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On September 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed two related bills into law as part of his COVID-19 worker protection package. The new laws expand the presumption of workers’ compensation liability with respect to employees who contract COVID-19, impose new notice and reporting requirements on employers with respect to COVID-19 cases in the workplace, and expand the California Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (“Cal/OSHA”) enforcement authority.

Continue Reading California Imposes New COVID-19 Notice and Reporting Requirements on Employers, Increases Workers’ Compensation Coverage and Expands Cal/OSHA’s Authority

On September 9, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 1867, which provides paid sick leave to workers who work for employers with 500 or more employees nationwide and are unable to work due to specified reasons related to COVID-19 (“Supplemental Paid Sick Leave”).  AB 1867 also creates Labor Code section 248, which imposes similar supplemental paid sick leave requirements on employers of food sector workers.  Employers must begin providing Supplemental Paid Sick Leave no later than September 19, 2020, and the law remains in effect through the end of 2020, though it may be extended if there is a federal extension of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act established by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).  AB 1867 was intended to “close the gap” left by the FFCRA with respect to employers with 500 or more employees and public and private employers of first responders and health care employees who opted not to provide leave under the FFCRA.  The new law imposes potentially significant financial penalties on employers who fail to provide the requisite Supplemental Paid Sick Leave.

Continue Reading California Enacts New COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law For Employers With More than 500 Employees

Decisions around remote and in-office working arrangements are one of the many areas of potential liability in the COVID-19 era. Lawyers from Mayer Brown presented on this and other areas of potential liability in a recent webinar for a major auto manufacturer, highlighting important issues that employers should address in the months ahead.

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On April 29, 2020, the City of Los Angeles adopted the COVID-19 Right of Recall Ordinance and the COVID-19 Worker Retention Ordinance, both of which come into effect on June 14, 2020. Two weeks later, on May 12, 2020, the Los Angeles County adopted its own COVID-19 Right of Recall Ordinance and COVID-19 Right of Retention Ordinance, applying in the unincorporated areas of the County of Los Angeles, both of which became effective immediately.

Continue Reading COVID-19 Related Worker Retention and Right of Recall Protections Adopted for Airport, Event Center, Hotel, and Commercial Property Employees in Los Angeles City and County

On May 20, 2020, the Chicago City Council passed a new ordinance that bars employers from retaliating against employees who miss work for certain reasons related to COVID-19.  The ordinance, which became effective immediately after passage, imposes potentially significant financial penalties on employers who violate the ordinance.

The ordinance incorporates the definitions contained in the City of Chicago’s Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (Chapter 1-24-010 of the Municipal Code).  The ordinance applies to all employers with a business facility within the city’s boundaries, and generally to any employee who spends at least two hours working within the City limits in any two-week period.

Under the ordinance, employers may not retaliate against employees who:

Continue Reading Chicago Enacts New COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Law

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe, in an effort to reduce the risk of transmission of the illness, many companies are administering mandatory temperature screenings to all employees and visitors prior to permitting entrance to their facilities. On April 9, 2020, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued updated guidance titled “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws .” In this updated guidance, the EEOC advised employers that they may implement employee temperature screenings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act’s (“ADA”) “because the CDC and state/local health authorities have acknowledged community spread of COVID-19 and issued attendant precautions.” The EEOC further explained that employers may maintain a log of the results of temperature screenings and may store such medical information in an employee’s existing medical files, provided that it is stored separately from the employee’s personnel file, thus limiting access to this confidential medical information, as required by the ADA.

Continue Reading Temperature Screenings May Trigger the California Consumer Privacy Act’s Notice Requirements

Over the past two weeks, the US Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued several new memoranda containing guidance for both employers and states related to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. On April 10, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued “Enforcement Guidance for Recording Cases of coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19),” which  provides interim guidance to Compliance Safety and Health Officers (“CSHOs”) regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s recordkeeping requirements with respect to recording COVID-19 as an occupation illnesses. In addition, the Employment and Training Administration (“ETA”) has issued three Unemployment Insurance Program Letters (UIPLs) 15-20 , 16-20  and 17-20, which  provide guidance to states concerning the enhanced unemployment insurance benefits provided by the federal government pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act of 2020.

Continue Reading US Department of Labor Issues Guidance Concerning COVID-19 OSHA Reporting Requirements and Unemployment Compensation Under the CARES Act

In the third and final of a series, our employment and benefits teams take an in depth look at the provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act” or the “Act”) affecting employment, compensation, payroll taxes and paid leave. For a description of changes affecting health and welfare plans, see here, and for a description of changes affecting retirement plans, see here.

Continue Reading CARES ACT – Employment, Compensation, Payroll Tax and Paid Leave Provisions

On March 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-31-20,  conditionally suspending enforcement of certain—but not all—employer obligations under the state’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (Cal-WARN) Act “as a result of the threat of COVID-19.”

The Cal-WARN Act requires subject employers to provide employees and certain government agencies with 60-days’ prior notice before implementing a qualifying “mass layoff,” “relocation,” or “termination.” Cal-WARN applies to “covered establishments,” defined as “any industrial or commercial facility, or part thereof that employs, or has employed within the preceding 12 months, 75 or more persons,” including part-time employees.

Continue Reading California Governor Partially Suspends Cal-WARN’s 60-Day Notice Period for COVID-Related Closures

Employers in the United States should be aware of newly enacted legislation—the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”)—that imposes obligations on many employers  to provide temporary paid family and sick leave to employees directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. President Trump signed the law on March 18, 2020.

The FFCRA contains two separate laws that