Labor & Employment

Virginia’s Workplace Safety and Health Standards for COVID-19

On July 27, 2020, Virginia became the first state in the nation to implement workplace safety and health standards for COVID-19.  The Safety and Health Codes Board adopted § 16VAC25-220, an Emergency Temporary Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention: SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19 (the “Temporary Standard”), which is designed to supplement and enhance existing Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (“VOSH”) laws, rules, and regulations that may apply to the prevention and control of COVID-19 in the workplace.  Virginia imposed these standards because the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), the federal agency responsible for workplace safety, has thus far refused to make its own extensive recommendations mandatory.  Not surprisingly, the Virginia standards borrow heavily from existing OSHA guidance in most areas.

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Video: First Workplace Safety Mandates, COVID-19 Employee Training, Masks Required at Major Retailers – Employment Law This Week

Featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This week, Virginia became the first state to issue workplace safety standards, but with guidance still varying widely, many nationwide businesses have begun requiring masks.

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The U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Guidance on Leave and Wage & Hour Issues Confronting Employers as They Reopen for Business

On July 20, 2020, the Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) of the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) published new guidance for businesses reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance is in the form of additions to the WHD’s existing Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs” or “Guidance”) and addresses issues arising under two leave laws—the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”)—and wage and hour matters governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

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Video: COVID-19 Considerations for Employee Vacation Time – Employment Law This Week

Featured in #WorkforceWednesday: Employers are encouraging employees to use their vacation time this summer to avoid a crush of end-of-year vacations. But what happens when an employee vacations in a COVID-19 “hotspot”?  Attorney Nancy Gunzenhauser Popper explains.

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Getting Back to Work: What Employers Should Keep in Mind About Industry-Related Requirements for Returning to Work Following Shutdown

As employers begin to develop and implement plans for reopening and staff return to the workplace, they should be mindful of industry-specific requirements and guidance, which may apply where they operate.  Following are some examples that typify the sorts of industry-related requirements various states and municipalities have implemented:

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NYC Updates Face Covering FAQs for Indoor Activities

On July 13, 2020, the New York City Health Department released a COVID-19 Face Coverings Frequently Asked Questions document (“FAQs”), encouraging anyone in New York City to wear a face covering in any indoor setting that is not their home, even if proper social distancing, i.e., 6 feet of separation, can be maintained.  The recommendation comes as the City continues to reopen and more people are returning to the workplace.

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Video: OSHA Urges Employees to Wear Face Masks – Employment Law This Week

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: The latest FAQs from OSHA recommend wearing face masks, among other suggestions, for employees returning to work. Attorney Robert J. O’Hara discusses the significance of OSHA’s decision to issue recommendations, rather than guidance, and how rules on face masks in the office may differ at the state and local levels.

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U.S. Department of Labor Issues Opinion Letters on the Outside Sales, Administrative, and 7(i) Exemptions, as Well as the Status of Third-Party Payments as Wages

While the COVID-19 pandemic remains a challenge to employers nationwide, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) continues to field non-COVID-related wage and hour questions.  On June 25, 2020, the WHD issued five new opinion letters addressing the outside sales, administrative, and retail or service establishment exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), as well as the relationship between third-party payments to workers and the FLSA’s minimum wage requirement.  Employers should take note of these useful explanations of key FLSA concepts.

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Seattle Mandates Temporary Premium Pay and Other Benefits for Certain Gig Economy Workers During Pandemic Continue Reading…

As we wrote about in more detail here, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has brought increased attention to the legal and practical distinctions between employees (who are entitled to various compensation and employment benefits under the law) and independent contractors (who generally are not).  The pandemic has also prompted lawmakers at the federal, state, and local level to explore further legislation designed to provide independent contractors with greater protections under the law.

The Seattle City Council has now passed two ordinances—the “Gig Worker Premium Pay Ordinance” and the “Gig Worker Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance”—that will temporarily impose heightened requirements on transportation network and food delivery network companies.

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HR BRIEF: HOW WILL THE FURLOUGH SCHEME CHANGE FROM 1ST JULY 2020?

Further to the recently announced changes to the furlough scheme (see our blog on this), detailed guidance has now been published by the government. In this briefing, we look at some key questions relating to the changes.

WHICH EMPLOYEES ARE ELIGIBLE?

The general eligibility requirements as were already in place have not been changed. Read more…

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