In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a tumultuous session for the Maryland General Assembly, whose 2021 session ended at midnight on Monday, April 12. Among the many bills that passed, there were a number of significance to employers, including protection for essential workers in a catastrophic public health emergency, bereavement leave, workplace peace orders, an extension of the time in which to file complaints of discrimination with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, modifications to the mass layoff law, and requirements for gender diversity on boards and in executive management in order to qualify for certain state benefits, among other things.

Continue Reading New Employment Laws in Maryland – Protection for Essential Workers, Bereavement Leave, Workplace Peace Orders, and More! (And a Webinar!)

The U.S. Department of the Treasury issued, on August 28, 2020, a Notice concerning President Trump’s Presidential Memorandum concerning employers’ deferral of payroll taxes.  Here are the key points:

Continue Reading Treasury Department Provides Guidance on President Trump’s Deferral of Payroll Taxes

President Trump issued, on August 8, 2020, Memoranda and Executive Orders concerning unemployment insurance, payroll tax withholding, evictions, and student loans.  Below, we discuss the two employment-related Presidential Memoranda (which have been incorrectly designated Executive Orders in the media, although there is little technical distinction between the two).  Neither requires immediate action by employers.

Continue Reading President Issues Memoranda on Payroll Taxes and Unemployment Insurance

We just got a call from a client who was notified by the state of a claim for unemployment benefits for one of their employees. Actually, their CEO. Who is still employed. And who therefore had not filed a claim for benefits. Unfortunately, they were the victims of a scam involving fraudulent unemployment benefits claims.

Continue Reading No, Your CEO Did Not Really File For Unemployment Benefits

In a rare show of bipartisanship, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation providing a wide scope of benefits and rights to individuals impacted by the COVID-19 national emergency. This legislation makes sweeping changes to an employer’s legal obligations: (1) imposing a general paid sick and safe leave mandate on all employers, with additional time for public health emergencies; (2) temporarily and vastly expanding coverage and imposing a paid leave requirement under the Family and Medical Leave Act for reasons associated with COVID-19; (3) making unemployment benefits available for reasons associated with COVID-19; and (4) giving a tax credit for paid sick and paid family and medical leave. Given that President Trump has already tweeted his support for the bill and the Senate is expected to follow suit, it is likely to be enacted in the coming days and would need to be immediately implemented by employers.

Continue Reading What The “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” Means To Employers

Ah, the French. They have such a … cosmopolitan attitude towards sex. This was on display in a recent article that caught my eye, “Frenchman’s death during sex while on business trip a ‘workplace accident,’ court rules.” (That’s an attention-getter, isn’t it?)

According to the article, a Frenchman died of a heart attack while having sex with “a total stranger” at her home during an overnight business trip. (How tawdry! How titillating!) His employer denied responsibility for his death under the French equivalent of our workers’ compensation law, which provides compensation to employees/their estates for injury/death on the job. The employer argued that his death “occurred when he had knowingly interrupted his mission for a reason dictated solely by his personal interest, independent of his employment.” More specifically, he was no longer on a “mission” for his employer when he suffered the heart attack, which was attributable to “his sexual act with a complete stranger.” Well, that certainly seems to make sense. Sex is quite personal, isn’t it? (And I am particularly amused by the repeated emphasis on the fact that the sex was with a total or complete stranger. Would it have made a difference if he died while having sex with his wife or mistress? And is anyone else wondering if the “total stranger” was a prostitute?)


Continue Reading Death During Sex on Business Trip Was a “Workplace Accident”?!!!

Debt can alter one’s future trajectory for good or for ill.  The latter is reflected in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.  Although they are the most educated generation ever in the U.S., Millennials at the tail end of their generation incurred unprecedented debt for college – often six figure debt – then graduated into the Great Recession.  Their employment opportunities were truncated.  As a result, their income potential (and debt repayment capability) has been damaged, seemingly beyond repair. They have collectively put off home buying and starting families, which has ripple effects for the future, from reduced home buying opportunity to delayed or foregone child rearing. 
Continue Reading Debt or No Debt? Your Employees’ Future in the Balance

Leaf raker, babysitter, waitress, retail salesperson, lawyer. I have had many jobs. Each has had value. Often, the pay and benefits did not match the value. When the value of the job exceeded the remuneration, I looked to find the next job.
Continue Reading The Value of Labor Goes Beyond Wages

FullSizeRender

On a related note to my previous post on pet bereavement leave, my daughter told me about another leave available to those dog-crazy folks in the U.K – “paw-ternity leave.” (Which is very different than “peternity” leave – another name for pet bereavement leave!) Essentially, this type of leave is a maternity/paternity leave for pets.

As first reported by the Mirror, a research study by pet insurance provider Petplan found that almost 1 in 20 new pet owners in the U.K. are offered “paw-ternity” leave by their employers. This leave can be used to settle in and care for a new pet, vet appointments, training, etc. It ranges from a few hours to a few weeks, and is provided in addition to the worker’s usual vacation leave allotment. The article specifically identifies two different companies that formally provide this type of leave – pet food manufacturer Mars Petcare and IT company Bitsol Solutions.
Continue Reading “Paw-ternity” Leave?