Stay on Top of Legislative Changes

DMEC Legislative UpdatesCompliance with rapidly changing state and federal laws is a challenge for employers across the country. For more than 20 years, DMEC has been monitoring and reporting on decisions and developments that impact absence, disability, and return to work programs.

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To Mandate or Not To Mandate: DOJ Weighs In on Vaccination Mandates

July 29, 2021Can employers mandate vaccines? The Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) says they can, but before employers do, they should consider the many legal and practical risks.

Mask On? Mask Off? Mask On? What Employers Need to Know About The New CDC Guidance

July 28, 2021The CDC is now recommending that everyone — including fully vaccinated individuals — wear masks in indoor public settings in all areas with substantial and high transmission of the COVID-19 virus and get tested following exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

New Hampshire Adopts Paid Leave Program

July 20, 2021New Hampshire has joined eight states and the District of Columbia when, on June 24, 2021, the New Hampshire Legislature passed a two-year state budget that includes a paid leave program.

Louisiana to Require Employers to Provide Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy

July 9, 2021Beginning Aug. 1, 2021, Louisiana employers will be required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who need such accommodations due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless it would pose an undue hardship on the employer.

Oregon Temporarily Allows Vaccine Incentives and Hiring Bonuses

July 9, 2021The Oregon legislature has temporarily amended Oregon’s Equal Pay Act to allow employers latitude to both encourage COVID-19 vaccinations and to attract new employees as the state emerges from COVID-19 business restrictions.

Minnesota Legislature Amends Lactation Breaks and Pregnancy Accommodation Provisions

July 9, 2021As part of the Omnibus Jobs and Economic Growth Finance and Policy Bill, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has approved an amendment relating to pregnancy accommodations and barring reducing compensation for lactation breaks, among other changes.

City of Los Angeles Requires Vaccine Leave for Employees Working in the City

July 8, 2021California state and some local COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave requirements continue through the summer, and the City of Los Angeles’ mayor issued a public order mandating additional paid leave.

OSHA’s Updated Guidance for COVID-19 in Workplaces

July 2, 2021When the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rolled out its COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard on June 10, 2021, it also issued its updated Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in non-healthcare workplaces.

Virginia Employers Soon Must Adopt, Provide Accommodation Policies to Employees With Disabilities

July 1, 2021Starting on July 1, 2021, most Virginia employers must include information in their employee handbooks about reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and provide that information directly to any employee within 10 days after receiving notice that the employee has a disability.

Nevada Expands Paid Leave Rights for Employees, Including for COVID-19 Vaccination

June 30, 2021Nevada has enacted a new law requiring employers to provide additional paid leave to allow employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and clarifying that employees may use existing paid leave to care for themselves and their family members.

Connecticut Enacts Law Providing Employees Unpaid Time Off to Vote

June 25, 2021Connecticut Governor Lamont has signed into law a requirement for employers to provide all employees with two hours unpaid time off to vote.

Maine Expands State FMLA to Allow Leave to Care for Serious Health Conditions of Grandchildren

June 23, 2021Maine employees will soon be eligible to take protected unpaid leave to care for serious health conditions of their grandchildren. On June 14, 2021, Governor Janet Mills signed into law L.D. 61, an Act to Include Grandparents Under Maine’s Family Medical Leave Laws.

Incentives: From Water Bottles to “Not So Substantial”

June 2, 2021For years, the EEOC has waffled about whether incentives were permissible in connection with a medical inquiry under a voluntary wellness program. The EEOC issued its most recent pronouncement on the topic — this time related to incentives for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Montana Makes Vaccination Status a Protected Class

June 1, 2021Discrimination based on vaccination status is prohibited under a new Montana law (House Bill 702). Enacted on May 7, 2021, the new law went into effect immediately.

EEOC Updates Its Guidance On Vaccinations

June 1, 2021The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued additional informal guidance concerning COVID-19 vaccination issues.

For Once, Good Deed Goes Unpunished

May 20, 2021Allowing an employee to self-limit duties and not perform an essential function of a position for an extended period of time may give the employee the expectation that they are performing the essential functions of the position. Setting employee expectations is often key to avoiding litigation.

What Does the CDC’s Latest Mask Guidance Mean For Businesses Open to the Public?

May 20, 2021The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest guidance that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or social distance in many settings raises questions for businesses in retail, hospitality and other settings open to the public.

CDC Removes Mask Requirement For Fully Vaccinated In Some Settings

May 14, 2021In a surprise move, the CDC followed the lead of the various states that have lifted their masking and physical distancing recommendations. However, the CDC’s new recommendations come with a twist.

Pennsylvania Employees, Organs, and the FMLA

May 4, 2021Employee question of the day for HR: “I need time off because I’m donating a kidney.” You’re probably wondering: “How do I respond to this request? Is this incredibly generous employee entitled to protected leave?”

Understanding Time Off From Work Obligations For COVID-19 Vaccinations

April 27, 2021Last week, President Biden encouraged employers to pay employees for time off to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and highlighted the tax credits available for employers with less than 500 employees.

Employers Receive Clarification Regarding 2021 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

April 23, 2021The COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave statute was signed into law a month ago and employers were faced with uncertainty as to whether their employee’s leave request qualified under the statute. Fortunately, the Labor Commissioner has updated its FAQs to provide further clarity to employers.

Indiana Enacts Pregnancy Accommodations Law, Effective in July 2021

April 23, 2021A new Indiana statute sets out the process for pregnant workers to seek a reasonable accommodation from their employers. The new law applies to employers with at least 15 employees. It goes into effect on Jul. 1, 2021.

Washington Amends Its Paid Family and Medical Leave Act in Response to Pandemic

April 23, 2021The Washington State Legislature has temporarily amended the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) Act to create pandemic leave assistance grants for certain employees and employers.

COVID-19 Vaccination: Setting Up On-Site Programs

April 15, 2021The Biden administration has called for all people at least 18 to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by Apr. 19, 2021. Organizations considering setting up an on-site COVID-19 vaccination program have several issues to consider.

Understanding CFRA: Who Is a “Family Member”?

April 15, 2021The new year brought several important changes to the California Family Rights Act. One key change that employers should be aware of is the expansion of the scope of individuals who qualify as “family members” under the law.

Virginia Expands Disability Discrimination Protections and Adds Domestic Worker Protections

April 14, 2021Effective Jul. 1, 2021, Virginia further expands the scope of the Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA) to prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. The state also enacted protections and benefits for domestic workers.

Virginia Paid Sick Leave for Home Health Workers

April 13, 2021Effective Jul. 1, 2021, Virginia provides designated paid sick leave for home health workers.

Private New Mexico Employers Must Provide Up to 64 Hours of Paid Sick Leave

April 13, 2021Beginning on July 1, 2022, New Mexico will join 15 other states (and Washington, D.C.) in requiring private employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees.

Philadelphia Enacts COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave

April 9, 2021Philadelphia has joined a growing list of localities to require employers to provide employees paid COVID-19-related sick leave.

New York State Employees Entitled to Paid Time Off for COVID-19 Vaccinations

March 19, 2021Effective immediately, New York State employers must provide employees with up to four hours of paid time off per COVID-19 vaccination.

The American Rescue Plan Extends FFCRA Tax Credit, But Not the Mandate

March 15, 2021On Mar. 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The Plan extends the date employers can receive tax credits for qualified wages paid to employees from Mar. 31, 2021 until Sep. 30, 2021.

Understanding CFRA: Who Is Eligible for CFRA Leave

March 12, 2021With the recent expansion of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), employers who previously were not covered under CFRA now find themselves having to navigate the murky waters of the law.

Fifth Circuit Holds Regular Attendance Is Essential

March 12, 2021An employer’s past leniency in applying and enforcing its attendance policy did not contradict the employer’s later position that regular worksite attendance was required for employment, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has held.

Updated Guidance from California’s DFEH at the One Year Mark of the Pandemic

March 11, 2021California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the agency charged with administering California’s employment discrimination statute and regulations, has updated its COVID-19 guidance for employers.

California Leave Bills Employers Should Watch

March 3, 2021Though employers may feel like California just wrapped up its legislative session for 2020, the 2021 legislative session is already in full swing. Feb. 19 was the last day for the proposal of new bills.

Understanding CFRA: How CFRA Works for Pregnant Employees

February 24, 2021On Jan. 1, 2021, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) expanded in several ways, including that small employers (those with five or more employees) must now provide up to 12 workweeks of CFRA leave within a 12-month period to eligible employees.

Arizona Expands Employment Discrimination Laws to Prohibit Pregnancy Discrimination

February 19, 2021Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law a bill that prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on pregnancy or childbirth.

California’s Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act Covers COVID-19

February 11, 2021California currently has a patchwork of local COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave ordinances which remain in effect in 2021.

More Movement Towards Digital COVID-19 Vaccination Records

February 10, 2021A key tech initiative as COVID-19 vaccinations begin rolling out are digital health passports. One example is being developed by a group of large tech companies, along with the Mayo Clinic, as part of the Vaccination Credential Initiative.

OSHA Issues New Guidance for Employers Combating COVID-19

February 9, 2021On Jan. 29, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace.”

CDC Expands Guidance on Informed Consent to Support Workplace SARS-CoV-2 Testing

February 1, 2021As employers continue to grapple with a safe return to the workplace, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance for businesses and employers on SARS-CoV-2 testing of employees, as part of a more comprehensive approach to reducing transmission of the virus in non-healthcare workplaces.

California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave in 2021

January 28, 2021In 2020, employers with employees in California were inundated with new compliance requirements brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the leave requirements of the FFCRA have expired, many local agencies are reviewing the supplemental sick leave ordinances that were adopted in 2020.

Seventh Circuit Continues To Find That Lengthy Leaves of Absence May Not Be Reasonable Accommodations

January 25, 2021On Dec. 30, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued its opinion in McAllister v. Innovation Ventures, LLC, No. 20-1779 (7th Cir., Dec. 30 2020), and held that an employer did not violate the ADA where it terminated its employee after it became clear that she would require several additional months of leave after she had already been granted a two-and-a-half-month leave of absence due to her disability.

President Biden Calls for Reinstating and Expanding Mandatory Paid Leave as Part of COVID Relief Package

January 21, 2021As all eyes were on Washington, D.C. last week with the inauguration of the 46th President. President Biden has laid out an “aggressive plan” to “change the course of the pandemic, build a bridge towards economic recovery, and invest in racial justice.”

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana User May Proceed With Disability Discrimination And Retaliation Claims

January 21, 2021A federal court in Pennsylvania held that a medical marijuana user’s claims for disability discrimination and retaliation were sufficiently alleged to survive the employer’s motion to dismiss.

Want to Know if Your Employees Received the COVID-19 Vaccine? Some Best Practices to Consider

January 20, 2021While its rollout has been slow, the vaccine is being administered across the U.S. and in other countries. For a variety of reasons, organizations want to know whether their workforce members (employees, contractors, etc.) have been vaccinated. The EEOC has provided some guidance on the issue.

DOL Field Assistance Bulletins Clarify Telehealth and Telework Impact on FMLA Obligations

January 15, 2021On Dec. 29, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor issued two field assistance bulletins aimed at clarifying obligations under the Family and Medical Leave Act in light of the prevalence of telework and telehealth.

Mandatory COVID-19 Benefits Under Families First Coronavirus Response Act Have Ended. Now What?

January 14, 2021In March 2020, when Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) with a sunset date of Dec. 31, 2020, few anticipated the COVID-19 pandemic would be ongoing into 2021. But the pandemic has not slowed, and requests for COVID-19-related leave (along with the corresponding tax credits) continue.

Wellness Programs and Water Bottles – EEOC Proposes New Rules under the ADA and GINA

January 13, 2021Since 1996, when Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), employers have been struggling with whether and to what extent they could offer incentives to employees to participate in certain “wellness programs.” On Jan. 7, the EEOC proposed a new approach that may provide employers some certainty, particularly as many employers are wondering about incentives to encourage employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

DFEH Releases Family and Medical Leave Tool Kit

January 12, 2021The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), the administrative agency charged with enforcing the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), has released new documentation for Family and Medical Leave that reflects the expansion of CFRA which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

With Federal COVID-19 Leave Ending, Leave Laws in D.C. and Elsewhere Take Center Stage

January 6, 2021When the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expired on Dec. 31, 2020, COVID-19-related leave was no longer assured for many employees throughout the United States unless another law, like the Family and Medical Leave Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act, applies.

New York State, Modified New York City Sick and Safe Leave Obligations Fully Effective Jan. 1

January 4, 2021The New York State Paid Sick Leave Law and the amendments to the New York City Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law expanding employees’ paid sick leave entitlements went into full effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

COVID-19 Leave Arrives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

December 10, 2020On Dec. 9, 2020, Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto signed a new ordinance granting COVID-19 Sick Time to certain employees working within the City.

Has the COVID-19 14-Day Quarantine Period Been Shortened?

December 9, 2020By now, employers likely have heard the news that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reduced the length of time that individuals should quarantine after an exposure to COVID-19. The old adage “don’t believe everything you read” turns out to be true in this case.

CDC Clarifies Critical Infrastructure Worker Guidance

December 4, 2020On Nov. 16, 2020, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) clarified its guidance permitting critical infrastructure workers to return to work before the end of the standard 14-day quarantine period following exposure to COVID-19.

Connecticut Paid FMLA: What Employers Need to Know Now

November 25, 2020With a difficult 2020 nearing its end, if Connecticut Paid FMLA has recently reappeared on your radar, don’t fret! Simply review these basics to prepare for this upcoming change.

Michigan’s Patchwork of COVID-19 Laws & Orders For Employers

November 25, 2020As previously reported, on Oct. 2, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court invalidated post-Apr. 30, 2020 Executive Orders that Governor Whitmer issued related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To Vaccinate Or Not To Vaccinate…That Is The Question

November 18, 2020As we enter flu season (in the midst of a national spike in COVID-19 cases), and it now appears that a COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon, employers are struggling with whether they should require employees to be vaccinated for seasonal influenza and/or COVID-19 infection.

Colorado Voters Approve Paid Medical and Family Leave Initiative

November 9, 2020Colorado voters approved the Paid Medical and Family Leave (PMFL) Initiative, Proposition 118, on Election Day. PMFL creates a state-run paid family and medical leave insurance program in Colorado that allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave and keep their job.

California Employers Cannot Forget Local Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Yet

November 5, 2020In September, when Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1867, employers hoped that the state-wide COVID-19 Supplemental Leave was a replacement for the patchwork of local ordinances. However, due to differences in coverage, many employers are faced with complying with the more stringent local ordinances.

Request For Medical Examination Was Permissible Under ADA After Positive Drug Test Result

October 30, 2020A federal court in Indiana dismissed an employee’s claim that his employer did not have the right to request a medical examination after he tested positive for drugs and subsequently admitted that he was taking numerous prescription medications that could create a safety risk.

CDC Guidance on “Close Contact” Is Expanded

October 22, 2020Just when you thought you had your contact tracing protocol down for dealing with COVID-19 exposures, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance has changed again.

California’s Governor Signs Several Bills Causing Bold Changes to Employee Leaves

October 6, 2020California wrapped up its 2020 Legislative Session with the Governor passing several bills that bring dramatic changes to employee leave requirements.

Amendments to New York City Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law Effective

October 1, 2020On Sep. 23, 2020, the New York City Council enacted Int. No 2032-A, and Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the bill on Sep. 28, 2020.

Maine Labor Department Releases Final Rules for Earned Paid Leave Law

September 28, 2020As the Jan. 1, 2021, effective date of Maine’s Earned Paid Employee Leave Law approaches, the state Department of Labor (DOL) has promulgated the much-anticipated final regulations for implementing the statute.

New California Law Significantly Expands Employee Entitlement to Family and Medical Leave

September 18, 2020California employers with as few as five employees must provide family and medical leave rights to their employees under a new law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on Sep. 17, 2020. The new law significantly expands the state’s existing family and medical leave entitlements and goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

Do Employers Still Need to Provide Time to Vote in California?

September 3, 2020In light of new executive orders to ensure wide availability of voting options in California, employers may question if they still are required to provide time during the workday for their employees to vote.

School’s Back (Or Is It)! When Can Your Employees Take FFCRA Leave?

August 31, 2020For many, the start of school looks different this year: from all virtual, to hybrid, to parent’s choice. Employers required to provide leave under the Federal Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA) may be wondering how to administer FFCRA leave under this new regime.

Washington Governor Creates COVID-19 Food Production Workers Paid Leave Program

August 21, 2020Under the Washington COVID-19 Food Production Workers Paid Leave Program, no food production employer in Washington may operate from Aug. 18, 2020, to Nov. 13, 2020, unless the employer provides its workers with paid leave for certain qualifying events.

Puerto Rico Working Mothers Act Amended to Provide Additional Adoption Leave for Working Mothers

August 14, 2020On Aug. 8, 2020, Wanda Vázquez Garced signed into law an amendment to the Puerto Rico Working Mothers Act.

New Georgia Legislation Requires Employers to Provide Paid Lactation Breaks

August 13, 2020Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has signed new legislation requiring employers to provide paid lactation breaks and private locations at the worksite where working mothers can express breast milk.

EEOC Issues Guidance on Opioid Addiction in Employment

August 11, 2020The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued two technical assistance documents on Aug. 5, 2020, addressing accommodation issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for employees who use opioid medications or may be addicted to opioids.

New York District Court Vacates Parts of FFCRA Regulations Including Healthcare Provider Definition

August 4, 2020Shortly after the Department of Labor issued its FFCRA regulations, the state of New York filed a lawsuit challenging some of the provisions. Today (four months after the regulations went into effect, and just five months before the FFCRA is set to expire), the federal district court in New York struck down four provisions in the regulations.

DOL Issues Additional Clarification on FMLA, FFCRA, FLSA in COVID-19 Context

July 24, 2020The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently issued additional clarification on its FAQs and guidance regarding the FMLA and the FFCRA in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some highlights include:

California Legislature Proposes Bill Mirroring Executive Order Regarding Food Sector Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

July 24, 2020On Apr. 16, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-51-20, (Executive Order) which provides COVID-19 related paid sick leave for “food sector workers” who work for larger employers in the state. The California legislature is now considering codifying those leave requirements with Senate Bill 729.

Extended School Closings Create Homework for Employers

July 22, 2020You can hear the parents wailing across the country, as states begin to announce their plans to keep physical schools closed or alternate between in-school and virtual classes for the upcoming year.

Colorado Enacts Legislation Requiring Employers to Provide Employees with Paid Sick Leave

July 21, 2020Colorado has enacted the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (SB20-205) (HFWA) to require employers to provide employees with up to six days, or up to 48 hours, of earned paid sick leave.

South Carolina Enacts Lactation Support Act

July 7, 2020South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed into law the South Carolina Lactation Support Act, requiring employers to provide employees reasonable unpaid break time, or paid break time or mealtime, each day to express breast milk.

Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

July 2, 2020The “Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act” (Senate Bill 2520) requires every employer with at least 15 employees to make a reasonable accommodation for an employee’s or prospective employee’s medical needs arising from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless such accommodation would impose an undue hardship on business operations.

Changes to Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Became Effective Jul. 1, 2020

July 2, 2020On Jul. 1, 2020, a number of substantive changes (including expanded coverage) to Chicago’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (PSLO) became effective.

Summer Break Does Not Necessarily Mean A Break From FFCRA Leave Requirements

July 2, 2020Its July. A time when in normal years, schools are closed and families are planning vacations. But in 2020, paid vacation is being replaced with paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), leaving employers asking, can they still do that?

D.C.’s Highly Anticipated Paid Family Leave Program Launches July 1

June 30, 2020After three years of preparation, the District of Columbia’s Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 went live on Wednesday, July 1.

Minnesota Supreme Court Rejects Challenges to Minneapolis Sick and Safe Ordinance

June 25, 2020The Minnesota Supreme Court (5-2) has upheld the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, ruling state law does not preempt the Ordinance, and it can apply to employers who are located outside of the City.

Seattle Enacts Gig Worker Paid Sick & Safe Time Ordinance During COVID-19 Crisis

June 23, 2020The Seattle City Council has enacted the Paid Sick and Safe Time for Gig Workers Ordinance, which temporarily provides paid sick and safe time for online-based food delivery network companies and drivers of transportation network companies with 250 or more gig workers worldwide.

Washington Proclamation Extending Time Period for High-Risk Employee Job Protection

June 15, 2020Washington State Governor Jay Inslee has issued a new Proclamation that extends until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 1, 2020, the job protections in place for “high-risk” Washington employees.

Bereavement Leave: The Next Potential Mandated Leave in California

June 12, 2020California is known for having a multitude of leaves available to employees from sick leave to organ donation leave. Despite this, California has not mandated employers provide bereavement leave for employees. This may change by the end of the year if Assembly Bill 2999, the Bereavement Leave Act of 2020 (the Act), becomes law.

Chicago City Council Passes COVID-19 Anti-Retaliation Ordinance

June 3, 2020Chicago’s City Council has passed an ordinance to protect employees from retaliation by their employers if they obey public health orders or orders of a healthcare provider to stay at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ordinance was passed by the City Council on May 20, 2020.

Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave Proposals Affecting Private Plan Exemptions

May 21, 2020The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave’s (DFML) proposed amendments to existing regulations for the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA) include significant changes relating to the private or self-funded plan exemption.

Puerto Rico Senate Passes Reasonable Accommodation Bill for Certain Workers during COVID-19 Pandemic

May 15, 2020The Puerto Rico Senate has approved unanimously Senate Bill No. 1577 (SB 1577), which seeks to amend Section 9 of Puerto Rico Act No. 44 of July 2, 1985, known as the “Law Prohibiting Discrimination Against Disabled Persons,” to expand its protection and confer certain type of employees the right to a reasonable accommodation in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Class Action Suit Claims ADA Requires Public Accommodation to Prevent Spread of COVID-19 at Facility

May 13, 2020Despite significant legal obstacles, on May 4, 2020, a group of plaintiffs filed a class action complaint alleging the Queens Adult Care Center (QACC) violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title III) and its precursor, Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), by failing to provide a level of care to safeguard their health and safety at its assisted living facility during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New York State Enacts State-Wide Paid Sick Leave Law

May 11, 2020New York State has joined the growing list of states and localities (including New York City and Westchester County) mandating that employers provide paid sick leave to employees.

Expanded Wage Replacement Entitlements for California Employees

May 6, 2020As schools and childcare facilities announce they will remain closed through the summer months, the California legislature is considering an amendment to the state’s Paid Family Leave program to allow employees to obtain income replacement under the unemployment insurance code for COVID-caused school closures.

EEOC Opines on COVID-19 Testing by Employers

April 29, 2020The EEOC’s most recent update provides an answer to the following question: “May an employer administer a COVID-19 test (a test to detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus) before permitting employees to enter the workplace?”

Navigating Employer Obligations to Provide Employees with Masks, Face Coverings

April 27, 2020As the CDC continues to study COVID-19, the agency is regularly updating guidance on precautionary measures to further prevent the spread across the United States. The agency has expanded its recommended precautions to include “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain”.

San Jose Issues Guidance and Opinion Letter Regarding Supplemental COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

April 27, 2020Soon after San Jose passed its supplemental paid sick leave ordinance to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, it issued further guidance regarding the leave.

Pregnancy Accommodation Case Turns on Similar Ability to Do the Job, Not “Similarly Situated” Test

April 23, 2020In Durham v. Rural/Metro. Corp., the Eleventh Circuit held that a pregnant employee, who was denied light duty after being placed on lifting restrictions, satisfied the fourth prong of the prima facie case by establishing that her employer had accommodated others who could not lift due to on-the-job injuries.

Puerto Rico Enacts Five-Day Paid Emergency Leave for Pandemic Illness

April 15, 2020Puerto Rico’s Law 37-2020 provides certain employees up to five days of paid leave once they exhaust other paid leave.

Massachusetts Department of Paid Family Leave Releases New Guidance

April 13, 2020The current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis have brought paid family and medical leave to the forefront of the national consciousness. While the federal government and other states have created new, immediately effective, paid family and medical leave laws, Massachusetts has remained committed to the existing timeframe for the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA), which will be effective Jan. 1, 2021.

EEOC Answers Key Questions for Employers

April 10, 2020The EEOC yesterday for the first time advised that, at least under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers may disclose the employee’s name to the public health agency.

Seattle Bans Employers from Requiring Medical Verification for Paid Sick Leave for 60 Days

April 9, 2020Under Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) law, an employer normally may require verification (including a doctor’s note) for the use of PSST after three consecutive workdays in which the employee uses paid sick/safe leave.

Washington Amends its Paid Family and Medical Leave Act

April 2, 2020On Mar. 26, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law amendments to the Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.

Judge’s Decision Halts Dallas from Enforcing Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

April 2, 2020Texas employers no longer must provide paid sick leave to their employees in Dallas following the decision of U.S. District Court Judge Sean D. Jordan.

The Los Angeles City Council Passes Supplemental COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave for Large Employers

April 2, 2020On Mar. 27, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance mandating employers with 500 or more employees nationally offer Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for various COVID-19 related reasons. The ordinance is awaiting Mayor Eric Garcetti’s review and anticipated approval.

DOL Provides Details About Small Employer Exception Under FFCRA

March 30, 2020The Department of Labor has been issuing FAQs to try to explain the provisions regarding small employer exceptions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act before it goes into effect on Apr. 1, 2020.

DOL’s Latest FAQs Expand “Health Care Providers” and Define “Emergency Responders” Under FFCRA

March 30, 2020The DOL's latest FAQ's allow employers of healthcare providers and emergency responders to exclude these employees from the leave provisions under both the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act.

DOL States That Employees on Furlough or Layoff Are Not Eligible for FFCRA Paid Sick Leave or Expanded FMLA

March 30, 2020The Department of Labor issued additional FAQs addressing how the paid sick leave and expanded FMLA leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will apply starting Apr. 1, 2020.

EEOC Releases Recorded Webinar Addressing Important Questions

March 30, 2020The EEOC published a webinar to address common employer questions regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, including: taking employees temperatures, appropriate and inappropriate disclosure of information related to an employee’s COVID-19 diagnosis, and managing employee accommodation requests including requests from employees in the high risk categories identified by the CDC.

DOL Issues Families First Coronavirus Response Act Poster

March 26, 2020The Department of Labor published the required poster for employers under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

DOL Publishes FAQs on Families First Coronavirus Response Act

March 26, 2020According to the Department of Labor, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act will apply to leave taken between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.

Seattle Expands Its Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance in Response to COVID-19

March 24, 2020Effective Mar. 18, 2020, the Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance allows eligible employees working in Seattle to use PSST when their family member’s school or place of care is closed, regardless of whether such closure is made by a public official.