On January 1, 2021, Maine becomes the first state in the nation to mandate that employers provide their employees with general-purpose paid time off. After over a year of rulemaking and review, the Maine Department of Labor has issued regulations interpreting the new statute.
Cases of COVID-19 are increasing in some states due to each Governor managing the public health crisis in his or her own way. New England states currently have lower positivity rates than many others and Governor Charlie Baker wants to keep it that way in Massachusetts.
On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a long-anticipated ruling that sexual orientation and gender identity fall within Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s sexual discrimination protections and thus, it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees for being homosexual or transgender.
On June 4, 2020, Congress passed a much anticipated amendment to the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). Importantly, the PPP Flexibility Act relaxes a number of the requirements making it easier for employers to qualify for loan forgiveness.
On May 19, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) altered its policy regarding an employer’s obligation to record cases of COVID-19 in the workplace. Previously, OSHA required only employers in the healthcare/emergency responder/correctional institution fields to record positive cases of the Coronavirus and to determine if the case was work related.
The Small Business Administration just released its Instructions and Application for Loan Forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program. The application and instructions provide some overdue guidance for employer borrowers hoping to have all or a portion of their PPP loans forgiven.
Once again, the EEOC updated its question and answer series on how federal antidiscrimination laws impact workplace issues arising during the COVID-19 pandemic; this time addressing whether employers can test workers for coronavirus infection before they enter (or re-enter) the workplace.
This message is not our typical advice about emerging labor and employment law issues. Instead I write to remind you of the challenges that our courts are facing and for those interested in looking at the legal issues, some of which impact our non-work lives. Below I am including a link to a program aired this week by the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, where I have the honor to chair the Board of Trustees.
The Department of Labor is catching up to the flurry of emergency legislation that has come out of Washington and has issued additional guidance on expanded family medical leave requirements created by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFRCA”). In an effort to clarify some of the confusion surrounding this emergency legislation, we have provided answers to some of the common questions.