Labor & Employment

U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Opinion Letters Clarifying Regular Rate Principles

In addition to its recent, exigent responsibility of preparing guidance on the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) has issued three new opinion letters addressing the excludability of certain types of payments from the regular rate of pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  While these opinion letters do not tread new ground, they are useful reminders of important regular rate principles and merit careful review.

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NLRB Issues Guidance on When Duty to Bargain May Be Suspended During COVID-19 Pandemic

On March 27, 2020, NLRB General Counsel John Ring issued General Counsel Memorandum 20-04, entitled “Case Summaries Pertaining to the Duty to Bargain in Emergency Situations” providing employers with guidance “regarding the rights and obligations of both employers and labor organizations, particularly in light of responsive measures taken to contain the virus,” including both “measures taken out of prudence” as well as and other actions that “have been required by state, local or federal authorities.” Our Act Now Advisory reports on the General Counsel’s review of summarized in the Memorandum are those touching on the duty to bargain during public emergency situations and those touching on the duty to bargain during emergency situations particular to an individual employer. Stay tuned to this blog and Epstein Becker Green’s Coronavirus Resource Center for updates.

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Major Cities in Texas Enter “Stay at Home” Orders: Implications and Other Considerations for Employers

On March 13, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott declared a State of Disaster in Texas due to COVID-19. Subsequently, on March 19. 2020, Governor Abbott issued a Public Health Disaster Declaration, and an Executive Order, which, among other things, prohibited congregating in groups consisting of more than ten people, and closed all Texas restaurant dining rooms [1] bars, gyms and schools, effective March 20, 2020.  Governor Abbott has refrained from issuing a statewide shelter-in-place order, and has instead left the decision up to city and county leaders.  In the days that followed, and throughout this week, 16 counties, and major cities in Texas, including Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio have issued “Stay at Home” orders, which share many similarities, with a few distinctions.  The following are summaries of the key aspects of the orders that may impact the workplace, followed by a glossary defining some of the key terms in the orders.

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Tax Credits Offered to Employees Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act) was signed into law on March 18, The Act authorizes certain relief to businesses pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, including tax credits to employers to help offset the cost of wages to employees taking time off under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.
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Update: New Effective Date for Paid Sick Leave and Paid Emergency FMLA Provision in Families First Coronavirus Response Act

We previously provided guidance regarding paid sick time and leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Employers take note: recently released guidance from the Department of Labor has clarified that the Act will go into effect on April 1, not April 2 as the legislation implied.
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Relief for EPFO subscribers amid COVID-19 lockdown

On 26th March 2020, Union Finance Minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman while unveiling a comprehensive relief package amounting to INR 1.7 lakh crores in a bid to cushion the low-income group and marginalized people from the impact of the pandemic Covid-19 lockdown and its consequential economic disruption, also announced some relief to workers and employers in the organized sector.
Under the package, the Union Government will pay both employer and employee’s contribution (12 percent each), put together 24 percent, towards the Employee Provident Fund (EPF) for the next 3 (three) months. However, the move will benefit and cover only those establishments having upto 100 employees, of which not less than 90 percent earns less than INR 15,000/- monthly.
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New Jersey Extends Benefits and Protections to Workers Impacted by COVID-19

On March 25, 2020, by signing legislative bill S2304 into law, Governor Philip Murphy expanded the availability of benefits under the state’s Temporary Disability Insurance (“TDI”) and Family Leave Insurance (“FLI”) programs to employees impacted by epidemic-related illnesses such as COVID-19.  The new law (“Law”) provides numerous key changes to the existing statutory scheme for state-issued disability insurance benefits, family leave insurance benefits, and use of accrued paid sick time.

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Covid-19 in Latvia: The latest regulation provides for idle time benefits and tax holidays up to 3 years for all companies with 30% or in certain cases 20% drop in turnover, regardless of industry

On 26 March 2020, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted criteria and procedures for receiving idle time benefits and maturity breakdown of tax payments or a deferral of up to three years for any company affected by Covid-19 crisis.

Rights to receive crisis benefits and tax holidays

The criteria for employers and tax payers affected by Covid-19, to receive idle time benefit and tax holidays up to three years are as follows:

1. turnover has decreased by at least 30% (compared to March or April 2019); or
2. turnover in March or April 2020 (compared to March or April 2019) has decreased by at least 20% and the company meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • the company’s exports amount to 10% of its total turnover in 2019 or at least EUR 500,000;
  •  the average monthly gross salary paid by the company in 2019 was at least EUR 800;
  • long-term investments in fixed assets as at 31 December 2019 were at least EUR 500,000.
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WHAT EMPLOYERS SHOULD KNOW

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase, both in the UK and globally, employers may be wondering what measures they should be taking and what rights their employees have.

Read our blog where we take a look at the most commonly asked questions.

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS

There are several types of employment insurance benefits available to individuals during this difficult time. Read the full article.

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