Employers of healthcare providers will soon be required to provide paid sick leave and partially paid family leave to a broader category of employees, and all employers subject to the law now have clarification on a number of other obligations, thanks to a revised set of regulations released by the Labor Department late Friday afternoon. After a federal court judge recently knocked down the agency’s first attempt to provide employers with practical direction in complying with the Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA), the Labor Department issued a second set of rules on September 11 that in some instances revise and in other instances clarify employer compliance duties. Here are the key changes and clarifications, which are slated to go into effect on September 16, that employers need to know about.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued revised regulations on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s (FFCRA’s) paid-sick-leave and paid-family-leave provisions, clarifying when leave is available and when employees must seek approval to take leave.

The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on Sept. 10 issued its first citation against a meatpacking plant for failing to protect workers against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The Smithfield Packaged Meats Corp. in Sioux Falls, S.D., was cited after more than a thousand workers became ill and four died.

The coronavirus pandemic has decidedly reshaped how and where work is done and has led to the creation of new HR responsibilities. One of those transformational roles—leading remote work—will be critical to an organization’s ability to grow and compete for talent.

Remote work has been a success for most companies during the pandemic, but some employees may be abusing work-from-home privileges. Effective policies, tools and communication can help stave off abuse.

Since the onset of COVID-19 and the related business shut-downs, employers across the country have been forced to make the difficult decision to lay off or terminate many of their employees. Of the tens of millions who have been impacted to date, several hundred individuals have already filed suit against their former employers, bringing claims ranging from racial and religious discrimination to alleged violations of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act. Fisher Phillips has been closely tracking these and other COVID-19-related lawsuits in our COVID-19 Employment Litigation Tracker. Recently, a new trend in COVID-19-related litigation has emerged: employees who had previously signed non-compete and other restrictive covenant agreements with their former employers are now asking courts to declare those agreements unenforceable.  

Workers who can do their jobs from home say doing so has been an unexpected positive experience during the coronavirus pandemic. Many aren’t willing to go back to the office, saying their productivity and mental health are better now than when they commuted and worked from 9-5.

Many companies were left struggling to quickly understand and comply with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act when it went into effect earlier this year. As more and more employees continue to request leave under the Act, some are also starting to bring lawsuits alleging that their requests for leave were wrongly denied, or that they were retaliated against for asserting their rights under the Act. A recent trend involving litigation from caregivers – employees needing to care for an individual with COVID-19 – should attract the notice of employers. What do employers need to know in order to avoid being on the receiving end of such a claim?

As sizeable numbers of workers continue to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be time for businesses that have not offered to reimburse remote employees’ work-related expenses to consider doing so.

In this third of a three-part series, Littler Los Angeles Shareholder and trial attorney Helene Wasserman interviews Dr. Dan Gallipeau, co-founder and President of Dispute Dynamics, a nationally-recognized jury consulting firm, about what a jury trial is likely to look like in our safety-conscious and socially-distanced COVID era.