Labor & Employment

Overview of changes in the international coronavirus pandemic. Сontinued

While the threat of COVID-19 spread is not on the decline, the Russian Government continues to update the measures taken or introduce new ones, trying to act ahead of the possible adverse consequences of COVID-19.

Further review of the most significant business support measures under the conditions of COVID-19, as well as actions taken to curb the spread of COVID-19, follows below.

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New Jersey Enacts Anti-Retaliation Protections to Workers Impacted by COVID-19

On March 20, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation (A3848), which bars employers from taking any adverse employment actions against employees who take, or request, time off due to an infectious disease that could affect others at work based on a written recommendation of a New Jersey licensed medical professional.   It also precludes an employer from refusing to reinstate the employee to the position held when the leave commenced with no reduction in seniority, status, employment benefits, pay or other terms and conditions of employment.  Although enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, the law is not limited to the current public emergency, and does not include a “sunset” provision.

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NLRB Postpones All Elections Indefinitely and Seriously Limits Other Agency Operations: The Status of NLRB Operations in the Face of COVID-19

The impact of the novel coronavirus has slammed employers across the globe, and federal agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) are no exception.  The Board announced Thursday the unprecedented step that it was suspending all representation elections, including mail ballot elections, for at least two (2) weeks until at least April 3rd.

Just days earlier, the Agency implemented a nationwide telework policy in both its headquarters and regional offices, encouraging employees of the agency to work from home.  While implementing the election freeze, the Agency highlighted that operations would be limited and open regional offices will maintain “minimal staff.”   In a press release, the Agency stated “given the closure of several regional offices and limited operations and significant telework at others, the Board does not believe that it is possible to effectively conduct elections at this time.”

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Colorado Provides Further Guidance on Mandatory Paid Leave for COVID-19 Testing

As we explained in an earlier post, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (“DLE”) has issued new Health Emergency Leave with Pay (“HELP”) Rules in response to the coronavirus. Effective March 11, 2020, the HELP Rules mandate employers provide four (4) days of paid sick leave for employees in certain industries who have flu-like symptoms to receive COVID-19 testing. The DLE has since released FAQs to clarify some ambiguities in the HELP Rules.

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Employees Telecommuting During Public Health Crisis May Be Entitled to Expense Reimbursement

In an effort to slow the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”), many employers around the country are encouraging—if not requiring—their employees to work remotely.  Although telecommuting during a public health crisis presents obvious benefits, it also presents employers with unique challenges, such as ensuring compliance with applicable expense reimbursement laws.

Employees working from home may incur any number of expenses – home computers, printers, Internet service, WiFi connections, smartphones and even paper, pens and other office equipment

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NY Gov. Cuomo Reduces to Zero the Number of Employees Allowed to Report to Work to Nonessential Businesses

In a news conference on March 20, 2020, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all nonessential New York State private businesses and nonprofits to reduce their workforce reporting to work by 100%  The announcement essentially amends Executive Order 202.6 (“Order”), issued by Gov. Cuomo on March 18, 2020, which required a 50% workforce reduction, by no later than March 20th at 8 p.m. (On March 19, 2020 Gov. Cuomo had announced a 75% required reduction, which has now been superseded).

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Employment Law Q&A: Responding to a positive COVID-19 test

How do I respond to an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 or had potential contact with someone who has? READ MORE

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D.C. Passes Emergency Legislation to Provide Additional Benefits to Employees in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic and to Provide Business Relief

On March 17, 2020, the District of Columbia passed the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (the “Act”), which extends additional benefits under the District’s unemployment insurance (“UI”) law and the D.C. Family and Medical Leave Act (“DCFMLA”), and among other things also provides various forms of business relief. The Act is effective immediately.

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Temperatures, medical questions and how the ADA intersects with public safety

Most employers know that they should steer clear of asking employees certain medical questions to avoid overstepping the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Yet, the coronavirus pandemic has put employers in the undesirable position of trying to assess whether employees are coming to work with symptoms of the coronavirus. So, what’s an employer to do? READ MORE

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Families First Coronavirus Response Act becomes law

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes broad assistance to businesses and individuals. For employers and employees, the bill includes measures that expand the FMLA and provide for emergency paid leave for employers of 500 or fewer employeesThe law is effective April 2, 2020, and will extend these protections through December 31, 2020. READ MORE

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