Virginia Issues Permanent COVID-19 Standard

In July 2020, the Safety and Health Codes Board of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry approved an emergency temporary standard for COVID-19. In so doing, Virginia became the first state to issue such a temporary standard. On January 13, 2021, the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board enacted a permanent standard for COVID-19. The “Final Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus that Causes COVID-19” will be enforced by the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health program (VOSH) and is anticipated to take effect on January 27, 2021.

States Create Presumptions for Essential Workers to Become Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits During Pandemic

A number of states have recently passed or proposed amendments to their workers’ compensation statutes (or have issued other authority) to make it easier for healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential workers to receive workers’ compensation benefits in connection with COVID-19.

South Carolina Announces Reopening of Certain Businesses and Economic Revitalization Plan

As decreases in hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19 continue their apparent incremental decline across the country, businesses seek a light at the end of the tunnel.  Governors eager to get their citizens back to work have begun to formulate plans for reopening their economies. On Monday, April 20, 2020, South Carolina became one of the first states to implement measures for restarting its economy when Governor Henry McMaster signed an executive order allowing certain retail establishments to begin operating again.

Weighing the Options: FFCRA and CARES Act Present Alternatives for Small Businesses Facing Hard Choices

Untangling the web of options presented to small employers under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act can seem daunting. A small employer (generally one with no more than 500 employees) has a number of options, as well as obligations, to consider when adjusting to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. In broad terms, the obligations and solutions presented under the FFCRA and the CARES Act can be divided into (1) paid leave obligations; (2) financial assistance; (3) tax incentives; and (4) expanded unemployment insurance benefits for displaced employees. Understanding those programs is critical to successfully navigating the current business climate. So how may a small employer approach these issues?

New Enforcement Procedures For Investigating Workplace Violence

On September 8, 2011, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its inaugural written enforcement directive for in-cidents of workplace violence. The directive will be used by district supervisors and area directors in evaluating whether to conduct an investigation into allegations of workplace violence. Moreover, the directive lists inspection procedures to be followed by compliance officers while conducting inspections as well as potential methods of abatement available to employers.