On June 23, 2020, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the “Back to Work” emergency ordinance. The ordinance requires certain San Francisco employers to offer reemployment to covered employees who were subjected to qualifying layoffs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 cases in Florida continue to increase, particularly in the Tampa Bay area. In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties have enacted ordinances requiring face coverings in most indoor settings where social distancing (of at least six feet between persons) cannot be maintained.
Idaho is offering cash bonuses to employees who return to work as the state lifts COVID-19–related restrictions and businesses reopen. In an effort to incentivize employees who are now earning more money due to the additional benefits provided through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, Idaho has implemented a Return to Work Bonuses program.
On June 26, 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order No. GA-28, immediately scaling back the reopening of Texas due to substantial increases in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 and the number of hospitalizations.
In preparing global strategies for monitoring employee health, employers with international workforces may want to be aware that occupational medicine plays a key role for employers in many countries outside the United States—whether in the hiring and termination process, in developing and implementing health and safety plans, or in evaluating work-related illnesses and injuries.
As employers reopen their businesses following closures or reductions in operations required during the COVID-19 pandemic, many are grappling with the fraught and complex task of bringing laid-off or furloughed employees back to the workplace. Among the many issues that such employers will need to deal with in onboarding those employees is whether and to what extent they will need to renew their restrictive covenants agreements with employees who had such agreements before the pandemic.
Businesses across the country are finally beginning to reopen and individuals are returning to work. As part of the reopening process, companies are implementing new safety protocols. Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans are not always successful.
Beginning on June 15, 2020, at 8:00 a.m., Delaware will move into the second phase of its three-phase reopening plan following the recent lifting of the state’s stay-at-home order. In Phase 2, retail establishments, restaurants, and other businesses that were previously permitted to reopen at 30 percent of fire occupancy requirements will be allowed to expand to 60 percent of the fire occupancy limits for their premises.
What role can mobile technology play in a global employer’s return-to-workplace strategy? Employers exploring mobile apps to comply with new safety directives (for example, to facilitate contact tracing, symptom certification, or entry/exit logging) may wonder about how to implement them across operations globally—especially since the legal conditions on these apps vary greatly from country to country.
The federal government of Mexico is implementing a sanitary alert system—called the “traffic light” system—for gradually reopening activities, including the economy in a safe and durable manner. The reopening will be performed in three phases.
In May 2020, the United Kingdom welcomed the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act 1970, which was enacted to ensure the equal treatment of men and women in terms of pay and the conditions of employment. However, in recent months, research has revealed that women have suffered a larger fall in earnings in the United Kingdom and are losing their jobs in greater numbers than men during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conducting business in the U.S. Virgin Islands poses unique challenges not often encountered in the states, but also unique opportunities. This 20-part series offers tips for doing business in the U.S. Virgin Islands, covering a broad array of topics affecting employers. Part four of this series addresses COVID-19 guidance for restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
On June 5, 2020, Governor Tim Walz continued with the phased reopening of Minnesota by issuing Executive Order 20-74. Effective June 10, 2020, this executive order will further loosen restrictions on businesses that are places of public accommodation.
This is the second in a series of articles written from my perspective as a labor and employment lawyer and mother addressing issues raised by the pandemic on multiple levels. My hope is that this series will provide practical guidance on how to deal with COVID-19 concerns based on current federal and state COVID-19–related laws.
As the nation slowly reopens for business, employers and employees are understandably filled with uncertainty. For many employees, there is uncertainty about the risks involved with returning to work. For many employers, there is uncertainty about the scope of their legal obligations to employees and others during a continuing pandemic. These are uncharted waters in many respects, but there is guidance upon which employers can rely in making decisions about how to resume operations, including in making decisions about returning furloughed and laid off employees to work. While there are many issues employers must consider in resuming operations, this article focuses on five specific issues to consider when returning employees to work.
South Carolina has slowly begun to reopen over the last few weeks. While every state and many individual jurisdictions have different reopening criteria, in South Carolina, close contact businesses are now open.
On May 29, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton issued the “Director’s Updated and Revised Order for Business Guidance and Social Distancing.” As expected, the new order extends many of the same requirements and guidelines previously in place through the (now expired) “Stay Safe Ohio” order, including requiring employees to wear face coverings except in limited circumstances, and sector-specific operating mandates. These requirements are now extended through July 1, 2020, with some notable changes and additions.
Childcare is an essential component of any return-to-work plan. Without it, employees may assert that they are unable to return to work or may seek to continue to work remotely.
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).
On May 21, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued Considerations for Institutes of Higher Education, outlining recommendations and guidance on ways universities and colleges can safely open while helping to protect their students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members. The CDC cautions that “[t]he more an individual interacts with others, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.”
On May 27, 2020, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued Mayor’s Order No. 2020-067, implementing phase one of a three-stage reopening plan in the District of Columbia. Beginning on May 29, 2020, D.C. residents and visitors will no longer be required to stay at home and certain businesses will be permitted to resume normal operations, so long as they comply with applicable health and safety guidelines.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will resume premium processing via Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, in phases during the month of June.
On May 26, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation expanding the list of “Covered Services” permitted to reopen in Texas. The proclamation is consistent with Executive Order GA-23, which “continu[es] through June 3, 2020, subject to extension based on the status of COVID-19 in Texas and the recommendations of the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas, the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].”
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.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will reopen some domestic offices to resume non-emergency services on June 4, 2020. USCIS suspended routine in-person services on March 18, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of their “COVID-secure” return to work plans, some employers in the United Kingdom are implementing temperature screenings for their employees.