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Biden’s pay equity priority: federal and state updates, and what federal contractors can expect going forward

Federal contractors and other employers should anticipate greater scrutiny related to their compensation policies and practices as a result of recent policy shifts. President Biden has made it clear that a key priority of his administration is closing the gender and racial wage gap that currently exists in the United States, and that he plans … Continue Reading

COBRA changes under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). Among the most significant changes for employers are the provisions related to COBRA. The ARPA provides assistance-eligible individuals (AEI) with the opportunity for a 100 percent subsidy for COBRA premiums between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021 (the Subsidy … Continue Reading

New York State provides supplemental guidance for its paid quarantine leave

As we previously reported, on March 18, 2020, New York State passed a law providing job protection and benefits to certain employees quarantined or isolated due to exposure to and/or infection with COVID-19. On January 20, the New York State Department of Labor issued supplemental guidance clarifying some important points for employers about complying with … Continue Reading

Virginia set to enact permanent COVID-19 workplace safety standard

On January 13, 2021, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry’s (DOLI’s) Safety and Health Codes Board voted 9-4 to approve a permanent COVID-19 workplace safety standard, setting the stage for Virginia to become the first state in the nation to do so. In July 2020, DOLI’s Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Program (VOSH) adopted … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Labor finalizes rule creating a new “reality” for classifying independent contractors

As we previously reported, this past September the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a new rule that would create a uniform approach to the way companies classify workers as independent contractors or employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). More specifically, in the proposed rule, the DOL adopted the “economic reality” test, which … Continue Reading

Employers with Pittsburgh-based employees face new requirements to provide COVID-19-related paid sick leave

The City of Pittsburgh is expected to enact the new Temporary COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Ordinance (the “Ordinance”), which provides Pittsburgh employees with a new entitlement of up to two weeks of paid time off for qualifying absences related to COVID-19. While this legislation may be well intended, it presents potentially significant challenges for employers … Continue Reading

CDC updates guidance to allow for reduced quarantine times

On December 2, 2020, the CDC updated its guidance on COVID-19 quarantines. Previously, the CDC advised that asymptomatic individuals should quarantine for 14 days after their last exposure to someone who has COVID-19. The CDC’s prior guidance did not allow for the reduction of that 14-day period based on the receipt of a negative COVID-19 … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania employers may need to revise policies and practices within the workplace in response to new mitigation order by Governor Wolf

On November 23, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf issued the Order of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for Mitigation, Enforcement and Immunity Protections, which establishes various mitigation measures that Pennsylvania businesses must implement effective November 27, 2020. Many of these measures are already familiar to Pennsylvania businesses that have been implementing the mitigation measures … Continue Reading

New CDC close contact definition announced for contact tracing and worker exclusion

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its definition for close contact in its COVID-19 guidelines. As a result, employers should immediately reevaluate both their social distancing protocols and their contact tracing protocols to ensure full compliance with CDC standards. The updated definition clarifies that it is contact within 6 feet of … Continue Reading

California expands Family Care and Medical Leave eligibility

On September 17, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 1383 (SB-1383), which significantly expands employee eligibility for family and medical leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The law, which will go into effect January 1, 2021, reduces the number of employees required for an employer to be covered under the CFRA and … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Labor proposes new “reality” for classifying independent contractors

This week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed a new rule that would create a uniform approach to the way companies classify workers as independent contractors or employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The notion of classifying workers as independent contractors versus employees has continued to gain importance in recent years, given … Continue Reading

DOL doubles-down on FFCRA rules (but amends others) in response to federal court decision

On September 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new administrative rule concerning the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), a federal law that provides two forms of COVID-19-related paid time off to employees of businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The rule comes just over a month after a New York … Continue Reading

Updated COVID-19 FAQs for New York employers

Please see an updated version of our FAQs as of July 25, 2020.   We have compiled FAQs concerning New York’s COVID-19-related health and safety protocols for businesses across the state. These protocols apply to all New York businesses – regardless of size, location, whether the business has physically reopened, or whether it was deemed “essential” – … Continue Reading

Responding to employee advocacy and workplace walkouts during times of protest

Several labor organizations, along with racial and social justice organizations, conducted a mass walkout on July 20, 2020 to protest racial inequality and working conditions in the United States.  Thousands of workers in more than 200 cities walked off the job on a full-day strike while others who were unable to strike for a full … Continue Reading

California’s recent guidance for employers facing COVID-19 outbreaks

On June 16, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released guidance for employers responding to COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace. An outbreak at a non-health care or congregate setting workplace is defined as three or more laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 within a two-week period among employees who live in different households. The guidance … Continue Reading

COVID-19 FAQs for New York employers

Since early May, New York State has published – across multiple platforms – a slew of materials related to business reopenings and workplace-related health and safety. We developed a FAQs based on some of the more common New York-specific questions that clients have posed to us since May. The FAQs touch on a host of issues, … Continue Reading

Update on everything you need to know about New York’s business reopening plan [Updated as of July 1]

As we previously detailed here and here, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo recently outlined guidelines for when Empire State businesses can reopen and return to “in-person” operations. Under the Governor’s plan, reopenings are being determined, first, on a region-by-region basis and then, once a region is eligible to reopen, on a phased industry-by-industry basis. Since the Governor … Continue Reading

Face covering requirements reappear overnight for many businesses operating in Texas

With the spike in reported COVID-19 cases in Texas, counties have started to re-impose previous safety measures. As a result, many of the requirements of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” orders from earlier this year have come back into effect for a second time – highlighting the continuing challenge of COVID-19 workplace compliance. On the … Continue Reading

Protecting confidential information in a work-from-home world

In non-compete and trade secret litigation, key evidence of employee misconduct often comes to light through a forensic examination of the employee’s devices and accounts. These forensic reviews can identify suspicious activity, such as an employee forwarding information and documents to a personal email address, accessing large amounts of company files around the time of … Continue Reading

Moving forward: New York State Department of Health issues new protocols for returning employees to the workplace following COVID-19 infection or exposure

As New York State businesses begin to reopen – a process we have detailed here – Empire State employers will increasingly be required to make decisions with respect to returning employees to the workplace who were suspected or confirmed to be infected with, or exposed to, COVID-19. To assist the business community, the New York … Continue Reading

EEOC provides updated guidance related to excluding high-risk workers, required accommodations, and pandemic-based harassment

As we previously posted, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) CDC recently issued guidance on reopening the workplace. In its latest update on June 11, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (the Guidance) to provide further guidance on returning employees to the workplace. Notably, the Guidance covers … Continue Reading

Expanding the definition of sex: SCOTUS rules employers cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, No. 17-1618 (U.S. Jun. 15, 2020), which held that an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In a 6-3 opinion authored by Justice … Continue Reading

Update on everything you need to know about New York’s business reopening plan [Updated as of June 15]

As we previously detailed here and here, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo recently outlined guidelines for when Empire State businesses can reopen and return to “in-person” operations. Under the Governor’s plan, reopenings are being determined, first, on a region-by-region basis and then, once a region is eligible to reopen, on a phased industry-by-industry basis. … Continue Reading

COVID-19 FAQs for California employers

The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has had, and will continue to have, a substantial impact on the U.S. workplace. We have prepared a series of FAQs compiled based on some of the more common questions that clients with California-based employees have posed to us over roughly the past six weeks. These FAQs are general and high-level … Continue Reading
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