As we previously reported, New York State’s Paid Sick Leave law (“NYSPSL”) went into effect on September 30, 2020.  While employees are not permitted to take sick leave under NYSPSL until January 1, 2021, many questions remain regarding employers’ obligations under the law.  On October 21, in the midst of this interim period, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYS DOL”) published a set of FAQs addressing some of the ambiguities in the law, but perhaps raising others. Key takeaways are summarized below.
Continue Reading New York State Releases First Guidance on New Paid Sick Leave Law

Amid a bevy of legislation crossing the Governor’s desk directly relating to the ongoing public health crisis, Governor Newsom approved AB 1947 with little public fanfare, but significant implications for employers.  The new legislation amends the Labor Code in two substantive ways:  (1) it lengthens the period of time in which employees can file complaints with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”); and (2) authorizes a court to award reasonable attorney’s fees to a plaintiff who prevails in a “whistleblower” action under Labor Code § 1102.5.  While not expressly considered “coronavirus” legislation, it is clear the coronavirus pandemic influenced the Legislature’s decision to further expand certain rights under California’s workplace antiretaliation laws.
Continue Reading AB 1947’S New Filing Period for DLSE Claims and Attorney’s Fees Provisions: Coronavirus Legislation in Sheep’s Clothing?

Given the pandemic and all that has come along with it, telecommuting has become the new norm.  Employers are increasingly faced with difficult legal issues pertaining to not only the out-of-state telecommuter, but also the foreign national who “telecommutes” from overseas due to travel and visa restrictions.  U.S. employers may still want to utilize the foreign national’s services, but there are various issues to consider before doing so.
Continue Reading Employment, Tax, and Visa Issues Associated With the Overseas Telecommuter

As we previously reported, among the sweeping pieces of legislation signed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was New York State’s permanent sick leave law (“NYSPSL”). Under NYSPSL, all New York State employers are required to provide sick leave. Eligible employees may begin accruing sick leave as of September 30, 2020, but are not entitled to use any accrued sick leave pursuant to this law until January 1, 2021.
Continue Reading Reminder: Accrual Requirements Under New York State’s New Paid Sick Leave Law Effective September 30, 2020

On September 28, 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill into law significantly amending the New York City Earned Sick and Safe Time Act (“ESSTA”) in order to better align with New York State’s new paid sick leave law (the “NYS Leave Law”).  Like its state law counterpart, the amendments to ESSTA (the “ESSTA Amendments”) takes effect on September 30, 2020.  As discussed in greater detail below, the ESSTA Amendments: (i) revise the amount of leave that New York City employers are required to provide; (ii) impose new employer reporting requirements; (iii) create new employer reimbursement obligations in connection with requested medical documentation and/or documentation regarding domestic violence; (iv) expand the scope of prohibited retaliation under the law; (v) impose new notice requirements; and (vi) expand enforcement mechanisms.
Continue Reading NYC Employers Take Note: Earned Sick and Safe Time Act Amendments Take Effect September 30, 2020

On September 22, 2020, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) released a long-awaited proposed rule (the “Proposed Rule”) providing guidance for determining employee versus independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  For decades, employers have struggled with properly classifying workers, oftentimes resulting in substantial liability for, among other things, unpaid overtime and unpaid payroll taxes.  If adopted, the Proposed Rule may make it easier for employers to classify workers as independent contractors.
Continue Reading Independent Contractor v. Employee: DOL Releases Proposed Rule Clarifying Test for Classification of Workers

2020 has been a transformative year of everlasting uncertainty and constant change: employee privacy is no exception. California laws impacting employee data are changing yet again. This article highlights what employers need to know about (1) recent amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act, and (2) what happens if the California Privacy Rights Act is approved by voters on November 3, 2020.
Continue Reading The Only Constant Is Change: How Evolving Privacy Laws Impact Employers

Effective immediately, Senate Bill (SB) 1159 is a new California law that establishes presumptions about workers’ compensation benefits for employees who contract COVID-19.  This article explains in a series of questions and answers what employers need to know about workers’ compensation under this new law if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
Continue Reading Mother of All Presumptions 2.0: Expanding Workers Compensation Benefits to Employees That Test Positive for COVID-19

**This is an updated version of our September 2, 2020 post.** 

A new California statute will significantly expand current family and medical leave laws, by expanding the obligation to provide job-protected leave to small businesses with as few as five employees, allowing leave to be taken for additional reasons, and eliminating certain exceptions to employer obligations to provide leave.
Continue Reading California Expands Family and Medical Leave Entitlements

On September 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 685 into law, establishing new requirements for employers to notify employees and their unions about a potential COVID-19 exposure in the workplace.  The new law, which will be in effect from January 1, 2021, until January 1, 2023, also requires employers to report a COVID-19 “outbreak” at the worksite to local health authorities.  Further, AB 685 relaxes the pre-citation requirements that the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) must follow before issuing a citation for a serious violation related to COVID-19.  This article breaks down the various requirements of the new law and identifies potential complications or issues that employers should be aware of when attempting to comply with the new requirements.
Continue Reading Enactment of AB 685 Establishes COVID-19 Exposure Notice Requirements for California Employers and Cal/OSHA Enforcement Changes

On September 18, the Board’s GC issued GC Memo 20-14, entitled Summaries of Advice Merit Determinations Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 Issues for the purpose of giving the public a better understanding of the GC’s approach to COVID-19 related issues.  What emerges is a clear message—while the pandemic can impact certain obligations under the National Labor Relations Act, the agency will not permit employers to use the pandemic as a sword to engage in unlawful conduct.  Under Agency guidelines, advice memos in such “go” cases cannot be released until the case is closed.  Accordingly, rather than release actual advice memos, the GC’s September 18 memo contained a series of anonymous case summaries in which an employer’s actions relating to the virus were deemed unlawful.  Over the past several months, we have reported on advice memos from the NLRB General Counsel’s Division of Advice finding various employer actions in dealing with COVID-19 issues to be permissible under the NLRA (see our recent postings here and here).  The GC’s latest memo includes a list of these earlier advice memos in which an employer’s COVID-19 conduct was found lawful.  What follows is a description of some of the issues and settings rendering these matters meritorious and therefore “go” cases.
Continue Reading GC Finds Merit in COVID-19 Related ULP Cases in GC Memo 20-14