April 1, 2020 Effective Date
On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that the effective date of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is April 1, 2020. This means that the paid leave provisions contained in both the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.
In addition to issuing guidance on OSHA and COVID-19, which we covered in our Labor & Employment Alert issued on March 15, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor also issued Questions and Answers on COVID-19 and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and COVID-19 and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This edition of the Client Alert will highlight the Questions and Answers provided by the DOL regarding the FLSA.
Significant Changes Made to Workplace Leave Laws and Benefits
On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Act (the “Act”). President Trump signed the Act into law the same day. Among other provisions, the Act expands food assistance and unemployment programs, provides free coronavirus testing, expands the federal Family and Medical and Leave Act to cover employees unable to work due to childcare obligations created by school closures, establishes paid leave for such absences, and provides a new paid sick leave benefit related to COVID-19. The text of the new Act can be found here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201
This Alert will summarize some of the major provisions affecting most public and private employers. We will be supplementing this Alert with additional information as information becomes available.
On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, the Massachusetts Legislature passed significant legislation directing the Director of Unemployment Assistance to waive the one-week waiting period for any person making a claim for unemployment benefits related to COVID-19 circumstances. It was promptly signed by the Governor, thereby providing significant relief for workers affected by the current situation.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is increasing concern about possible widespread business interruptions and the need to adapt to the changing behaviors of the consumer made necessary by the virus’s spread.
Many questions have arisen from school districts on how to address the evolving situation with Coronavirus. Recurrent questions are addressed below in further detail.
Last week, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was designated as a global pandemic. It continues to disrupt our workplace communities and our community at large. To assist employers in continuing to plan for and respond to COVID-19, the U.S. Department of Labor issued guidance on COVID-19 and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This edition of the Client Alert will focus on the OSHA guidance. We will issue subsequent Client Alerts which will cover the FLSA and the FMLA guidance.
GOVERNOR BAKER ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDER TO IMMEDIATELY ALLOW EXPANDED REMOTE PARTICIPATION AND “ALTERNATIVE ACCESS” TO ALL PUBLIC MEETINGS
On March 12, 2020, as part of his authority under the State of Emergency declaration, and in response to multiple recommendations to keep distance between individuals in order to protect public health due to the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic, Governor Baker issued an Executive Order (”Order”) suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law, to allow expanded remote participation and alternative access to all public meetings. The Order provides swift and much needed clarification for select boards, school committees and all other “public bodies” subject to the Open Meeting Law.
Strategies for Dealing with COVID-19 in the Workplace Installment 1 of the MHTL COVID-19 Client Alert
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is creating increasing concern in workplace communities and in our community at large. Each day infections spread to new parts of the world and the U.S. The number of cases and deaths continues to rise in the U.S. Johns Hopkins University, which tracks the number of cases and deaths globally, reports that the virus is in over half of the U.S. states, with 755 cases and 26 deaths.
On February 1, 2020, a university student from Boston became the eighth person in the United States to be diagnosed with the coronavirus, and the first on the East Coast. This student had recently returned from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the pandemic. Since then, scarcely a day has passed without additional coverage of the coronavirus, which has been declared a global public health emergency.
Tom Jorling, is an attorney, advisor to MHTL, former co-drafter of the Clean Air and Water Act and former Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation under Governor Mario Cuomo. Tom Jorling served under 4 presidents, including Deputy Director of the Environmental Agency. Mr. Jorling was the recipient of the inaugural Boston College Law School Public Interest Law Foundation Distinction in Public Service Award in April 2019. Thomas Jorling pens the article below on the attack Read More
On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a historic 6-3 decision authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, in which the Court held that employers cannot discriminate against an individual on the basis of the individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This case, Bostock v. Clayton County, was a consolidation of three cases, involving two gay men, who were terminated based on their sexual orientation, and one transgender woman, who was terminated based on her gender identity.