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.
Governor Cuomo’s most recent executive order requires employees “present in the workplace” to wear “face coverings” when in “direct contact with customers or members of the public.” The order further requires that employers pay for and provide such face coverings. The order is effective Wednesday night, April 15, 2020 at 8:00pm.
On April 3, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed the 2021 New York State budget, which included paid sick leave for employees in New York State. Yes – paid sick leave that can be taken for normal, non-pandemic illnesses, among other reasons.
While society remains upended by COVID-19, Governor Cuomo stated, “we have to be able to walk and chew gum. We have to move forward at the same time and that’s why passing the budget and these pieces of legislation were important.” State-wide sick leave – which surely would have received more attention but for immediate COVID-19 related concerns – requires New York employers to review their paid time off and sick leave policies.
On Tuesday, April 7, 2020, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 7V, ordering Connecticut employers to take “additional protective measures to reduce the risk” of COVID-19 transmission. The Department of Economic and Community Development supplemented the Executive Order with its “Safe Workplace Rules for Essential Employers,” i.e., specific, “legally binding statewide rules prescribing such additional protective measures.” Continue Reading Connecticut Issues Binding Safe Workplace Rules for Essential Employers
The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act’s (“FFCRA”) swift enactment left employers scrambling to interpret its provisions. Fortunately, the Department of Labor has issued temporary regulations that resolve many common questions and scenarios. Final regulations are expected on April 6th.
The FFCRA provides two types of paid leave: the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLEA”). You can read about the basic provisions of FFCRA here. This post summarizes some critical issues concerning FFCRA implementation.
The federal Department of Labor (DOL) continues to update its Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) FAQ leading up to the April 1, 2020 implementation. Over the past week, the DOL has supplemented the FFCRA FAQ several times to provide guidance and clarifications concerning lingering questions. Some of the recent clarifications we find helpful are below.
On Wednesday night, the Senate passed unanimously (96-0) a $2 trillion emergency relief bill. The measure would constitute the largest economic stimulus package in U.S. history. Key provisions include:
Updating our prior Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) guidance, today the Department of Labor issued a model poster concerning FFCRA rights and responsibilities. The poster is accessible at: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf
The FFCRA requires covered employers post in a conspicuous place on its premises a notice of FFCRA requirements. For covered employers with remote work forces, we recommend emailing the DOL notice to employees, posting on an intranet, or otherwise disseminating via means accessible to all employees.