Recent News and Updates
Given the novelty of the Coronavirus, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) does not have promulgated standards that specifically address COVID-19. This does not mean, however, that OSHA regulations do not apply to issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic. One such regulation is the traditional recordkeeping and reporting requirements provided in 29 CFR Part 1904. Specifically, qualifying employers must record on their OSHA 300 log cases of COVID-19 amongst their workers in certain situations. Not all situations were a worker has tested positive for COVID-19 must be recorded. According to OSHA, an employer must record a COVID-19 case only when all three of the following are met.
An employee has just informed you that he has tested positive for COVID-19, or is displaying COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. What should you, as the employer, do now to protect other employees and continue business? According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), following are the steps you should take.
On April 7, 2020, in an effort to "give flexibility to businesses in our current environment," the Ohio Liquor Control Commission passed an emergency rule to allow establishments with an existing on-premises liquor permit to sell and deliver alcohol, including high-proof liquor in limited quantity, for off-premises consumption.
Among other targeted COVID-19 relief efforts, the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act potion of the FFCRA provides up to 12 weeks of partially paid coronavirus-related family leave and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act portion provides up to 2 weeks of paid leave for certain COVID-19 related absences. To ease the burdens these paid leave provision place on employers, the FFCRA provides a refundable tax credit equal to 100% of qualified EFMLEA and EPSLA wages paid by such employer, as long as proper documentation is obtained, created and retained.
As estate planners, we regularly confront death and are uniquely aware that, for better or worse, we as humans are never guaranteed another day. That fact, however, has never been more apparent to the rest of the world than it is right now. If you have put off your estate planning, please do not panic in these uncertain times by using a do-it-yourself website to create an estate plan. We recognize you may not want to leave your home. We can meet with you over the phone or virtually to get this process started.
While much attention has been focused on the enactment of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the earlier-adopted Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”) went into effect on April 1, 2020. The FFCRA requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to the COVID-10 pandemic. One of FFCRA’s “qualifying reasons” is where an employee is unable to work (or telework) because of the need to care for a son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions. Though the FFCRA does not use the language “bona fide need,” subsequent guidance from the Department of Labor has used the term to state that employees are eligible for this expanded benefit if they are unable to work due to a “bona fide need” for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable due to COVID-19. So what is a “bona fide need”?
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Executive Order 2020-08D on April 1, 2020, to address commercial evictions and foreclosures in relation to the COVID-19 crisis. The Order is intended to provide relief to small business tenants and commercial real estate borrowers who may be suffering from the economic impacts of Ohio’s Stay-At-Home Order and the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing that during this public health emergency, commercial evictions and foreclosures would destabilize local economies and threaten designated essential businesses and operations, Governor Dewine requested several actions in the Order.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday, April 2, that Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton, would sign an Amended Stay at Home Order to extend through 11:59 p.m. on May 1. The amended Order, which is effective immediately after its predecessor’s expiration, is largely the same as the state's previous stay-at-home order but is slightly expanded. All individuals currently living within Ohio are still ordered to stay at home or their place of residence, except as allowed in the Order. Leaving home for Essential Travel and Essential Activities as set forth in the Order is acceptable. Only Essential Businesses continue to be permitted to stay open. The CISA Guidance on Essential Infrastructure Workers’ definition of which workers are essential changed on March 28, 2020.
Ohio recently passed HB 197 to address the situation caused by the Coronavirus. We have provided a brief overview of ways the bill tried to provide help in a variety of areas of our lives that have been affected, including unemployment, health care, education, and taxation.
Employers with Solely Remote Workforces due to COVID-19 are Afforded Temporary Flexibility of Form I-9 Requirements
On March 20, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19. The new provisions apply only to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely.