Minnesota Employers Are Given the Green Light to Return to the Office, Subject to Continued Limitations

On March 12, 2021, nearly one year to the day after Minnesota declared a peacetime emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Tim Walz issued Executive Order 21-11, which rolls back certain restrictive measures aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

Chief among the changes is a relaxation of the mandate that all employees who are able to work remotely must do so. Commencing on March 25, 2020, pursuant to Executive Order 20-20, Minnesota employees have been required to work remotely whenever they are able. This requirement will cease on April 14, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Employers are now strongly encouraged to allow Minnesota-based employees to work from home when they are able to do so. Employers are also strongly encouraged to implement reasonable accommodations for those employees who are at-risk for infection or who reside with a household member with an underlying medical condition that has not yet become eligible for vaccination. This softens obligations previously set forth in Executive Orders 20-54 and 20-55 in light of the expanded access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

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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.