For much of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many California employees have utilized leave entitlements through federal, state, and local paid sick leave statutes and ordinances.  As of December 31, 2020, however, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), California’s COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (“CSPSL”) — and many local supplemental paid sick leaves (“LSPSL”) — have expired.  With coronavirus cases still surging nationwide and no additional guidance on the new exclusion pay requirements under the Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (“Cal/OSHA”) COVID-19 emergency temporary standards (“ETS”), California employers are left wondering what paid leave laws may apply to their employees in 2021.
Continue Reading What the Expiration of COVID-19 Paid Leave Laws Means for Retail Employers in California

California retailers facing a variety of complications from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic now have one additional obstacle to tackle: compliance with new emergency standards from California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”).  On November 19, 2020, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board unanimously adopted emergency temporary standards on COVID-19 prevention in the workplace.  Prior to the adoption of the emergency standards, general and industry-specific guidance from Cal/OSHA was advisory.  However, the new emergency standards are binding and enforceable against nearly all California employers effective November 30, 2020.  This article sets forth the basic requirements under the new standards.  It then identifies some new complications and costs that retail employers in particular may face when attempting to comply.
Continue Reading Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Standards Create New Complications and Costs for Retail Employers

On November 16, 2020, California implemented an accelerated application of its Blueprint for a Safer Economy metrics. Under the Blueprint Framework, every county in California is assigned to a tier based on its test positivity and adjusted case rate. Each tier has its own set of restrictions. Three days later, on November 19, 2020, the state issued a limited Stay at Home Order.
Continue Reading California Department of Public Health Issues New Statewide Stay At Home Order Linked to ICU Bed Capacity

As we previously reported, among the sweeping pieces of legislation signed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was New York State’s permanent sick leave law (“NYSPSL”). Under NYSPSL, all New York State employers are required to provide sick leave. Eligible employees may begin accruing sick leave as of September 30, 2020, but are not entitled to use any accrued sick leave pursuant to this law until January 1, 2021.
Continue Reading Reminder: Accrual Requirements Under New York State’s New Paid Sick Leave Law Effective September 30, 2020

On September 28, 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill into law significantly amending the New York City Earned Sick and Safe Time Act (“ESSTA”) in order to better align with New York State’s new paid sick leave law (the “NYS Leave Law”).  Like its state law counterpart, the amendments to ESSTA (the “ESSTA Amendments”) takes effect on September 30, 2020.  As discussed in greater detail below, the ESSTA Amendments: (i) revise the amount of leave that New York City employers are required to provide; (ii) impose new employer reporting requirements; (iii) create new employer reimbursement obligations in connection with requested medical documentation and/or documentation regarding domestic violence; (iv) expand the scope of prohibited retaliation under the law; (v) impose new notice requirements; and (vi) expand enforcement mechanisms.
Continue Reading NYC Employers Take Note: Earned Sick and Safe Time Act Amendments Take Effect September 30, 2020

Most employers are expected to pass on the IRS’ offer to temporarily delay collecting Social Security taxes.  For background, both employers and employees are generally required to pay a Social Security tax at a flat rate of 6.2% (for a total of 12.4%) on all wages.  In a separate article from our Corporate and Securities Blog, we discussed how the CARES Act allows employers to delay paying the employer’s portion of Social Security taxes.

Continue Reading To Defer or Not Defer? IRS Issues Guidance Temporarily Delaying the Collection of Social Security Taxes

As we move into the second quarter of 2020, governments around the country are analyzing how to best open up their economies. Part of this will include people returning to work, restaurants, retail establishments, and other places of public accommodation. Landlords, business owners, and others want to know how to take steps to reopen safely while government mitigation efforts are being developed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 until a vaccine is developed. And where authorities don’t have specific mitigation efforts, instituting protocols will fall squarely on landlords, business owners, and those who operate places of public accommodation.
Continue Reading Taking Temperatures During COVID-19: A Practical Toolkit

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its guidance concerning COVID-19, affirming an employer’s ability to medically test its employees for COVID-19 before allowing employees to enter the workplace.  The new guidance expands employers’ options to include medical tests that detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus – not just temperature checks.  The EEOC considers COVID-19 tests to be permissible because an individual with the virus poses a direct threat to the health of others.
Continue Reading As America Prepares to Return to Work, EEOC Approves Testing Employees for COVID-19

With the continuing spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19” or “coronavirus”), retailers are sure to face a number of issues that they can and should prepare for. The primary issues facing retailers will likely be supply chain issues, covered here (The Impact of Coronavirus on Supply Chain), and employment issues, covered here (What Employers Need to Know to Prepare for Coronavirus). This post addresses issues concerning in-store customer interactions.
Continue Reading Coronavirus And The Retail Industry: Customer Interactions and Safety