OSHA Updated Response Plan and Updated Reporting Requirements for COVID-19

May 28, 2020 Leave a comment

AET Headshot Photo 2019 (M1344539xB1386)The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued updated guidance including an Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and updated reporting requirements for employers to report work-related cases of COVID-19. As employers begin re-opening and bring employees back to work (and for those essential businesses continuing to operate), employers should keep these updates from OSHA in mind in forming their COVID-19 response plans.

Learn about the OSHA updates in our COVID-19 Alert.

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DOL Issues New Final Rule on Fluctuating Workweek Calculations

May 28, 2020 Leave a comment

AET Headshot Photo 2019 (M1344539xB1386)The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a final rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) allowing employers to offer bonuses, hazard pay, and other premium pay to employees whose hours, and regular rate of pay, vary from week to week. The final rule seeks to clarify the calculation of overtime pay for salaried, non-exempt employees who work hours that vary each week (known as the “fluctuating workweek”).

The DOL sought to clarify the rules around the fluctuating workweek now as employers bring employees back to work and implement new procedures for social distancing, such as with flexible or variable schedules.

Continue reading in our COVID-19 Alert.

 

EEOC Announces Delay in EEO Data Collections

May 11, 2020 Leave a comment

AET Headshot Photo 2019 (M1344539xB1386)By: Amanda E. Thibodeau

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced that it will delay the collection of 2019 EEO-1 Component 1 data and the 2020 EEO-3 and EEO-5 data due to COVID-19. The EEOC stated that it recognizes the challenges that EEO filers are currently facing, and that delaying the collection will assist with the filers’ ability to provide accurate and timely data.

The EEOC expects that the collections may begin in March 2021, but will notify filers of the exact date when it is determined.

Morse is focused on assisting our clients through these unprecedented and challenging times. Please contact the Firm should you have questions concerning this subject, or any other COVID-19 response matters. You can find our complete COVID-19 resource collection here.

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EEOC Issues Guidelines with Respect to COVID-19 “Higher Risk” Employees

May 11, 2020 Leave a comment

MLM Headshot Photo 2019 (M1341570xB1386)  AET Headshot Photo 2019 (M1344539xB1386)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified certain groups of individuals as “higher risk” for severe illness from COVID-19.

A growing number of states have effected, or have announced, plans that relate to an easing of shelter-in-place and business closure orders. Many of these plans incorporate specific instructions that relate to higher risk employees, including instructions that exclude higher risk employees from worksites, under certain circumstances.

As emphasized in a recent federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) guidance, state re-opening standards that relate to higher risk employees must be interpreted, and applied by employers, in accordance with federal Americans with Disabilities Act anti-discrimination standards.

Employment law attorneys Matt Mitchell and Amanda Thibodeau summarize the EEOC Guidance in our COVID-19 Alert.

CDC Recommends New Workplace Sanitation Standards

May 5, 2020 Leave a comment

MLM Headshot Photo 2019 (M1341570xB1386)By: Matthew L. Mitchell

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new Guidance related to the re-opening of public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools, and homes following COVID-19 shutdowns. Among other instructions, the Guidance offers very specific workspace sanitation standards that are designed to address continuing COVID-19 infection risks.

It is anticipated that this CDC Guidance will be a bedrock component of state and federal government policies related to the re-opening businesses following COVID-19 shutdowns. As such, it is critical that employers understand, and be in a position to execute on, the recommendations contained in the Guidance.

Of particular note, the Guidance instructs employers to:

  • Develop formal sanitation plans that include strategies, that are customized for the specific elements of the employer’s workplace, for cleaning and disinfecting employee environments in preparation for, and following, business re-openings.
  • Use specific, recommended disinfectant techniques for particular environments and surfaces.
  • Adopt formal safe behavioral practices, including social distancing and employee hygiene and PPE standards.
  • Consider changes to practice and procedures aimed at reducing infection risk, including changes to the way and frequency public spaces are used.

The Guidance includes a Cleaning and Disinfection Decision Tool that distills the advice into a form that may be incorporated into an employer policy document.

Morse is focused on assisting our clients through these unprecedented and challenging times. Please contact the Firm should you have questions concerning this subject, or any other COVID-19 response matters.

MA Governor Extends Non-Essential Business Closings Until May 18, 2020

April 29, 2020 Leave a comment

AET Headshot Photo 2019 (M1344539xB1386)By Amanda E. Thibodeau

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker extended his previous emergency order to close non-essential businesses and his stay-at-home advisory until May 18. His previous order closed non-essential businesses until May 4. The press release can be found here.

Along with extending the closure of non-essential businesses, the order also extends the stay-at-home advisory, urging residents to stay at home and limiting all gatherings to 10 people or less until May 18.

Governor Baker also appointed a 17-person re-opening advisory board who will plan a phased re-opening of the state. The new board is comprised of leaders from government, business, and healthcare sectors.

The Morse Employment Law team is following the latest developments related to COVID-19 responses, and will continue to report as appropriate. You can find our complete COVID-19 resource collection here.

The Post-Quarantine Workplace: Practical Considerations Related to the Re-Call of Employees to the Worksite

April 27, 2020 Leave a comment

MLM Headshot Photo 2019 (M1341570xB1386)As employers continue to navigate unprecedented economic challenges – with possible easing of shelter-in-place and business closure orders in the coming weeks – one thing is clear: A return to normal business operations, in any short-term scenario, is unlikely. 

Employers will soon face very difficult decisions concerning the re-opening of worksite locations and the re-calling of employees. To help prepare for this eventuality, Matthew Mitchell has identified common themes and subjects employers may encounter in the  Post-Quarantine Workplace including worksite preparation, change management, government relief opportunities and employment law compliance considerations.

Read our full COVID-19 Alert for our Return-to-Work Guide.