As many aspects of our lives return to “normal” after two years in the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals with caregiving responsibilities—for children, grandchildren, parents, partners or other family members—often remain in limbo. Ongoing school and daycare closures, as well as health risks and concerns for those not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, will likely create ongoing disruption for employees with caregiver responsibilities.
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law. The Act, which builds in part on certain COVID-19 relief measures enacted in 2020, contains several items that could impact employers’ COVID-related leave policies.
In particular, though employers are still not required to continue offering leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) or the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) passed in 2020, employers that elect to do so through September 2021 are eligible for tax credits to cover much of the cost.
The American ... Read More
On Dec. 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its much-awaited guidance on the COVID-19 vaccine in the workplace. (See section “K. Vaccinations” at this link (for the full guidance.) This guidance provides crucial information to employers who have been weighing whether, and how, to require or implement the COVID-19 vaccines in the workplace.
As with other moments during the COVID-19 pandemic, employers will need to be nimble in their response to current events, changing circumstances, and evolving scientific and legal guidance. For ... Read More
The one constant in the COVID-19 pandemic is that the guidance keeps changing. We have highlighted it before and we’ll do it again: Part of every employer’s COVID-19 preparedness and response plan needs to include the designation of someone in the company who will periodically review the website for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other key organizations such as the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services for changes to their guidance on COVID-19 precautions.
On Monday, the CDC changed key elements in its recommendation for determining when a ... Read More
Many businesses are anxious to resume operations after closing or scaling back because of COVID-19. However, trends in North Carolina COVID-19 diagnoses and hospitalizations show that the pandemic is still very much an issue. The question becomes: what is the best way to balance these competing concerns?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued an updated “Guidance on Returning to Work” to assist employers and workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance is a supplement to OSHA’s prior “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19” ... Read More
As doors are re-opening and employees are returning to work, businesses should take measures to protect themselves—including their employees, customers, finances, and brand—as much as possible. Outlined below are a few measures businesses can take now to avoid pitfalls from COVID-19.
What steps should I be taking to protect my business going forward?
Measures to take may include:
- Familiarize yourself with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). If you employ 500 or fewer individuals, your employees are likely covered by the FFCRA. The FFCRA provides for ...
As shelter-in-place orders begin to lift around the country and here in North Carolina, it is time for companies to shift from disaster response—making it through the immediate needs of the COVID-19 crisis and related shutdown—to plans for long-term business operations in the new normal.
Although the details remain murky in many ways, there are steps that business can take now to ensure their best chances at viability in a changed social and economic environment. Business owners will need to keep close tabs on the latest legal requirements and analyze, with the help of counsel and ... Read More
The crisis has not passed, but many employers are reaching out to us about returning their employees to work. In some cases, it’s because employers have received PPP funds and want to make sure they are appropriately managing employee payroll, including headcount, to take advantage of loan forgiveness. In others, employers are preparing for Governor Cooper’s phased approach to lifting restrictions, monitoring North Carolina’s COVID-19 trends.
Whatever the situation, we’ve identified several important things employers should be thinking about as they return ... Read More
An employee may have been exposed to COVID-19. What do you do?
This question is becoming more common for essential businesses that continue to operate during quarantines. On April 8, the CDC issued a new Interim Guidance explaining how to keep essential employees working following potential exposure to COVID-19. They also provide a printable flyer for the workplace.
The new guidance permits employees with possible exposure to return to work provided they are (1) asymptomatic and (2) take the following additional precautions:
- The employer should measure the employee’s ...
This article originally appeared on the North Carolina Bar Association's Blog on April 3, 2020.
I know it is difficult keeping track of all the moving dates and deadlines. For your convenience, here is a chart with all the current extensions. Below the chart is an update about Justice Beasley’s latest order pushing out state trial court proceedings into June.
Nature of Proceedings
NC District Court & Superior Court
All in-court proceedings (likely also mediations), with limited exceptions including proceedings implicating due process rights
Yesterday, March 26, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued additional guidance on how the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will be applied, the latest in a string of expected clarifications leading up to the April 1 effective date. The FFCRA includes the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA) and Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA). This guidance provided several important clarifications for employers on the DOL’s enforcement policy.
Here are the highlights:
Implications of Furloughs and Closures
- Furloughed employees, or employees whose ...
- Discrimination Against Caregivers: New Guidance from the EEOC
- Pick Your Backlash: Deciding on a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy Means Backlash for Employers, Regardless of the Policy They Implement
- Vaccine or Test For Large Employers on Hold Again, But Medicare and Medicaid Facilities Must Ensure Covered Staff Are Vaccinated
- Mandatory Vaccination or Testing Is Back: Updates on OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard for Private Employers with 100 or more Employees
- OSHA Issues New COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard for Private Employers with more than 100 Employees
- President Biden’s “Path out of the Pandemic” Imposes New Vaccination Requirements
- Updated CDC Masking Guidance; North Carolina Employers Strongly Encouraged to Implement COVID-19 Vaccination, Testing, and Mask Policies
- OSHA’s New Emergency Temporary Standard to Protect Healthcare Workers
- North Carolina Governor Extends Certain COVID-19 Measures
- New from OSHA on COVID-19: A COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare and Revised Guidance for All Other Employers