As millions of Americans are settling into a “new normal” and working from home, employers should revisit their company policy regarding workplace harassment. Because the workplace doesn’t look quite like it used to, employees must use creative channels of communication while working remotely. Conversations that may have taken place around a water cooler may now be reduced to writing, whether via text message, email or even messages exchanged within a video conferencing platform.
Since the Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA) passed in mid-March, small businesses have wondered how the U.S. Department of Labor would apply the act’s small business exemption from certain paid sick leave and supplemental family and medical leave benefits. With the Department of Labor’s recent release of its final rule interpreting the act, we finally have an answer.
On Friday April 10, 2020 the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) Board of Directors approved Gov. Mike DeWine’s plan to distribute $1.6 billion to state business in light of the current economic downturn related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The agreed amount is roughly equal to premiums paid by Ohio employers for the 2018 policy year. Continue Reading
On April 8, 2019, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) published an updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page that specifically recognizes the potential compensability of COVID-19 claims as occupational disease claims. The BWC acknowledges that although communicable diseases like COVID-19 are typically not compensable, there is a possibility that the BWC could allow claims for this virus. When evaluating compensability, the BWC will consider how the disease was contracted and the nature of the claimant’s occupation. The BWC is careful to note that few jobs will have a greater risk of exposure than the general public which will be a hurdle for a claimant with a COVID-19 claim. Continue Reading
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 197 (HB 197) on March 27, 2020, which tolls numerous workers’ compensation deadlines set to expire between March 9, 2020 and July 30, 2020.
Therefore, any relevant statute of limitations related to workers’ compensation claims will not expire during the time period between March 9, 2020 and July 30, 2020. This change will impact several key events in the workers’ compensation claim process.
As COVID-19 cases continue to mount nationwide, so have lawsuits relating to fallout from the virus. On April 6, 2020, in one of the first COVID-19-related lawsuits of its kind, the estate of an Illinois Walmart Supercenter employee sued Walmart and the premises owner for wrongful death in Toney Evans v. Walmart, Inc., et al.
On April 1, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a temporary rule interpreting the paid leave provisions under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). We will follow with more detailed thoughts on the rule, but the highlights include:
- Key definitions, including “child care provider” (defined as including unpaid family caretakers in addition to paid child care settings) and “telework”
- Discussion of interplay between “stay at home” orders and “isolation or quarantine” orders, and the availability of paid leave in connection with those orders
- Clarification on employees’ options and employers’ ability to require use of paid time off concurrently with expanded FMLA leave for school closures
- Key information for employers on determining exemptions for employees who are health care providers or emergency responders, and who therefore can be exempted from FFCRA coverage
- Instructions on counting employees for purposes of FFCRA coverage
- Elaboration on the exemption for employers with fewer than 50 employees
- Documentation retention requirements and content for claiming the tax credits associated with the FFCRA
- Clarification that employers not covered by the traditional FMLA are not subject to a private right of action from an employee under the expanded FMLA
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio’s legislative, executive, and judicial branches are working together to clarify requirements for civil litigants and alleviate mounting pressure on Ohio’s courts. My colleague Sean Klammer explains in this Porter Wright Law Alert.
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.
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.