The fits and starts of the COVID-19 pandemic have unleashed a number of challenges on businesses and our economy. One such challenge facing the multitude of companies who were forced to furlough some or all of their staff when the pandemic hit is how to recall those furloughed workers as activity picks up in a manner that is fair, sound, makes business sense and mitigates risk. This article will briefly identify and address some of the most critical questions those employers face.
On August 13th, the DOH released “COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations for Local Health Departments for K-12 Schools,” which provides baseline recommendations for schools and local health departments to implement for the 2020-2021 academic year.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) in consultation with the Department of Treasury has issued guidance to address borrower and lender questions regarding forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans.
On August 3, 2020, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (“SDNY”) ordered the United States Department of Labor (“USDOL”) to remove several restrictions imposed on employees seeking to utilize paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) and Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“ESPLA”‘).
The New Jersey Department of Education (“NJDOE”) released supplementary guidance to the 104-page “Road Back: Restart and Recovery Plan for Education,” which now requires all schools to offer all-remote/virtual instruction for students.
Smart business owners are planning for when the regulations of quarantine will be relaxed and business operations will return. Forward-thinking companies should focus on three areas: 1) use of the loan proceeds under the CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP); 2) safe return-to-work practices, and 3) preparing for COVID-19 related lawsuits. The first area requires legal and financial planning and understanding the PPP. The second requires legal and workplace safety planning to meet CDC workplace safe distancing mandates. The last requires implementing corporate best practices and procedures to prepare now for a potential COVID-19 related lawsuit. This article discusses these topics generally, and the authors are happy to discuss your particular circumstances.
Organizations around the country are beginning efforts to re-open offices, retail businesses, educational institutions, manufacturing facilities, and other physical locations. Interpreting requirements from varying levels of local and state governments while navigating the complexities of best practices issues by trade and industry groups is a challenge that most organizations could use help to manage.
On July 6, 2020, a select few schools re-opened their doors for Extended School Year (“ESY”) in-person instruction as Governor Murphy’s restrictions began to lift.
By now, employers are well-informed that employees with underlying health conditions are at greater risk for developing serious medical complications if they contract COVID-19, and that these employees’ medical conditions might warrant accommodations when returning to work under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and state anti-discrimination laws. Employers need to be prepared when their doors re-open to accommodate these employees and implement policy to safeguard their operations from potential lawsuits.
McDonald’s employees in Chicago and Los Angeles have sued over unsafe, COVID-19-related working conditions, claiming the burger giant failed to mandate OSHA/CDC social distancing guidelines and advise employees when their coworkers were diagnosed with the virus.