, or shares personal information of 50,000 or more California consumers, households, or devices; or (iii) derives 50% or more of its annual revenue from selling personal information of California residents. Civ. Code § 1798.140(c)(1). Importantly, for the CCPA to apply, businesses do not have to be physically in California. Thus, for example, a business that does not have any facilities in California, but employs remote workers in California, could be subject to the CCPA if it meets the CCPA’s “business” definition. Continue Reading

LexBlog