Here’s today’s daily digest, designed to keep you updated with the ways the COVID-19 outbreak may affect your business.
• Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published a news release that provided additional guidance for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The news release included two posters that fulfill the notice requirements, a Q&A regarding the posting requirements, and guidance on the 30-day non-enforcement period.
o This news release provides good information for employers to utilize. First, the posters are mandatory for companies with 1-499 employees; provide it to your employees as soon as possible by posting it if folks are in the workplace and notifying them via email or other means if they’re remote or on furlough. Second, the Q&A provides great insight into questions you may already have or provide answers to questions you did not think of before.
o Our position here is “more information is better.” Employees know about the FFCRA and paid sick leave but may not be aware of its limitations or their obligations with respect to the benefits. Helping them understand what’s going on will make you a better employer.
o To this point also, please join our webinar today with our employee-side colleagues from Barrett & Farahany, and perhaps invite your employees to hop on the call. Register here! Again, the more information the better, and an informed workplace may make your life a little less sucky in the coming weeks.
o As we get more direction from the DOL and other agencies, we’ll be rolling out a compliance package that provides sample policies, forms, and other help to make sure your teams understand how to comply with and take advantage of the new legal landscape.
o If you have any other questions that are not answered by the DOL news release, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 404-531-2341.
• President Trump announced yesterday that the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force is working on new guidelines that will go into effect when the previous guidelines are scheduled to end on March 30. The previous guidelines imposed a 15-day period of social distancing, working remotely where possible, and avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people. The new guidelines are said to change the way governors should approach social distancing based on whether a county is low, medium, or high risk for COVID-19. Social distancing will either be maintained, increased, or decreased based on the risk value.
o No one knows for sure what the guidelines will eventually look like. But based on President Trump’s recent comments about the country opening back up by Easter and having to get back to work, it looks like President Trump is ready to move things forward. This could mean that your business will be able to go back to the way things were sooner rather than later. Or not.
• Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed an executive order yesterday closing all public schools in Georgia until April 24.
o With FFCRA becoming effective on April 1, this new order will directly affect employers who will have to provide paid leave for employees who have to take care of their child at home. You can find more information on your obligations as an employer under FFCRA here.
In response to this crisis, Stanton Law now offers to potential new clients interim, short-term engagements to answer your legal questions. We’re happy to arrange for a ½-hour phone/video consultation with an attorney. We may be able to come up with a plan during that conversation and exchange, and it may be all the direction you need, at least for the short term. But when you need us to take on additional work, we’ll put in place a formal engagement letter and assign the work to the particular attorney who will be handling the specifics.
To set up our conversation, please call 404.881.1288, ext. 0 to speak with our administrator. She’s really cool, but please recognize that she obviously can’t provide legal advice.
If you’re more of a do-it-yourself fan:
• Review the Firm Policies & Procedures. By setting up an appointment, you’re agreeing to what we’ve set forth.
• Schedule a convenient time to talk by clicking this link: https://calendly.com/todd-stanton. There are 1/2-hour appointments available around the clock – please schedule what works for you.
• We’ll send you a calendar invite to lock-in our appointment.
• Send over any materials at which you’d like us to look and we’ll be ready to discuss your several courses of action.
At Stanton Law, we are glad to be one of your resources for daily updates on COVID-19’s effect on your business. If you have any questions regarding this or any other legal matter, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced Atlanta employment attorneys at 404-531-2341 or online.