Q: I heard New York State recently enacted another sick leave law. I thought New York already enacted a COVID-19 sick leave law back in March. How is this new one different?

A: Effective September 30, 2020, New York will have two separate sick leave laws: one specific to COVID-19 (NY COVID-19 Sick Leave Law), and one that is general (New York Sick Leave Law). The covered reasons for leave are more expansive under the New York Sick Leave Law. In addition, unlike the NY COVID-19 Sick Leave Law, which is expected to expire at the end of the pandemic, the New York Sick Leave Law is expected to be permanent.

While employees start accruing New York Sick Leave on September 30, 2020, they may not use the sick leave until January 1, 2021. Continue Reading New York Sick Leave Goes Into Effect on September 30, 2020

HR Law Matters will be merging with Hiring to Firing, effective September 16. Our combined offering now has a deepened perspective to the ever-changing world of labor and employment law. Hiring to Firing will continue to be your go-to-resource on topics such as:

  • Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation
  • Wage and Hour
  • Independent Contractor Classification
  • COVID-19
  • Human Resources & Workplace Issues
  • Labor
  • Immigration
  • Trade Secrets/Data Privacy
  • Restrictive Covenants
  • Benefits & Executive Compensation
  • Employment Laws

Q. Are there any COVID-related tax incentives that could benefit employers and employees?

A. Employers and employees alike continue to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many employers have reduced revenues and need to conserve resources. Many employees have been furloughed or permanently laid off and may need to prematurely access vested retirement benefits to make ends meet. Other employees need leave from work due to their own or a family member’s COVID-related illnesses. COVID-related tax incentives fall into two broad categories: incentives that advantage employers and incentives that advantage employees. Our Firm’s prior alert, Revised Summary of CARES Act and FFCRA Tax Credit and Payroll Tax Relief, provides an overview of the tax advantaged programs that are available to employers. These generally advantage the employer by providing a credit to the employer’s payroll taxes or by providing a low interest loan to the employer. There are also programs that an employer can implement that can save the employer money in the short- and long-term. In addition, there are programs that ease an employee’s access to amounts the employee has accrued under an employer’s tax qualified retirement program, and others that permit employers to provide employees with certain special benefits during these difficult times. Employees can even provide assistance to others impacted by COVID-19 through leave sharing/donation programs. Each program is outlined below. Continue Reading PROVIDING COVID-19 FINANCIAL RELIEF: How to Free Up Access to Employer Assets and/or Ease Employee Access to Vested Benefits

On July 27, 2020, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) adopted a first-of-its-kind statewide regulation mandating all employers adopt varying levels of safeguards to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. In this advisory, we will address a number of the compliance questions employers face regarding the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) and outline the rule’s more prominent features. While in many respects the ETS adopts existing CDC/OSHA guidance and Governor Northam’s executive orders, there are important distinctions. The ETS is more than 40 pages, but we will address its core provisions, which require employers to engage in the following: Continue Reading Virginia Issues New COVID-19 Occupational Health and Safety Rules

Q. How will the federal court decision impact business policies and practices that address FFCRA leave?

A. On August 3, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York struck down four parts of the regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). As a result of the decision: Continue Reading Federal Court Decision Changes How Employers Must Implement Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Q. Have there been any changes to the CDC Guidance on testing?

A. Until late July, the CDC offered a test-based or symptom-based strategy to govern the timing of “discontinuing isolation” for a person known or suspected to be infected with COVID-19. In an abrupt change in guidance, the CDC announced a test-based strategy is no longer recommended to determine when to discontinue home isolation, except in certain circumstances. The CDC now recommends following only a modified symptom-based strategy, which means: Continue Reading COVID-19 Testing No Longer Generally Recommended for Discontinuing Isolation, CDC Says

Troutman Sanders and Pepper Hamilton officially became Troutman Pepper (Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP), a national law firm of 1,100 attorneys in 23 U.S. offices. Our new firm offers clients greater resources and bench strength, enhanced practices, and expanded geographical reach.

We are now one of the 50 largest law firms in the country, with offices in eight of the 10 largest U.S. markets. Our attorneys support some of the country’s biggest industry sectors, including health sciences, energy, real estate, insurance, finance, private equity, construction, and technology.

While we have grown, our mission remains the same: to provide a higher commitment to client care. The merger brings expanded capabilities to our Labor and Employment and Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation teams, which now include 50 attorneys in 11 offices across the country, and we are excited for our clients to experience the increased benefits and services.

Please continue to follow our HR Law Matters blog to receive the latest news, analysis and commentary on your industry. You can read more about Troutman Pepper and our hallmark focus on client care.

States are re-opening in various phases, and some exercise facilities have opened their doors once again. For most states, gyms and fitness studios shuttered for months are now considering how to operate and attempt to recoup months of lost revenue while complying with strict social-distancing guidelines. Additionally, many states are seeing mandatory face covering orders for the first time. Continue Reading Considerations for Re-Opening Gyms and Fitness Studios

Following President Trump’s Presidential Proclamation on April 22, 2020 to temporarily suspend immigrant visa processing and entry of certain immigrants into the United States, the White House has issued a new Executive Order entitled “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak”. This new order is directed at foreign nationals and their dependents who seek to obtain visas in the following classifications: H-1B and H-2B, L-1, and J-1 for participation in intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair, or summer work travel programs. Other visa classifications, such as B-1, F-1, O-1, and TN, are not addressed by this proclamation. Continue Reading Impact of Executive Order Suspending Entry of Certain Employment-Based Nonimmigrants

Q. I understand that the United States Supreme Court came out with a new decision extending Title VII protections. What are the details?

A.  Delivering a historic victory for the LGBTQ community, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 6-3 landmark decision on June 15, ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits terminating an employee based on the employee’s gender identity or sexual orientation. In Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 590 U.S. _____ (2020), the Court held “that employers are prohibited from firing employees on the basis of homosexuality or transgender status.” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion, in which Chief Justice Roberts and the four liberal justices joined. Justice Alito wrote a 107-page dissent, in which Justice Thomas joined, and Justice Kavanaugh dissented separately. Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules Title VII Protects Gay and Transgender Employees