May 26, 2020

California Dramatically Expands Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Employees Diagnosed with COVID-19

COVID Worker's Comp Claim

On May 6, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-62-20, immediately creating a major change in how claims of work-related COVID-19 suffered by employees in California will be handled. The Executive Order can be found here. While employees typically must prove that they were injured on the job to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, Executive Order N-62-20 creates a rebuttable presumption that an employee who tests positive for COVID-19 contracted the virus at work if the following conditions are met: The employee tested positive for or was diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days of performing labor or services… Read more

May 22, 2020

Department of Labor Finalizes New Rules for Electronic Retirement Plan Disclosures

Woman checking her smart phone

On May 21, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued final regulations that will give employers greater flexibility with respect to electronic delivery of required retirement plan notices. Under the new regulations, plan administrators can satisfy their notice delivery requirements by sending retirement plan notices by email or posting retirement plan notices to a website (which includes a mobile application), as long as several specific requirements are satisfied. Covered Individuals.  Electronic disclosure can be made to any participant, beneficiary or other individual required to receive a notice as long as that individual has provided an e-mail address or smartphone number, as applicable. … Read more

May 22, 2020

Main Street Lending Program: When Will it Launch?

Question Marks on Chalkboard

On April 8, 2020, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve first announced their new joint “Main Street Lending Program” intended to provide support lending to small and medium-sized businesses that were in sound financial condition before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  On April 30, 2020, the Federal Reserve updated and revised term sheets for three programs, the Main Street New Loan Facility, the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility and the Main Street Priority Loan Facility, and also issued a FAQ, noting that the program had still not launched.  As of May 22, 2020, the Main Street Lending Program… Read more

May 15, 2020

President Trump Issues an Executive Order Authorizing the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to Invest in Onshore Projects

Executive Order

On May 14, 2020, President Trump authorized the U.S. Int’l Dev. Fin. Corp. to invest in COVID-19 related projects located within the United States and its territories.  The scope of this authorization is broad: [T]o make loans, make provision for purchases and commitments to purchase, and take additional actions to create, maintain, protect, expand, and restore the domestic industrial base capabilities, including supply chains within the United States and its territories (“domestic supply chains”), needed to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. To read the full order, see here. Trump administration has issued or is considering other executive orders intended to… Read more

May 13, 2020

Welfare Plan Sponsors May Allow Certain Cafeteria Plan Election Changes Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Change Just Ahead Sign

On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, the IRS issued guidance that provides employers with the flexibility to allow participants to make mid-year cafeteria plan election changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The guidance also allows employers to provide participants with additional time to access unused flexible spending account (FSA) contributions. Election Changes. Employers may (but are not required to) allow participants to make prospective mid-year cafeteria plan election changes during the 2020 calendar year to: Enroll in health coverage after previously declining such coverage during open enrollment. Change health plan options (e.g., move from the plan’s high deductible health plan option… Read more

May 12, 2020

Returning to Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Are You Ready?

Returning to Work

The past three months have not been “normal” times for employers by any means.  Many employers scrambled to implement plans to terminate, furlough or lay off workers, while many other employees have been working remotely (teleworking).  Now that federal, state and local “stay-home” orders are gradually lifting, employers are looking toward bringing workers back into the workplace.  The process for bringing workers back needs to be carefully and thoughtfully planned.  Each workplace is different and there is no one-size-fits-all preparedness plan that will work for all workplaces.  Unique situations are bound to arise, but many issues for returning to work… Read more

May 8, 2020

EEOC Announces Delay of EEO Data Collections Due to COVID-19

EEOC Data Collection

In light of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that it will postpone the 2019 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection and the 2020 EEO-3 and EEO-5 data collections to a time when the agency anticipates that filers will have resumed more normal operations. The EEO surveys collect data from employers with more than 100 employees (lower thresholds apply to federal contractors).  The surveys collect data about gender and race/ethnicity by job grouping.  Employers meeting the reporting thresholds have a legal obligation to provide the data to the EEOC. The EEOC expects to… Read more

May 7, 2020

What Employers Need to Know About Face Coverings

Face Coverings Requirements

Governors and mayors have implemented measures to help contain the spread of COVID-19. As businesses begin to reopen, face coverings are likely to remain popular as a preventative measure. The jurisdictions listed below have encouraged or mandated its citizens to wear face coverings when out in public, especially when social distancing cannot be maintained. As of May 6, 2020 at 8 a.m. EDT, this chart identifies the jurisdictions where face coverings are recommended or required. We will update this list regularly, but it will be outdated quickly as new announcements are made.  This list does not include face covering guidance… Read more

May 4, 2020

Main Street Lending Program Overview

CARES Act Photo

On April 8, 2020, and then again on April 30, 2020, the United States Department of the Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System announced new details of their joint “Main Street Lending Program” that is intended to provide additional financing for small- and medium-sized businesses impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Main Street Lending Program, alongside the Payroll Protection Program Loan (“PPP”) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”), are part of the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020 (the “CARES Act”) designed to provide liquidity for eligible business borrowers participating… Read more

May 1, 2020

Business Interruption Insurance for COVID-19 Related Losses

photo of insurance policy

Many companies have Business Interruption insurance included as part of their Commercial Property and Casualty Insurance. While not every policyholder may be entitled to insurance coverage, Business Interruption insurance could be a source of insurance coverage in the COVID-19 scenario, and policyholders should work with their professional advisors and check the specific terms of their policy. We have heard that many insurance companies are summarily denying claims on the grounds that COVID-19 has not caused any physical damage, or due to exclusions in the relevant policies for pandemics, epidemics and viruses. However, merely assuming that an answer of non-coverage is… Read more