The COVID-19 pandemic places enormous strain on businesses as they attempt to comply with ever-shifting laws and regulations. Many companies’ employees are doing their best to meet unprecedented business challenges while they are physically dispersed and distracted by both personal and professional stressors. Our firm’s founding principle is that human and relationship capital are the most important assets in any business. From that perspective, Warren T. Allen II shared advice with Thomson Reuters on measures businesses can take to continue meeting their compliance obligations while simultaneously doing what they can to foster employees’ wellbeing.
In response to the strains that COVID-19 and recommended responsive measures have placed on employers and employees, on March 18, 2020, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) (“FFCRA” or the “Act”), which President Trump signed the same day. Key features of the FFCRA that will be of interest to businesses include: (1) extending and expanding Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) coverage to address certain absences relating to the current pandemic and requiring paid FMLA leave benefits in some cases; (2) establishing a new paid sick leave entitlement for similar absences; and (3) providing certain tax credits to help employers shoulder some of the costs of these benefits.
In the alert linked below, we have provided answers to common questions business have posed about some of the FFCRA’s provisions.
On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (“SARS-CoV-2”) outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern,” and, on March 11, 2020, characterized the outbreak as a “pandemic.” Both the disease that SARS-CoV-2 causes—“coronavirus disease” or “COVID-19”—and measures intended to combat its spread have hampered businesses’ operations and will continue to do so. Though circumstances change rapidly, for now, the following high-level summary describes federal and state responses in the greater Washington, D.C. area. The summary also includes observations about potential commercial measures businesses might explore in response to economic disruptions.