North America

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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Paid Sick Time and Leave Amid COVID-19

As COVID-19 rapidly changes the economic landscape throughout the country, businesses and individuals are facing new and evolving challenges. To address these challenges, federal and state governments are quickly drafting laws and regulations that may affect employers of all sizes.

On March 18, 2020, the federal government enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act), discussed in more detail below, which entitles some employees to paid sick time and leave for issues arising directly from the COVID-19 outbreak. On the same day, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a bill that waives the usual one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits, allowing Massachusetts employees affected by COVID-19 to collect benefits immediately. In addition, the Department of Unemployment Assistance is finalizing emergency regulations to address a sudden increase in unemployment benefits claims because of COVID-19. Read more…

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DDTC and Census COVID-19 Status of Operations

Today the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls published an update to its operations as follows:

  1. Licensing, Commodity Jurisdictions, and General Correspondence: Though longer processing times are expected, DDTC continues to process these submissions and new licenses will be accepted.
  2. Enrollment and Registration: Still operating and being processed via DECCS.
  3. Voluntary Disclosures: Disclosures and related information may be submitted via email to Materials should be sent on company letterhead and in PDF format. It is not necessary to send a duplicate hardcopy to DTCC through the mail.

Read more…

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President Trump Signs Family First Coronavirus Response Act into Law

On Wednesday, March 18, the Senate passed the house bill, as summarized in our alert, “Revisions to Proposed Family First Coronavirus Response Act: Potential Relief to Employers.”

Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump signed it into law. The Family First Coronavirus Response Act will become effective on April 2, (15 days from the President’s signature).

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The Impact of the Coronavirus on the Provider-Payor Relationship

As the coronavirus spreads throughout the country, hospitals and other health care providers are finding themselves inundated with patients. Those providers who are in-network with payors have and will likely continue to experience difficulty in complying with certain provisions of their contracts. For instance, as payors are also experiencing an unexpected influx of telephone traffic, the wait time for various approvals, including, but not limited to, pre-authorizations are being delayed.

Providers are often contractually obligated to obtain pre-authorizations for certain procedures and services prior to rendering the care. Due to the increased telephone traffic and increased wait times on the payor end, these providers are now faced with a dilemma. A process that as of two weeks ago only took a matter of ten to fifteen minutes now can take up to an hour or more. This creates a serious dilemma for those providers who need to render care to their patients and comply with their contractual obligations to payors.

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The New York Department of Financial Services Requests Assurance From Regulated Financial Institutions and Insurance Carriers Regarding Their Preparedness to Respond to COVID-19 Crisis

On March 10, 2020, the New York Department of Financial Services (“DFS”), which regulates a wide variety of financial institutions, including banks, insurance companies, and investment advisors doing business in New York, issued a series of letters regarding the response to the Novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19”).   In addition to providing guidance, DFS has asked all regulated financial institutions to provide “assurance” that they have plans to address the operational and financial risks associated with COVID-19.  A copy of the letter to regulated financial institutions can be found here, and here, a copy of the letter to regulated insurance entities can be found here; and a copy of the letter to regulated institutions engaged in cryptocurrency businesses can be found here.   The DFS has asked these institutions to provide reports regarding their plans “as soon as possible,” but no later than April 9, 2020.

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Employers Facing Layoffs Need to be Mindful of State Laws Regarding Final Pay

In the coming days, weeks and perhaps months, many employers will have difficult decisions to make about their operations and their workforces.  With their operations shutting down or running at less than capacity, many employers will decide that they must lay off employees.

It’s a decision that no employer wishes for or enjoys.  And it is one that poses some risks.

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Insolvency Guide for Lenders, Landlords, Lessees, and Others Dealing with the COVID-19 Crisis

The economic havoc unleashed by the COVID-19 crisis in most sectors of the economy will affect businesses and their employees, servicers, customers, and others for the foreseeable future. Among those that are directly and critically affected are banks and other lenders, commercial landlords and tenants, restaurants, and the travel and hospitality industries. All of these areas will see an increase in bankruptcy filings and other insolvency proceedings in the near term. Here is a short guide for some of the issues that will arise in the coming months. Read more…

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FDA Issues Temporary Guidance on Food Supplier Verification Audit Requirements

On March 17, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) issued a Temporary Policy regarding preventive controls and food supplier verification audit requirements during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This guidance explains the current intent of FDA to not enforce onsite audit requirements in certain circumstances related to the impact of COVID-19. Such onsite audit requirements can be found in three important food regulations:

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