The City and County of San Francisco recently enacted an emergency Ordinance, the text of which is available here, effective September 11, 2020, which prevents all employers from taking adverse employment actions (e.g., firing, threatening to fire, disciplining, or in any manner discriminating) against employees and independent contractors (collectively “Workers,” as defined in the Ordinance) related to absences caused by COVID-19. The Ordinance is effective for 60 days through November 10, 2020 (unless extended) and applies to any Worker who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is isolating or quarantining, or has previously isolated or quarantined, due to COVID-19 symptoms or exposure (a “COVID-19 Absence”). The Ordinance prevents adverse actions during or within 90 days of a COVID-19 Absence.

On April 16, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-51-20, which mandated paid COVID-19–related sick leave for food sector workers who provide services to an entity with 500 or more employees nationwide. The Executive Order was noteworthy because the eligibility for leave was not dependent on employee status—contractors were deemed eligible as well.

Last week, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1867 (AB 1867), which codified the preexisting supplemental COVID-19 paid sick leave for food sector workers and related handwashing requirements and amended enforcement provisions for violations of paid sick leave requirements.[1]

On September 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced revisions to its implementation regulations for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). As stated in the DOL’s News Release, “[t]he revisions do the following:

  • Reaffirm and provide additional explanation for the requirement that employees may take FFCRA leave only if work would otherwise

On August 3, 2020, a court in the Southern District of New York vacated portions of the Department of Labor’s Regulations Regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) (discussed here).  In the wake of that decision, employers have scrambled to understand how to proceed and wondered whether the DOL would update or revise

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new questions and updated its guidance on September 8, 2020, covering a range of topics including keeping employee medical information confidential while employees are working remotely, whether employers can ask employees who are coming into the workplace if they have family members with COVID-19, and navigating

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2020-5 (Bulletin) in late August 2020 that addressed the subject of an employer’s obligation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to exercise reasonable diligence in tracking the hours of work for non-exempt employees working remotely. The Bulletin recognizes the need under the FLSA for employers to pay employees for all hours worked, including work performed at home. But it also recognizes that when non-exempt employees work remotely at locations not controlled by the employer that it may be difficult to define what an employer actually knows with regard to the time worked.

As California continues to navigate the quagmire of reopening the state amidst an unrelenting global pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a new “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” (Blueprint) to determine when businesses can and cannot open. The new metric employs a color system, where each county is assigned a color based upon “risk-based criteria.” Under the system, lower risk activities or sectors can open sooner and high-risk activities and sectors cannot open until later phases. The scheme is as follows:

On April 1, 2020, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) promulgated its Final Rule implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA requires covered employers to offer emergency paid sick leave (EPSLA) and emergency family and medical leave (EFMLEA) to employees under various circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, summarized in more detail here.

Since implementation, employers have scrambled to understand their obligations under the FFCRA and to provide the leave required under the new legislation. Shortly after the DOL issued its regulations, the State of New York filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, State of New York v. United States Department of Labor, Case No. 20-CV-3020 (JPO), and simultaneously moved for summary judgment, attacking various requirements set forth in the regulations. On April 28, 2020, the DOL cross-moved for summary judgment and to dismiss for lack of standing.[1]

On July 23, 2020, the CDC issued guidance for K-12 school administrators to safely return to school in the fall of 2020. The CDC update is expressly intended as an aid for these administrators “as they consider how to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of students, teachers, other school staff, their families and communities.”