COVID-19 Legal Update, March 26, 2020

The legal landscape, as related to COVID-19, is changing on a daily basis, and we want to keep you up to date on changes that will have an impact on your business.  Below is a quick overview of the most recently posted resources, and key updates.

  1. New Guidance Released that Changes Effective Date from April 2nd to April 1st.  Late on Tuesday, March 24th, the Department of Labor (DOL) posted guidance on the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which answers some preliminary questions about the implementation of the law.  The most important takeaway is that the two leave laws – the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLEA) and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) are going into effect one day early.  The new date is April 1, 2020.  Links to the guidance are below:
    1. Questions and Answers;
    2. Fact Sheet for Employers;
    3. Fact Sheet for Employees;
  2. Model Notices Available For Businesses.  Employers are required to post these new federal policies in their workplaces. Late yesterday, the DOL posted both a model notice for employers to use, as well as questions and answers about how to post, especially in light of the fact that so many employers have employees working remotely.  The poster is available to download as a PDF.  Links to the guidance and the poster are below:
    1. Frequently Asked Questions; and
    2. Model Notice.
  3. Senate Passes $2T Relief Bill Titled the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (“CARES Act”).  The bill has not yet been voted on by the House of Representatives or signed by the president.  However, its passage is expected within the next several days.  It contains significant provisions for the expansion of unemployment insurance benefits, payroll tax relief for employers, and small-business interruption loans.  The text of the bill is more than 800 pages long, and has only just been made available to the public.  We will provide further updates as we learn more about it.  Click here to see the text of the bill.
  4. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Issues New Guidance Allowing Employers To Take Employee Temperatures Without Violating ADA.  The EEOC recently issued updated guidance (available here) concerning employers’ ability to take employees’ temperatures without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  We urge any employers who are interested in this to review all guidance carefully, and consult with counsel before implementing the practice in the workplace.  Conn Kavanaugh is preparing on a more detailed advisory on this issue, to be circulated within the next couple of days.
  5. Gov. Baker Extends Closure of All Schools and Non-Emergency Day Care Facilities to Monday, May 4.  A Boston Globe article on this announcement is available here [sub. req.].

Of course, if you have any questions about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your business and employees, please do not hesitate to contact us.

KATHLEEN R. O’TOOLE

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