North America

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 Cuomo had announced a 75% required reduction, which has now been superseded).

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Tax credits ease cost of extension of paid sick leave and FMLA

Two core elements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) that was signed into law on March 18 were the extension of paid sick leave benefits and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits to employees affected by the COVID-19 outbreak working for employers with fewer than 500 employees and government employees. With many employers and self-employed individuals already feeling the financial effects on their businesses from social distancing and mandatory closures, the FFCRA includes provisions to help reduce the cost of these expanded benefits on affected employers though refundable tax credits. READ MORE

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IRS allowing more time to pay federal income taxes

The IRS has announced that individual taxpayers and trusts will be allowed to defer until July 15 the payment of up to $1 million in federal income taxes and that C corporations will receive a similar accommodation on up to $10 million in corporate income taxes. READ MORE

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COVID-19 impact on telehealth services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office for Civil Rights have each issued separate announcements that enhance the ability to furnish telehealth during the COVID-19 public health emergency. These policies will allow flexibility during the coronavirus emergency period to provide telehealth services:

  • Without collecting coinsurance and deductible amounts from federal health care program patients. Click here to read more
  • Using applications such as FaceTime, Skype, Messenger video, or Google Hangouts even if the applications don’t meet HIPAA standards. Click here to read more
  • Using smart phone for telehealth communication and providing services via telehealth even when the patient is at a location (such as his or her home) that does not satisfy Medicare telehealth originating site standards.
    Click here to read more

CMS has also issued guidance intended to help states better understand policy options for paying Medicaid providers using telehealth to deliver patient services in combating COVID-19. Click here to read more

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State and federal offices seek to protect consumers by cracking down on false and misleading COVID-19 treatment claims

Earlier this month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) jointly issued warning letters to seven companies for selling products that fraudulently claim to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19. The products cited in these warning letters are teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver, all of which FDA considers unapproved drugs that pose significant risks to patient health and violate federal law. READ MORE

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What if a vendor is considering bankruptcy?

As a knee-jerk reaction, when a vendor is considering bankruptcy clients may immediately seek to re-source and handle the matter internally. However, that option may not exist. READ MORE

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COVID-19’s impact on the LIBOR transition

LIBOR – the London Interbank Offered Rate – represents the average interest rate at which major banks reasonably expect they can borrow money from each other without putting up collateral. With only 21 months left until the 2021 deadline to transition away from LIBOR, how does COVID-19 impact LIBOR transition plans? READ MORE

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SBA loans available for small businesses suffering due to coronavirus

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) issued guidelines for how to apply for $2 million in low-interest loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). READ MORE

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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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