Coronavirus/COVID-19

The Ransomware Pandemic Rages On: Tips and Tools to Mitigate Risk

Ransomware basics

Ransomware is a serious form of cyber extortion that employs malware to prevent users from accessing their systems or data, either by locking the system or encrypting critical files until a ransom is paid. The hacker holds the key to unlock the system and usually demands payment in cryptocurrency.

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Furlough Extended: What are the rules?

As you may be aware, on Saturday 31st October 2020 the UK government announced that, in light of the new lockdown being introduced in England, the furlough scheme is being extended for a further month and will now end in December 2020. This means that the Job Support Scheme previously announced will be postponed and come into effect once the extended furlough ends.

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Video: Pandemic’s Impact on Women and Caregivers: A Wake-Up Call for Employers – Employment Law This Week

As featured in #WorkforceWednesdayEmployers fear that the COVID-19 pandemic could undo recent progress towards workforce equity, with women and caregivers leaving the workforce in droves. Flexible time off, remote work policies, and employee benefits, like on-site child care, are just a few options employers can deploy to retain female talent. Learn more about the legal issues.

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Evolving Considerations for Multinational Employers: COVID-19 Contact Tracing Applications

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect workplaces throughout the world, employers are considering new ways to ensure a safe workplace when employees return to the office. Outside the US, employers must balance their duty of care to protect the health and safety of all their employees with safeguarding employees’ privacy and complying with data protection regulations. Many employers already have analyzed whether they may require or request employees to (i) submit to COVID-19 testing at the workplace, (ii) certify certain health information regarding exposure to COVID-19 and (iii) wear a face covering in the workplace. Another relatively recent development employers outside the US may wish to consider is whether they may require or request employees to download a COVID-19 contact tracing application to their smartphones to track employees’ movements and contacts to enable employers to alert employees if they have been exposed to a co-worker with COVID-19.

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Don’t Be Spooked: D.C. COVID-19 Leave Law Is in Effect and Will Be Enforced

As COVID-19 cases once again surge across the country, Washington, D.C. employers must remember to provide both paid and unpaid leave under the new District of Columbia Coronavirus Support Temporary Amendment Act of 2020 (D.C. Law 23-130) (the “Act”).  Although passed in July 2020, the Act formally became effective on October 9, 2020 and will remain in effect through the end of the declared COVID-19 public health emergency—currently December 31, 2021.  The law repeals the emergency laws that we previously blogged about, but carries over the additional obligations to provide employees with paid and unpaid leave for COVID-19-related reasons.  We have summarized both provisions below.

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THE RULE OF 14 WHEN TENANTS FALL BEHIND WITH RENT

For many businesses and sectors, 30th September 2020 was supposed to be the end date of the plethora of legislative changes brought into force by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020. However, as a result of secondary legislation, the Coronavirus (Scotland) Acts (Amendment of Expiry Dates) Regulations 2020, means the expiry date of 30th September has been extended to 31st March 2021.

For commercial landlords, this means the continuation of a 14 week minimum notice period before being able to evict tenants for non-payment of rent or other sums due. Previously, the minimum notice period was 14 days. So what does this mean for businesses operating as landlords?  Read the full blog.

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JOB SUPPORT SCHEME IN DETAIL

The government recently announced a new Job Support Scheme to take effect on 1st November 2020. Originally announced at the end of September, it was extended to support businesses required to close and, as of last week, has been updated to reduce the costs to employers.

The new scheme will have two strands. The first is a general scheme, known as the Job Support Scheme Open (JSS Open) which will provide support to pay the wages of employees who are working reduced hours.

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Video: CDC Broadens “Close Contact” Guidance – Employment Law This Week

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention broadened its definition of “close contact.” Now, spending a total of 15 minutes within six feet of an infected individual over a 24-hour period counts as close contact. Previously, it was an exposure period of 15 consecutive minutes.  Attorney Denise Dadika explains what this change means for employers.

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Rule 9: Don’t Discriminate, Don’t Retaliate, and, If Plausible, Accommodate – Return to Work in the Time of COVID-19

Part 9 of a series featuring our video Rules of the Road: Return to Work in the Time of COVID-19.

If the Rules of the Road: Return to Work in the Time of COVID-19 series has given you any takeaways, it should be that it pays to be prepared, to be safe, and to anticipate workplace issues before they arise. This means taking stock of what has happened in the past year and what challenges lie ahead. There is almost nothing the pandemic has not affected in our lives, or in business and the workplace and the challenges have been daunting. Challenges have included, coping with illness, the stressors of new work arraignments, the impact of physical distancing, adjusting to caregiving responsibilities at home, and simply grappling with the unknowns of the pandemic. In short, it’s been a challenging year. As we turn the corner into 2021, it’s apparent that employers will continue to need to manage their workforces with an understanding of the complexities that the pandemic has thrust upon employees’ lives. The following short statements serve as a quick reminder of what employers should and should not do when returning employees safely to the workplace. If the statements seem familiar (dare we say intuitive), it’s because they are. You have seen them before. These maxims apply with equal force to the workplace today as they did before the pandemic. With all the preoccupying challenges presented by the pandemic, however, we offer these important reminders.

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Caregiver Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic – A Conundrum for Employers

As the pandemic continues into 2021, many employers are contending with their workers’ significantly increased caregiving responsibilities.  Parents – many without viable day care or other childcare options – must try to balance work with the challenges of caring for their children and overseeing their education (and entertainment). Other employees find themselves at the forefront of caregiving for sick family members and for family members at high risk for serious illness, if they become infected by COVID-19.

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