The CARES Act: What Employers Need to Know About the Historic Stimulus Package

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, intended to stimulate the national economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would provide $2 trillion in direct financial assistance to Americans, ease access to loans and other economic assistance to businesses of all sizes, and provide aid and support to healthcare providers.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act FAQs: The FMLA Amendments and Paid Sick Leave Requirements of the New Law

On March 18, 2020, President Donald Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus and the illness it causes, COVID-19. Among other fiscal packages, the act does three things: (1) expands the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) temporarily (until the end of December 2020) to cover leave needed for the care of children out of school because of COVID-19 and also makes weeks 3 through 12 of its effective period paid leave; (2) creates 2 weeks of paid sick leave for childcare and other leave related to the coronavirus; and (3) provides for tax credits related to the paid leave provisions created by the act.

DOL Releases Field Assistance Guidance for Temporary Nonenforcement Period and FFCRA Notices for Employers

On March 26, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) announced the issuance of additional guidance related to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The guidance includes “Field Assistance Bulletin 2020-1: Temporary Non-Enforcement Period Applicable to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act” and model notices “for employers obligated to inform employees about their rights under this new law.”

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Department of Labor Releases Preliminary Guidance for Employers and Employees

On March 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division issued preliminary guidance for employers and employees concerning the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA). Both laws are part of larger Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) enacted on March 18, 2020.

Lending a Helping Hand: Employer Options for Providing Financial Support to Employees Affected by the Coronavirus

In a few short weeks, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has driven massive change in day-to-day activities for most Americans, and that change appears likely to accelerate. Travel restrictions, social distancing recommendations, and other public health interventions have had immediate implications for the nation’s employers, which now find themselves on the front lines of the COVID-19 response effort trying to ensure the safety of employees and customers while still continuing business operations. Employers are particularly aware of the financial challenges that may be imposed upon employees who are not permitted to work for extended periods of time, whether due to contracting COVID-19, self-quarantining due to coronavirus exposure, or office closures.

Tips for Shutting Down in Response to State Shelter-in-Place Orders

California, Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York have all issued statewide shelter-in-place orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and more states may follow. Employers that do not qualify for an exemption under the applicable state order or that decide to severely curtail or shut down operations may want to consider some of the following issues.

Oregon Expands Unemployment Benefits to Workers Impacted by COVID-19

On March 8, 2020, Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Just 9 days later, on March 17, 2020, Governor Brown issued a series of executive orders that prohibited gatherings of 25 people or more; prohibited any restaurants, bars, or other similar establishments that offer food or drink from allowing on-premises consumption; and closed public schools statewide through at least April 28, 2020.

New York State Passes Paid Quarantine Leave Law

On March 18, 2020, at Governor Andrew Cuomo’s behest, New York State passed an emergency law that extends paid leave and additional employment protections and benefits immediately to employees involuntarily quarantined in connection with COVID-19. An initial version of the bill also included paid sick leave provisions that were not directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic and were scheduled to take effect January 1, 2021. Those provisions have been stricken from the emergency law but are expected to be passed in separate legislation.

COVID-19 Update: Ontario Leave and Federal Travel Bans

In light of the international concern about, and risks associated with, the COVID-19 virus, the Canadian government recently took action aimed at stopping its spread and providing relief for those immediately affected. On March 16, 2020, the government announced that it is closing its borders and the introduction of job protection legislation.

Arizona Governor Ducey Declares a Public Health Emergency to Combat Continued Spread of COVID-19

In our recent article, we explained the COVID-19 epidemic’s potential impact on Arizona employers’ duty to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Significantly, we noted that in the event the governor declared a “public health emergency,” various business and school closures ordered by a “public official” in connection with that declaration could trigger paid sick leave obligations under Arizona’s earned paid sick time law.

Federal Court in North Carolina Tackles Associational Discrimination Claim Brought by Teacher With Disabled Son

On February 26, 2020, in the case of Schmitz v. Alamance-Burlington Board of Education, the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss claims for associational discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), retaliation under the ADA, and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. In the opinion and order, the court paved the way for the plaintiff to pursue associational discrimination claims.

Federal Court in North Carolina Rules Regarding Reasonable Accommodations

On February 24, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued an opinion in Brown v. Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. regarding disability discrimination, reasonable accommodations, and retaliation involving an employee who was unable to return to work following expiration of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. The case offers employers some guidance regarding the undue hardship analysis at a micro and macro level, ensuring compliance with the interactive process, and the best practice for handling requests for finite leave when the possibility of additional future leave is evident.

UK Supreme Court Confirms Divergence in Pay for Maternity and Parental Leave Does Not Discriminate Against Men

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has refused leave to appeal in the case of Chief Constable of Leicester v. Hextall. The claimant had sought leave to appeal the court of appeal’s May 2019 ruling in the combined cases of Ali v. Capita Customer Management Limited and Chief Constable of Leicester v. Hextall, [2019] EWCA Civ 900.

Japan’s COVID-19 Response Could Indicate a Global Shift in Daily Workplace Disease Prevention Practices

Recognizing that Japan has entered a new phase in its fight against the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Japan officials announced a preemptive approach geared toward risk mitigation and slowing down the spread of the virus to prevent a spike in infections. This strategy, which includes strengthening testing and quarantining capacities, could have long-term impacts on employment practices, particularly in office-based environments in which technology provides more adaptive flexibility.

China Provides Return-to-Work Guidance for Employers Dealing With End of Spring Festival Holidays and Ongoing Coronavirus Epidemic

The outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (now designated COVID-19) caused massive disruption in China, including a nationwide extension of its Spring Festival holidays. Though February 10, 2020, was the last “public holiday,” some businesses remain closed, and many still encourage China-based employees to work from home.

Keeping Up With New Jersey Employment Law Developments

It was a busy January 2020 in Trenton, with the state enacting several new employment laws, with more apparently on the way. This is in addition to the slew of new laws adopted in 2019 impacting New Jersey employers. Here’s a summary of recent employment law developments in New Jersey just one month into 2020, a look at what may be on the way, and a recap of 2019’s changes.

Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave Quarterly Returns Due by January 31, 2020

Recently, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) released guidance on how to report wages paid under the state Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (PFML) for employers’ fourth quarter 2019 PFML return. This guidance was released to ensure covered employers can properly and timely file and remit contributions in advance of the quarterly deadline of January 31, 2020.

Judge Issues Temporary Injunction Blocking Implementation of San Antonio’s Sick and Safety Leave Law

The City of San Antonio’s Sick and Safe Leave ordinance has been enjoined. The ordinance was originally scheduled to go into effect on August 1, 2019, but on July 24, 2019, a Texas state court delayed implementation until December 1, 2019, pending a ruling on a motion for temporary injunction filed by business groups and the state.

Showing Up to Work: Sixth Circuit Clarifies When Regular, In-Person Attendance Is Required Under the ADA

In Popeck v. Rawlings Company, LLC, No. 19-5092 (October 16, 2019), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the Rawlings Company on Popeck’s claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), finding that regular, in-person attendance was an essential function of Popeck’s job as a claims auditor.

FMLA Retaliation Case Illustrates the Practical Significance of Effective HR Documentation

In Simpson v. Temple University, et al., the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted summary judgment to the defendants on the plaintiff’s claims of interference and retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The decision illustrates the practical significance of documenting performance issues and termination decisions as soon as possible.

Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Update: Private Plan Exemptions and Reminders on Notice Compliance

The Department of Paid Family and Medical Leave (DFML) continues to issue updates concerning compliance with the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (PFML). The DFML’s most recent updates address private plan exemptions and how the DFML has reevaluated and revised its internal review process to more efficiently evaluate these applications.

Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave: Update on 1099-MISC Workers and State-Provided Training

The deadlines for notice to employees and contribution withholdings required by the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFML) are fast approaching, and employers are encouraged to make sure that they are prepared. Ahead of these important deadlines, the Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) continues to announce updated guidance on the program.