Category Archives: coronavirus

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Colorado Passes the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act

On July 14, 2020, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed SB20-205, known as the “Healthy Families and Workplaces Act” (the Act), into law. The law is an overhaul of Colorado’s paid sick leave statutes. It requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees under various circumstances. In addition to addressing general paid sick leave, the … Continue Reading

No Back to School

As the new school year approaches, some California employers will have to deal with the continued closure of schools, which impacts many working parents, and consequently their employers. Already, the Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento Unified School Districts have announced they will not re-open in the fall. (Read the California Department of Public Health Reopening Framework). … Continue Reading

California Makes A U-Turn

This week California ordered the re-closure of certain higher risk workplaces, in response to an increase in the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in some parts of the state. The statewide order requires the following businesses to close immediately: Bars, pubs, and breweries, regardless of whether operating indoors or outdoors. However, outdoor operations may … Continue Reading

Virginia Becomes First State to Adopt COVID-19-Related Workplace Health and Safety Standard

On July 15, 2020, Virginia’s Safety and Health Codes Board (Board), the body that establishes Virginia Occupational Safety and Health regulations and standards, approved workplace safety regulations related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Virginia is the first state in the country to enact such a standard or regulation, though other states, like Oregon, may follow … Continue Reading

More Businesses Allowed to Reopen as Massachusetts Moves Into Phase 3 on July 6

Beginning July 6, Massachusetts will enter Phase 3 of the Four-Phase Reopening Plan. However, businesses located within Boston will have a delayed Phase 3 start date until July 13. Just as with Phase 2, Phase 3 will consist of two steps. According to the Governor’s office, Phase 3 will last much longer than previous phases, and … Continue Reading

Philadelphia City Council Passes Bill Prohibiting Employers from Retaliating Against Workers for Speaking Out About COVID-19 Safety Violations

In advance of Philadelphia entering the “green” phase and many businesses reopening, the Philadelphia City Council unanimously passed the Essential Workers Protection Act (Bill No. 200328) on June 25 and was signed by Mayor Jim Kenney on June 26, 2020. For purposes of this Act, introduced by City Councilwoman Helen Gym, essential workers are employees who … Continue Reading

California Requires Face Coverings as Coronavirus Cases Increases

As California enters Stage 2 of its “Resilience Roadmap” plan to reopen, California Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health issued further guidance on June 18, 2020, mandating all Californians wear face coverings in various “high-risk” settings.  The guidance updates a previous CDPH guidance (issued on April 1, 2020) that outlined best … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Updates Sector-Specific Safety Standards for Phase 2 Step 2 of Economic Reopening

Effective June 22, 2020, Massachusetts moves into Step 2 of Phase 2 of the Four-Phase Reopening Plan. Businesses permitted to reopen in Step 2 can resume operations under their sector-specific guidance. In addition, prior to opening, the business must meet all safety standards, create a COVID-19 control plan, and complete a self-certification. Read the full … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues Updated Guidance on COVID-19 Antibody Testing

On June 17, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance (see A.7.) stating employers cannot require workers to undergo Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) antibody testing (as distinguished from testing for the COVID-19 virus itself). Increased COVID-19 antibody (or “serology”) testing has been cited as a helpful tool because it aids in understanding … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Implements New Guidelines for June 8 Start Date for Phase 2 of Economic Reopening

On June 6, 2020, Massachusetts Gov. Baker announced that Phase 2 of the Four-Phase Reopening Plan (known as the “cautions” phase), will start on June 8, 2020. Phase 2 will be divided into two parts, with certain businesses allowed to reopen on June 8, while others will be permitted to reopen at an unspecified date … Continue Reading

COBRA Election and Enrollment Deadlines Extended During COVID-19 ‘Outbreak Period’

On May 4, 2020, in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of the Treasury, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), Department of Labor, issued rules extending deadlines for participants and beneficiaries of certain group health, disability, and welfare plans to make certain benefit elections, give certain … Continue Reading

OSHA Will Examine If Employers Determined Whether Employee COVID-19 Cases Are Work-Related For Purposes of Recording Workplace Injury and Illnesses

On May 19, 2020, OSHA issued another enforcement guidance memorandum regarding recording COVID-19 cases that rescinds the prior guidance and obligates employers to make at least some work-related determinations regarding employees who contract COVID-19. The new memorandum goes into effect May 26, 2020, and will remain in effect until further notice. By way of background, … Continue Reading

ReOpen DC Advisory Group Recommends Four-Stage Reopening Plan

On May 21, 2020, the ReOpen DC Advisory Group, led by Ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary Michael Chertoff, issued recommendations to Mayor Muriel Bowser for reopening the city in four stages. While the plan does not include specific dates, Mayor Bowser announced that Stage One could begin as early as May 29, 2020. This GT Alert summarizes the four … Continue Reading

CDC Issues Guidelines for Reopening

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued guidance titled “CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again.” The 60-page document details the initiatives, activities, and tools the CDC is using to support the effort to reopen the country amid the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, … Continue Reading

DOJ and FTC Issue Joint Antitrust Statements for Businesses and Workers in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

In April, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Competition of the Federal Trade Commission released a Joint Statement, warning they are “on alert” and will scrutinize employers – especially employers of front-line and essential workers such as doctors, nurses, grocery store employees, pharmacists, and warehouse workers – who engage in … Continue Reading

UK Employer COVID-19 Return-to-Work and Reporting Obligations Under RIDDOR

The UK national government has announced, in relation to England only, a programme of progressive easing of current lockdown measures due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). With respect to working arrangements, the guidance provides that: [a]ll reasonable steps should be taken by employers to help people work from home. But for those who cannot work from … Continue Reading

New York DOH Issues Business Reopening Safety Plan

The New York State Department of Health has issued a model Business Reopening Safety Plan for businesses that will be reopening in Phase 1 of Gov. Cuomo’s four-phase reopening guidelines for various regions and industries in New York state. Read the full GT Alert, “New York DOH Issues Business Reopening Safety Plan.”… Continue Reading

New Jersey to Permit Curbside Pickup at Non-Essential Retail Businesses, Non-Essential Construction, and Gatherings in Cars

On May 13, 2020, in a step towards reopening New Jersey’s economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 142, which among other things (i) permits “non-essential” retail businesses to operate on a “curbside pickup” basis, and (ii) lifts the ban on non-essential construction projects. Executive Order No. 142 modifies earlier Executive … Continue Reading

Governor Baker Announces Reopening Plan for Massachusetts Economy

On May 18, 2020, Massachusetts Gov. Baker announced the implementation of a four-phase reopening plan for Massachusetts. For an overview of the four-phase plan, see GT Alert, Massachusetts Announces Four-Phase Reopening Approach and Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards, May 14, 2020. Businesses eligible to reopen in Phase One must follow both mandatory workplace safety standards and sector-specific requirements. Businesses … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Announces Four-Phase Reopening Approach and Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards

On May 11, 2020, Massachusetts Gov. Baker announced a four-phase approach to reopening the Massachusetts economy in light of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The phased reopening is based on public health guidance, and is intended to allow certain businesses, services, and activities to resume, while aiming to protect public health and limit a … Continue Reading

COVID-19 and Retirement Plan Partial Terminations

Among the longer-term considerations for employer layoff and furlough decisions is the impact on a single employer pension, profit sharing, or 401(k) plan. In general, a 401(k) plan can sustain a partial termination when 20% of the participants in a given year are involuntarily terminated. 26 U.S.C. §411(d); Rev. Proc. 2007-43. Partial termination is a … Continue Reading

Handling Employee Concerns and Protests During the Pandemic: Federal Law on Interference with Operations

Work stoppages and disruption of operations are consequences of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This GT Alert provides an overview of federal law regarding employee protections associated with work stoppages that protest safety in the workplace. Read the full GT Alert here: “Handling Employee Concerns and Protests During the Pandemic: Federal Law on Interference … Continue Reading

The Interplay Between the Massachusetts Unemployment Assistance Program, the Massachusetts WorkShare Program, and the Enhanced Unemployment Benefits in the CARES Act

The current COVID-19 public health crisis has brought about significant changes to unemployment benefit programs at the state and federal levels. This GT Alert discusses these changes, the interplay between the state and federal unemployment laws, and provides an overview of the Massachusetts WorkShare program, which may provide greater flexibility to employers and benefits to … Continue Reading

COVID-19-Related Supplemental Sick Leave Benefits Now Available to Certain City of Los Angeles Workers

Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the City of Los Angeles COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (the Ordinance) into law on April 7. Originally passed by the Los Angeles City Council on March 27, the new Ordinance applies to employers who have at least 500 employees nationwide (i.e., those businesses that had been excluded from the … Continue Reading
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