The American Rescue Plan Act signed in March 2021 provides for a 100% COBRA premium subsidy for certain individuals who are eligible for and enroll in COBRA coverage between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021. Employers sponsoring health plans should take action quickly to ensure that the subsidy is properly administered and consider its effects on any planned layoffs or other severance events.
Continue Reading COBRA Subsidies Under ARPA: Employer Action Needed

Employers with more than 25 employees must provide COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave to their California employees under a recent law signed by the Governor.  This new law is broader than California’s prior COVID-19 paid sick leave law and, unlike the prior law, also covers employees who telework. The new sick leave entitlement is retroactive to January 1, 2021 and extends until September 30, 2021. 
Continue Reading California Passes New COVID-19 Sick Leave Requirements for 2021

California employers may mandate employee vaccination under new guidance from the State’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).  With the opening up of California businesses and expansion of vaccine eligibility, a key question facing employers has been whether they can require their employees to get vaccinated.
Continue Reading CA DFEH Issues Guidance on Mandatory Employee Vaccination

The U.S. Department of Labor recently issued guidance to state unemployment insurance agencies, expanding the categories of workers that are eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The PUA program was created in March 2020 to provide payments to certain people affected by COVID-19, as well as independent contractors and gig workers who do not usually qualify for unemployment insurance.  While funded by the federal government, states are responsible for administering it. 
Continue Reading Department of Labor Expands Unemployment Insurance Eligibility To Include Workers Who Declined Work Due to Pandemic Safety Concerns

While COVID-19 may have hit the business community like a hurricane, whether the pandemic, in fact, qualifies for a natural disaster exception under the federal law requiring businesses to warn employees of impending layoffs, remains an open question. This February, a federal judge paved the way for the Eleventh Circuit to weigh in on whether a class action can proceed against an employer who was forced to lay off employees due to COVID-19.
Continue Reading The Eleventh Circuit Could Tackle Whether COVID-19 is a Disaster for WARN Purposes with Companies Facing Continued Layoffs

Closures of schools and day care centers during the COVID-19 pandemic have put heightened focus on the child care challenges faced by working parents.  The California legislature is aiming to address these challenges by introducing a bill that, if passed, would require employers to provide subsidized backup child care benefits to employees. While this may help working parents, it also would place additional burdens on employers, many of whom are already over-taxed by the increased costs and depressed revenues caused by the pandemic.
Continue Reading California Bill Proposes To Require Employer-Subsidized Backup Childcare Benefits

Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the employment law landscape has continued to change at a rapid pace.  This includes recent changes to federal, state, and local leave requirements for COVID-19 related sick leave.
Continue Reading While Federal and California State COVID-19 Sick Leave Has Expired, Some California Localities Continue To Maintain Local COVID-19 Sick Leave Requirements

With little forewarning to the regulated community, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health passed a sweeping new standard requiring employers in the state to implement prescribed COVID-19 protections. Now, employers’ groups are fighting back.
Continue Reading Employers’ Groups Bring Fight Against Cal/OSHA COVID-19 ETS to Court

On December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its COVID-19 guidance with a new section pertaining to vaccinations. The updated release—“What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws”—discusses how employers who require vaccinations should respond to an employee who is unable or unwilling to receive a COVID-19 vaccination because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief. 
Continue Reading EEOC Provides Guidance Regarding COVID-19 Vaccinations