Practical Tips for Complying With New Cal/OSHA Emergency COVID-19 Standards Increasing Employer Obligations

Exclusion from work, paid time off and rigorous testing requirements. These issues and more came to a head for California employers on November 30, 2020, after the California Office of Administrative Law adopted the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) emergency temporary standards. While many California employers have already implemented COVID-19 plans fulfilling previous requirements for reopening under state and local government orders, the new Cal/OSHA standards vary significantly from what businesses have likely executed to date. We examine the highlights as well as which internal policies and processes affected employers should revisit.

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New California Laws for 2021: What Employers Should Know

Several new laws in California impact employers in a multitude of operational areas. From leave regulations to workers’ compensation, safety enforcement, wages and more, business leaders have much to research when it comes to compliance. All employers with operations in California should be aware of these new laws, understand how these laws may affect their operations and consult with counsel to address any questions on these new obligations.

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Payroll Tax Deferral Update: Treasury Guidance Answers Certain Questions and Raises Others Only Days Before Start of Implementation

Late in the afternoon of August 28, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2020-65 (the Notice) permitting the deferral of employers’ obligation to withhold and deposit with the IRS the employee portion of certain social security (and related railroad retirement) taxes imposed under Sections 3101(a) and 3201(a) (FICA Withholding Taxes) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the Code). The Notice follows President Trump’s August 8, 2020, executive memorandum (the Memo) directing the IRS to issue such guidance, and the deferral period begins on September 1. While the Notice specifies how FICA Withholding Tax deferral is to be effected and how deferred amounts are to be collected, a number of significant questions remain unanswered.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

As Fall Approaches, WARN Act Lawsuits Likely to Heat Up

The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact businesses with no clear end in sight. While the prospect of a functioning vaccine may have a while to go, a spike in Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act litigation may be on the horizon. Furloughs and workforce reductions have been prevalent since mid-March, leaving millions of employees without jobs or on extended leaves while they wait (and hope) to be recalled to work. While only about a dozen WARN Act lawsuits have been filed to date, as layoffs extend beyond six months, new workforce reductions occur, and more plaintiffs’ attorneys shift their attention to WARN Act claims, the remainder of 2020 may become a hurricane season of sorts as WARN Act litigation could flood the courts. And as the days and weeks go by, an employer’s ability to successfully assert the “unforeseeable business circumstances” defense to providing less than 60 days’ notice of a “mass layoff” or “plant closing” has diminished and will only become more challenging for employers to assert.

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Minnesota Businesses Should Prepare to ‘Mask Up’ Under New Executive Order

Effective July 25, 2020, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s Executive Order 20-81 requires Minnesotans to wear face coverings in indoor business and public settings, as well as when unable to maintain six-foot social distancing outdoors, riding on public transit, and as required by industry-specific guidance.

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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.