Today (April 30th) was filled with more news for employers and, for the first time in a while, some of it was hopeful.
Governor Ned Lamont gave the broad outline of a plan to reopen the state (as I predicted early this morning) though the plan’s details depend on control of the pandemic.
What we do know is that if certain trends continue, some businesses will be allowed to reopen on May 20th including some retail (smaller stores), restaurants (outdoor seating only),, offices (with work from home still recommended), nail and hair salons, and some outdoor areas of museums and zoos.
Lamont has indicated that masks will be required for most activities at this first stage. Which additional businesses will be permitted to open and when is still very much to be decided. No doubt that day camps and pools will be heavily discussed as numerous parents rely on such camps to watch their kids during the summer months.
As of publication, the exact details of the reopening hadn’t been released yet. As we get closer to this opening time, my colleagues and I will likely produce a webinar and additional articles so stay tuned.
Here’s what else should employers know:
- My colleague Peter Murphy has provided this must-read summary at the Employment Law Letter blog of some new DOL guidance about how the CARES Act impacts non-profits and municipalities and unemployment claims. One key point: Reimbursing employers who had hoped that the state would only bill them for half of a claimant’s amount are going to be disappointed. According to the DOL’s guidance, however, reimbursing employers must pay the full amount due in order to be eligible for reimbursement: “Upon payment from the reimbursing employer of the amount owed in lieu of contributions, the state may reimburse the employer for up to one-half of the amount of compensation paid by the state attributable to service with the employer.” The Connecticut DOL has confirmed to us that, regardless of whether the reimbursing employer pays monthly or quarterly, the employer must pay its bill in full before reimbursement can be processed. The reimbursement will apply to all claims during that period, however, and not just COVID-related claims.
- The Connecticut DOL has updated its FAQ to provide additional guidance on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program that temporarily expands unemployment insurance (UI) eligibility to self-employed workers, 1099 “employees”, “gig” workers, workers in jobs not covered by regular unemployment benefits, and independent contractors impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
- In addition, the CTDOL has completed setting up for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), with payments of the $600 supplemental benefit going out this week. Once a claimant begins to receive this federal weekly payment, they can expect a subsequent lump sum payment for all retroactive weeks within the next two weeks. Retroactive payments will date back to all eligible claim weeks that were filed since the FPUC program was enacted on March 29, 2020.
- Finally, as a reminder, my firm has been updating its Coronavirus Resource page on a daily basis with free information for every type of business.
Let’s hope the pandemic numbers continue to improve in the month of May and we can start to see some reopening of businesses.