April 2020: Worker Protection Order

Applies to:
Covered Businesses, which include the following:

  • Grocery stores, water retailers, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, convenience stores, warehouse stores, food banks, certified farmers markets, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet food and medication supply (but not grooming or training), fresh or frozen meats, fish, and poultry, any other household consumer products (such as construction supplies, cleaning and personal care products);
  • Organizations and businesses that provide food, social services and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals (including gang prevention and intervention, domestic violence, and homeless services agencies);
  • Hardware and building supply stores, day labor centers, and nurseries;
  • Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, custodial/janitorial workers, handyman services, funeral home workers and morticians, moving services, HVAC installers, carpenters, day laborers, landscapers, gardeners, property managers and leasing agents, private security personnel;
  • Laundromats, dry cleaners, and laundry service providers;
  • Restaurants and retail food facilities that prepare and offer food to customers, but only via
  • delivery service, to be picked up, or drive-thru;
  • Individuals and businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, beverages or goods directly to residences or businesses;
  • Taxis, ride sharing services, car rental companies, and other private transportation services; and
  • Hotels, motels, and shared rental units.

What happened?
Per the order signed by the governor on April 7, 2020, all covered businesses must abide by the new rules effective Friday, April 8 at 12:01 a.m. until the end of the local emergency period.

What are the details?

  1. Covered Businesses must provide face coverings (do not need to be medical-grade and may be fabric coverings). Any reusable masks must be washed at least once a day. Single use should be disposed.
  2. Customers and visitors must also wear face coverings.
  3. Covered Businesses may refuse admission or service to “any individual” who fails to wear a face mask.
  4. Covered Businesses must allow staff to wash hands every 30 minutes.
  5. Covered Businesses must ensure staff have access to clean and sanitary restrooms. These
    restrooms must be stocked with all “necessary cleansing products” or “sanitizing agents.”
  6. Social distance measures must followed at Covered Businesses, which includes a six-foot buffer between workers, customers, and visitors.
  7. An additional recommendation for all retail businesses to “install plexiglass to separate cashiers and customers at all points of sale.”

What do employers need to do?
Abide by the guidelines listed above. Failure to comply with this Order will be considered a
misdemeanor, subject to fines and imprisonment.

It is also recommended to post the Steps for handwashing poster:
http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/handwash.htm

Worker Protection Order:
https://www.lamayor.org/sites/g/files/wph446/f/page/file/WorkerProtection.pdf

Safer at Home Order:
https://www.lamayor.org/sites/g/files/wph446/f/article/files/SAFER_AT_HOME_ORDER2020.03.19.pdf

Articles:
Sheppard Mullin: Labor & Employment Law Blog

April 2020: LA City Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

Applies to:
Businesses who operate within the City of Los Angeles.

Employers with either (1) 500 or more employees within the city of Los Angeles, or (2) 2,000 or more employees within the United States.

What happened?
The Mayor superseded an ordinance established by the City Council to require Supplemental Paid Sick Leave to employees who perform work within the City of Los Angeles. Any staff who have been employed by the same employer from February 3, 2020 – March 4, 2020 is eligible for this leave.

What are the details?
Effective April 10, 2020 covered employers shall provide 80 hours of Supplemental Paid Sick Leave to Full Time Employees. Part Time Employees (work less than 40 hours/week) shall receive the average number of hours worked for a two-week period between February 3, 2020 – March 4, 2020.

Time off must be provided for the following covered reasons:

  1. Provide time off because a “public health official or health provider requires or recommends the employee isolate or self-quarantine” due to COVID-19;
  2. If an employee takes time off and is at least 65 years old, or has an underlying health condition that puts them at risk;
  3. The employee needs to care for a family member who is not sick, but has been recommended, or required to, self-quarantine;
  4. The employee needs to provide care for a family member whose senior care provider, school, or childcare provider is closed, and no other care is available.

Payments are capped at $511 per day, and $5,110 in the aggregate.

Employees can submit a request either orally or in writing. The employer is prohibited from requiring a doctor’s note for use of supplemental paid sick leave.

Exemptions
The following industries are exempt from this Public Order:

  • Emergency and Health Services Personnel
  • Critical Parcel Delivery – If deemed as essential emergency service
  • Generous Leave – Any employer that provides a minimum of 160 hours of paid leave annually.
  • New Business – All new businesses, except for construction or film producers, which opened within the city limits between April 4, 2019 and March 4, 2020 are exempt from this Public Order. In addition, if any business relocated to the City during this same time is also exempt.
  • Government – Government employees are exempt from this Public OrderClosed Businesses – Any business or organization closed for at least 14 days due to the city
  • official’s emergency order, or has provided at least 14 days of paid leave
  • Collective Bargaining – Current agreements are exempt only if they already include COVID-19 related sick leave provisions.

In addition, if an employer has provided paid time off for one of the approved reasons listed above, they can reduce their liability accordingly.

This Order shall remain in effect until two calendar weeks (14 days) after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency period.

What do employers need to do?
Ensure workers are provided paid sick leave in compliance with the above and notified of their rights under this Order.

Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Order:
City of Los Angeles – Public Order Under City of Los Angeles Emergency Authority

Articles:
Jackson Lewis: California Workplace Law Blog
Sheppard Mullin: Labor & Employment Law Blog

March 2020 Maryland HR Legal Updates

COVID-19 Employee Protections

What happened?
Governor Hogan signed a law to provide ongoing support and direction related to COVID-19.

What are the details?
The state of emergency establishes the following:

  • Prohibits cost-sharing by insurance providers for COVID-19 testing
  • Require insurance carriers to cover COVID-19 vaccine (if developed)
  • Prohibits employers from terminating staff because an employee was required to be isolated or quarantine, to care for a family member due to COVID-19, or leaves work out of fear of contracting COVID-19

What do employers need to do?
Comply with the above items listed above.

https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/03/19/governor-hogan-enacts-emergency-legislation-to-enhance-ongoing-response-to-covid-19/

March 2020 District of Columbia HR Legal Updates

Amended D.C.’s FMLA Statute

What happened?
The District of Columbia Council and Mayor signed a bill providing leave for employee related to COVID-19.

What are the details?
Employees may take time off for a “Declaration of Emergency Leave” when unable to work if the government or medical professional has recommended (or mandated) self-quarantine or isolation.

This law applies to employers of any size, and there is no eligibility period beyond being an active employee. This leave can be taken for the duration of the public health emergency.

This leave in unpaid and staff will be eligible for unemployment benefits.

What do employers need to do?
Comply with the information listed above.

https://www.manatt.com/Insights/Newsletters/COVID-19-Update/District-of-Columbia-Expands-FMLA-and-Unemployment

March 2020 Pennsylvania HR Legal Updates

Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

What happened?
Pittsburgh, PA passed a law to provide additional paid sick leave effective March 15, 2020.

What are the details?
Employers are required to offer paid sick leave as follows:

  • Fewer than fifteen employees: Up to 24 hours of unpaid sick the first year of the Act. Effective March 15, 2021, need to provide 24 hours of paid sick leave per year.
  • Fifteen or more employees: Provide 40 hours of paid sick leave per year.

Employees must accrue at least one hour for every 35 hours worked within the geographic boundaries of Pittsburgh. If an employee’s place of work is outside Pittsburgh, but the employee works at least 35 hours within Pittsburgh in a calendar year, that employee is eligible for this paid leave.

What do employers need to do?
Update policies to meet the requirements listed above.

https://www.lawandtheworkplace.com/2020/02/pittsburgh-paid-sick-leave-ordinance-to-take-effect-march-15-2020/

March 2020 New York HR Legal Updates

Paid Sick Leave COVID-19

What happened?
The governor signed a law providing additional paid leave related to COVID-19.

What are the details?
Effective March 19, 2020, employers in New York are required to provide sick leave if the mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine and isolation is issued by the government. The amount of leave will vary depending on the following categories:

  • 10 or less employees
    • Unpaid sick leave until termination of order, and no loss of accrued sick leave
    • Eligible for paid family leave benefits and benefits per disability
  • 10 or less employees AND over $1 million net income in previous tax year
    • 5 days of PTO, and unpaid sick leave until termination of order, and no loss of accrued sick leave
    • Eligible for paid family leave benefits and benefits per disability
  • 11-99 employees
    • 5 days of PTO, and unpaid sick leave until termination of order, and no loss of accrued sick leave
    • Eligible for paid family leave benefits and benefits per disability
  • 100+ employees
    • 14 days of PTO, and unpaid sick leave until termination of order, and no loss of accrued sick leave
    • Eligible for paid family leave benefits and benefits per disability
  • Public employers (no matter how many employees) must provide employees with:
    • 14 days of PTO, and unpaid sick leave until termination of order, and no loss of accrued sick leave
    • Eligible for paid family leave benefits and benefits per disability

If paid leave has expired, the employee then becomes eligible for Paid Family Leave.

Disability: If the employee is unable to work due to a mandatory quarantine, and they have exhausted all of their time off under this Act.

Return to Work: Employee must be returned to equivalent or same position. Discrimination or retaliation is not allowed.

Ineligible for Paid Sick Leave: Only if employee is under mandatory quarantine after travelling to a Grade 2 or 3 health notice country per the CDC and was not required to go to that country by the employer.

Telework: If employee can telework, or continue to work, the above items are not applicable.

Documentation: An employer may ask the employee to provide a request for leave, but in regard to Paid Family Leave if an employer is self-insured or has an insurance carrier to provide for paid family leave, forms are available on the NY COVID-19 Paid Family Leave guidance site below.

Care for child: This leave is also available for staff to use if they need to provide care for a minor dependent child of the employee who is subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation.

Caps: Paid Family Leave and Disability benefits up to a maximum of $2,884.62 per week.

What do employers need to do?
Ensure policies are implemented in compliance with the above. Employers must post a notice of compliance: see the following link for information regarding the notice: https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/employer-responsibilities-and-resources

Guidance for Employers: https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/covid-19-paid-leave-guidance-employers or contact the PFL Helpline at (844)-337-6303

March 2020 New Jersey HR Legal Updates

Pre-Tax Transportation Fringe Benefits

What happened?
New Jersey passed a law which requires employers to offer pre-tax commuter benefits to employee’s effective March 1, 2020.

What are the details?
Employees can use pre-tax benefits to pay for “alternate means of commuting” which would include public transportation, carpools, telecommuting, bicycles, and walking. Individuals who are not in collective bargaining agreement beginning March 1, 2020.

What do employers need to do?
Ensure transit is being offered pre-tax to your staff.

Resources
https://www.njtransit.com/var/var_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=CommuterTaxTo

March 2020 Colorado HR Legal Updates

Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order

What happened?
Colorado passed new minimum wage requirements, effective March 1, 2020, and July 1 ,2020 (new exempt salaries).

What are the details?

  • Minimum salary threshold to be exempt has increased to $42,500 March 1, 2020.
  • “Owners” who manage a business and have 20% ownership do not need to receive a salary to be exempt.
  • The highest-ranked and highest-paid employee of a non-profit is considered exempt if the employee meets the minimum salary requirements listed above.

What do employers need to do?
Review all positions and wages to determine eligibility/coverage and adjust as necessary. Contact your HR Manager if you need further assistance.

Resources
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/7%20CCR%201103-1%20Colorado%20Overtime%20%26%20Minimum%20Pay%20Standards%20Order%20%28COMPS%29%20Fact%20Sheet_0.pdf

 _______________________________________________________________________________

Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay (HELP)

What happened?
On March 11, 2020, HELP was passed to provide paid leave in limited industries to staff who are suffering from flu-like symptoms who are being testing for COVID-19.

What are the details?
All employers and employees in one of the following industries or jobs are covered under this law:

  • Leisure and Hospitality
  • Food Services
  • Child Care
  • Education (including transportation, food service, and other related workers)
  • Home Health (only if working with elderly, ill, high-risk, or disabled individuals)
  • Nursing Homes
  • Community Living Facilities

This law is effective on March 11, 2020, and will continue for at least 30 days, or until expiration of emergency order from the governor, whichever is later.

What do employers need to do?
Offer up to four days of paid sick leave to staff who have symptoms and are being tested for COVID-19. If a negative result is received prior to four days, paid leave will end.

Additional paid days are not typically required if at least 4 days are provided to staff. However, if the employee currently has less than four days available as of the date of notice to employer of needing leave, an additional four days of paid leave must be provided.

During this time, an employer may request documentation from employees to show the need for leave, and employees are required to give notice as soon as possible of their need for leave, unless they are too ill to communicate. The employee must also notify the employer within 24 hours of being tested for COVID-19 and provide documentation as required by the employer either the end of their illness, or their return to work, whichever is sooner.

The employer may require the following, but this documentation is not required to take HELP:

  1. Doctor’s note (name, contact information, type of healthcare provider) with a prescription for COVID-19 test OR related documents as available, with a written note from the employee explaining the doctor’s note is not available. The employee does not need to provide why the document is not available, only an outline of which documents are unavailable.
  2. Documentation from the COVID-19 test provider (name, contact information, type of provider) to show the test was performed, OR related documents as available, with a written note from the employee explaining the provider’s note is not available. The employee does not need to provide why the document is not available, only an outline of which documents are unavailable.

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/colorado-health-emergency-leave-pay-%E2%80%9Ccolorado-help%E2%80%9D-rules

March 2020 California HR Legal Updates

Employer Annual Reporting Form Cancelled

What happened?
The Mayor of San Francisco signed an emergency order related to COVID-19.

What are the details?
Effective immediately, the City has cancelled the 2019 Annual Reporting form for Health Care Security Ordinance (HCSO) and Fair Chance Ordinance (FCO). No submission is necessary due to COVID-19.

What do employers need to do?
Comply with the order and do not submit the HCSO or the FCO. Employers are still responsible to comply with the other aspects of these ordinances.

https://sfgov.org/olse

________________________________________________________________________________

Additional Essential Business Limitations

What happened?
By Order of the Health Officer of each Bay Area county (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco, and San Mateo), “Essential Businesses” (as defined in Section 13.f. of the Orders) that are maintaining operations now have additional limitations imposed on them.

What are the details?
A new Social Distancing Protocol (“Protocol”) must be prepared, posted, and implemented by all Bay Area employers, regardless of employee count, in the above locations at each of their facilities at which they are maintaining operations.

At a minimum, the Protocol must explain how the business is achieving the following, as applicable:

  • Limiting the number of people who can enter into the facility at any one time to ensure that people in the facility can easily maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another at all times, except as required to complete the Essential Business activity;
  • Where lines may form at a facility, marking six-foot increments at a minimum, establishing where individuals should stand to maintain adequate social distancing;
  • Providing hand sanitizer, soap and water, or effective disinfectant at or near the entrance of the facility and in other appropriate areas for use by the public and employees, and in locations where there is high-frequency employee interaction with members of the public (e.g. cashiers);
  • Providing for contactless payment systems or, if not feasible to do so, then providing for disinfecting all payment portals, pens, and styluses after each use;
  • Regularly disinfecting other high-touch surfaces;
  • Posting a sign at the entrance of the facility informing all employees and customers that they should:
    • avoid entering the facility if they have a cough or fever;
    • maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another;
    • sneeze and cough into one’s elbow;
    • not shake hands or engage in any unnecessary physical contact;
    • and Any additional social distancing measures being implemented (based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance).

What do employers need to do?
Affected employers must prepare, post, and implement this new Protocol by no later than 11:59pm, Thursday, April 2, 2020.

The Health Officers have provided a template for such Protocol (see below link). The Protocol must be posted at or near the entrance of the facility and be easily viewable by the public and employees. A copy of the Protocol must also be provided to each employee performing work at the facility.

In addition to requiring the Protocol, the Orders establish several additional requirements. Essential Businesses may only assign those employees who cannot perform their job duties from home to work outside the home. Where an Essential Business also has a non-essential component, it must, to the extent feasible, scale down operations to the Essential Business component only. As a further reminder, even if a business qualifies as an Essential Business, it must also be a business that is necessary to maintain continuity of operations of federal critical infrastructure sectors, as defined by the State Executive Order requiring sheltering in place, in order for its employees to be present in the workplace.

Links referenced above: 

1.    Order: http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=0011hasVPBYlas5VIUuE5TnR75T5XQBndWdEcnQA10Xab5XYxXgaUB8w6bfS2jcoZyjGrX_v4QeMUi0RYfovUEaVKhCQBsGNrx9MPeWrLv4vB7KyEA-X0RUPfKc4mQ2NK2m_PFN5fAyUwRs7cI2KFgtGEmEXdCdObl-q_Jp7YG2O8OJYhHjrK6RsIUlABE2HTx0YdcGr0A7PtlFPhpVKme_swqCkKKHrFnq2Z1BzMBmYeiO_rKzXKRFUymNZXyJpjHT7u2KT3kbQRFAu1LNeD9uMUbcFzeX5dFcdwqr4chweckSG_D9yTHdt1jeWc22pjSZSwED3WSOobM=&c=Wy8jIWsP537jaX1JhdGa816GCTPsxhRLAmjezr0hVQgPHI_YRfPpzg==&ch=-oob5M1PJAgNMqE1Uk6i-fnPAiR3E5H5fViBPLwjXwbPgv4IvnXEuA

2.    Template: http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=0011hasVPBYlas5VIUuE5TnR75T5XQBndWdEcnQA10Xab5XYxXgaUB8w6bfS2jcoZyjUjhloGXGFgxOlkqvRB_6mAyafY3HuS8iZfYmvLI812LhF4yGZiWX_RQ0kof9RIxXmPIhNjhW2734d7F_dhn2febe7iNfG9sbygeDIiJTeG_2F2YYhHMymzYwqd4x2JiCA67bh1m8d_MAdaitNdx949RFmPTBlxhEwJiEFEuGg1CHAmBE8GWAtGSTtlsT-u0icdnzvmZAcngQTWGITb4BXK_GhQ22Mq-ovjvW6AtXf_gO5d00_IZO_vMkaS7p_dZM&c=Wy8jIWsP537jaX1JhdGa816GCTPsxhRLAmjezr0hVQgPHI_YRfPpzg==&ch=-oob5M1PJAgNMqE1Uk6i-fnPAiR3E5H5fViBPLwjXwbPgv4IvnXEuA

3.    CDC Guidance: http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=0011hasVPBYlas5VIUuE5TnR75T5XQBndWdEcnQA10Xab5XYxXgaUB8w6bfS2jcoZyjyHSlNLJOn86wFYQVqoS8K7gZ3q3-c78tMBVmdLgu6Fep6zASEmvY8LiVEX31T0e8D-j91BIePuo7sHkWSI1d4-jF5Kz-uYrIwsExmRFevyhsxJN81G6kodgSj2znC2XD9z1bCHvTydcky5Wcxbz6tXNiaWQYqp8mAct0vzrIa3Q3ttmt_IJD_1YuCFvPQMHfNWO2D9QAz1AlO8xof0C4g-GHO9HwPAxd&c=Wy8jIWsP537jaX1JhdGa816GCTPsxhRLAmjezr0hVQgPHI_YRfPpzg==&ch=-oob5M1PJAgNMqE1Uk6i-fnPAiR3E5H5fViBPLwjXwbPgv4IvnXEuA

4.    California Order: https://covid19.ca.gov/img/Executive-Order-N-33-20.pdf

March 2020 Federal HR Updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources

At Vensure, we are working hard to provide up to date and important information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Please review our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources page for FAQs, prevention recommendations, important fact sheets and CDC links, compliance information, and work from home guide.

Unemployment – State Updates

The following states have enacted changes to their unemployment processes and approvals, specifically as a response to COVID-19. Below is a link to updates at each state as applicable.

More COVID-19 State Updates

Below are links to state resources. Please note this is evolving by the hour, so check with your local state if any stay home order has been issued. These sites include updates on stay home orders, school closings, and other directives by the governors of each state. Please click on your state below to see the latest updates. Additional resources can be found here: State and Municipality Orders.

The federal government also extended the filing of taxes to July 15, 2020.