Complying with New Laws and Government Orders

There are new legal requirements to know about while doing business in the present emergency climate. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission identifies COVID-19 as a “direct threat” under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This identification gives employers certain rights in dealing with apparently sick employees, but there are limits.

Under new federal laws, effective April 1, 2020, employers are required to provide paid leave for COVID-19-related reasons. Employers may recoup the cost of these leaves through payroll tax credits and refunds.

Employers with less than 500 employees are required to provide up to two weeks of paid leave to any employee who cannot work because of certain circumstances relating to COVID-19. These circumstances include quarantine, seeking a diagnosis while experiencing symptoms, caring for someone who is quarantined or experiencing symptoms, and the unavailability of childcare. An employee may be entitled to full or two-thirds pay, depending on the reason for the leave.

Employees who have been employed at least 30 days may take up to 12 weeks of leave to care for a child when the child’s school is closed or a regular caretaker is unavailable because of COVID-19. The leave is similar to the leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, but is paid at two-thirds the employee’s rate after two weeks. Attorneys at Godfrey, Leibsle, Blackbourn & Howarth, S.C. are ready to work with clients on the details.

Slowing or Shutting Down

Unfortunately, many businesses are dealing with mandated closure or waning business activity during the COVID-19 outbreak. Choosing the right options and making the right plan to protect your business and do the best you can for your employees can be complicated. Working remotely, reduced hours, layoff, furlough, termination, and severance pay all can have differing consequences for the employer. They also affect your employees’ access to income, health insurance, and unemployment benefits. Attorneys at Godfrey, Leibsle, Blackbourn & Howarth, S.C. will work to guide these decisions with an understanding of your business and values.