Wyatt Employment Law Report


The Department of Labor Issues Temporary Rule for Paid Leave

By Marianna J. Michael

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a new temporary rule regarding paid leave under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) on April 1, 2020. The rule is effective until December 31, 2020 and subject to change.  The rule is available here

https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/Pandemic/FFCRA.pdf

The DOL’s temporary rule: Continue reading


Extension to Amend and Restate 403(b) Retirement Plans

By Sherry Porter

All 403(b) retirement plans are yet another area impacted by COVID-19. These retirement plans  (sponsored by nonprofits and governmental entities) were required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to completely restate their plans by March 31, 2020 to reflect changes in the law since 2010 in order to receive retroactive relief back to 2010.  While most entities have completed this update, if you have not completed your plan restatement, the deadline has been moved to June 30, 2020 by the IRS. Don’t delay – contact your plan document provider as soon as possible so you do not miss this (now extended) deadline.


CARES Act – Retirement Plan Impact

By Sherry Porter

What a plan sponsor needs to know NOW!

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) became law on March 27, 2020 to address many issues in our country caused by the coronavirus.  This article addresses issues that employers who sponsor retirement plans must address quickly. Continue reading


DOL and IRS Provide Needed Guidance on What Documentation Employers Should Gather for Families First Coronavirus Response Act Leave

By Sharon Gold

Yesterday, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) released temporary regulations that, among other things, clarifies what documentation an employer should gather when employees seek leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).  The unpublished rule is available here and may go through changes before publication. https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2020-07237.pdf

According to the temporary regulations, an employee should provide to the employer as soon as practicable, a signed statement that includes the employees name, date that leave is requested, the coronavirus qualifying reason for leave and a statement that he/she cannot work or telework because of the stated reason. Continue reading


Questions and Answers for Employers About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

By Mitzi Wyrick

The FFCRA amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to include Emergency Paid Sick Leave, which provides Emergency Paid Sick Leave to employees who meet certain criteria during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition, the FFCRA expanded the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to provide public health emergency leave for a qualifying need to employees who satisfy the stated requirements.

Employees are eligible for Emergency Paid Sick Leave if: Continue reading


THE SUPREME COURT OF KENTUCKY’S AMENDED ORDER

By Marianna J. Michael

On March 26, 2020 the Supreme Court of Kentucky, which had previously extended filing deadlines for anything due to the Supreme Court of Kentucky or the Court of Appeals between March 16, 2020 to April 10, 2020, released an amended Order relating to COVID-19 concerns. The newest Order extends deadlines by two more weeks and sets new guidelines. The full order can be found here.

Some of the restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court of Kentucky include:

  • All civil trials scheduled between March 16, 2020 and April 24, 2020 are to be postponed and rescheduled for a later date, with civil trials in progress being continued or completed based on the judge’s discretion.
  • All criminal trials scheduled between March 16, 2020 and April 24, 2020 are to be postponed, unless it interferes with a defendant’s constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial;
  • All small claims, eviction, juvenile, probate, traffic, and guardianship cases scheduled between March 16, 2020 and April 24, 2020 are to be continued, with the exception of emergency matters and statutorily required hearings.
  • Judges are to continue addressing matters that do not require a hearing or personal appearance.
  • Matters are to be rescheduled if an attorney or a party is sick or in a high-risk category.
  • Judges are to issue summonses in lieu of bench warrants or notices of failure to appear.
  • All show cause dockets for payment of fines and court costs to be continued for sixty (60) days, if scheduled between March 16, 2020 and April 24, 2020.
  • Jurors who are ill, caring for someone who is ill, or who are in a high-risk category are to have their jury service postponed to a later date.
  • New juror orientations shall be suspended unless an exception is granted by the Chief Justice while existing jury panels may be extended at the discretion of the court.
  • Individuals who (i) have traveled to high-risk countries or states with widespread cases within the last fourteen (14) days; (ii) exhibit COVID-19 symptoms; or (iii) have been in contact with someone who has exhibited COVID-19 symptoms are prohibited from entering any state courthouse.
  • Individuals with legitimate court business who are ill, caring for someone who is ill or who are in a high-risk category are advised to stay home and request a continuance by calling the local Office of the Circuit Court Clerk.

The latest COVID-19 Order allows judges to determine whether video or telephonic technology may be used to conduct certain hearings, which provides judges the discretion to continue to hear certain matters to help lessen the inevitable backlog that will occur as a result of COVID-19.

The Supreme Court’s COVID-19 Order responding to the unfolding pandemic has already been amended twice. A few days after the Court issued its latest version of the Order, President Trump extended social distancing guidelines for another thirty (30) days. Further amendments to the Order are likely.  Return here for additional updates.


BENEFITS OF PROVIDING EMPLOYEES “ESSENTIAL SERVICES LETTERS”

By: Sharon L. Gold and Jacob N. Eldemire Smith 

State governors across the nation have issued executive orders aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) at a torrid pace during the month of March. Although these “stay at home,” “shelter in place,” or “healthy at home” orders are not all identical, most of them require certain businesses to close their doors and wait for further order before re-opening. As a result, many employees are unable to go to work. In Kentucky, however on-site, residents employed in “Life-Sustaining Business,” and, in Indiana, those employed in “Essential Businesses and Operations,” are exempted under executive orders. Ky. Exec. Order No. 2020-257 (Mar. 25, 2020); Ind. Exec. Order No. 20-08 (Mar. 23, 2020), respectively. In both states, businesses that are in the Critical Infrastructure Segments (defined under federal standards) are also exempted from closure and, even if a business is closed to the public, they are allowed to maintain “Minimum Basic Operations,” as explained in the orders.

To maintain operational continuity, it is important for employers to identify which employees are exempted from state and local restrictions and notify employees of their status. Some employers are choosing to provide employees “essential services letters” that the employees can carry with them in case they are questioned whether they are “essential” and entitled to continue working.

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