We are pleased to share a recent SHRM article, “What to Do When Scared Workers Don’t Report to Work Due to COVID-19,” with quotes from Robin Samuel. This articles discusses several topics including employee’s legal rights and how to respond to an essential worker’s fear of returning to work.

Click here to view the article.

With signs that the virus is peaking in the US, and with some state Shelter-in-Place Orders scheduled to be lifted in the coming weeks, employers are turning their attention to planning for how best to bring employees back to work.

As with the initial outbreak, US employers can look to other corners of the world

Are They Right For You?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the global economy, United States employers are continuing to examine ways to reduce costs while at the same time both limiting the financial impact on employees and preserving their ability to ramp back up when circumstances allow. State short time compensation programs, also known as work share programs, provide one avenue for cost savings that may be appropriate for some employers.

Where available, these programs provide pro-rated unemployment compensation benefits to groups of workers whose hours are reduced by their employer on a temporary basis in lieu of layoffs. In addition, the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) provides a federally-funded $600 per week unemployment compensation supplement to those who participate in such programs through July 31, 2020.

This Alert provides additional details about state short time compensation programs and answers frequently asked questions about the pros and cons of participation.

Where are short time compensation programs available?

Currently, the following 27 jurisdictions have short time compensation programs in place: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. The CARES Act provided federal funding for other states to enact short time compensation programs, so additional states may do so in the near term.


Continue Reading Short Time Compensation (Work Share) Programs

With our thanks to Chris Guldberg for this post. 

The financial fallout from the outbreak of COVID-19 has unfortunately forced employers to turn to layoffs and furloughs. Many employers facing these decisions are looking for cost effective ways to mitigate the financial impact on affected employees. A supplemental unemployment benefit plan (“SUB Plan”) may be one way to assist employees while generating some cost savings for the company.

A SUB Plan is a unique type of severance benefit plan that permits employers to supplement state unemployment benefits on an employment tax-favored basis. The employer can make up the difference between an employee’s normal wages and state unemployment benefits and, unlike traditional severance, payments under a SUB Plan are treated as a benefit rather than wages and are thus not subject to FICA or FUTA for the employer or employee.


Continue Reading An Alternative to Traditional Severance: SUB Plans

In the wake of the global pandemic, many companies need to take quick action to reduce costs. This 40 minute webinar, co-hosted by the ACC Southern California Chapter, outlines the various cost-cutting strategies available to employers in the US, and walk participants through the major considerations necessary to minimize legal risk. Our speakers discuss how

Unfortunately, the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing employers to implement a range of cost-cutting measures — furloughs, temporary office and location closings, and layoffs. As employers continue to adjust operations during these extraordinary times, it is essential to remember the notice obligation under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN,

As we reported previously, on March 27, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance requiring large employers to provide emergency supplemental paid sick leave to employees affected by COVID-19 who work in the city limits. The ordinance was set to take effect upon signing by Mayor Eric Garcetti as emergency legislation.

However, last night, Mayor Garcetti returned the ordinance to the City Council unsigned, instead issuing a Public Order requiring paid sick leave under his emergency authority. Mayor Garcetti applauded the City Council for passing a supplemental paid sick leave ordinance, but found that the ordinance as drafted needed modification to strike a better balance between helping workers who will likely suffer through layoffs if the City imposes excessive burdens and costs upon businesses, and ensuring that City regulations do not unintentionally cause staffing shortages at hospitals and critical health facilities during the pandemic. The Mayor’s Public Order supersedes the March 27 City Council ordinance, and will remain in effect until two calendar weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency period.

The Public Order is available here, and we have summarized its key provisions below. It creates new exemptions for employers with more generous leave programs, and gives credit for paid leave during closures.

Covered Employers, Employees and Required Leave

The Public Order applies to employers with (i) 500 or more employees within the City of Los Angeles or (ii) 2,000 or more employees within the United States.  Employers who do not meet these criteria are not required to provide sick leave – a change from the City Council ordinance that would have applied to employers with 500 or more employees anywhere in the U.S.


Continue Reading Los Angeles Mayor Issues Executive Order Modifying LA Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Government-imposed stay-at-home orders, essential business designations, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and employers’ duty to bargain under the National Labor Relations Act recently collided. To complicate matters, unions have proven very aggressive in their demands for information about employer’s responses to COVID-19.

Many unions have demanded decision bargaining over layoffs, or changes in health

We hope that you, your families and colleagues are safe and doing well. We know these are difficult and challenging times for everyone, including US employers.  As always, we are here to help you navigate the complexities of our current — and quickly changing — environment.

Click here to view our 40-minute on-demand webinar —