Stokes Wagner Law Firm
Stokes Wagner

California recently modified its Stay-at-Home Order (Executive Order N-33-20) as of May 8, 2020, to allow manufacturing and certain retail businesses to re-open for curbside business. This modification of the Stay-at-Home Order has left hotels wondering whether hotels are allowed to re-open its doors to guests traveling for leisure or non-essential travel.

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Dine-in restaurants, brewpubs, breweries, bars, pubs, craft distilleries, and wineries that provide sit-down meals are permitted to open under Stage Two of Governor Newsom’s plan. In light of re-openings, California issued guidance to support a safe, clean environment for both workers and customers. The guidance (available in full here) recommends implementing a written, workplace-specific plan. To create a workplace-specific plan, employers should perform a comprehensive risk assessment of all work areas and designate a person at each establishment to implement the plan. After the initial implementation of the plan, employers should regularly reevaluate the establishment for compliance with the plan, investigate any COVID-19 illness, and determine whether work factors could have contributed to a risk of infection. Employers should then update the plan as needed.

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On Monday, May 4, 2020, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (“AHLA”) announced healthy and safety guidelines regarding hygiene and cleanliness standards in line with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”). The AHLA guidance comes under the direction of its advisory council consisting of 25 industry leaders, including Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, and Omni. The “Safe Stay” program aims to set the standard for hotel hygiene standards post-pandemic and boost consumer confidence per CDC and other public health authorities’ guidance.

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Yesterday California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-62-20, creating a rebuttable presumption that employees who test positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of working contracted the virus at work. Employers will have 30 days to rebut the claim by proving the employee contracted the virus elsewhere. This order puts a significant burden of proof on employers.

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San Francisco’s Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance (“PHELO” or the “Ordinance”) requires businesses with 500+ employees to provide employees with up to 80 hours of paid leave for COVID-related reasons (“PHELO Leave”). While the Ordinance passed on April 7, 2020, the Ordinance was amended and went into effect on April 17, 2020. Shortly after, on April 24, 2020, the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) updated its guidance on the Ordinance.

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Businesses fortunate enough to receive a Paycheck Protection Loan (“PPP”) under the CARES Act are now asking, “what do I need to do to get this loan forgiven?” That answer gets more complicated as the days roll on without guidance from the Small Business Administration (“SBA”). Recall there were numerous changes/interpretations applicable to the application process as the application deadline neared.

Here is what we know so far:

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The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday passed the amended Right of Recall and Worker Retention ordinances that mandate businesses in the hospitality industry to rehire workers laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ordinances were originally aimed at all businesses in Los Angeles but will now only apply to workers in hotels with more than 50 guestrooms, event centers, and airport service, as well as janitorial, maintenance, and security workers in commercial buildings. Restaurants, bars, and clubs are exempt, however workers of restaurants physically located on hotel property are also covered.

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are struggling to determine how to protect their current workforce. We’ve compiled a list of common inquiries regarding this pandemic.

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On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously in support of a set of ordinances that establish right of recall and worker retention protections to workers laid off during the COVID-19 crisis. Following extensive public comment and several verbal amendments, the City Council approved the “Right of Recall” (Article 4-72J-A) ordinance.

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It’s easy to lose track of time when you work from home and forget to change out of your work sweatpants and into your relaxing sweatpants at the end of the day. But while teleworking eschews much of the formality of the workplace, it remains critically important that employers don’t lose track of hourly employees’ time. Employers are still ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance with wage and hour laws. Keep these tips in mind if you have hourly employees working from home.

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