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Coronavirus / Covid-19 Legal Response And Employment Issues

Covid-19 / Coronavirus is affecting every aspect our lives, including employment issues. Employers and employees are now trying to figure out what they are legally required to do, what they can do, what they are not allowed to do, and what benefits are available.

Recently, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (“FFCRA”) on March 18, 2020, in an effort to help employees and employers, and you can read about the United States Department of Labor’s summary of the FFCRA here. The FFCRA included big changes to our employment laws. The FFCRA extends 2 weeks of paid sick leave to employees who never previously would have been entitled to receive it as a result of such things as quarantine, awaiting a diagnosis, caring for someone with Covid-19, and the like. It will go into effect on April 2, 2020 and will be effective until December 31, 2020.

The FFCRA will now impact all small to medium employers by requiring any employer with less than 500 employees to provide paid sick leave to full time and to part time employees and to provide emergency medical leave – at a reduced rate – for those who cannot go to work because of school / childcare closings.

The FFCRA seems to take into account that employers could better absorb the cost of paying employees now by giving them a tax credit for payments made to employees in the next tax calendar year (2020).

In paying employees, the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) was enacted in 1938 and continues to be a source for individual and collective action lawsuits throughout the United States and its territories. The FLSA is the law governing payment of federal minimum wages, federal overtime wages, child labor laws, and other issues. The FLSA requires that non-exempt employees receive at least a minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime pay when working more than 40 hours in a workweek. Enforcement of the FFCRA will be through the FLSA, a law that the FairLaw Firm has extensive experience in litigating through both trial and appeal in the federal courts.

Other state and federal laws could also come into play depending on the circumstances, such as those requiring payment to a salaried employee for the week as a result of working for only part of that week.

The FairLaw Firm remains open for business during these difficult times, and we still offer free initial consultations.

We have been prepared to work remotely for the past 10 years. FairLaw Firm is able to serve our clients and prospective clients remotely – possibly better than before.  We continue to offer free initial telephone and digital initial intakes, as well as video conference consultations. Contact us now to see how we can help you.