New California Laws Create Presumption of Workers’ Compensation Coverage for COVID-19 Infections and Impose Additional COVID-19 Exposure Reporting and Notice Requirements on Employers

by Ryan E. Abernethy
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-62-20—way back on May 6, 2020—which created a presumption that employees’ COVID-19-related illnesses were caused at work and therefore covered by workers’ compensation. That order covered COVID-19 infections from March 19, 2020 to July 5, 2020, at which time the order expired. To fill the void, on September 17, 2020, Gov. Newsom signed Senate Bill (“SB”) 1159 and Assembly Bill (“AB”) 685 into law.

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California Drastically Alters Obligations under the California Family Rights Act

by Meagan D. Bainbridge
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

On Thursday, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 1383, dramatically expanding the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”), and the obligations it places on employers to provide leave to eligible employees. As a reminder, the CFRA is California’s leave statute, which authorizes eligible employees to take up a total of 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave during a 12-month period. While on leave, employees keep the same employer-paid health benefits they had while working.

Historically,

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DOL Revises COVID-19 Sick Leave and Family and Medical Leave Rules Following Court Ruling

by Lukas Clary
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

On September 11, 2020, the United States Department of Labor issued revised regulations governing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The regulations implement the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) provisions of the FFCRA. The revised regulations were issued to address a decision from a federal court in New York that invalidated previous regulations concerning whether work must otherwise be available to employees seeking to use leave under EPSLA and EFMLEA and whether an employer must consent to intermittent leave.

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Governor Newsom Signs AB 2257 – More Clarifications and Exceptions to the “ABC Test” for Independent Contractor Status

by Lizbeth (Beth) V. West
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

On September 4, 2020, Governor Newsom signed AB 2257, a bill that provides comprehensive clarifications and changes to the very controversial bill – AB 5 – that went into effect in January 2020 and requires the use of the “ABC Test” to determine independent contractor status for most employment laws in California.  AB 2257 brings some good news to businesses in various industries who utilize independent contractors, and provides needed clarification to a number of ambiguities in the text of AB 5.

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California Issues New Reopening Guidance

by Meagan D. Bainbridge
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

On August 28, 2020, California introduced the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, also known as “California’s Plan for Reducing COVID-19 and Adjusting Permitted Sector Activities to Keep Californians Healthy and Safe.” This new Blueprint was devised to aid California residents as the state reopens in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under this new plan, every county in California is assigned one of four tiers, based on the county’s test positivity and adjusted case rate.

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DOL Issues Guidance on FFCRA as Schools Reopen

by Meagan D. Bainbridge
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

On August 27, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published three new “Return to School” FAQs providing guidance for employers and employees as schools reopen across the country. Specifically, the DOL clarified when employees may be eligible for leave under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

As a reminder, under the FFCRA, job-protected leave must be provided to some employees in order to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed,

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Employers Must Use Reasonable Diligence to Track Telecommuting Employee Hours

by Shauna N. Correia
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

With 31% (or more) of American workers working from home as of April 2020, according to a survey cited by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and probably even more since then, most employers face important questions: what is the obligation to keep track of employees’ active work time and pay them for it?  On August 24, 2020, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued a “field assistance bulletin” to assist employers in understanding their obligations to monitor employees’ hours,

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San Francisco Issues Guidance on “Back to Work” Layoff and Reemployment Notices

by Nicholas E. Ma
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

On August 7, 2020, the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) released its guidance on the City of San Francisco’s “Temporary Right to Reemployment Following Layoff Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency Ordinance” (also known as the “Back to Work” Ordinance), which the Board of Supervisors passed on June 23, 2020.  Importantly, the OEWD released template forms on its website that employers may use in reporting layoffs and reemployment offers to the OEWD as required under the Ordinance.

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Don’t Delete Your Lyft or Uber Apps Before October 2020, and Maybe Not Until May 2021; Appellate Court Grants Short Stay of Order Regarding Misclassification of Drivers

by Brendan J. Begley
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

A ruling today by an appellate court gives ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber roughly two more months to treat their drivers in California as independent contractors.  That ruling follows a recent decision by a trial court in San Francisco that made national news by concluding that those companies had been misclassifying their drivers as non-employees under California law.

The San Francisco County Superior Court issued an injunction on August 10, 2020, ordering Lyft and Uber to begin classifying its California drivers as employees,

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The Continuing Spread of Employee Lawsuits Related to COVID-19

by Brendan J. Begley
The Labor & Employment Law Blog

A blog we published here on May 28, 2020, warned that whistleblower, disability and leave claims against employers may reach a fever pitch as workplaces begin reopening from the COVID-19 shutdown.  A recent audit by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) confirms that some of those types of claims already are spiking.

That OIG report, dated August 14, 2020, and made public this week, found that increases in virus-related complaints may severely impair the ability of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) to investigate such claims promptly. 

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