Posts tagged COVID-19.
Posted in Legal Bites
FTC Announces New Enforcement Actions for COVID-19

In April 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) emphasized its commitment to protecting consumers from unsubstantiated claims of products advertised to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19. On April 29, 2021, the FTC announced an additional set of warning letters related to these types of claims. The FTC has now sent nearly 400 warning letters in ten sets to companies and individuals. According to the agency, “In the letters, the FTC states that one or more of the efficacy claims made by the marketers are unsubstantiated because they are not supported by scientific evidence ...

LA County to Move into Yellow Tier

On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, the Los Angeles County Public Health Department (the “Department”) is expected to issue a new Public Health Officer order to officially move into the least restrictive “yellow tier” of California’s color-coded reopening system. The criteria for entering the yellow tier is less than 2% positivity and fewer than 1 daily new case per 100,000 county residents. The Order would be effective on Thursday, May 6, 2021.

On April 30, 2021, the Department made some modifications to the Public Health Order, lifting hours limitations on bars, breweries and ...

California Announces Full Reopening on June 15

On April 6, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a plan to lift all COVID-19 virus restrictions by June 15, 2021. The full reopening is contingent on both (1) sufficient vaccine supply to ensure that all Californians age 16 and over who wish to be inoculated are able to do so and (2) stable and low hospitalization rates. The full reopening would mean an official end to California’s color-coded tier system.

It remains unclear what restrictions may remain under the full reopening but Governor Newsom specified that some form of mask mandate will remain. The California ...

LA County Moves to Orange Tier Reopenings on April 5

Both Los Angeles and Orange County are now eligible to move from the Red Tier into the Orange Tier of COVID-19 reopening guidelines under the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. 

On March 30, 2021, the Los Angeles County Public Health Department announced that while it satisfied the numbers requirement to move into the Orange Tier, it would wait until April 5 to permit businesses to operate at increased capacity.

On April 5, Los Angeles County will officially adopt Orange Tier reopening rules to the Public Health Officer Order. Under these new rules, the following changes will take ...

Employer Alert: California Labor Commissioner Issues New COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave FAQ and Required Poster

As reported here, on March 19, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 95. This new law requires all California employers (including those with collective bargaining agreements) with 25 or more employees to provide paid supplemental sick leave to employees who are unable to work or telework due to certain COVID-19 related reasons. In-home supportive service providers are also required to provide paid supplemental sick leave to their providers.

The new COVID-19 supplemental sick leave must be provided on the oral or written request of the covered employee ...

SB 95: California Provides Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for COVID-19

On March 19, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 95 providing a new form of COVID-19 related paid sick leave for many California workers. The law will become effective on March 29, 2021, and applies retroactively to sick leave taken beginning on or after January 1, 2021. All California employers with more than 25 employees and in-home supportive services providers are required to provide the supplemental sick leave benefits to employees. The law will remain in effect through September 30, 2021.

SB 95 provides for COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Los Angeles County Eases Up on COVID-19 Citations

On March 16, 2021, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (the “Board”) revised its protocol for issuing fines to businesses violating the County’s COVID-19 protocols, reversing course. These protocols were implemented in August 2020 at the Board’s direction, and have led to fines and temporary closures for a number of restaurants.

In July 2020, the Board passed a motion directing the Department of Public Health (the “Department”) to take stricter enforcement measures to ensure greater levels of compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols.  In August 2020, the ...

Posted in Legal Bites
LA County’s New Reopening Rules for Businesses

On March 15, 2021, Los Angeles County officially entered into the state’s Red Tier, permitting restaurants to offer limited capacity indoor dining, and permitting gyms, museums and galleries to open some indoor operations. The County issued several reopening protocols laying out the rules for businesses with the current reopening.

Dining

The County’s Department of Public Health issued a revised Public Health Order for Dining Protocols (the “Order”) with new protocols for indoor dining, outdoor dining and worker safety in light of the reopening.

Indoor Dining

With ...

L.A. County Red Tier Reopening Imminent

On March 11, 2021, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (the “Department”) announced an anticipated reopening of certain activities between March 15 and March 17, as L.A. County moves to the lower risk Red Tier of the state’s reopening plan. The exact date of the reopening will depend on when the County hits the threshold of 2 million vaccine doses being administered to people in the most under-resourced communities across the County.

The following activities will be permitted next week after L.A. County moves to the Red Tier:

  • Museum, zoos and aquariums can open ...
California Passes Pandemic Relief Measures Aimed at Supporting Business

On February 23, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a legislative package of six bills providing relief to individuals and businesses experiencing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these measures are directly targeted towards the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Small Business Grant Relief

The new measures provide $2.1 billion in small business grants of up to $25,000. This is a significant increase over the $500 million that was initially approved for these grants in November 2020.

Grants are available only for businesses and nonprofits with gross ...

Posted in Legal Bites
FDA/USDA: No Transmission of COVID-19 Through Food/Food Packaging

On February 18, 2021, Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock and Acting USDA Secretary Kevin Shea issued a joint COVID-19 update statement that current epidemiologic and scientific information available to the FDA and USDA indicates no transmission of COVID-19 through food or food packaging.

The press release states: “Our confidence in the safety of the U.S. food supply remains steadfast. Consumers should be reassured that we continue to believe, based on our understanding of currently available reliable scientific information, and supported by overwhelming ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Restaurant Rescue Plan Approved by Senate

On February 4, 2021, the Senate voted 90-10 to approve a Restaurant Rescue Plan as an amendment to a larger budget resolution. Senate Amendment 261 was co-sponsored by Republican Senator Roger Wicker and Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema. The amendment is part of a budget resolution passed by the Senate on February 5 that paves the way for passage of President Joe Biden's pandemic relief package.

The Restaurant Rescue Plan establishes a $25 billion grant program for restaurants hurt by the pandemic and was based on the RESTAURANTS Act. The $25 billion in grants fall short of the $125 ...

President Biden Issues Early Executive Order on COVID-19 Worker Safety

On January 21, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety that calls for a government review of worker safety standards for COVID-19.

The Executive Order directs the Secretary of Labor to issue revised guidance to employers on workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic within two weeks. It further directs the Secretary of Labor to consider emergency temporary standards on COVID-19 and issue those standards by March 15, 2021.

The Executive Order calls for a review of enforcement efforts previously undertaken by the Occupational ...

California Lifts Regional Stay at Home Order

On January 25, 2021, the California Department of Public Health announced that it was lifting the Regional Stay at Home Order for all regions statewide, including Southern California. Four-week ICU capacity projections for the three regions still under the order (Southern California, Bay Area and San Joaquin Valley) were above 15%.

According to the Department, “this action allows all counties statewide to return to the rules and framework of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and color-coded tiers that indicate which activities and businesses are open based on local case rates ...

LA County to Reopen Outdoor Dining

On January 25, 2021, Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer announced that the county would be permitting outdoor dining starting Friday, January 29. The county will also remove operation restrictions for non-essential businesses between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. The County’s announcement followed Governor Gavin Newsom’s lifting of the state’s Regional Stay at Home Order earlier today.

LA County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis released a statement that “Los Angeles County will essentially align with the state, by the end of the week, to allow for the ...

Los Angeles County Issues Mandatory Self-Quarantine for Non-Essential Travel

Effective beginning December 31, 2020, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health published a Mandatory Directive on Travel (Appendix W) and issued a Revised Temporary Order, both of which require a mandatory quarantine of at least 10 days after non-essential travel outside the Southern California Region (the counties of Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura). 

The Order and Travel Directive apply to Los Angeles County residents and non-residents who enter Los Angeles County from ...

New Lawsuits Challenge State COVID-19 Measures

A lawsuit has been filed against Cal/OSHA regarding its recently instituted regulations requiring employers to adopt numerous COVID-19 measures. In addition, a separate suit was filed against Governor Newsom for the outdoor dining ban that is part of recent COVID-19-related regional restrictions. 

Specifically, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) teamed with the National Retail Federation and three NFIB small business owner members to sue the California Division of Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), the California agency that recently instituted extensive ...

Posted in Legal Bites
What the $900 Billion Stimulus Bill Means for the Food, Beverage and Hospitality Industry

On December 21, 2020, Congress agreed to a $900 billion stimulus bill, passed as The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“the Act”). The 5,593-page Act includes funds designated for direct relief, additional money for forgivable Paycheck Protection Loans and tax relief measures, but does not include funding specifically for restaurants or hotels.

  • Paycheck Protection Program Second Draw Loans: The Act sets aside $300 billion in additional Paycheck Protection Loans. Of that, $15 billion is earmarked for live entertainment venues and $20 billion is set aside for ...
Posted in Legal Bites
Cal-OSHA Issues Mandatory Emergency COVID-19 Regulations

On November 30, 2020, Cal-OSHA’s proposed temporary COVID-19-related emergency regulations became effective. The new regulations, which are found here, will remain in effect until October 2, 2021, unless they are extended.

The new regulations apply to most California employees, only excluding employees working from home, an employee at a site where the employee does not have contact with others and employees covered by Cal-OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard (applies to certain healthcare facilities and labs).

Under the new regulations, employers must ...

California Imposes Regional Stay-at-Home Order

On December 3, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new regional stay-at-home order.

Under the order, California is divided into five regions: Northern California, Greater Sacramento, Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. Regions where the ICU capacity has gone over 85% will be placed into a Stay-at-Home order for a minimum of three weeks. After the three-week period, reopening of closed services will be based on four-week projections of regional ICU capacity.

Southern California and three other regions are anticipated to reach 85% or more ICU ...

LA County Announces New Stay at Home Order November 30-December 20

Los Angeles County’s Public Health Department announced a new stay at home order, which goes into effect November 30, 2020 and will remain in place until December 20, 2020.

Under the new order, all public and private gatherings with individuals from more than one household are prohibited, except for faith-based services and protests.

The order states that restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries remain closed for in-person dining and drinking “because of high rates of transmission in the community.” The order states that one reason for the closure of in-person dining is ...

LA County Sets 10pm Curfew, Cuts Capacity for Restaurants, Retail and Offices

On November 17, 2020, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors determined at a closed meeting that it would be setting a 10pm curfew for restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, non-essential retail businesses and essential offices. These businesses will not be allowed to be open to the public for entry from 10pm to 6am. At this point it is unclear whether this restriction will also apply to takeout and delivery options.

The LA Times and Daily News reported that restaurants, breweries and wineries operating outdoors will be limited to 50% maximum outdoor capacity. All indoor ...

CDC Redefines “Close Contact” with COVID-19 Infected Individual

On Wednesday, October 22, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded the definition of a “close contact” with a COVID-19 infected person to include brief interactions over a 24-hour period. This expanded definition has important implications for the workplace and impacts all COVID-19 state and county health orders.

Previously, the CDC defined a “close contact” to mean spending at least 15 minutes within six feet of an infectious person.  The new definition states that cumulative contact of 15 minutes or more within six feet of an infectious person ...

California’s New Reopening Plan

On August 31, 2020, California introduced a statewide blueprint for reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic designed to provide clear guidance and timelines for which industries may safely open. 

The new system is color-coded and has four tiers, with Tier 1 being the highest risk of community disease transmission and Tier 4 the lowest risk. The four tiers are based on two factors: (1) the county’s positivity rate; and (2) the daily new cases for each 100,000 residents.

The tiers are outlined below:

  • Tier 1 (purple/widespread): higher than 8% testing positivity rate; more than 7 daily ...
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 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 paid to ...

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 ...

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
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
“L.A. Al Fresco” Program Launched

The City of Los Angeles has launched an “L.A. Al Fresco” Program aimed at helping restaurants reopen while following COVID-19 physical distancing guidelines. 

The program will allow restaurants to use their sidewalk and private parking lots spaces to increase their outdoor dining capacity.  Through the program, the City will offer streamlined, immediate approval for eligible restaurants to provide outdoor dining in sidewalks and private parking lots.  The approval will also allow restaurants to serve alcohol in these areas.

L.A. Al Fresco was launched on May 29, 2020 and the ...

California Issues Guidance To Reopen Schools

Running out of things to do during the COVID-19 crisis? 

You are in luck. Yesterday the California Department of Education released a lengthy, 55 page guidance on the reopening of public schools. You can find the guidebook for the safe reopening of California's public schools here. Enjoy!

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the trenches of the war that often is employment law–he/she may well be a little shell-shocked. So if you are thinking “woohoo, I just landed some ...

Posted in Taxing Matters
Like-Kind Exchanges In A COVID-19 World (And What To Do About The Sharon Mitchell Decision)

COVID-19 is wreaking havoc worldwide. It has even infected the real estate industry, particularly the tax aspects of operating in the real estate industry such as Section 1031 like-kind exchanges.

The basics of like-kind exchanges remain unchanged, notwithstanding COVID-19: No gain is recognized if real property held for productive use in a trade or business or for investment is exchanged solely for real property of a like kind to be held for such purposes. But with deferred and reverse exchanges being the norm and simultaneous exchanges being the exception, it is now virtually ...

Posted in Legal Bites
LA City Council Caps Delivery Fees at 15%

On June 3, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council adopted an ordinance capping third-party food delivery services fees at 15% for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The ordinance will become part of the City’s Municipal Code.

The new ordinance makes it unlawful for a third-party food delivery service to charge a restaurant a fee per online order of more than 15% of the purchase price of the order. The ordinance is designed to protect the restaurant industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, when dine-in was prohibited. The ordinance is set to expire 90 days after the ...

Los Angeles City and County Issue Dine-In Restaurant Guidelines for Reopening

On Friday, May 29th, both the City of Los Angeles and the County of Los Angeles announced that dine-in restaurants are permitted to reopen. Both the city and county have also issued guidelines for restaurants to follow in the reopening of their dine-in operations.

The County of Los Angeles’ protocols for the reopening of on-site dining for restaurants and other permanent retail food operations are found here.

The City of Los Angeles’ guidelines for dine-in restaurants and bars in the City of Los Angeles can be found here. At this time, bars are not permitted to reopen except for food ...

Los Angeles County Announces Dine-In Restaurants, Hair Salons and Barbershops May Reopen

Today, May 29, 2020, the County of Los Angeles announced that it will move further into Phase 2 reopening by permitting dine-in restaurants, hair salons and barber shops to reopen.  This decision came after the County learned it received a variance from the State of California to allow this action.  Los Angeles County has moved at a much slower pace than most California counties due to its higher number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

 Los Angeles County also announced it will be posting new restaurant guidelines later today.  Restaurants may open for in-house dining when the County posts ...

Los Angeles County Enacts COVID-19 Worker Protection Ordinances

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has followed the lead of the Los Angeles City Council by passing COVID-19 right of recall and worker retention ordinances that are similar to the City of Los Angeles COVID-19 recall and retention ordinances passed on April 29, 2020. The county right of recall ordinance requires certain janitorial, maintenance, security service and hospitality employers, when rehiring, to offer jobs based on seniority to certain workers laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both ordinances are intended to assist workers in unincorporated areas of Los ...

Posted in Business Law
CARES Act: Loan Forgiveness Applications

Our previous articles summarized the new Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) created under the Federal CARES Act: CARES Act: Loan Applications and CARES Act: Paycheck Protection Program Loans

This client alert provides new information regarding a key aspect of the PPP program, namely the criteria which must be met to have repayment of all or part of a PPP loan forgiven. This is simply a summary of some key points, so check with your attorney at ECJ for the critical details governing PPP loan forgiveness.

The Treasury Department has published an application form for loan ...

Governor Newsom Relaxes California Guidelines for Business Reopening

On Monday, May 18, 2020, Governor Gavin Newson announced relaxed state guidelines for Phase 2 reopening of dine-in restaurants, offices, outdoor museums, shopping centers and malls. The relaxed guidelines would permit 53 of California’s 58 counties to move into Phase 2 reopening. However, with its higher infection and death rate, it is not expected that Los Angeles County will be ready for Phase 2 in the immediate future. 

Instead of the prior guideline of having no deaths within the last 14 days, under the new state guidelines, COVID-19 hospitalizations cannot increase more than ...

Los Angeles County Issues New Order Permitting Certain Businesses To Reopen

On Wednesday, May 13, 2020, Los Angeles County issued an updated “Safer at Home” order that amends and supersedes prior Los Angeles County Health Officer orders. The new order is intended to partially move Los Angeles County into the second stage of reopening businesses.

The businesses now permitted to reopen can do so only for curbside, door side, or other outdoor or outside pick-up, or delivery.  Members of the public cannot be permitted inside these businesses.  Businesses permitted to open on this basis are retailers not located in indoor malls or shopping centers, and ...

DOL Extends COBRA Deadlines In Response to COVID-19 National Emergency

On May 4, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) jointly issued a new final rule that temporarily extends time frames in which eligible employees can elect COBRA health insurance coverage and begin making COBRA premium payments. The final rule extends COBRA deadlines to 60 days after the end of the declared COVID-19 national emergency, or a different date if the DOL and IRS provide a different date in future guidance.

To help participants and beneficiaries understand the new rule, the DOL also posted a new set of FAQs.     

This blog is presented under protest by ...

California Extends Workers’ Compensation to COVID-19

Earlier today, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order extending workers’ compensation insurance coverage to essential workers who test positive for coronavirus or are diagnosed with COVID-19 by a physician. The order establishes a rebuttable presumption that any essential worker contracted the virus on the job and is, therefore, eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This presumption effectively places the burden of proof on companies or insurers to prove that the essential worker did not get sick at work in order to permissibly deny coverage. The order applies ...

Los Angeles Enacts COVID-19 Right of Recall and Retention Ordinances

On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council passed a COVID-19 Right of Recall Ordinance requiring certain hospitality, janitorial, property management and tourism employers, when rehiring, to offer jobs based on seniority to certain workers laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic.  At the same time, the council also passed a COVID-19 Worker Retention Ordinance. Both ordinances are intended to assist workers in sectors which have been especially hard hit by the coronavirus crisis and both ordinances had been approved in concept in the prior week subject only to ...

Large Food Sector Employers Must Provide Supplemental Paid COVID-19 Sick Leave

To address fears that food sector workers are more likely to work when sick, Governor Gavin Newsom recently issued Executive Order N-51-20, which requires large food sector employers (500+ employees in U.S.) to provide up to 2 weeks of supplemental paid sick leave to workers, including independent contractors, who are unable to work due to the following COVID-19-related reasons:

  • the worker is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  • the worker is advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine or self-isolate due to concerns ...
Los Angeles County Expands Paid Sick Leave Requirements For COVID-19

In a move which largely mirrors the steps taken by the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has voted to extend certain paid sick leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to employees working within Los Angeles County for private employers that employ 500 or more persons in the United States. The ordinance is effective immediately and will expire on December 31, 2020. 

The ordinance applies to all persons who perform work for a covered employer within the County of Los Angeles and specifies that all such persons are presumed to be ...

Los Angeles City Council Votes for Worker Retention and Recall Rules

On Wednesday, April 22nd, the Los Angeles City Council voted to have a right of recall ordinance drafted that would require certain hospitality, janitorial, property management and tourism employers when rehiring to notify workers laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the proposed ordinance, a business would be required to provide notices to laid-off workers that it is rehiring, and to rehire based on seniority. Workers would have a 10-day period in which to respond, and an employer would have 15 days to respond to employee claims that they had inadequate opportunity to be ...

Taking Employees’ Temperatures During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Employers can take employees’ temperatures to respond to and manage the COVID-19 pandemic. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated in its updated guidance that the COVID-19 crisis permits employers to measure employees’ body temperatures before allowing them to enter the worksite. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control recommends in its community mitigation framework that workplaces in areas with “minimal to moderate risk” implement regular temperature and respiratory checks. 

How to Conduct Temperature Checks

As for the precise temperature to ...

Action Alert - The LA City Council Is Attempting to Place Unprecedented Hiring Rules on the Private Sector

As we recently reported, the Los Angeles City Council is considering implementing hiring restrictions and requirements on the private sector.  If passed, these ordinances with exponentially increase the difficulties already faced by businesses throughout Los Angeles as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.  There are several motions pending, each of which will adversely impact employers.  Given the importance of the issue, we are reposting the following from the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce:

Action Alert! On Wednesday, April 22 at 10 am, the Los Angeles City Council is meeting to ...

Coronavirus And The Reluctant Employee

You have a business that is permitted to continue operations and is not subject to a “stay at home” order.  You have informed employees of this fact.  You have even provided employees with a letter setting forth specific information on why they are allowed to continue working and traveling to and from work to show authorities or anyone else who might ask.  Nevertheless, you have one or more employees who do not want to work because of COVID-19 and are asking to stay home.  What do you do?

If you are a business with 500 or fewer employees, you first need to find out why these employees are asking to ...

Calculating Paid Leave Under The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

To calculate the amount to be paid for employee leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, it is clear that employees who take advantage of FFCRA paid leave must be paid what they would ordinarily earn in a workweek. Their ordinary workweek earnings are based on their regular rate of pay, including the base rate for any overtime hours worked, but not any premium pay. An employee should only receive paid leave for the hours they are normally scheduled to work. Accordingly, an employer must first determine both the regular rate of pay and the appropriate work schedule in order ...

What Small Businesses Need To Know About The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

If your business has fewer than 50 employees, you may qualify for the small business exemption to a portion of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  Specifically, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or childcare unavailability if those FFCRA leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.  In other words, the small business exemption only excuses the employer from providing paid leave for reason no. 5 on the official FFCRA Notice, which all ...

City Council Approves Expansion Of Paid Sick Leave Requirements For COVID-19

The Los Angeles City Council has voted to extend the requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to employees working within the City of Los Angeles for employers that employ 500 or more persons in the United States. The ordinance applies to all employees who have been employed with the same employer from February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020, and provides up to 80 hours of paid sick leave benefits to full-time workers calculated based on the employee’s average two week pay over the period of February 3, 2020 through March 4, 2020. Employees who work less than 40 hours per ...

Posted in Business Law
CARES Act: Loan Applications

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was signed into law, and it includes significant relief provisions for small businesses. Our previous articles summarized the new Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) and the expansion of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) Program

This client alert provides new information regarding PPP loan and EIDL applications. Given this subject’s urgency and the complexity of the CARES Act, this is simply a short summary to provide you a starting point for exploring relief which ...

Posted in Business Law
CARES Act: Economic Injury Disaster Loans

On March 6, 2020, Congress passed an act deeming the COVID-19 pandemic a disaster eligible for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (“EIDL”) Program.  On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was signed into law, providing significant relief provisions for small businesses, including user-friendly modifications to the EIDL Program.   

This client alert briefly summarizes certain provisions which greatly expand, for the period between January 31 and December 31, 2020 (the “Covered Period”), the number of ...

Posted in Business Law
CARES Act: Paycheck Protection Program Loans

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), signed into law on March 27, 2020, provides significant relief provisions for small businesses. This client alert briefly summarizes certain provisions of a newly-created loan program—the “Paycheck Protection Program”—which may help your business weather this storm. Given this subject’s urgency and the complexity of the Act, this is simply a short summary to provide you a starting point for exploring relief which may be available to you. Check with your attorney at ECJ for the critical details ...

My grandmother used to say that one of the biggest lies told in America was the statement: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help”. Grandma was a bit of a pessimist. But the Department of Labor has issued, and continues to add segments to, a very helpful and rather lengthy question and answer page that provides guidance for employers on implementing the paid sick and family leave requirements under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act, set to take effect on April 1, 2020. This information is particularly useful in light of the fact that the DOL has not yet provided ...

CARES Act Provides Relief For COVID-19 Individuals and Businesses

At 880 pages in length, “comprehensive” does not seem to do it justice. But the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act is, in a word, comprehensive. Coming on the heels of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which focused primarily on relief for employees, the CARES Act seeks to provide both individuals and businesses with immediate relief, and a path forward, as we look to a future following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individual Relief

Many individuals will receive a check directly from the government. Specifically, individual adults making less than $75,000 in ...

Business Interruption Insurance Coverage in the Age of Coronavirus

Businesses whose operations have been shut down due to the coronavirus crisis rightly look to their business interruption or business income policies for relief. As a general matter, in order to trigger coverage those policies require (1) direct physical loss or damage; (2) to covered property: (3) arising from a covered peril; and (4) resulting in the suspension of the business’ operations.

In cases where coverage is triggered, an insured business may be entitled to recover the net income it would have received but for the interruption and its operating expenses during the time ...

Employers Must Use This Notice for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The Department of Labor released the required notice for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act today.  All employers covered by the FFCRA must post the notice in a conspicuous place to advise all current employees of their rights under the Act.  The FFCRA, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Trump last week, expands employee leave laws in response to the COVID-19 crisis.  (For more information on the FFCRA, see earlier “What Employers Need To Know About The Families-First Coronavirus Response Act” article on this blog.) 

Since many workforces are currently ...

To assist California employers in understanding the possible application of benefits available to workers in response to the COVID-19 crisis under both state and federal law, we provide the following handy chart:

Click Here to view a print-friendly version of the chart. 

Posted in ECJ Blogs
Coronavirus Advice for Creditors

During this unprecedented time of uncertainty, landlords, financial institutions, vendors, suppliers, and other creditors will undoubtedly be affected. Due to the closure of most businesses which are considered non-essential, it is inevitable that ordinary business obligations such as rent, payments for equipment or inventory financing, employees, and creditors will not be made. It is just a matter of time before business owners default, and creditors will be faced with a problem that unless immediately addressed will only become larger. Some of the obvious signs that a ...

COVID-19: How to Determine If Your Business Should Remain Open 

There is a fair amount of confusion among California businesses regarding Governor Newsom’s “stay home” order and which facilities should remain open.  Unfortunately, Executive Order N-33-20 does not provide much guidance. It does, however, refer to the list of federal government's critical infrastructure sectors posted by the Department of Homeland Security and except those individuals “needed to maintain the continuity of operations” of those sectors. In addition, the state’s website clarifies that critical government services, schools, childcare, and ...

What Employers Need To Know About The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The coronavirus pandemic has presented challenges for employers trying to remain responsive to the crisis but also struggling to absorb the burden it has imposed on their businesses. With much anxiety, employers have also been anticipating a new law, H.R. 6201, to go into effect that would expand family and medical leave requirements to cover COVID-19. As of yesterday, Congress passed and President Trump signed the final version of H.R. 6201, titled the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

The Act will take effect on April 1, 2020 and will remain effective until December 31 ...

Coronavirus And The Magic Of The Furlough

As employers struggle to cope with the impact of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), we have encountered a surprising number of employers who have been led to believe that a “furlough” is an employer option that can be implemented without regard for various laws that might otherwise apply. It is not. To be blunt, while the term “furlough” seems to be a more employee-friendly word for what many employers are doing, there is no magic to it. Indeed, until the California Legislature or Congress pass more comprehensive COVID-19 relief legislation, employers must still comply with all ...

Urgent: Governor Newsom Issues Executive Order to Address Cal-Warn Concerns In Coronavirus Crisis 

In an effort to address some of the issues presented by California’s WARN Act in connection with the COVID-19 crisis, Governor Newsom has issued Executive Order N-31-20 partially suspending certain provisions of Cal-WARN.  As we reported here, the wording of California’s WARN Act exposes employers temporarily closing or engaging in layoffs due to COVID-19 to liability for back pay, the value of benefits, penalties of $500 per day and attorneys’ fees.  Unlike the federal WARN Act, California’s version has no exception for unforeseen business circumstances and requires ...

What Employers Should Know About The Coronavirus 

Given the level of concern regarding the coronavirus, providing employees with reliable information and establishing both a prevention plan and a plan to follow if illness occurs is a good way to avoid panic and help ensure a healthy workplace. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently held a press conference to provide an update on the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The CDC published a fact sheet as well as steps to follow if you are sick with the coronavirus. Both publications can be distributed to employees along with a memo outlining steps for prevention and ...

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