Updates

Updates

Bargaining and Protected Concerted Activities in the Time of COVID-19: Guidance and Lessons for Employers

The recent need to make difficult and sometimes time-sensitive decisions during the pandemic has raised the question of bargaining and other obligations under federal and state labor law. Whether or not you have a unionized workforce, the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or the “Act”) for covered private sector employers and Massachusetts state law, M.G.L. c. 150E, for public sector employers in Massachusetts, protects employees’ rights to engage in protected concerted activities. Moreover, for those employers with organized workforces, employers are generally obligated to bargain before making changes to employees’ wages, hours, working conditions, or other mandatory subjects of bargaining. Failure to do so may constitute an unlawful unilateral change and result in a finding that the employer committed an unfair labor practice.

This client alert highlights the law’s provisions addressing permits, permit applications, and public hearings. The law defines “permit” broadly to include permits, variances, special permits, licenses, amendments, extensions, and other approvals by a permit granting authority. A “permit granting authority” is also defined broadly to include any local, district, county, or regional official or multi-member body authorized to issue a permit.

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Omnibus Municipal Relief Law – Part II: Permits, Applications, and Public Hearings

On Friday, April 3, 2020, Governor Baker signed into law An Act to Address Challenges Faced by Municipalities and State Authorities Resulting from COVID-19, which was codified at Chapter 53 of the Acts of 2020 (the “Act”). The Act addresses a number of issues faced by municipalities resulting from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including the implications for town meetings, town budgets, taxes, sale of alcoholic beverages, and multi-member body permits.

This client alert highlights the law’s provisions addressing permits, permit applications, and public hearings. The law defines “permit” broadly to include permits, variances, special permits, licenses, amendments, extensions, and other approvals by a permit granting authority. A “permit granting authority” is also defined broadly to include any local, district, county, or regional official or multi-member body authorized to issue a permit.

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Omnibus Municipal Relief Law – Part I: Changes to Off Premises Service of Beer and Wine; Advice on Administration and Enforcement

On April 3, 2020, Governor Baker signed into law Chapter 53 of the Acts of 2020 (the “Law”), a multidimensional municipal relief bill affecting a broad range of municipal concerns arising from the present COVID pandemic, and Governor Baker’s emergency orders. The legislation addresses multiple varied municipal issues ranging from postponement of Town Meetings, recalibration of the municipal budget process, and tolling of permit timelines. Among the provisions of the new law is Section 13 which significantly alters the licensing landscape for the sales and service of alcoholic beverages. As with many sections of the law, this alteration is limited to the duration of Governor Baker’s March 10, 2020 Declaration of Emergency.

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CARES ACT – $2 Trillion in Coronavirus Relief Including Expanded Unemployment Insurance

The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) was signed into law on Friday, March 27, 2020. The massive bill provides economic relief for both workers who are laid off and businesses which have shut down or curtailed business operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The scope of the CARES Act, also known as the stimulus bill, goes far beyond worker benefits and also provides loans for small and large companies as well as multi-faceted support for America’s health care system. This client alert summarizes the expanded unemployment insurance provisions of the CARES Act which provide financial assistance to workers unable to work due to COVID-19.

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Guidance for Municipalities on Conducting Remote Public Meetings Under the Open Meeting Law and the Relaxed Remote Participation Standards

On March 12, 2020, the Governor issued an Executive Order (“Order”) suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law (“OML”), to allow expanded remote participation and alternative access to all public meetings conducted under the OML ( this excludes Town Meetings). No public body in Massachusetts has ever been authorized to conduct all remote public meetings prior to the Order, and many cities and towns shut down meetings for much of the rest of March. In the coming weeks, as local governments begin moving forward to conduct the public business, select boards, school committees, planning boards, boards of health, and all public board and commissions, will be faced with this new experience.

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The Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Post Your Notice And April 1, 2020 Effective Date

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.

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U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance on COVID-19 and the FLSA

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.

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Latest News
Legal Updates

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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