COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into every employer’s near-term plans. While many companies have temporarily shut down, and many others have put hiring on hold, some employers will have to kickstart their hiring efforts as the economy begins to reopen. Data shows that the stay-at-home economy created a surge in social media usership, so it will be no surprise when home bound recruiters try to use Facebook and other platforms to reignite their workforce. HR professionals who currently use, or plan to use social media advertising for online recruiting need to understand its potential legal pitfalls.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the majority of businesses to at least offer, if not require, work-from-home options for employees. Employers are now facing many challenges that come with maintaining the same level of productivity when employees are working remotely. Below are a few guidelines to help ensure that your employees are maximizing their time outside of the office and inside their home.
Dear Clients and Friends,
These words just came out of my mouth, “I have extra toilet paper I can trade for some rice.” Yesterday, I wore gloves, a face mask and carried homemade alcohol wipes in order to go food shopping. How the world has changed in one month!
So this will not come as a shock to you. We are postponing our Labor and Employment Seminars in both Tampa (May 8th at Tampa History Museum) and Miami (May 15th at Hard Rock Stadium). Not to worry, we will reschedule and let you know when. To make it easy for those who may have already paid, your registration will automatically be transferred to the new date when it is finalized. However, we understand that you may need to either substitute attendees or may need a refund altogether. If that is the case, please contact Kaylan Domond at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, please stay healthy and safe. Yes, we are on top of the new employment laws and regulations issued as a result of the pandemic. We are here to answer any questions you may have on the new laws and continue to assist clients on all other employment and labor matters. We look forward to seeing you again soon!
Robert S. Turk
Chair, Labor & Employment
Stearns Weaver Miller
The DOL has been working overtime attempting to clarify and answer questions on various aspects of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). As we reported last week, the DOL issued its “Employee Rights” poster, along with initial guidance in the form of “Questions and Answers.” On Thursday night (March 26) and then again on Saturday evening (March 28), the DOL added answers to 45 more questions, attempting to clarify these laws that go into effect on April 1. Click here to access the updated “Questions and Answers.”
Here are the highlights of what we know:
Yesterday, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued the much-anticipated “Employee Rights” poster or notice concerning the Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave components of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Click here to access the poster.
Along with the poster, the DOL provided some much needed guidance on various aspects of the laws that remained unclear. Click here to view DOL “Frequently Asked Questions.” Below are a few of the highlights from the “Frequently Asked Questions” issued by the DOL:
On Wednesday evening, March 18th, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”), which, among other things, mandates paid time off for certain qualifying events. There are two primary components in terms of paid time off: (1) the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“E-FMLA”); and (2) the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”).
EMERGENCY FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE EXPANSION ACT
The E-FMLA amends the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”) by adding “public health emergency leave” as a qualifying FMLA event.
Coverage. The E-FMLA applies to government employers of any size and private employers of fewer than 500 employees. The Secretary of Labor may issue regulations to exempt businesses with fewer than 50 employees if compliance would jeopardize the viability of the business.
Eligible employees are those who have been employed for at least 30 calendar days by the covered employer. Also, employers of employees who are health care providers or emergency responders may elect to exclude those employees from coverage under the E-FMLA.
Statistics Updated September 18, 2020.
On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced an official name for the disease that is causing the novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated COVID-19. On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic.
The United States now has the most reported COVID-19 cases in the world. Today, there are more than 6,571,100 confirmed cases. Updates on these statistics are available on the WHO web page.
With so much information circulating on the Internet and from the news media, it can become a little overwhelming for employers. So, what do employers need to know? Below, I provide background information regarding COVID-19 and measures employers can take to protect their employees and satisfy their compliance obligations.
While some of you may be looking forward to brackets, watch parties, and cheering on your favorite college basketball team, employers should also be thinking about a different type of March Madness – preparing for the H-1B Visa New Registration Process!
The USCIS recently announced the implementation of a new electronic registration process for H-1B visas. The registration period will run from March 1-March 20. Therefore, employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions for the fiscal year 2021 cap should start planning and gathering documentation on eligible employees.
In an effort to make sure employers don’t “drop the ball,” I recently recorded a presentation answering questions and sharing important information to keep in mind regarding this process. You can listen to the recording here.
2020 Session is upon us and there are some interesting labor and employment bills percolating through the Florida Legislature. Here are few particularly notable bills that caught our eye:
Minimum wage is a frequent flier in the Florida Legislature and 2020 is no exception. One pending bill proposes increasing the state’s minimum wage every year, eventually tracking inflation. This bill does not seem to be well-received and our prediction is that it will not make it to a floor vote. (For more information, see House Bill 691 and Senate Bill 456)
On January 31, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new Form I-9, designated as the 10/21/2019 version. The only changes are the additions of Eswatini and Macedonia, North to the list of countries in the drop down fields on the fillable version of the Form and an update to the Form’s instructions.
Employers should begin using the new Form I-9 as soon as possible. Employers may continue to use the prior version of the Form (Rev. 07/17/2017N) until April 30, 2020. After April 30, employers are permitted to use only the Form I-9 with the 10/21/2019 version date.
The current edition of the Form I-9 can be found at the USCIS website.