The enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, H.R. 133 on Dec. 27, 2020 (the “Stimulus Act”) was unprecedented for its scope and for the length of the legislation. It provided much needed relief to many sectors of the United States still struggling from the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic through a combination of funding for government programs, renewal of the Paycheck Protection Program, and extension or expansion of a multitude of expiring tax incentives. The act combines a $1.4 trillion extension of government funding with nearly $1 trillion in new stimulus measures. The various tax provisions amount to approximately one-third of the nearly $328-billion total of the act’s stimulus measures. Read more…
Monthly Archives: January 2021
Our colleagues Peter Steinmeyer and Brian Spang have co-authored an article in Law360, titled “Trade Secrets Law 25 Years After PepsiCo Disclosure Case.” (Read the full version – subscription required.)
Following is an excerpt:
Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued what many at the time perceived as a landmark decision, PepsiCo Inc. v. Redmond, in which the court applied the concept of inevitable disclosure of trade secrets to affirm an injunction prohibiting a senior executive from taking a similar position at a direct competitor.
We’re pleased to share the 2021 update of “Non-Compete Laws: Connecticut,” a Q&A guide published by Thomson Reuters Practical Law.
Following is an excerpt (see below to download the full version in PDF format):
To close out 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) recently issued two new opinion letters addressing overtime payments for caregivers and travel time for partial-day teleworkers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). We recommend a close review of these opinion letters as they offer a helpful overview of key FLSA principles and may provide answers to questions shared by numerous employers.
As of December 29, 2020, Michigan employers are no longer required to permit employees to self-quarantine for up to 14 days due to alleged close contact with an individual displaying COVID-19 symptoms. Recent amendments to Michigan’s Anti-Retaliation COVID-19 law reflect updated CDC guidance reducing the recommended length of quarantine for individuals who suspect exposure to COVID-19. Previous CDC guidance recommended that individuals quarantine for up to 14 days following close contact with an individual displaying COVID-19 symptoms. Now, the CDC recommends a 10-day quarantine, without testing or symptoms, and a 7-day quarantine with a negative diagnostic test and no symptoms, following close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. The law still prohibits employers from taking adverse action against employees who are absent from work due to COVID-19.
In December 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) updated the list of its active work plan categories that will be subject to audit in 2021. This list is an underutilized official preview of what healthcare providers should expect – and therefore focus on – in terms of fraud and abuse and compliance audits from the government. The list is free and publicly available to all. The newly published 2021 list notably includes review of standard Medicare Part B payments for psychotherapy services, as well as telehealth services provided during the Coronavirus Public Health Emergency (PHE). Read more…
DOL’s Final Rule on Investment Duties of ERISA Fiduciaries and Its Impact on Retirement Plan ESG Investing
On October 30, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) adopted the Final Rule amending the Investment Duties DOL Regulation, §2550.404a-1, which governs the obligations of ERISA fiduciaries when selecting investments for ERISA plans. The Final Rule made several changes to the June 2020 Proposed Rule, which proposed to define the duties of fiduciaries when considering investments that promote environmental, social, and corporate governance goals (ESG investments). As reported here, DOL received extensive and largely negative comments to the Proposed Rule and most of the objections concerned the treatment of ESG investments.
HITECH Act Amendment Incentivizes Adoption of NIST and Other Recognized Cybersecurity Safeguards as a Defense or Mitigation to HIPAA Enforcement
On January 5, 2020, HR 7898, became law amending the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), 42 U.S.C. 17931, to require that “recognized cybersecurity practices” be considered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) in determining any Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) fines, audit results or mitigation remedies. The new law provides a strong incentive to covered entities and business associates to adopt “recognized cybersecurity practices” and risk reduction frameworks when complying with the HIPAA privacy and security standards to reduce risk associated with security threats and HHS enforcement determinations. Specifically, the earlier adoption of an established, formalized and recognized cybersecurity framework, may significantly insulate entities from regulatory enforcement in the wake of subsequent security incidents or data breaches.
As many employers approach their one-year anniversary of working from home, it is obvious that the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed both how and where we work. By 2025, an estimated 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely—a staggering 87% increase from pre-pandemic levels. Moreover, surveys reveal that company leaders plan to permit employees to work from home at least part of the time upon reopening their offices. However, a remote workforce poses a challenge for employers that must display certain notices and posters in their workplaces to advise employees of their rights under federal, state, and local employment laws.
On January 4, 2021, Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health, announced new measures for all employers and persons responsible for a business or organization in the City of Toronto (“Toronto“) permitted to be open under the Reopening Ontario Act. All persons responsible for a business or organization in Toronto are instructed to follow the public health measures outlined below: