Stokes Wagner Law Firm
Stokes Wagner

On September 9, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1867 immediately expanding supplemental paid sick leave (“SPSL”) for COVID-19-related reasons for employers who did not qualify for Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) because of size. The new law, codified as Labor Code section 248.1 (“LC 248.1”), requires compliance by September 19, 2020.

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On September 8, 2020, The San Diego City Council passed two ordinances to protect vulnerable workers amidst the pandemic, effective immediately. The COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Ordinance requires large companies employing more than 500 workers to provide supplemental paid sick leave for employees. The COVID-19 Building Service and Hotel Worker Recall Ordinance requires commercial property businesses, hotels, and event centers to recall laid-off employees by seniority when business activity resumes and to retain employees in the event that the business changes ownership during the pandemic.

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On August 11, 2020, Nevada Governor signed Senate Bill No. 4 (SB 4) into law, introducing a myriad of new measures to enhance worker safety related to COVID-19 for employers in the hospitality industry. Specifically, employers will have to grapple with new mandatory cleaning standards, a response plan for testing, and paid time off for employees who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been exposed. The Department of Health and Human Services adopted regulations pursuant to SB4 on August 31, 2020, making the new measures effective immediately.

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On September 30, employees of private employers in New York state will begin to accrue paid sick leave as a new law signed by Governor Cuomo on April 3, 2020, begins to take effect. The law requires most private employers in New York to provide at least 40 hours of paid sick leave each year to all their workers, including part-timers and casual employees. Employees may begin using the accrued leave effective January 1, 2021, or when they begin employment.

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As children head back to school amidst the pandemic, sitting in class and learning is very different. Some students are participating in remote learning, and others are permitted to attend classes in-person. Some students have a mixture of both remote learning and in-person classes—posing new challenges to parents who must balance both work and family life. On August 27, 2020, The Department of Labor (“DOL”) provided additional guidance regarding the use of the Family First Corona Virus Response Act (“FFCRA”) leave for school-related purposes.

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On August 31, 2020, the California legislature passed Senate Bill 1383, which expands the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to allow employees to use unpaid job-protected leave to care for a domestic partner, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or parent-in-law with a serious health condition.

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Yesterday, California lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 3216, which establishes “Recall Rights” and a “Right of Retention” for laid-off employees. California employers must offer laid-off employees in writing by mail, email, and text message all job positions that become available after the bill’s effective date for which the laid-off employees are qualified. AB 3216 now heads to Governor Newsom’s desk for signature, where he has until September 30, 2020 to sign it.

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Unlimited vacation policies have gained popularity in recent years, both with employees and employers. These policies allow employees can take as much time off as their responsibilities allow, and relieve employers of the administrative burden of tracking PTO accrual, use, and payout. Even more attractive to the employers is the proposition that an unlimited PTO policy avoids the requirement of paying out accrued but unused PTO at the end of employment. For traditional PTO accrual policies, earned vacation is considered wages, and Labor Code Section 227.3, requires an employer to payout earned but unused vacation time upon separation. In contrast, under unlimited PTO policies, employees do not accrue and “bank” vacation hours to use later; rather they are entrusted to take time off at their election, so long as they complete their work and perform as expected.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently revised the guidance regarding when to return an employee to work following a positive COVID-19 test. These revisions shorten the period of time a person should self-isolate and adopt a symptom-based strategy rather than a test-based strategy.

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On July 17, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor released new forms for Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) leave. Their stated purpose is to make the process easier, ensure the completeness of the necessary information, and allow for electronic signatures to reduce contact.

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