COVID-19

While children may not understand the full scope of the COVID-19 pandemic, they do know that the world is different. In many cases, they left school in March or April to continue learning virtually—and many finished their school years from home.

As schools welcome students back, children who are going back to school in- person may have concerns about why school looks different and whether it’s safe for them and their family. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued recommendations and talking points that parents and other trusted adults can use to help children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate and minimizes anxiety or fear.

Legal Update HeaderBecause of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is allowing employers that are operating remotely to conduct a remote verification of approved Form I-9 documents.

On Sept. 15, 2020, DHS extended yet again this exemption for an additional 60 days. The new expiration date for the exemption is now Nov. 19, 2020.

Physical Inspection

Employers must complete and sign Section 2 of Form I-9 within three business days of the employee’s first day of employment. Employers are required to physically examine the documents the employee presents from the list of acceptable documents to prove his or her employment eligibility.

HR Compliance Bulletin headerOn Sept. 1, 2020, California amended its workers’ compensation (WC) law, under Senate Bill 1159 (SB1159), to provide a presumption that COVID-19 is a compensable, work-related condition under certain circumstances. The bill is expected to be signed into law but will otherwise go into effect on Sept. 30, 2020.

In general, the changes mean that it would be an employer’s burden to prove that an employee did not contract COVID-19 on the job, rather than the employee’s burden of proving that he or she did contract it on the job.

HR Insights Blog HeaderSince the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies across the globe have been working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. As the pandemic continues on and vaccine clinical trials progress, there may be a possibility of a COVID-19 vaccine being approved for use in the foreseeable future.

The prospect of a vaccine is exciting to most, but also presents challenges for employers. Employers may be considering whether vaccination will be encouraged or mandated. Employers must navigate the inherent legal risks and logistics of mandating or encouraging employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. To do so, employers should seek legal counsel to discuss which course of action is best for their organization. This article provides a general informational overview of considerations for employers.

Legal Update HeaderOn Sept. 11, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) extended yet again the emergency declaration that provides truck drivers an exemption from Parts 390 to 399 of the federal motor carrier regulations (including hours of service, vehicle inspection and driver qualification rules).

COVID-19 trucking exemptions were originally issued on March 13, 2020, but have been repeatedly expanded to remain in force throughout the current pandemic. This latest extension is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020, or until the national state of emergency ends, whichever comes sooner.

On Sept. 8, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued additional answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about how employers should comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) while also observing all applicable emergency workplace safety guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. The new FAQs, which address various issues related to employees returning to work during the pandemic, were added to guidance that the EEOC first issued on March 18, 2020, and then updated in April, May and June of 2020. The FAQs draw from the EEOC’s existing pandemic publication, Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the ADA, to help employers navigate workplace issues related to the coronavirus (COVID-19). In particular, the EEOC’s FAQs include information from a section of the publication that answers employer questions about what to do after a pandemic has been declared. This HR Compliance Bulletin contains the EEOC’s updated FAQs.

Fear, worry, and stress are normal responses to perceived or real threats, or when faced with uncertainty. Understandably so, it is normal that people are experiencing worry or stress during the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of daily life. Americans are increasingly suffering from behavioral health issues during the pandemic, including mental health issues and substance abuse. This can have a disastrous impact on workplace productivity. This article provides tips and considerations to help employers support their employees during this challenging time.