With kids going back to school, new questions regarding eligibility for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) are cropping up. Thankfully, the Department of Labor (DOL) recently supplemented its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to answer some of the questions that have arisen thus far.

Continue Reading Return to School Raises FFCRA Leave Questions

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey entered an amended order to her original Safer at Home order on July 15, 2020. It generally requires masks or face coverings to be worn when people are within six feet of someone from a different household in the following situations: (1) indoor spaces that are open to the public; (2) in vehicles operated by transportation services; and (3) in outdoor public spaces where 10 or more people are gathered. There are a number of exceptions to the requirement, however, and generally businesses are not legally obligated to exclude customers or employees who refuse to wear a mask when required.

This order specifically impacts the workplace. It goes into effect on Thursday, July 16, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. and runs through Friday, July 31, 2020. The following items relate particularly to employers and their employees:


Continue Reading Governor Ivey Imposes Statewide Mask Requirement for Alabama

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued COVID-19 guidance for workers and employers in the oil and gas industry. While this guidance is specifically geared to the oil and gas industry, the guidance is not unlike other best practices OSHA has recommended for other workers in general industry.

Continue Reading OSHA Issues COVID Related Guidance for the Oil & Gas Industry

In April, President Donald Trump imposed a 60-day ban on permanent resident cards issued abroad. The ban was supposed to expire on June 22. On that day, he signed an executive order that (1) extended this ban through the end of 2020 and (2) now restricts foreign nationals from outside the United States from using certain temporary employment-based visas through the end of the year. This order took effect June 24 and could have a significant impact on your business operations.

Continue Reading No Visas For You

As businesses attempt to navigate the post-COVID-19 landscape, one issue of concern is the possibility of claims for alleged COVID-19 exposure being brought by both customers and employees. These concerns have been complicated by the often conflicting guidance or requirements being placed on businesses from local, state, and federal governments or agencies. While there is ongoing discussion at the federal level of legislation to provide some liability protections for businesses in certain circumstances, several states are stepping into the void and enacting legislation of their own. Louisiana has now followed Oklahoma, North Carolina, and several other states in enacting legislation that grants liability protections for businesses from these type of claims.

Continue Reading New Louisiana Law Grants COVID-19 Liability Protection to Businesses

On May 19, OSHA released updated enforcement guidance for inspections related to COVID-19 complaints, referrals and severe illness reports.

In response to the reopening of many parts of the country, OSHA plans to operate within the following framework:

  • In areas where community spread of COVID-19 has significantly decreased, OSHA will return to its regular

On May 19, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revised its policy for when employers have to record COVID-19 cases in their injury and illness logs.

Under the revised policy, employers who are otherwise required to keep OSHA logs must make a determination as to whether workers’ COVID-19 cases are job-related. Previously, OSHA took the position that only healthcare employers, corrections facilities, and emergency-response providers were required to make that determination.


Continue Reading OSHA Issues Revised Enforcement Guidance for Recording Cases of COVID-19

Recognizing the profound impact COVID-19 is having on the way businesses operate, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has implemented temporary employment verification procedures to address some of these issues.

Form I-9 Inspection of Documents

Now and in the near future, employers taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review an employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in person. Section 2, however, should still be completed within three business days of hire. Here’s how it will work:

  • The employer may inspect the Section 2 documents remotely (i.e., via video link, fax, or email, etc.). As always, we recommend (and it may be required due to participation in E-Verify) retaining copies of the documents presented.
  • Once physical inspection takes place, employers will enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the field titled “Additional Information” in Section 2.
  • Once normal operations resume, employees who were hired using remote verification must report to the employer within three business days for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation.
  • Once the original documents have been physically inspected, the employer should add “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to the Section 2 Additional Information field or to Section 3 (if documents presented remotely have since expired).
  • These provisions may be implemented by employers through May 19 (which could be extended) or within three business days after the termination of the National Emergency, whichever comes first.
  • Employers who utilize these procedures must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee.


Continue Reading COVID-19 Brings Temporary Changes to I-9 and E-Verify Procedures

In a September 2005 release soon after Hurricane Katrina, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported that for the first time ever, the IRS and the departments of Treasury and Labor would provide broad-based relief to retirement plan participants affected by a major disaster. Broad-based relief has been provided since to residents of specific disaster areas, but the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, known as COVID-19, is a disaster that has affected all communities in the United States. On March 27, 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was quickly signed by President Trump.

Some employers and plan recordkeepers have been overwhelmed with calls from participants requesting plan loans or hardship distributions. Some plans do not allow loans or hardship distributions. Other plans allow hardship distributions, but existing rules may pose a problem for many participants.


Continue Reading Sample Employee Notice for Coronavirus-Related Retirement Distributions