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As Some Healthcare Employees Work While Sick, Could Other Industries Follow Suit?

Throughout the latest COVID-19 wave, some healthcare employers have relaxed safety measures to bring COVID-positive employees back to work. According to this Corporate Counsel article, these decisions may signal a new direction in how businesses deal with safety measures as they navigate a competitive labor market and demand. McDermott’s Abigail M. Kagan noted many healthcare facilities are doing their best to balance employee safety with workplace strain.

“If a patient hears that their nurse has tested positive that morning, the patient may be uncomfortable,” Kagan noted. “ … On the other hand, if it’s the difference between having no nurse, or having a nurse that medical authorities in the (United States) seem to believe is not going to be contagious anymore, that’s something that employers have to think about.”

Read more here.




When Is COVID-19 a Disability? Courts Tackle Issue in Bias Cases

A Pennsylvania federal judge recently allowed an employee to move forward with a discrimination lawsuit after her employer terminated her following a positive COVID-19 test result. According to this Bloomberg Law article, the judge noted that COVID-19 could be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); however, it’s unclear if the ADA also protects infected workers before they display long-haul COVID-19 symptoms. McDermott Partner Brian Mead said the employee’s presentation of long-haul COVID-19 symptoms (including loss of smell and taste) was also key in the judge’s ruling.

“The difference between having a cough or a substantial lung impairment is the difference between being covered by the ADA or not covered,” Mead said.

Access the article.




Four Things To Know About COVID ‘Long-Haulers’ At Work

Research continues to shed light on COVID-19’s long-term health effects for some people, and these “post-COVID conditions” will create additional challenges for employers.

In this Law360 article, McDermott partner Carole A. Spink says employers should be aware that long-haul COVID symptoms mean additional accommodations for employees.

“As they have done throughout the pandemic, employers should have a plan for addressing potential long-term absences as a result of post-COVID effects. On the practical side, at some point employers may need to determine whether a particular situation has become such that providing a continuing reasonable accommodation would pose an undue burden,” Spink notes.

Access the article.




American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Employment Law Update

US President Joe Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) on March 11, 2021. ARPA follows from weeks of negotiations in Congress and attempts to facilitate the country’s recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Included in ARPA are several provisions that impact employers, including provisions on paid leave, reduced hours and employee retention credits. Employers should be mindful of the employment-specific changes put into effect by ARPA and accordingly update their policies and practices to comply with these changes.

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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.

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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.




COVID-19: FAQs on Employees Experiencing Symptoms and Employee Absences

With rapid developments in local, state and federal guidance and law, the appropriate approach for each employer in relation to COVID-19 will vary depending on the nature of their work, the industries served and their location and size, among other considerations. This article outlines what employers need to know about employees experiencing symptoms and employee absences.

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The Families First Coronavirus Response Act: What You Need to Know – Updated on March 19, 2020

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) was signed into law on March 18, 2020. This summary reflects these changes that includes:

  • requiring employers to provide two weeks of paid sick leave in certain situations and provide subsidized leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act;
  • providing additional nutrition assistance to affected areas and populations through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS);
  • and requiring private health plans to cover diagnostic testing for COVID-19 at no cost to customers.

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H.R. 6201: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Families First) is now law and becomes effective April 2, 2020. For employers with less than 500 employees, and in certain situations for employees affected by coronavirus, Families First requires that employers provide two weeks of paid sick leave in certain situations and provide subsidized leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Tax credits will help to subsidize these requirements for affected employers. An outline of the legislation is provided.

Access the full article.




Families First Coronavirus Response Act Mandates Employer-Provided Coverage for COVID-19 Testing

As part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”), Congress eliminated patient cost-sharing for Coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostic testing and testing-related services provided under any employer-sponsored group health plan. This impacts all employer plans, insured and self-funded, of all sizes. The provisions are effective as of March 18 and will continue on a temporary basis for at least 90 days unless extended by the Department Health and Human Services (HHS).

Access the full article.




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