Category: COVID-19

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Be Aware: SHSH Violations Will Be Treated As WISHA Violations

In response to recent developments displaying the difficulties in enforcing Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home Stay Healthy” order (“SHSH”), the state Department of Labor & Industries has acted.  Now a violation of SHSH will be treated as a violation of Washington’s health and safety regulations, and subject employers to the full panoply of fines and … Continue Reading

The Status of Washington’s COVID-19 Restrictions: Phased Reopening, Contact Tracing, and Mask Requirements

Phased Reopening As part of his proclamation extending the Stay Home – Stay Healthy Order through May 31, Governor Inslee established a phased approach to reopening the state: Safe Start Washington. Under the plan, the entire state began in Phase I of four planned phases, with each phase expected to last at least three weeks. … Continue Reading

Alaska Reopens for Business

Much of Alaska will be allowed to reopen as of 8 a.m. on May 22.   Governor Dunleavy has announced that the state will move straight from its current Phase II of the Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan, which permits only limited business operations, to Phase IV.  Most businesses will be allowed to fully reopen on Friday.  … Continue Reading

Face Coverings Are Now Required for Employees of Select Oregon Businesses

Pursuant to new Oregon Health Authority (OHA) guidance issued May 15, 2020, employers in certain businesses must require employees, contractors, and volunteers to wear a mask, face covering, or face shield, unless an accommodation for people with disabilities or other exemption applies. Businesses subject to this requirement are: Grocery stores Fitness-related organizations (gyms, fitness centers, … Continue Reading

Reopening Oregon: Governor Brown Releases Details and Guidance for Businesses

On Thursday, May 7, 2020 – six weeks after Oregon Governor Brown announced a statewide “Stay Home” order – Governor Brown released details for Reopening Oregon over the coming weeks and months.  The Governor’s plan follows federal guidance and permits certain businesses to reopen in phases after specific public health prerequisites are met. In the … Continue Reading

California Modifies California’s Workers’ Compensation Laws to Deal with COVID-19

In yet another effort to adapt California law to the current pandemic, on May 6, 2020 California Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-62-20 (the “Order”). As it pertains to workers’ compensation benefits, the Order provides that any COVID-19 related illness of an employee shall be presumed to arise out of and in the course of … Continue Reading

Ten Things to Consider In Getting Back to Work

As restrictions are easing, employers are planning for and starting to bring people back to work.  In these extraordinary times, everyone recognizes that things will not be business as usual.  Here is our “Top 10” checklist of things to consider as we move toward the “new normal.” Reluctant Returners. Many employees are eager to return … Continue Reading

Staying Connected with Your Employees: Temporary Hours Reduction or Work Share Program?

Employers facing changes in their business or broader economic downturns must find ways to respond and weather the storm.  Typically, this means cutting expenses, while maintaining their ability to operate.  For many (if not most) businesses, payroll is the single largest expense item.  And when business slows, employees are left with excess capacity and are … Continue Reading

FFCRA Leave for Childcare Closures May Extend Beyond the End of the School Year

Thank you to everyone who attended our webinar on Taming the COVID-19 Chaos, Part 6—Bringing Employees Back to Work.  If you missed it, be on the lookout for details on future webinars to help employers navigate these challenging times. We received some questions about whether employees can continue to use FFCRA leave after the end … Continue Reading

Idaho Governor Announces Guidelines Permitting a Phased Re-opening of Idaho’s Economy

On April 23, 2020, Idaho’s Governor Little adopted “Guidelines” that constitute a “data-driven approach to opening up Idaho’s economy.”  The proposed approach is intended to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the State’s most vulnerable population and preserve capacity in the healthcare system, while opening up businesses safely.  The Governor’s action readily acknowledges that employee … Continue Reading

Utah Releases Plan to Reopen Its Economy

Like many states, Utah has begun considering how and when it can return its economy back to more normal activity.  On April 17, 2020, Governor Gary Herbert issued his Utah Leads Together Plan, version 2.0 (“Plan 2.0”).  This plan was partly in response to legislation passed in a special session of the Utah State Legislature, … Continue Reading

Oregon’s Plan for Reopening

Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced this week that Oregon is developing a multifaceted, step-by-step plan for reopening businesses and relaxing its “stay at home” measures.  In accordance with federal guidance, Oregon’s plan has three phases, with gating criteria and core preparedness requirements that must be met before moving to the next phase. Between each phase, … Continue Reading

Governor Dunleavy Issues Phase 1 of the Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan

On April 22, Governor Dunleavy announced Health Mandate 016, reflecting Phase 1 of the Governor’s Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan.  The Governor anticipates issuing information on Phases 2 through 5 of the Plan in the near future. Phase 1 of the Plan permits limited openings of businesses, including restaurants, retail businesses, personal services businesses, and both … Continue Reading

Senate Authorizes Additional Relief for Small Businesses Under the Paycheck Protection Program

Most employers are aware of the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) created by the CARES Act that could provide assistance with meeting payroll, but the program quickly ran out of money, leaving many without funding.  To address that and other issues, the Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, see here, to … Continue Reading

Washington’s Emergency Unemployment Rules May Help Employers Retain Talent During COVID-19

Many Washington employers are looking for ways to retain skilled labor until businesses reopen.  The Washington Employment Security Department’s (“ESD”) emergency rules may help during the COVID-19 crisis.  Employers who plan to rehire employees when businesses reopen may request “standby” status for laid off employees, which has been expanded under the emergency rules. Standby status … Continue Reading

California Continues to Fill in the Gaps Left by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On April 16, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-51-20 (the “Order”). Similar to laws recently enacted by local California jurisdictions, the Order entitles certain workers to paid leave for reasons related to COVID-19 who are otherwise ineligible for such paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). As discussed here, … Continue Reading

Seattle City Council Expands Paid Sick and Safe Time in Response to COVID-19

The Seattle City Council has expanded Paid Sick and Safe Time (“PSST”) in response to COVID-19.  In addition to the usual reasons for which a Seattle employee may use PSST, the new amendments provide that Seattle employees must be allowed to use their accrued PSST: when the employee’s family member’s school or place of care … Continue Reading

Navigating ADA Issues in the Time of COVID-19: Four Situations Employers Should Be Prepared For

We have been counseling employers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and have encountered several common scenarios.  Many of the most frequently asked questions are addressed in our Employer FAQs.  This post provides additional information on the interaction between various pandemic-related issues and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). An employee known to be suffering from a mental … Continue Reading

Washington Governor Mandates That Employers Accommodate Employees at High Risk of Contracting COVID-19

For at least the next two months, Washington employers are required to take extra measures to accommodate employees characterized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be at higher than normal risk of severe illness or death if they contract COVID-19.  On April 13, Governor Inslee issued Proclamation 20-46, “High-Risk Employees – … Continue Reading

FFCRA Eligibility and Employee Leave Requests

We continue to stay up-to-speed on workplace issues related to COVID-19, including the new federal CARES Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFRCA”). In order to help employers navigate FFCRA, we’ve created this FFCRA flowchart and this FFCRA employee leave request form. Please note that our Employer FAQs, flowchart, and request form provide general guidance and are … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Issues Regulations and Updates Guidance for Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued regulations for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), which went into effect the same day.  The regulations are available here. The majority of the content in the regulations is not new and simply repeats information that is also available in the DOL’s FAQs … Continue Reading
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