On March 22, 2021, the US Coast Guard released a change notice to its COVID-19 guidance in Marine Safety Information Bulletin Number 02-21.  This change includes sea ports (maritime transportation hubs), provides additional information on applicability for mask wear in the marine transportation system, and includes links to Coast Guard and CDC Frequently Asked Questions

As of March 22, 2021, all energy and transportation workers, including river pilots, are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Louisiana. Governor John Bel Edwards expanded vaccine eligibility to all essential workers in Priority Group 1-B, Tier Two, including transportation, construction, manufacturing, and energy workers. An updated list of all eligible individuals and essential

In response to last year’s devastating hurricane season and other natural disasters, the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act, which is a part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the Act), included various relief provisions (similar to those under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2021 (CARES Act)), designed to assist individuals who suffered an economic loss as a result of these disasters. The Act, signed by former President Trump on December 27, 2020, provides individuals with increased access to their retirement plan accounts as well as plan loan and hardship distribution-related relief as described in more detail below. The relief under the Act generally expires on June 25, 2021.


Continue Reading Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans Disaster-Related Relief

Maggie Spell, a partner in the Labor & Employment Practice Group, was recently quoted in the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report article “Mandate or Not? The Question Vexing Employers Over COVID-19 Vaccine.” Maggie explains that as vaccines become more readily available, employers should consider the possible courses of action for vaccinations in their

The COVID-19 relief package enacted on December 27, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, appropriated $15 billion to fund the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program (SVP). The Small Business Administration (SBA) will disburse these funds as grants to qualifying live theatre operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organizations, museums, motion picture theatre operators, and talent representatives (Venues). A venue may use the grant proceeds to cover eligible expenses incurred between March 1, 2020, and December 31, 2021. The SBA has not yet begun accepting applications for the SVP, but it has issued several FAQs setting forth more details regarding the program. This memorandum summarizes the SVP’s current guidance, including eligible and ineligible Venues, grant amounts and allowed uses, and application requirements.

Continue Reading Helping the Show Go On: Shuttered Venue Operators Grants

On January 21, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order (EO) 13998 to promote COVID-19 safety in domestic and international travel. The EO confirms existing public health measures and implements new measures that will impact marine operators and activities within sea ports for both domestic and international travel.


Continue Reading Mask Order on Certain Modes of Domestic Travel — US Coast Guard To Implement Public Health Measures at Sea Ports and Will Enforce CDC Guidelines

The CARES Act passed in March 2020 created an “employee retention tax credit,” which entitled eligible employers to a refundable tax credit for wages paid to employees during periods that the employer’s business was subject to a suspension, a shutdown, or a significant decline in revenues. The tax credit was not widely used by employers with fewer than 500 employees, primarily due to the fact that employers with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans could not take advantage of the credit. On December 27, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act (the CAA) was signed into law. The CAA significantly expanded the usability of the employee retention tax credit by allowing employers with PPP loans to take advantage of the credit. Further, the CAA increased the amount of the tax credit available. In tandem, these changes make the credit an attractive opportunity for employers during 2021 as well as easier to obtain for qualifying wages paid during 2020.

Continue Reading “Stimulus Bill Provides Expanded Opportunity for Employers to Take Tax Credit for Retaining Employees”

On December 29, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued two guidance bulletins addressing compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The first made clear that telemedicine visits will permanently[1] be allowed as an FMLA-approved visit if certain conditions are met. The second permits employers to provide FMLA-required postings electronically to employees when the work is being performed remotely.


Continue Reading DOL Eases FMLA Compliance Regarding Telemedicine Visits and Required Postings

On December 2nd, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance on the length of quarantine required for an individual who is asymptomatic but was in close contact with someone with COVID-19. The prior guidance required quarantine for 14 days (other than for critical infrastructure workers). The new guidance allows for quarantine to end 10 days after exposure or 7 days after exposure when combined with a negative test. The test can be taken within 48 hours of the end of the quarantine period, i.e. as early as day 5. The key factor is that the individual remains asymptomatic during the entire quarantine period.

This updated guidance is outlined in the chart below which addresses return to work scenarios under the current CDC guidance.


Continue Reading Updated CDC Guidance on Quarantine Length for Exposed Individuals Who Are Asymptomatic