Nevada Enacts New Hospitality Bill 

On August 11, 2020, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed Senate Bill 4, which sets new safety standards for the hospitality industry, provides some protections for hospitality workers, and provides for immunity for businesses who comply with statutory requirements. 

In passing the law, the Governor noted the importance of the travel and tourism industry to the state.  Due to the pandemic, the hospitality industry lost over 130,000 jobs in April and May alone. 

The law creates new safety requirements for the hospitality industry in Nevada. Public accommodation facilities, which ...

President Trump Issues COVID-19 Executive Orders Impacting Employers

On August 8, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a series of executive orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, which may impact certain employers: 

Deferral of certain payroll tax obligations for the period from September 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020: The order found here directs the Secretary of the Treasury to defer certain employee payroll taxes for bi-weekly wages that are generally less than $4,000.00 (under approximately $104,000.00 annually).

This order delays the 6.2% of wages that employers currently withhold from employee wages in every paycheck that is then ...

Posted in Legal Bites
USDA Announces New Rule to Fight Organic Fraud

On August 5, 2020, the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture published a proposed rule designed to strengthen the agency’s oversight and enforcement of the production, handling, and sale of organic agricultural products.  Currently, organic products are eligible for a USDA seal, but there have been concerns of fraud due to the complexity of the organic produce supply chain.  For instance, in August 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Iowa announced that four individuals were sentenced for their role in a $120 million organic fraud scheme, in which ...

Posted in Legal Bites
USDA's 2020 Dietary Guidelines

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released an online-only first print of the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

The 2020 Scientific Report has two unique features that are new from previous years. First, the Committee took a “lifespan approach” in reviewing evidence. The Committee reviewed the period from birth to age 24 months and also conducted a review of diet and health issues in pregnancy and lactation. Second, the Committee focuses on dietary patterns based on growing evidence that components of a dietary pattern may have interactive ...

CalSaver Deadline Approaches for Large Companies to Register or Certify as Exempt

By September 30, 2020, all California companies with more than 100 employees must register with the CalSavers Retirement Savings Program (CalSavers) or certify that they are exempt.

Employers without employer retirement plans must register to begin offering the state-mandated employer retirement plan to their employees.  Those employers offering retirement plans to their employees need only certify as exempt.  

The link to the CalSaver website to register or certify as exempt is here.

Smaller employers have phased-in deadlines to register or certify as exempt. Employers with ...

Los Angeles County Proposes that Employees Report COVID-19 Violations through Public Health Commissions

On July 21, 2020, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion to enforce the monitoring of compliance with County health orders by encouraging workers to directly report health code violations through employee “public health councils.” Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Mark Ridley-Thomas co-authored the motion, which could have a significant impact by placing employees, rather than public health inspectors, at the front lines of enforcing public health orders.

The Board noted that workplace transmission has been a significant factor contributing to the ...

Posted in Legal Bites
New Outdoor Dining Permits Available for LA County Restaurants

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works recently released information about its COVID-19 Temporary Outdoor Dining Program. The program is designed for restaurants in unincorporated Los Angeles County that are interested in temporarily expanding dining seating into private walkway and parking lots. More than 2,653.5 square miles or 65 percent of Los Angeles County is unincorporated.

The Department provides streamlined applications for restaurants interested in offering dining services on a public sidewalk, in the on-street parking area, in a public alley, or on a ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Your Food Delivery Worker May Soon Be Certified

On July 21, 2020, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors announced that it would be considering a county-wide requirement for food delivery workers to obtain a food handler certification. The Board noted that food delivery network companies, including Instacart and Uber Eats, are essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they rely on independent gig workers. 

The Motion, put forward by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl, sought more information on the feasibility and costs of requiring these workers to obtain a food handler certification in order to ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Grocery Stores and Restaurants Taking a Bite Out of Climate Change and Food Waste

Save the planet and feed the children? No, these are not the aspirations of a beauty contestant but the objective of legislation that was passed in the Golden State.  In 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1383. The law is designed to fight climate change by aiming to reduce methane gas emissions produced by organic waste in landfills by 75 percent by 2025.  The law provides regulation changes necessary to reduce food waste by implementing programs to recover food that would otherwise be thrown away and getting it to organizations that help fight hunger.  The target aims to recover ...

U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Model COBRA Notices and Extends COBRA Deadlines

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued new model COBRA Notices primarily to highlight that an individual may enroll in Medicare instead of COBRA continuation coverage after his or her group health plan coverage ends. The new COBRA model notices point out that it may be advantageous to enroll in Medicare before, or instead of, electing COBRA. They also explain that if an individual is eligible for both COBRA and Medicare, electing COBRA coverage may impact enrollment into Medicare as well as certain costs to the individual. 

The model general notice for single-employer ...

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