Labor & Employment

New Measures of Assistance for Workers and Employers

By Eliab Taïrou and Marianne Poliquin

March 26, 2020 — RSS’s Labour and Employment Law Practice Group closely monitors developments with measures taken by the federal and Quebec governments to support employers and their workforce.

For instance, as of April 2020, Canada will be implementing a new Canada Emergency Response Benefit, that will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:

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New Measures of Assistance for Workers and Employers

RSS’s Labour and Employment Law Practice Group closely monitors developments with measures taken by the federal and Quebec governments to support employers and their workforce.

For instance, as of April 2020, Canada will be implementing a new Canada Emergency Response Benefit, that will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:

Read full article

Temporary Benefit Strategies to Immediately Help Workers: Benefits Guidance in the Time of COVID-19

The closure orders issued by federal and state government authorities across the United States have resulted in the reduction and loss of income for a significant percentage of the U.S. workforce. On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Report Act (the “Coronavirus Act”), effective April 2, 2020, providing relief for certain eligible families, employers and businesses. Further legislation is on the horizon. Meanwhile, under existing law, the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”) permits employers to provide some immediate and direct employee assistance on a tax-favored basis.

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TGS Baltic offers up-to-date information on the availability of Covid-19 crisis mitigation measures and the newest regulatory changes.

General

In accordance with Cabinet Order No. 119 of 24 March 2020, which amends Cabinet Order No. 103 On the Declaration of Emergency Situation of 12 March 2020, new restrictions take place:

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In Advance of April 1 Effective Date, DOL Issues Guidance on Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 24, 2020, the Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) of the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued initial guidance (“Guidance”) on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA” or the “Act”), which we detailed in a previous Advisory.  In short, the Act requires private employers with fewer than 500 employees (“covered employers”) to provide paid sick and family leave for certain COVID-19 related absences and includes a tax credit for employers for the cost of the paid leave.

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May Employees Take Hardship Distributions Under Their 401(k) Plan? Benefits Guidance in the Time of COVID-19

As temporary layoffs and furloughs become more prevalent during the COVID-19 outbreak, employers have been asking whether they may allow employees to take hardship distributions under their Section 401(k) plans for expenses and losses resulting from COVID-19.

Under the IRS hardship distribution final regulations, employers were permitted to add a new safe harbor hardship category that would allow an employee to take a hardship withdrawal to cover expenses and losses (including loss of income) incurred by the employee on account of a disaster declared by FEMA under the Stafford Act. To qualify, either the employee’s principal residence or place of employment must be in the disaster area designated by FEMA for assistance. Expenses and losses incurred by family members do not count for this purpose.

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Employer-Sponsored Leave Sharing or Leave Donation Programs: Benefits Guidance in the Time of COVID-19

Many employers are looking for ways to assist employees directly impacted by COVID-19 and employees on temporary lay-off or furlough who are exhausting their available paid-time-off (PTO). One option employers often ask about is the feasibility of adopting a leave sharing or leave donation program that would permit employees to donate vacation, sick leave or PTO to employees who need the additional time because they have been impacted by COVID-19. Properly structured, leave donated to a co-worker is a viable option, which will not be taxable to the donor but rather taxable to the co-worker when the leave is actually taken.

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President Signs National Anti-Price Gouging Executive Order

On Monday March 23, 2020, President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at preventing hoarding and price gouging.  Attorney General William H. Barr indicated that the order is authorized under the Defense Protection Act, which allows the United States to compel private industry to assist in meeting national defense needs in response to national emergencies.

The new executive order empowers the Health and Human Services Secretary to designate supplies as “critical.”  Hoarding – accumulating quantities beyond those reasonable to satisfy personal or business needs – or price gouging is prohibited with respect to these “critical” supplies.  Presently, the Health and Human Services Secretary has not designated any supplied as “critical,” It is, however, anticipated that the order will be directed toward medical supplies, as opposed to traditional consumer goods like toilet paper or cleaning products that have also been the subject of supply shortages in the face of COVID-19.

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5 key points in developing a telework policy

States and the federal government are requesting that employers allow employees to telecommute. Some states may even mandate telework in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. READ MORE 

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Is COVID-19 a workers’ compensation claim in Ohio?

In Ohio, employees who are disabled due to the contraction of an occupational disease or are the dependents of an employee whose death is caused by an occupational disease are entitled to compensation under Ohio’s Workers’ Compensation system. In light of the current pandemic, an issue of concern for employers in Ohio is whether an employee may have a workers’ compensation claim if the employees contracts COVID-19 in a work related setting. READ MORE

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