Stop The Clock

Written by Robert Lowe  The US Department of Labor (DOL) has “stopped the clock” on many employee benefit plan deadlines during the period starting March 1, 2020 and ending 60 days after the end of the COVID-19 National Emergency (referred to by the DOL as the “Outbreak Period”), including the following: 60-day period for an employer to provide notice of the right to elect continuation … Continue reading Stop The Clock

America CARES About Unemployment

DOL Issues Guidance on New CARES Act Unemployment Insurance Provisions

Written by Jeremy Mittman and Thea Rogers

Last week, the DOL issued two guidance letters (available here and here) to state workforce agencies (such as the California EDD) on the unemployment insurance provisions of the recently enacted CARES Act. The CARES Act, which has been discussed in prior blog posts at length (see, e.g. here, here and here), provides emergency assistance for certain individuals, families, and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Most notably, the DOL guidance instructs state agencies on how to implement and operate two programs that were included as part of the CARES Act involving unemployment insurance benefits: the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. Additionally, the federal government will provide 100% reimbursement to states that provide compensation to individuals beginning on their first week of unemployment (i.e., states which do not require a waiting week) and enter into an agreement with the DOL. Continue reading “America CARES About Unemployment”

New FFCRA Regulations Provide Clarity

Top 15 Practical Takeaways From the New Sick and Family Leave DOL Regulations

Written by Jeremy Mittman and Stephen Franz 

On the same day the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) took effect, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (”DOL”) Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) posted a temporary rule issuing regulations to the FFCRA on April 1, 2020.  The rule, which expires on December 31, 2020, provides much-needed clarity to the expanded family and medical leave and emergency paid sick leave provisions of the FFCRA.  This is the latest guidance on the FFCRA from the DOL, which previously published and updated a series of “Questions and Answers” related to the law’s paid leave provisions after its enactment.  Our prior analysis of the FFCRA and how it affects employers is available here.

Because the rule answers previously unaddressed questions and clarifies the DOL’s prior guidance, Employers may need to adjust their FFCRA policies and practices accordingly.  Fortunately, the WHD will not start enforcing the FFCRA until April 18, 2020, so Employers have time to react to these new rules.

Here are the top 15 new takeaways for Employers from the rule. Continue reading “New FFCRA Regulations Provide Clarity”

Remote Work Blurs Boundaries

Working Remotely Triggers Immigration Compliance Regulations

Written By Howard D. Shapiro and Frida P. Glucoft

In the wake of a range of “safer at home” federal, state and local orders and guidelines stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, employers throughout the United States have temporarily closed their offices to varying degrees and instructed their employees to work remotely, usually from home. Companies with employees working in the US pursuant to the temporary visa categories H-1B, E-3 (Australian citizens) and H-1B1 (citizens of Singapore and Chile) are required to take extra steps to ensure compliance with immigration laws and regulations when those employees are working from locations outside of their normal worksites. Continue reading “Remote Work Blurs Boundaries”

More FFCRA Questions Answered

DOL Releases Additional Q&A for Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Effective April 1, 2020

Written by Jeremy Mittman 

On March 27, 2020 the U.S. Department of Labor (”DOL”) published a second series of “Questions and Answers” related to the FFCRA, supplementing the DOL’s initial March 24, 2020 set of Questions and Answers issued on March 24, 2020.  Here are the top six takeaways in the latest Questions and Answers: Continue reading “More FFCRA Questions Answered”

Department of Labor Releases Initial Q&A for Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Department of Labor Releases Initial Q&A for Families First Coronavirus Response Act, Effective April 1, 2020

Written by Jeremy Mittman and Stephen Franz 

On March 24, 2020 the U.S. Department of Labor (”DOL”) published an initial series of “Questions and Answers” related to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).  The FFCRA contains COVID-19-related paid family leave and sick leave provisions which apply to private employers with fewer than 500 employees.  Notably, and surprisingly, the DOL states that the FFCRA is effective on April 1, 2020.  Because the FFCRA states the leave provisions shall take effect “not later than 15 days” after the March 18, 2020 date of enactment, many assumed that the DOL would begin enforcement on April 2, 2020.  The agency did not provide any reason for this accelerated start date.

The Questions and Answers address topics including how an employer may count its employees in determining the 500-employee threshold, whether the paid leave requirements are retroactive, and how to calculate employees’ pay for leave purposes (additional detail provided in the guidance itself, copied below). Unfortunately, the Questions and Answers do not answer two of the most pressing questions facing many employers: (1) whether “shelter in place” orders are “quarantine or isolation” orders necessitating paid leave under the FFCRA; and (2) whether furloughed employees are eligible for paid leave.  Employers should expect further guidance from the DOL in the coming days, including more Q&A, which will hopefully address these critical issues. Continue reading “Department of Labor Releases Initial Q&A for Families First Coronavirus Response Act”

California Passes Immigrant Worker Protection Act

US Customs and Border Protection
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By Janice Luo

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed the Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450), which restricts public and private employers in California from admitting immigration inspectors to the workplace without a judicial warrant.  It also requires employers to notify their employees before and after certain immigration inspections take place.  The new law, which adds Sections 7285.1, 7285.2, and 7285.3 to the California Government Code, and Sections 90.2 and 1019.2 to the California Labor Code, will take effect on January 1, 2018.

In conflict with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) plans to increase enforcement actions under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which includes criminal and civil penalties for employers who knowingly employ unauthorized workers; the new California law seeks to protect foreign workers from unfair immigration-related practices, potentially causing problems for employers who must comply with federal and state laws.  Continue reading “California Passes Immigrant Worker Protection Act”