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,

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!

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In our March 27 E-lert, we explained important provisions of the CARES Act. One of them provides small businesses and nonprofits with forgivable loans to fund payroll and other costs incurred between February 15 and June 30, 2020 as an incentive to keep employees on the payroll.  Under the “Paycheck Protection Program” the federal government will essentially give an employer 2.5 times its monthly payroll, to use for paying wages, rent, mortgage interest and utilities.

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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.

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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.

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As Maryland businesses know, Governor Hogan signed an Executive Order closing all non-essential businesses to the general public at 5 p.m. Monday, March 23, 2020. His office has since provided three separate Interpretive Guidance memos, listing the types of businesses deemed essential. The latest Guidance also provides further information regarding what actions non-essential businesses can continue to engage in, as well as how to determine whether a business is essential or not.

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Today, Governor Hogan announced an Executive Order, Number 20-03-23-01, closing all non-essential businesses to the general public at 5 p.m. today.  Although this is not a “shelter-in-place” directive, Marylanders are urged to stay home. This directive does close retail establishments that were previously permitted to remain open under earlier executive orders.

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