On September 25, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law California AB 713, which amends the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) to except from its requirements certain health information, including information that has been de-identified in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The bill’s enactment eases some of the CCPA compliance challenges experienced by the health care and life sciences industries by more closely aligning the CCPA with HIPAA and other laws governing human subjects research. The new law also amends the CCPA to except all business associates to the extent that they maintain, use or disclose patient information in the same manner as protected health information under HIPAA. Access the article.
Healthcare Employers: What You Need to Know about the New FFCRA “Health Care Provider” Exclusion and California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave
Healthcare employers are immediately impacted by two recent developments in federal and California COVID-19 paid leave laws: a Department of Labor revision to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and a new California supplemental paid sick leave legislation. For both changes in the law, quick action is required for compliance. Access the article.
With the school year underway, employers in the United States face a new challenge: childcare-related leave and accommodation requests by employees. With widespread remote learning and evolving legal obligations to provide paid leave to working parents, employers must navigate unique staffing challenges while complying with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and other state and local leave laws. In our recent webinar, we outlined some of the current leave requirements regarding childcare obligations and practical solutions to navigate these uncharted waters. View the slide deck here.
Even though a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 isn't available yet, it's not too early for employers to start considering whether they will require employees to get the vaccination when it is ready. In a recent article by the Society of Human Resource Management, McDermott partners Michelle Strowhiro and Sandy DiVarco highlighted some of the factors, considerations and accommodations that may be necessary once a vaccine is ready. Access the article.
On September 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 1159 into law, which is effective immediately for all employers. Among other things, the law creates a “disputable presumption” under workers’ compensation statutes for certain employees with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and establishes reporting requirements on confirmed cases and number of employees. Access the article.
With mass layoffs commonplace during the COVID-19 pandemic, employers asked the Internal Revenue Service for advice on how to deal with the partial termination rule relating to employer contributions to their employees’ 401(k) workplace retirement accounts. It’s an obscure issue, but it’s a big deal for the employees that it affects: It could mean thousands of dollars more credited to an employee’s 401(k) account. It’s also important that employers get it right. In a recent article by Forbes, McDermott Will & Emery partner Jeff Holdvogt advises that IRS auditors can catch this issue looking back at prior years. “This is a complicated rule, and it’s not top of mind, so we could absolutely see employers realizing, ‘Hey, it turns out we incurred a partial termination. We have to go back and provide additional vesting,’” Holdvogt says. Access the article.
California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Act (AB 1867): Paid Leave, Notice and Posting Requirements Effective Immediately
On September 9, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 1867, the California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Act. According to the law, employers with more than 500 employees nationally, and employers of healthcare-provider and emergency-responder employees previously exempted from Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements, must provide California employees with two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave for specified COVID-19 reasons. Additionally, the law requires employers to comply with urgent-notice and posting requirements that are administratively burdensome. Access the article.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by US Congress in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, permits a “qualified individual" to increase the amount they can borrow from a 401(k). Such individuals may borrow 100% of their account balance up to $100,000 (less any outstanding loans). The deadline for taking enhanced loans is September 22. In a recent article by Forbes, McDermott Will & Emery partner Jeff Holdvogt highlights some of the tax implications individuals should consider. Access the article.
What do unused paid-time-off (PTO) days, student loan debt and the coronavirus have in common? An opportunity for employers to provide financial relief to employees who are increasingly putting off vacations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent article by the Society of Human Resource Management, Jeff Holdvogt, a partner in McDermott’s Chicago office, explained that more employees, particularly Millennials, are telling employers that benefits to help pay off student loan debt would go a long way to attracting and retaining them. Access the article.
On August 3, 2020, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York struck down four parts of the US Department of Labor’s (DOL) Final Rule implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). A copy of the court’s ruling is available here. The FFCRA provides COVID-19-related sick leave and family leave to employees of businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Access the article.