Updates

Updates

Unpacking the Federal Stimulus Package’s Direct Payments, Enhanced Unemployment Payments, and FFCRA Leave Extension

There has been a great deal of discussion in the news lately about the latest Congressional stimulus package, which was ultimately signed by President Trump on Sunday, December 27, 2020, following his initial pushback. The stimulus package, officially known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (the “Stimulus”), is a behemoth piece of legislation that consists of nearly 5,600 pages, covering a broad array of appropriation matters.

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Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Begin on January 1, 2021: Are You Ready?

On January 1, 2021, most benefits provided by the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (“PFML”) will become available. While employers have been wrestling with issues regarding contributions, private plan exemptions, and notice requirements for quite some time, the availability of benefits next month is likely to prompt new questions and generate new challenges. This alert is designed to highlight some key issues that employers should be aware of as they prepare to handle employees’ requests for benefits.

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THE HAZY THICKET OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA INSURANCE COVERAGE: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds That Insurers Do Not Need to Reimburse Medical Marijuana Claims

On October 27, 2020, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (SJC) provided guidance amidst the tension between Massachusetts law and federal law with regards to insurance coverage for medical marijuana. In its decision in Daniel Wright’s Case (“Wright”), the SJC held that a worker compensation insurer did not have to reimburse an insured party’s claim for medical marijuana.

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Governor Baker Issues Three New COVID-19 Orders

On Monday, November 2, 2020, Governor Baker issued three new COVID-19 Orders, all of which are effective Friday, November 6, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.

COVID-19 Order No. 53 (https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-order-53/download) imposes a Mandatory Night-Time Closing Period for Certain Businesses and Activities from 9:30 p.m. each day until 5:00 a.m. the following day. This Mandatory Closing Period Order prohibits certain businesses, facilities, and activities from admitting customers, patrons, or members of the public to their premises or otherwise offering, providing, or permitting in-person, on-premises services or activities, during the closed period.

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Department of Labor Issues Revised Temporary Rule on Families First Coronavirus Response Act Including New Guidance Relating to Intermittent Leave

On Friday, September 11, 2020, the Department of Labor issued revisions to the temporary rule regarding the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). Those revisions can be found here – https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/09/16/2020-20351/paid-leave-under-the-families-first-coronavirus-response-act. The revisions take effect on September 16, 2020.

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Governor Baker Issues Guidance on the Enforcement Mechanism for COVID-19 Executive Orders

On August 18th, Governor Baker issued an executive order providing guidance to municipalities regarding how to enforce the numerous executive orders in effect in response to COVID-19. Many of the Governor’s prior orders provided municipalities with the authority to enforce the executive orders. For example, the Governor’s recent order mandating quarantine for travelers entering the Commonwealth from out of state provides local boards of health and their authorized agents as well as municipal police with powers to enforce the order. The Governor’s August 7th executive order limiting the size of in-person gatherings also allowed for enforcement by local boards of health and municipal police departments.

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National Labor Relations Board Changes Legal Approach to Employee’s Use of Profane, Racist, and Sexually Harassing Speech in Protected Activity

On July 21, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (“the Board”) changed its analysis towards an employee’s use of verbally offensive behavior in the context of protected activity under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“the Act” or “NLRA”) in the following decision: General Motors, LLC, No. 14-CA-197985, 369 NLRB No. 127 (2020).

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Guidance on Expanded Mixed Drink Take-out/Delivery Options in Response to COVID-19

On July 20, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker signed “An Act to Expand Take-out/Delivery Options in Response to COVID-19 (“Act”)” into law. The Act is an emergency measure intended to address significant disruptions to the restaurant industry in the Commonwealth caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Act temporarily allows establishments that are currently licensed by Massachusetts law to sell all alcoholic beverages to be consumed on-premises to sell mixed drinks for off-premises consumption, subject to restrictions, effective July 20, 2020. The Act will remain in effect until the Governor’s state of emergency is lifted or on February 28, 2021, whichever occurs earliest. An all alcohol license is required; this temporary authorization does not extend to establishments with only wine and malt beverages licenses.

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Latest News

The Passing of a Giant of a Lawyer, Michael C. Lehane

  Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP is deeply saddened to announce that one of the founding partners of the firm, Michael C. Lehane, passed away on January 11, 2021. Mr. Lehane was a giant of a lawyer, an incredible mentor and friend to all who worked with him. He was highly respected by his colleagues, whether it be his fellow partners, judges, clients or friends.  Renowned for his quick wit and intelligence, grace under pressure, sense of humor and Read More

Legal Updates

Unpacking the Federal Stimulus Package’s Direct Payments, Enhanced Unemployment Payments, and FFCRA Leave Extension

There has been a great deal of discussion in the news lately about the latest Congressional stimulus package, which was ultimately signed by President Trump on Sunday, December 27, 2020, following his initial pushback. The stimulus package, officially known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (the “Stimulus”), is a behemoth piece of legislation that consists of nearly 5,600 pages, covering a broad array of appropriation matters.

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