Today I had the opportunity to talk with a old friend in Spain via FaceTime. We hadn’t talked in months, but I’m sure like a lot of you, this pandemic has a way of bringing us together.
The same concerns that we have in Connecticut and the same issues we face are being addressed around the world, including Spain. Their lockdowns are increasingly stricter. And there are other differences as well. For my friend, his employer is paying him 55 percent of his salary for the next three months to essentially stay at home.
In the United States, we obviously have no such safety net for many millions of employees.
But the new CARES Act aims to alleviate some of this by extending unemployment benefits both in time and the eligibility criteria. My firm is working on a recap for tomorrow, but in the interim, I found this summary this weekend on the key employment law provisions to be particularly useful.
The United States Department of Labor also released still further guidance this weekend on how to interpret the paid leave provisions of the FFCRA. I’ve posted a full update on the new guidance at my firm’s Coronavirus Resource page here.
The key takeaway from the new guidance is a broad interpretation of the exemption for healthcare providers and emergency responders. Previously, it was thought that only certain type of healthcare workers would be exempt from the paid leave laws but this new guidance suggests anyone who works for a health care provider can be exempted. Small businesses (under 50 employees) can also be exempted if certain conditions are met.
For employers with labor unions, the NLRB released guidance on Friday that talked about when an employer has a duty to bargain during an emergency. Worth a read as well.
What else is going on in the week ahead?
- On Monday, I’ll be doing a video webinar at 3:30 p.m. for the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce on the new federal legislation related to the coronavirus and what it means for employers. The program is free and you can register here.
- On Tuesday at noon, I’ll be doing a separate video webinar with my colleagues Gabe Jiran and Keegan Drenosky on practical tips for employers during this COVID-19 pandemic. You can sign up for free here.
- Remember, Wednesday is the first day of the new FFCRA and the related paid sick leave provisions. Employers should focus on creating a simply policy to roll out and should also be sure to post the required notice. You can find the notice here.
- If you haven’t had a chance yet to look at it, the Connecticut state government Coronavirus Resource page is quite helpful during this time. It is continually updated; in fact, the update today added some additional information on links. Worth a click.
- Similarly, employers should now be using a new “pink slip” as I mentioned yesterday.
- And if you haven’t looked at the Connecticut Department of Labor FAQ, that too is a worthwhile resource. It was updated again on Friday, March 27th.