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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.

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Employer Considerations for Remote and In-Person Workers as the School Year Commences

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.

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Can Employers Make Vaccines Mandatory in a Pandemic?

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.

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Employers Grapple with Workers’ Off-Duty Behavior

Employees gathering with friends, expressing their political views and posting about these things on social media have created for employers an increasingly urgent question: When the people engaging in unsafe or politically charged behavior are your employees, and the conduct happens off the clock, is it appropriate or even possible to discipline them? Access the article.

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President Releases Executive Order Prohibiting Training for Contractors and Federal Grant Recipients

On September 22, 2020, US President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order, which prohibits federal contractors and recipients of federal grants from conducting certain workplace training on race and sex stereotyping. This Executive Order is likely to be challenged on various grounds, including First Amendment grounds, but all employers may wish to review their workplace training materials in anticipation of future Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) action for reverse discrimination. Access the article.

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New California Law SB 1159 Creates Workers’ Compensation Presumption for Certain Eligible Employees

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.

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California AB 685 Requires Employers to Provide Notice of COVID-19 Exposure in the Workplace

California’s AB 685, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom last week, does two things: (1) it creates an enforceable statewide standard for how employers handle potential exposure to COVID-19 and outbreaks of COVID-19 in the workplace; and (2) it expands the power of California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to enforce this standard and to take action to protect employees, including shutting down worksites deemed to be an "imminent hazard" due to COVID-19 risk. The following Frequently Asked Questions are provided to guide employers through the details regarding how the new law will require employers to handle a potential exposure scenario, and to explain the new authority of Cal/OSHA's enforcement powers. Access the article.

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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.

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The Toughest Problem Set: Navigating Regulatory and Operational Challenges on University Campuses

Because widespread, rapid COVID-19 testing remains unavailable in many locations, universities have had to find innovative ways to implement testing, tracing and isolation protocols to reduce the risk of transmission among students, faculty and staff. There is no one perfect protocol—all universities are in unchartered waters. But there are a few key components university administrators may want to consider and address. Access the article.

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DOL Provides Guidance on Tracking Telecommuters’ Work Hours

Employers must use reasonable diligence in tracking nonexempt telecommuters' work hours and may do this by providing a reporting procedure for unscheduled time, the US Department of Labor (DOL) stated in August 24 guidance. The workers then must be compensated for all reported work hours, even those not requested by the employer. In a recent article by the Society of Human Resource Management, McDermott partner Ellen Bronchetti explained that employers should have policies that prohibit working off the clock. "If an employer has an expectation that an employee was working from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and the employee works later at night responding to emails, that could lead to wage and hour liability." Access the article.

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