On 28 May 2020, England and Scotland introduced contact tracing systems known as “Test and Trace” and “Test and Protect,” respectively. Northern Ireland has been operating a contact tracing system since 27 April 2020, and Wales introduced the “Test, Trace, Protect” system on 1 June 2020.
On May 29, 2020, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs issued further updates setting out the future of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
Conducting business in the Virgin Islands poses unique challenges not often encountered in the states, but also unique opportunities. This 20-part blog series will offer tips for doing business in the U.S. Virgin Islands, covering a broad array of topics affecting employers. Part three of this series addresses sexual harassment prevention policies and training.
According to Statistics Canada, two in five employers in Canada have reduced hours or laid off one or more employees since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. One of the risks associated with those difficult decisions is a constructive dismissal claim that would trigger statutory notice and severance requirements under provincial employment standard legislation and under the common law. Ontario’s government has now taken a major step to prevent claims under its Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) resulting from COVID-19.
On 18 May 2020, at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week in the United Kingdom, the UK government’s Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) published “Coronavirus and mental health at work,” a guide to how individuals can look after their mental health and how employers can “support employees’ health, safety, and well-being” while managing workplace mental health issues. The overriding message from the guidance is that good communication is key during this challenging time. The guidance also emphasises that employers should be aware of the signs of mental health concerns in the workplace and encourage openness between colleagues to support those who may be suffering.
As part of their “COVID-secure” return to work plans, some employers in the United Kingdom are implementing temperature screenings for their employees.
In its ongoing response to the COVID-19 health crisis, the United States has announced travel restrictions for Brazil. President Donald Trump’s proclamation suspends the entry of all immigrants and nonimmigrants who were physically present in Brazil during the 14-day period before seeking to enter the United States.
Conducting business in the Virgin Islands poses unique challenges not often encountered in the states, but also unique opportunities. This 20-part blog series will offer tips for doing business in the U.S. Virgin Islands, covering a broad array of topics affecting employers. Part two of this series addresses required employment law posters.
Following the UK government’s recent announcement of a COVID-19 recovery strategy, the government has published guidelines for working safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that are designed to help UK businesses get back on their feet while maintaining safe work environments.
The UK government has released its roadmap, “Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy,” as it looks to ease the lockdown over the coming months.
After more than two years of deliberation, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement [T-MAC in Mexico] will enter into force on July 1, 2020. The three-nation agreement includes a key element employers may want to take note of—employers and unions will be able to negotiate disputes through alternative methods of dispute resolution.
On April 21, 2020, Mexico’s Ministry of Health extended through May 30, 2020, an emergency decree suspending all nonessential activities in the country in order to prevent the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) from continuing to spread.
On April 30, 2020, the Ontario government, in collaboration with provincial health and safety associations, released the Health and Safety Association Guidance Documents for Workplaces During the COVID-19 Outbreak.
On April 4, April 9, and April 15, 2020, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) updated the guidance for employers on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The updates aimed to clarify issues and answer questions asked since the initial guidance was published on March 26, 2020. In addition, on April 15, 2020, Her Majesty’s Treasury (HM Treasury) issued a Direction to HMRC under powers conferred by the Coronavirus Act 2020, containing the legal framework and instructions for making payments under the CJRS. This is likely to be the definitive guidance on how the CJRS works. However, despite the recent updates, there are issues that remain unclear.
The Coronavirus Act (CA) 2020 was enacted on March 25, 2020, and introduces a new statutory emergency volunteering leave (EVL) to support the National Health Service (NHS) and social care authorities.
On April 1, 2020, Canada’s Minister of Finance announced the federal government’s plans for a comprehensive wage subsidy program that would cover up to 75 percent of an employee’s regular wages for up to 3 months. As predicted, the proposed Emergency Wage Subsidy Program has undergone significant changes in the last week in order to extend benefits to a wider class of employers.
On March 29, 2020, the Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury (commonly known by its Spanish name, Departamento de Hacienda de Puerto Rico, or Hacienda) issued Circular Letter of Internal Revenue No. 20-23 (CL 20-23), which extends to coronavirus-related distributions under qualified retirement plans (CRDs) essentially the same eligibility requirements, due dates, and local tax treatment that Hacienda established in Circular Letter 20-09 (CL 20-09) for distributions under qualified retirement plans related to the earthquakes that hit Puerto Rico during the beginning of the year (ERDs).
The United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) was signed by U.S. President Donald Trump, former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on November 30, 2018. The USMCA was designed to update and replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Canada was the last of the three signatories to ratify the deal.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all federal states in Germany have implemented containment measures, contact restrictions, and curfews. All shops, cultural institutions, and certain services (e.g., hairdressers and gyms) not serving the universal supply are currently closed and events have been prohibited.
On March 30, 2020, Mexico’s Ministry of Health declared a national sanitary emergency “per force majeure” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mandating the immediate suspension of all private and public sector “non-essential” activities. The order is effective March 31, 2020, through April 30, 2020.
To help ease the administration of retirement plans in Puerto Rico during the coronavirus outbreak, on March 24, 2020, the Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury (commonly known by its Spanish name as Departamento de Hacienda de Puerto Rico) issued Administrative Determination No. 20-09 (AD 20-09).
As part of the reforms introduced under the United Kingdom’s Good Work Plan, amendments to Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) will impose a number of new obligations on employers in relation to written statements of particulars of employment. These changes will come into force on 6 April 2020. As such, employers may want to review and update their standard employment contracts to ensure compliance with the requirements.
On March 30, 2020, Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands Albert Bryan Jr. issued an executive order extending both the previously declared State of Emergency through May 12, 2020, and the territory-wide “stay at home” order through April 30, 2020. The executive order includes several provisions that impact businesses with operations in the Virgin Islands.
On April 1, 2020, Canada’s Minister of Finance outlined the federal government’s plans for a comprehensive wage subsidy plan that, in total, would put as much as $71 Billion (CAD) back into the pockets of participating employers. The stated purpose of the plan is to maximize the ability of employers to maintain employment relationships with their employees during this difficult time.
As of March 24, 2020 and effective until April 19, 2020, the Mexican government implemented a number of measures aimed at stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus, and the illness it causes, COVID-19. The latest regulation, which the Official Gazette of the Federation (Diario Oficial de la Federación) recently published, requires employers and individuals to comply with a number of preventive and obligatory measures.
On March 24, 2020, the British Columbia government made two changes to the BC Employment Standards Act to provide workers with unpaid, job-protected leave due to illness and injury.
Employers with Puerto Rico operations should be aware that, with some minor income tax-related twists, the emergency paid leave provisions of the recently enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) equally apply in Puerto Rico.
An employer’s response to COVID-19 involves numerous privacy issues. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about these issues within the United States and globally, based on laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (which applies in the United States) and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). While many of these principles can be applied globally, employers should always look to applicable local laws in their jurisdictions and guidance from public health authorities. Employers should also consult any applicable internal policies, data privacy notices, employee collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and individual employment terms.
As a complement to our frequently asked questions (FAQ) for U.S. employers, below are some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the latest developments on the virus, guidance from applicable public health authorities outside the United States, and managing COVID-19 responses across multiple jurisdictions worldwide. For terminology purposes, these FAQs use the term “COVID-19” generally to refer to the illness that is the subject of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) pandemic declaration.
The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United Kingdom has caused employers to be increasingly concerned and uncertain regarding the future of their workforces. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) that employers may be facing as the virus affects UK workforces.