Since the onslaught of layoffs and furloughs caused by the COVID-19 crisis, many employers found themselves caught in the crosshairs of the onerous severance and notice obligations imposed by the January 2020 Amendments to New Jersey’s Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act (“NJ WARN Act”), slated to go into effect on July 19, 2020.
To alleviate the consequences for businesses already struggling with the effects of the pandemic, on April 14, 2020 Governor Murphy signed into law a bill that delays the effective date of the NJ WARN Act amendments until 90 days after the lifting of the COVID-19 state of emergency, currently expected to expire on July 7, 2020. Unless the Governor extends the state of emergency to a later date, the NJ WARN Act amendments will not go into effect until August 6, 2020. The new law is effective immediately and is retroactive to March 9, 2020.
As we discussed in a prior publication, the NJ WARN Act was amended to significantly expand employee rights in the event of a plant closure or mass layoff. Among other things, the amendments
New Jersey residents are now one month into the statewide shutdown, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt nearly every aspect of our daily lives. At this time, property managers and boards have developed practices to provide for social distancing and routine cleaning, however there are a host of potential issues on the horizon that communities should be aware of, and prepared for.
As a primary matter, associations need to stay informed of the ongoing executive orders, as well as state, and federal legislation. Relevant laws are being issued on a rapid and ongoing basis. Although Governor Murphy’s most significant Executive Orders, No. 107 and 108, issuing the directive to stay at home, and invalidating conflicting local ordinances, there are a variety of other orders and laws that present issues unique to community associations.
FINANCIAL IMPACT – FLATTEN THE CURVE
Our employee says they need Paid Leave under the FFCRA. What documentation can the company require from the employee to ensure these payments qualify for employer tax credits?
Under the Families First Coronavirus Protection Act (FFRCA), employers are eligible for tax credits for any payment of qualified Emergency Sick Leave or Emergency Family and Medical Leave benefits mandated by the new law. Going forward, employers must be sure to require and maintain appropriate documentation from employees requesting leave to substantiate to the IRS that the employer credit is warranted. Additional information about what constitutes a “qualified” use of Emergency Sick Leave or Emergency Family and Medical Leave can be found here.
Eligible employers are entitled to retain a 100% credit for the payment of all qualified sick leave and family leave wages, plus allocable qualified health plan expenses and the employer’s share of Medicare taxes, rather than depositing them with the IRS. Employers must retain records and documentation related to and supporting each employee’s leave to substantiate the claim for the credits, and retain the Forms 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, and 7200, Advance of Employer Credits Due To COVID-19, and any other applicable filings made to the IRS requesting the credit.
The speed in which the Congress and various federal agencies have acted in response to the coronavirus outbreak has caused confusion among employers about what they must do to comply with these new laws and regulations. To assist employers we have compiled a list of fact sheets, Q&As and FAQs produced by several governmental agencies that will hopefully provide some clarity.
As always, you can contact Lindabury’s Labor & Employment group with any questions you may have.
US DOL Employee Rights Under the FFCRA poster required to be posted by employers: The FFCRA mandates that employers prominently display this poster in the workplace by April 1, 2020. The poster can be downloaded here.
On March 26, 2020, Governor Murphy signed into law S-2304 expanding the scope of the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law, the New Jersey Family Leave Act, and the New Jersey Temporary Disability Benefits Law to broaden benefits available to employees who are absent from work due to epidemics such as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These changes, as set forth more fully below, became effective immediately.
New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law
Under New Jersey’s Earned Sick Leave Law, employees may use earned sick leave for absences related to, among other reasons, the closure of the “employee’s workplace, or the school or place of care of a child of the employee, by order of a public official due to an epidemic or other public health emergency, or because of the issuance by a public health authority of a determination that the presence in the community of the employee, or a member of the employee’s family in need of care by the employee, would jeopardize the health of others”.
On April 1, 2020 James Estabrook and Kathleen Connelly of the firm’s Labor & Employment group hosted a webinar discussion for members of the Northern New Jersey and Southern New Jersey chapters of the National Electrical Contractors Association.
The webinar addressed questions regarding employee leave rights and benefits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
You can watch and listen to a recording of the webinar on our firm’s YouTube channel here.
On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES” Act) was passed, making it the third federal law to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health pandemic. The Act, designed to provide additional relief to those affected by the pandemic, contains multiple provisions that specifically implicate multiemployer plans as set forth more fully below.
Coronavirus Related Distribution
The Act allows defined contribution plans to adopt provisions allowing for early distributions, up to a maximum of $100,000, for qualified individuals who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Qualified individuals include the following:
As the response to the coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve, it is imperative that healthcare providers stay informed about the latest legal developments that may affect their practices.
In the middle of a pandemic and with instructions from all levels of government to practice social distancing, visiting your healthcare provider virtually may seem like an obvious choice. And yet, a patchwork of federal and state regulations governing telehealth has complicated such visits.
As just one example, licensure of physicians is on a state-by-state basis. Each state has its own regulations making it difficult to implement a national telemedicine program. Adding to that are limits on physicians being able to treat patients in a state in which they are not licensed, as well as different state drug prescription and privacy laws.
The coronavirus pandemic has come in like a wrecking ball on a path of destruction, creating an unprecedented public health crisis and bringing the economy to a near crawl.
Several legal fallouts have only begun to take place and will likely continue for some time. One of the legal challenges coming to light as a result of this pandemic is that many businesses, particularly those dealing in goods and services, or relying on goods, face inevitable inability or extreme difficulty in fulfilling their contracts both during the pandemic and for an unknown period of time thereafter.
How do businesses continue to fulfill their contractual obligations when governments have ordered nonessential workers to stay home and goods that they regularly relied upon have become suddenly unattainable?