The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) became law on March 18, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we previously blogged on several (okay, numerous) occasions, the FFCRA comprises the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLA”), which provide paid leave in connection with certain COVID-19 related absences from work. Rather than go into each of those circumstances, you can click on any of the above links to our previous blogs. Although most employers are required to offer EPSLA and EFMLA leave to employees, employers are not required to extend leave eligibility to a “health care provider.” Continue Reading Department of Labor Revises “Health Care Provider” Exemption to COVID-19-Related Paid Sick Leave and Enhanced Family Medical Leave
We have seen a significant number of OSHA investigations in recent weeks in response to reports of employee deaths and illnesses due to COVID-19. In the height of the pandemic, employers, including nursing homes, were unclear regarding their obligations to report employee incidents of COVID-19 to OSHA due to the difficulty in determining whether such cases were “work-related.” Below we have outlined OSHA’s reporting requirements and expectations regarding investigations into whether COVID cases are work-related, as well as some practices in responding to OSHA investigations. Going forward, we encourage employers to ensure they are meeting OSHA requirements and are prepared to timely respond to requests for information as penalties for such violations can be significant. Continue Reading OSHA Investigations and Employee Deaths and Cases of COVID-19
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued new guidance stating that employers cannot require employees to undergo antibody or serology testing to determine whether employees were previously infected with Covid-19 or are otherwise immune to the virus. Employers cannot require antibody testing before allowing an employee to return to work or in assigning job duties. The EEOC’s previous guidance allowing employers to test employees for current Covid-19 infection remains in effect. Continue Reading EEOC Prohibits Covid-19 Antibody Testing
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues throughout the world, many workplaces have gone virtual. While the advent of technology makes a remote workforce possible, the newly remote workforce brings with it additional challenges to a company’s information technology (“IT”) systems. However, proper policies and procedures that govern the security of IT systems and employees’ use of such systems can go a long way to help protect an organization.
The wait is over. Since the announcement that certain Connecticut businesses would be permitted to reopen beginning May 20, 2020, most have waited with bated breath to understand what that process would and should look like. Yesterday, Governor Lamont released specific guidance for businesses covered by Phase 1 of Connecticut’s reopening plan, which businesses must consider in formulating their own plans. While the wait for the plan is over, the journey back has just begun. The guidelines continue to encourage those who can work from home to work from home. They also strongly recommend that those 65 or over or with underlying health conditions that would make them more susceptible to COVID-19 (comorbidities) not return to work.
On Friday, April 17, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its guidance on COVID-19 issues and equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws. The easy to read Q&A format is necessary reading for essential employers whose physical workspaces remain open, and for employers contemplating re-opening plans or personnel changes. The EEOC’s guidance clarifies that EEO laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), continue to apply during the pandemic, while recognizing that these laws should not interfere with applicable safety guidelines issued by the CDC and other agencies. Recent guidance addresses the following issues:
For the last several weeks, the Department of Labor has periodically updated its Families First Coronavirus Response Act: (FFCRA) “Questions and Answers” page by illustrating real-world applications of the FFCRA. We covered previous updates on March 31, 2020 and March 25, 2020. The most recent updates – questions 80-88 – illustrate common issues in computing employee hour and pay entitlements under the FFCRA, among others.
Effective April 20, 2020 at 8:00 p.m., employees in the workplace are required to wear a face mask or cloth face covering. Governor Lamont issued this directive as part of Executive Order No. 7BB, which also requires individuals in public to “cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face-covering” when a “safe social distance of approximately six feet from every other person” cannot be maintained. Connecticut follows New York’s lead once again, as New York previously implemented a substantively identical order.
On Friday, April 17, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its guidance on COVID-19 issues and equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws. The easy to read Q&A format is necessary reading for essential employers whose physical workspaces remain open, and for employers contemplating re-opening plans or personnel changes. The EEOC’s guidance clarifies that EEO laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), continue to apply during the pandemic while recognizing that these laws should not interfere with applicable safety guidelines issued by the CDC and other agencies. Recent guidance addresses the following issues:
The Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) recently extended the deadline for employers to conduct mandatory sexual harassment training by 90 days. The extension applies to employees hired after the October 1, 2019 enactment of Connecticut “Time’s Up Act.” For an employer to avail itself of the extension, it will have to explain exactly how COVID-19 precluded training. Neither cost nor mobility should be hurdles, as the CHRO provides free, remote, online training that satisfies statutory requirements.