Congress Passes Second Stimulus – What it Means for Worker Protections and Unemployment Assistance

On December 21, 2020, Congress passed a $900 billion stimulus package. If signed into law, the second stimulus bill would extend some of the federal protections specifically created during the pandemic for workers and those who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, while reducing some of the earlier protections. The Families First Coronavirus Response…

New NLRB Guidelines: When Are Mail Ballot Elections Appropriate During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently issued a decision that provides guidance for determining when a representation election should be conducted through mail ballots, rather than in-person voting, due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. The NLRB recognized that while “existing precedent strongly favors manual elections,” i.e. in-person, the extraordinary circumstances that…

Department of Labor Regulations Expand Paid Leave for Certain Healthcare Workers

On September 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (DOL) announced changes to its rules concerning the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the law that provides paid sick leave and expands family and medical leave for individuals impacted by COVID-19. The DOL changes came in response to a decision of…

Update: Health Plans Must Continue to Cover the Full Cost of COVID-19 Testing

Our March 24, 2020, What You Need to Know Now examined the federal law requiring all group health plans to cover the full cost of COVID-19 testing free of charge and without any employee cost-sharing, including deductibles, copayments or coinsurance. In addition, the health plan cannot require prior authorization or impose other medical management requirements. This…

Working from Home? DOL Guidance Requires Both Employers and Employees to Ensure Hours Worked Get Reported

As the necessity for teleworking continues due to COVID-19, employers and employees are still grappling with the changes brought about by a significant increase in teleworking. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently published guidance regarding timekeeping while teleworking.  While acknowledging employers’ legal obligations for recordkeeping and reporting, the DOL also places…

New York Secures Funding to Add $300/Week Temporarily to Unemployment Benefits

FEMA recently approved New York State’s application for the Lost Wages Assistance Program, enabling the state to pay an additional $300 per week on top of ongoing unemployment benefits, for qualified individuals. The $300 supplemental assistance replaces the $600 per week that many unemployed New Yorkers received under the CARES Act, until the supplement expired…

New York Wins against U.S. Department of Labor: Expanding Paid Leave during COVID-19

On August 2, 2020, a Manhattan federal judge ruled in favor of the State of New York by striking down the Trump administration’s standard for determining which employees are eligible for relief under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (“Act”). The Department of Labor’s interpretation of the Act created excessive loopholes allowing employers to deny…

Exhausted Regular Unemployment? You May Be Eligible for Programs Extending Unemployment Benefits

If you received the maximum 26 weeks of regular unemployment insurance, you may be eligible for two other programs to extend your unemployment benefits for a total of up to 59 weeks.  Those who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance, but are receiving benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, are not eligible…

Furloughed Employees Returning to Work: Your Rights Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

In earlier LR What You Need to Know Now postings here and here, we discussed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Under this Act, eligible employees of covered employers have access to extended sick leave and family and medical leave benefits if they are personally affected or need to take care of a family member…

Camp Still Closed for the Summer? Consider Leave Options under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act as Department of Labor Issues Updated Guidelines

As many summer camps and daycare facilities announce their continued closures during summer months, working parents and guardians may find relief from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act). The Act extends family and medical leave benefits for eligible employees who are caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed (or…