As businesses slowly begin to reopen, workers are being recalled to the workplace. Some of them are expressing reluctance to return due to increased health risks from COVID-19 based on underlying medical conditions or age. Others are struggling with child care issues as schools remain closed for the remainder of the academic year and summer care programs are canceled. Some employers have asked what are their obligations to such workers under the law? Can they terminate them, or do they have to accommodate them?

Continue Reading Recalled Workers Don’t Want to Return Because of Health Risks or Child Care – Now What?

On April 24, 2020, Governor Hogan issued “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,” his plan for reopening the state as the COVID-19 pandemic crisis begins to ease. This plan is of critical interest and importance to Maryland employers, and we outline the plan here. This Roadmap is quite general in nature, as would be expected, given that there are many moving parts in play. But it provides some overall guidance as to the order in which certain businesses can expect to resume operations.

Continue Reading What Does Governor Hogan’s Roadmap to Recovery Mean for Maryland Employers?

During the past week or so, various federal agencies have issued additional COVID-19 guidance of significance (more or less) to employers, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Department of Labor (DOL), and the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). We summarize these developments below.

Continue Reading COVID-19 Agency Update: CDC and Essential Workers, EEOC and Non-Discrimination, OSHA and COVID-19 Recordkeeping/Enforcement, DOL and Unemployment Compensation Under CARES, and VETS and COVID-19 National Guard Service

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act mandates that private employers with 500 or fewer employees (with exceptions for certain small employers as well as health care providers and emergency responders) and some public sector employers must provide emergency paid sick leave and emergency Family and Medical Leave Act leave for specific COVID-related reasons. The Act, however, did not address what documentation, if any, an employer could request in order to substantiate the leave and receive the tax credits that will fund the leave. The DOL initially provided guidance in its Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers, but subsequently retracted it, directing employers to the Internal Revenue Service for further guidance. And on the eve of the FFCRA’s effective date of April 1, 2020, the IRS finally provided such guidance.

Continue Reading IRS Identifies What Documentation Can Be Required by Employers for FFCRA Leave, and Much More on Tax Credits

I don’t like it when the federal agencies don’t play fair. I previously blogged about the EEOC’s sneaky change in its position on whether sexual orientation discrimination is covered by Title VII (it revised its guidance without any kind of announcement. It was just suddenly… the exact opposite). And now, the Department of Labor has pulled the same trick with regard to its guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act!

Continue Reading Wait – the DOL Made Their FFCRA Guidance LESS Useful?!!

Governor Hogan has issued an Executive Order, effective 8:00 p.m. on March 30, 2020, requiring all Maryland residents to stay at home except to conduct essential activities. Certain employees of essential businesses and non-essential businesses, however, may continue to travel to work, as described below.

Continue Reading What Does Governor Hogan’s “Stay-at-Home” Order Mean for Employers?

The U.S. Department of Labor updated its  Families First Coronavirus Response  Act: Questions and Answers on Saturday, March 28, 2020 to provide guidance on a number of key issues, including the exemptions to the paid leave mandates under the FFCRA for small businesses, healthcare providers, and emergency responders.

Continue Reading DOL Explains Small Business, Healthcare Provider and Emergency Responder Exemptions to Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and Many Other Things

On March 26, 2020, the Department of Labor updated its Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Questions and Answers to provide more guidance about the paid sick leave and expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requirements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The DOL addressed a number of open issues of significant interest to employers. Additionally, as we mentioned in our March 26, 2020 E-lert, the DOL released the mandatory notice, and it has now followed up with guidance on its posting and distribution.

Continue Reading DOL Answers More Burning Questions and Provides a Poster About Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Department of Labor has issued several resources on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act: a fact sheet for employers, a fact sheet for employees and a Questions and Answers resource. In particular, the last of these resources answers many, although certainly not all, of the multitude of questions that have arisen in the wake of the enactment of the FFCRA and its paid sick leave and expanded Family and Medical Leave Act requirements, which we discussed in our March 19, 2020 E-Lert.

Continue Reading DOL Provides Guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act