COVID-19 Workplace Law Advisor

The Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board enacted a Permanent Standard on COVID-19 in workplaces in a 9-4 vote on January 13, 2021. On July 15, 2020, Virginia became the first state in the nation to promulgate an Emergency Temporary Standard to address COVID-19 in workplaces. Even with vaccine deliveries on the way, Virginia has enacted a Permanent Standard for consideration by the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board (which includes author Courtney Malveaux). To…
In March 2020, when Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) with a sunset date of December 31, 2020, few anticipated the COVID-19 pandemic would be ongoing into 2021. Several similar state and local laws also sunset at the end of 2020. But the pandemic has not slowed, and requests for COVID-19-related leave (along with the corresponding tax credits) continue. Here’s What We Know The new stimulus bill (Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021) passed…
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it is experiencing delays in issuing receipt notices for some applications and petitions filed at USCIS lockboxes that are located in Chicago, Illinois, Phoenix, Arizona, and Lewisville, Texas. This announcement does not come as a surprise to most filers, since delays have been experienced for some time and have become even longer since October 2020, when thousands of Form I-485 Adjustment of Status applications were filed.…
The City of San Jose recently passed an ordinance extending its supplemental paid sick leave ordinance until June 30, 2021 and expanding it to apply to all employers with employees working in San Jose. Extension When it was first passed, San Jose’s supplemental paid sick leave ordinance was set to expire on December 31, 2020. In late 2020, the City committed to extending the ordinance into 2021 but waited to see if the Emergency Paid…
At the end of 2020, California approved the Division of Occupational Safety & Health’s (“Cal OSHA”) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”). Among the many requirements in the new ETS, Cal OSHA imposed a performance-based obligation on employers to establish and implement an effective COVID-19 Prevention Program, COVID-19 preventive measures (e.g., social distancing and mandatory use of face coverings), and COVID-19 case management (e.g., investigation, recording, and reporting). In establishing these requirements, the ETS also…
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Act) provides certain COVID-19-related relief, including temporary additional flexibility regarding flexible spending accounts (FSAs). Employers have several practical considerations when deciding whether to adopt one or more of the changes in their plans. Under the FSA changes, employees need not lose the benefit of the dollars they set aside from their pay into healthcare and dependent care FSAs and may use the amounts contributed for up to 12 months…
In the final days of 2020, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Health and Human Service (HHS) released a HIPAA Audits Industry Report (“the Report”), that could be quite helpful to covered entities and business associates for tackling HIPAA compliance as we enter the new year.  The Report examines OCR’s findings from HIPAA audits the agency conducted during 2016-2017 of 166 healthcare providers and 41 business associates. The audits were intended to…
In the final days of 2020, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Health and Human Service (HHS) released a HIPAA Audits Industry Report (“the Report”), that could be quite helpful to covered entities and business associates for tackling HIPAA compliance as we enter the new year.  The Report examines OCR’s findings from HIPAA audits the agency conducted during 2016-2017 of 166 healthcare providers and 41 business associates. The audits were intended to…
When the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expired on December 31, 2020, COVID-19-related leave was no longer assured for many employees throughout the United States unless another law, like the Family and Medical Leave Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act, applies. Jurisdictions that have COVID-19-related leave laws (such as the District of Columbia and certain California municipalities), however, will continue to grant time off to eligible employees. D.C.’s COVID-19-leave laws took effect…
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued an alert on delays in processing receipt notices due to the surges in petition filings at lockbox facilities because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the agency’s “flexibility” in response. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many foreign nationals continue to be stuck and unable to leave the United States at the conclusion of their approved stays – either because of their home country travel restrictions, flight restrictions, or…