Employers grappling with workplace attendance issues in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus may soon face additional challenges resulting from a potential economic downturn. Media stories are already beginning to report on potential furloughs and layoffs. For some employers, reducing the workweek (e.g., from 5 working days to 4 working days) could be a reasonable business response. But would reducing the workweek affect the overtime exemption for exempt employees?
Prospectively Reducing Workweeks for Overtime Exempt Employees – With a Commensurate Reduction in Salary – Does Not Necessarily Destroy the Exemption
As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: In the event the coronavirus spreads drastically, many employers will want to implement mandatory work-from-home policies. Employers should consider various aspects of the Fair Labor Standards Act when crafting these policies. Attorney Jeffrey H. Ruzal explains best practices in the following video interview. See also his recent post on the Wage and Hour Defense Blog.
By Eliab Taïrou, from our Labour and Employment Law Practice Group
March 11, 2020 — According to the WHO, 109,577 cases of COVID-19 coronavirus disease have been confirmed worldwide, including 3,809 deaths, as of March 9, 2020. In the last 24 hours as of March 9, these figures include 3,993 new cases and 225 deaths. In Canada, there have been 77 confirmed cases according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. The Agency is maintaining its assessment of a low risk to the Canadian population at this time, while noting that the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk of more severe outcomes.
As travel restrictions increase, and law firms begin to close their offices and reduce their client meetings, it’s time to get creative about the ways in which we keep in touch. “Collaboration” sounds like the sort of thing that requires you to be in the same room to achieve, but in fact, you can use content collaboration as a way to build relationships with clients, potential clients, and others all while remaining in your office (home or otherwise).
As the number of U.S. states reporting cases of COVID-19 coronavirus increases, many employers are imposing mandatory work from home (“WFH”) policies to mitigate risk of contamination and ensure business continuity. Some employers are requiring employees who have travelled to or received visitors from mainland China (or other areas with high infection rates) and those with fever or other flu-like symptoms to remain at home for 14 days, while others are instructing half or more, up to their entire workforce, to work remotely until further notice. Whatever the form, employers enacting WFH policies need to make sure they are appropriately compensating their workers and are otherwise complying with all applicable federal, state, and local wage and hour laws.
Video and Podcast: Employee Travel and the Coronavirus, NLRB’s Joint-Employment Rule, and DoorDash’s 5,000+ Individual Arbitrations
Following are the top stories featured in this week’s #WorkforceWednesday, from Employment Law This Week:
The hot topic on everyone’s mind at the moment (unless you’re in the US and then it’s pretty evenly split between politics and germs). I almost hate to join the fray and discuss it, but with so many events being cancelled, and travel restrictions being enacted, I wanted to add some suggestions for how to continue networking during this time, so that you don’t lose momentum on your relationship building efforts.
For some of us, travel and events still move forward. Travel guidance varies – it depends on your destination and the size of the gathering. Common sense and good hygiene are essential, and for our group, we’ll be instituting what we’re fondly referring to as “Operation Fist Bump” at our upcoming Annual Conference (which may be further downgraded to “Operation Wave Hello.”
Congress is working to advance a strong emergency funding supplemental package, estimated to be between $2.5 billion and $8.5 billion, to fully address the scale and seriousness of the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis. Working against a timeline to pass a funding package prior to the March 13, 2020, Congressional recess, the supplemental funding for the coronavirus emergency will result in new government contracts, grants, GSA schedule awards, as well as contract modifications. Because of the public health crisis, the government may also issue letter contracts under FAR Part 16.603, et seq., which allows the government to immediately contract for services or supplies with contract definitization at a later date.