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Coronavirus

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Coronavirus: UK furlough scheme extended by 1 month to end of June / furlough holiday rights clarified

April 17, 2020

Authors

Rebecca Harding-Hill, Mark Kaye and Nikeeta Mahay

Coronavirus: UK furlough scheme extended by 1 month to end of June / furlough holiday rights clarified

April 17, 2020

by: Rebecca Harding-Hill, Mark Kaye and Nikeeta Mahay

The UK government announced this afternoon that it is extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (‘CJRS’) by a month to the end of June. The announcement is welcome news for many employers who for business planning purposes were considering whether they could continue to employ staff currently on furlough if the CJRS finished on the original 31 May date.

In addition, the government has finally provided guidance on holiday rights during furlough. The guidance gives welcome confirmation that employees continue to accrue holiday during furlough. Employees may also take holiday whilst on furlough, with any statutory holiday being paid at their usual holiday pay rate in accordance with the Working Time Regulations. Employers will be obliged to pay the additional amounts over the grant.

BCLP has assembled a COVID-19 Employment & Labor taskforce to assist clients with employment law issues across various jurisdictions. You can contact the taskforce at: COVID-19HRLabour&EmploymentIssues@bclplaw.com. You can also view other thought leadership, guidance, and helpful information on our dedicated COVID-19 / Coronavirus resources page.

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Coronavirus: UK’s first judgment on the Job Retention Scheme – the Carluccio’s administration

April 17, 2020

Authors

Matthieu Hucker

Coronavirus: UK’s first judgment on the Job Retention Scheme – the Carluccio’s administration

April 17, 2020

by: Matthieu Hucker

On Monday 13 April 2020, the High Court released its judgment in the United Kingdom’s first case relating to the government’s recently announced Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”).

The case considered the use of the CJRS by the Administrators of Carluccio’s Limited (“Carluccio’s”). Due to Carluccio’s being in administration, it was heard by the High Court as a matter of urgency.

The case raised several important points because the government had only outlined the CJRS in broad terms, nor has it detailed the way the CJRS interacts with existing insolvency legislation.

This blog deals with the administration and insolvency issues as well as the employment law implications regarding employees impliedly consenting to changes to their terms of employment.

Facts

  • Carluccio’s entered administration subsequent to the imposition of the government’s ‘lockdown’ measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.
  • The Administrators’ current strategy is to “mothball” Carluccio’s whilst it seeks a buyer. As part of this strategy the Administrators wish to retain its employees and claim for their wages through the CJRS.
  • Carluccio’s has no money with which to pay the continuing wages of its employees. If Carluccio’s cannot take advantage of the CJRS and in turn limit its liability
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Coronavirus: UK Job Retention Scheme – previously excluded employees now in scope to be furloughed

April 16, 2020

Authors

Rebecca Harding-Hill and Mark Kaye

Coronavirus: UK Job Retention Scheme – previously excluded employees now in scope to be furloughed

April 16, 2020

by: Rebecca Harding-Hill and Mark Kaye

Summary

Key points arising out of the revised guidance and the legislative framework include:

1. Eligibility cut-off date extended from 28 February to 19 March: This is the most significant change to the UK Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) guidance. It brings into scope many new recruits who previously could not be furloughed. Earlier versions of the guidance said that new recruits who joined after 28 February were excluded from the scheme. However, the latest guidance now says that individuals put on the employer’s payroll on or before 19 March, and in respect of whom the employer has also made an RTI submission to HMRC on or before 19 March, can be furloughed.

It may well be that employers have already taken action to terminate new recruits who, according to previous versions of the guidance couldn’t be furloughed. Employers still have the option to rehire these individuals and then furlough them, if they wish to do so.

2. Requirement for employer/employee agreement: the legislative underpin for the CJRS (the ‘CJRS Direction’) has now also been published and says that to be furloughed, the employer and employee must agree in writing that the employee will cease all work. This conflicts

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U.S. COVID-19: My Employee Has COVID-19 – What Leave Entitlements Apply?

April 15, 2020

Authors

Christy Phanthavong and Lily Kurland

U.S. COVID-19: My Employee Has COVID-19 – What Leave Entitlements Apply?

April 15, 2020

by: Christy Phanthavong and Lily Kurland

The call to HR is becoming more common:  I have COVID-19. Should I go on a leave of absence, and if so, will I be paid while I am out?

It is clear that an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 (or who is likely positive based on symptoms and/or exposure) should remain away from the workplace so as to avoid spreading the disease.  What can sometimes be less clear is what leave entitlements apply to the employee, and whether the employee will be paid for all or some portion of the leave.  When faced with these questions, employers should consider the following:

Leave Entitlements Under Federal Law

For employers covered by the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), an eligible employee may be entitled to up to 80 hours of Paid Sick Leave, if the employee is unable to work (including telework) due to either:

  • Having COVID-19 and being advised by a healthcare professional to self-quarantine; or
  • Having symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a diagnosis from a healthcare professional.

Importantly, this leave is both job-protected and paid (subject to caps, although employers may permit employees to supplement these wages with other available accrued paid

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Preparing to Return U.S. Employees to the Workplace

April 14, 2020

Authors

Hope Goldstein and Sara O'Keefe

Preparing to Return U.S. Employees to the Workplace

April 14, 2020

by: Hope Goldstein and Sara O'Keefe

As we approach the one month anniversary of the first “stay-at-home” orders, many are asking when we can get back to work and what will it look like when we do?  In response, companies are beginning to consider the logistics of returning employees to the workplace.  Just as the “stay-at-home” orders vary widely from state to state, any regulatory return to work orders issued by the states, or any guidance issued by any federal agencies, will likely vary widely as well. Employers with multiple locations may again find themselves juggling different requirements in different facilities, with no single approach fitting an entire multi-location business.

Though “stay-at-home” states have not yet issued guidance on how or when they will allow non-essential businesses to begin operating again, such a return could commence at any time.  In order to assist companies with preparing in the absence of regulatory guidance, we have developed the following suggestions for employers’ consideration as they plan to return employees to the workplace and seek to be positioned to do so, when permissible, as efficiently and quickly as possible:

  • Be prepared to comply with the CDC’s Guidelines in effect at the time of a return to work. For
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U.S. COVID-19: Employee Temperature Screening: What Employers Need To Consider When Deciding Whether To Implement a Screening Process

April 14, 2020

Authors

Patrick DePoy, Mimi Moore and Christy Phanthavong

U.S. COVID-19: Employee Temperature Screening: What Employers Need To Consider When Deciding Whether To Implement a Screening Process

April 14, 2020

by: Patrick DePoy, Mimi Moore and Christy Phanthavong

In light of concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus in the workplace, employers are confronting important questions pertaining to the screening of employees for COVID-19 symptoms, including as it pertains to taking employees’ temperatures: May (or must) we screen employees for fevers, and if so, how should we implement such a practice?

In Part 1 of this two-part blog series, we address issues relating to the decision of whether employers may (or must) implement a temperature screening protocol.  In Part 2, we will provide guidance on how to do so.

Non-Discriminatory Temperature Screening Is Permitted

Taking an employee’s temperature is considered a medical exam under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and would normally be subject to strict restrictions. However, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has expressly stated in updated guidance that employers are permitted to screen employees for fevers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Some state agencies are following suit; for example, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing recently issued guidance indicating that temperature checks are permissible and non-discriminatory under the present circumstances, so long as they are conducted on all personnel entering a facility.

Federal Guidance Supports Temperature Screening

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CORONAVIRUS RELIEF BILL: The CARES Act – Provisions Affecting U.S. Employers and Employees, Part II

April 9, 2020

Authors

Jay Warren and Courtney Peterson

CORONAVIRUS RELIEF BILL: The CARES Act – Provisions Affecting U.S. Employers and Employees, Part II

April 9, 2020

by: Jay Warren and Courtney Peterson

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act” or “Act”), enacted on March 27, 2020, has been the subject of government agency interim regulations and guidance.  This updates the original BCLP post on the employment-related provisions of the CARES Act through April 7, 2020.

The CARES Act represents the third Phase of Congressional relief responding to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  Phase I (Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-123)) and Phase II (Families First Coronavirus Response Act (P.L. 116-127)) were signed into law on March 6 and 18, respectively.   At 883 pages, the CARES Act is the largest relief bill in U.S. history and addresses on multiple fronts the hardships faced by individuals and businesses throughout this crisis.  These efforts include an unprecedented expansion of unemployment benefits, significant funding for the health care industry, aid to large and small businesses valued in the billions, and even direct payments to individuals.

The majority of economic relief provisions for U.S. workers and employers is provided in Titles I through IV of Division A of the Act (Division B consists of emergency appropriations to fund various program). The CARES Act also has specific provisions regarding relief

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CORONAVIRUS RELIEF BILL: The CARES Act – Provisions Affecting U.S. Employers and Employees, Part I

April 9, 2020

Authors

Jay Warren and Courtney Peterson

CORONAVIRUS RELIEF BILL: The CARES Act – Provisions Affecting U.S. Employers and Employees, Part I

April 9, 2020

by: Jay Warren and Courtney Peterson

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act” or “Act”), enacted on March 27, 2020, has been the subject of government agency interim regulations and guidance.  This updates the original BCLP post on the employment-related provisions of the CARES Act through April 7, 2020.

The CARES Act represents the third Phase of Congressional relief responding to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  Phase I (Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-123)) and Phase II (Families First Coronavirus Response Act (P.L. 116-127)) were signed into law on March 6 and 18, respectively.   At 883 pages, the CARES Act is the largest relief bill in U.S. history and addresses on multiple fronts the hardships faced by individuals and businesses throughout this crisis.  These efforts include an unprecedented expansion of unemployment benefits, significant funding for the health care industry, aid to large and small businesses valued in the billions, and even direct payments to individuals.

The majority of economic relief provisions for U.S. workers and employers is provided in Titles I through IV of Division A of the Act (Division B consists of emergency appropriations to fund various program). The CARES Act also has specific provisions regarding relief

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CARES Act article from BCLP Benefits Blog

April 8, 2020

Authors

BCLP at Work

CARES Act article from BCLP Benefits Blog

April 8, 2020

by: BCLP at Work

Our Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation colleagues have recently drafted an article on how the CARES Act limits executive compensation for U.S. businesses participating in CESA relief . Please click here for the full article: https://benefitsbclp.com/covid-19-cares-act-limits-executive-compensation-for-u-s-businesses-participating-in-cesa-relief/.

 

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U.S. COVID-19: DOL (Yet Again) Publishes Revised Guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

April 6, 2020

Authors

Lily Kurland and Christy Phanthavong

U.S. COVID-19: DOL (Yet Again) Publishes Revised Guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

April 6, 2020

by: Lily Kurland and Christy Phanthavong

This weekend, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) released yet another set of updated and revised Questions and Answers (“Q&A”) regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).  This updated informal guidance comes just days after the DOL published its formal Temporary Rules (“Rules”) interpreting the FFRCA.  As we’ve summarized in earlier posts, the FFCRA was signed into law on March 18, 2020 and generally requires U.S. employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid sick leave (“Paid Sick Leave”) and emergency family and medical leave (“Emergency FMLA Leave”) benefits to employees in connection with COVID-19.

The FFCRA’s Paid Sick Leave and Emergency FMLA Leave provisions became effective on April 1, 2020; however, as the DOL previously announced, to enable covered employers to come into compliance with the new law, the DOL will observe a temporary period of non-enforcement through April 17, 2020.  This temporary period of non-enforcement only applies if an employer makes a reasonable, good faith attempt to comply with the FFCRA.  As such, if they have not already, employers should take steps to comply with the FFCRA immediately, and should continue to monitor and incorporate guidance from the DOL into their policies

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