Employer Law Report

Department of Labor’s Q&A page provides new information about enforcement of Families First Coronavirus Response Act

As the April 1, 2020 effective date for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act quickly approaches, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) continues to release guidance via a Q&A page through which the DOL illustrates how it will enforce the Act.

Some of this guidance has been discussed in earlier posts which you can find here and here. In addition, the DOL has provided the following new information. Continue Reading

The Department of Labor answers more questions about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Over the weekend, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) updated its Q&A page for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) ahead of the act’s April 1, 2020 effective date. This guidance provides employers with additional insight about how the DOL will enforce the FFCRA’s expanded Families and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and paid sick leave requirements. In this second piece of our three-part series, here is our look at the key points the new guidance provides.

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DOL releases Families First Coronavirus Response Act poster and clarifies posting obligations

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) separately released a FAQ devoted solely to an employer’s posting obligations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Each covered employer must post a notice (available in English and Spanish) of the FFCRA requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. Where an employer has employees reporting directly to work in several different buildings, the employer must post all required federal notices in each building, even if the buildings are located in the same general vicinity.

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Colorado enacts paid sick leave rules

On March 10, 2020, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis declared a State of Disaster Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor directed that immediate rulemaking be initiated to provide employees in certain industries paid sick leave for possible COVID-19 testing. The next day, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment published the Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay Rules. These emergency rules became effective on March 11, 2020, and remain in effect for the longer of (a) 30 days after adoption (in other words, April 10, 2020); or (b) the duration of the State of Disaster Emergency, up to a maximum of 120 days after adoption of the emergency rules (in other words, up to July 9, 2020).

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Nurse brings COVID-19 whistleblower suit against Northwestern Hospital

In what may be the first COVID-19 whistleblower action to be filed in the country, Lauri Mazurkiewicz sued her former employer, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, on March 23, 2020.  Ms. Mazurkiewicz, a nurse, filed her lawsuit in Illinois state court. She alleges that the hospital fired her after she raised concern over the masks being provided to its health care workers. Ms. Mazurkiewicz claims that the actions of the hospital and its management violated Illinois’s Whistleblower Act and also amounted to retaliatory discharge.

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Department of Labor releases Q&A regarding Families First Coronavirus Response Act and mandatory posters

On March 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a Q&A page to resolve some of the most pressing questions regarding emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave and paid sick leave offered under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and its application to employers. Additionally, the DOL released the required poster regarding the Act which an employer must maintain in its workplace.

While the public awaits the DOL’s final regulations interpreting the FFCRA, the DOL’s Q&A provides some guidance as to where DOL enforcement of the FFCRA is heading ahead of the act’s effective date of April 1, 2020.

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New York becomes first state to enact paid sick leave law in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

As we recently reported, President Donald Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to provide paid Family Medical Leave (FMLA) and paid sick leave to families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the law provides a number of protections to American workers, it also has a few gaps. One gap in the FFCRA, for example, is that it does not apply to employers of 500 or more employees.

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Ohio “Stay at Home” order limits business operations to slow spread of COVID-19

On March 22, 2020, Dr. Amy Acton, health director for the Ohio Department of Health, signed the “Director’s Stay at Home Order,” calling on all Ohioans to stay at home or at their place of residence unless conducting or participating in essential activities, essential governmental functions, or essential businesses and operations.

The Director’s Order, which will be enforced by local departments of health and local law enforcement, goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 23, 2020 and remains in effect until 11:59 on April 6, 2020. The Order has a number of key directives for businesses operating in Ohio.

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Ohio BWC guidance for employers during COVID-19 outbreak

On March 19, 2020, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) issued some guidance to employers and employees to explain how the BWC is continuing to operate during this crisis. The BWC is continuing to process claims. For employers, the present changes may result in increased claim costs attributed to their risk. The BWC is permitting benefits to continue while suspending some of the employees’ requirements to maintain those benefits.

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