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Ryan Kunkel, an associate in Stoel Rives’ Labor & Employment group, helps employers resolve employment-related disputes in litigation and counsels clients to help prevent those disputes in the first place. His practice also includes helping management resolve complex labor disputes, including organizing drives, NLRB proceedings, and work stoppages.

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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.”

  1. Reluctant Returners. Many employees are eager to return

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,

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,

*a prior version of this post indicated the House vote was still pending. The House passed this legislation on March 27, 2020. 

Like you, we are closely monitoring the rapid developments caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest is Congress passing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (or “CARES” Act). We focus below on the employment-related provisions of the Act, but encourage you to continue checking our COVID-19 Resource Hub for additional updates on other aspects of the Act.

Direct Payments to Individuals 

Under the Act, direct payments of $1,200 will be made to single individuals who earn $75,000 or less in adjusted gross income, and $2,400 to married couples who earn $150,000 or less in adjusted gross income, according to their 2018 tax returns or 2019 tax return if already filed.  There will be an additional $500 payment per child.  These payments scale down as income increases, phasing out entirely for individuals earning $99,000 and joint filers without children earning $198,000.

Increased Unemployment Benefits 

The Act also provides assistance to states to administer and expand unemployment benefits. 
Continue Reading UPDATE: Congress Passes Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has updated its guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (“FFCRA”), which was signed into law on March 18, 2020.  (A summary of the law is here.)  Regulations are coming in April.  In the meantime, the DOL’s current resources available are:

  1. A tip sheet for employees
  2. A

On March 18, 2020, the Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, (the “Act”), which was passed by the House last week.  President Trump swiftly signed the legislation, which is effective in 15 days.  All public employers and private employers with under 500 employees are covered by the Act, which provides for emergency paid family and medical leave as well as emergency paid sick leave, among other provisions including changes to unemployment insurance and food and nutrition benefits.

Much of the final Act tracks the bill originally enacted in the House (discussed here), but there are some significant changes.  Below we summarize the key important provisions of the Act as passed by Congress that relate to paid leave.
Continue Reading Congress Passes Legislation to Provide Paid Leave to Employees During COVID-19 Emergency

As employers continue to react to and prepare for workplace challenges due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak around the country, the EEOC has updated some of its guidance on the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Rehabilitation Act.  The EEOC addresses situations such as whether employer can require that employees showing symptoms

We are continuing to monitor developing issues facing employers due to the outbreak of COVID-19.  The latest is from Congress.

On March 13, the US House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, (the “Act”) to  provide for emergency paid sick and family and medical leave for some employees around the country.  Public agencies and employers with fewer than 500 employees are covered by the Act, and can apply for tax credits each quarter to recoup payments made under the Act.

Please note that the Act has not gone into effect yet and is not final.  The Senate must also pass the Act before it becomes effective, and the Senate is likely to make changes.  Subject to those changes, below is a summary of the important items for employers to know about the Act in its current state.

Emergency Family and Medical Leave

Employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave under the Act if they have worked for an employer for at least 30 days, and are absent from work for one of the following reasons:
Continue Reading House of Representatives Takes Steps to Provide Paid Leave to Employees Absent due to COVID-19; Senate Must Still Act

We continue to stay up to speed on workplace-related legal issues as we all navigate this challenging time. Many of you attended the webinar we put on today, Taming the COVID-19 Chaos: What Employers Need to Know.  The materials from that presentation are available here.  Please join us for another webinar next Wednesday, March

With COVID-19 (coronavirus) impacting communities in the Northwest and around the U.S. and world, employers are wondering what role they can play in keeping their employees safe and healthy. Don’t panic! Your current policies and practices are probably sufficient to handle any issues that may affect your workplace. But here are some general recommendations. (See