The COVID-19 Toolkit: What Businesses Need to Know as States Reopen

As return-to-work orders begin to take effect across the country, businesses have started to emerge from the shadow of COVID-19. This can be a daunting challenge. Extended shutdowns have put many companies on unsure financial footing, leading to a rush to reengage in revenue-generating activities. At the same time, the risk of disease transmission remains potentially high, and businesses must protect their workforces and customers from unnecessary exposure. Balancing these competing forces, while also remaining legally compliant, is no small task.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

The Philadelphia Area Transitions from Red Phase to Yellow, Allowing More Business Activity

On April 22, Governor Tom Wolf outlined a three-phase plan for reopening Pennsylvania businesses, following a color-coded system: Red, Yellow and Green. As the COVID-19 threat continues to slow, each county has been moving gradually through the phases. According to the Commonwealth, the phases are designed to decrease the continued spread of COVID-19 while relaxing restrictions and promoting the resumption of business activity.

Following is a brief description of each phase:

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Pandemic Furloughs in Place? Time to Assess Your WARN Obligations

The Coronavirus pandemic business closings started in mid-March by orders of the governors of many states. Some closings were a consequence of customer demand suddenly drying up. It has now been over two months since some of those closings began, and almost every state in the United States is now fully allowing the reopening of businesses. It is time to assess: is there to be a reopening? If yes, please view our extensive alert regarding Return to Work issues. If not, or if you are considering a reopening with less than a full complement of the workforce that was in place in early March, it is time to start assessing compliance with the federal Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2101 et seq, (FED WARN) and its states’ counterpart laws, or “mini-WARN” laws.

To read the full alert, please visit the Faegre Drinker website.

OSHA Updates Its COVID-19 Recordkeeping Guidance, Giving Employers Helpful Guardrails

COVID-19 has reached virtually the entire country, and both employers and employees in a broad range of industries have experienced outbreaks. At the same time, the government and private sector continue to take steps to slow the virus’s spread and protect employees while adapting to the new business environment. In recognition of the unique challenges posed by COVID-19, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is applying updated guidance in an effort to provide additional clarity to employers and workers.

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U.S. Restricts Entry of Chinese Students and Researchers

On May 29, 2020, President Trump issued an executive order suspending the admission of Chinese nationals seeking entry to the U.S. with F-1 or J-1 visas if those visa holders have been affiliated with certain institutions tied to the Chinese military.

The order, which went into effect June 1, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. eastern daylight time, focuses primarily on the entry of Chinese nationals with J-1 or F-1 visas, meaning individuals not currently in the U.S. The order gives discretion to the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security to implement the order. This affects Chinese nationals who receive funding from, are now or were previously employed by, currently study or previously studied at, or currently conduct research at or on behalf of or previously conducted research at or on behalf of an institution that supports China’s “military-civil fusion strategy” who a) are seeking to apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate for an F-1 or J-1 visa stamp, or b) already have a valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp, are outside the U.S., and are seeking to enter the U.S. with that visa.

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D.C. Court Slows the NLRB’s Departure from “Quickie Election” Rules; NLRB Implements New Rules Unaffected by Order

On May 30, 2020, a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. issued an eleventh-hour decision preventing the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from implementing several substantive portions of the NLRB’s new union election rules. Promulgated via rulemaking in December 2019, the NLRB planned to implement the new rules on May 31, 2020 after postponing the original enactment by over a month. Nevertheless, the NLRB has announced that it will implement the portions of new rules deemed procedural by the Court.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.