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May 18, 2020

New COVID-19 Guidance For U.S. Businesses

Federal agencies in the United States continue to update guidance related to COVID-19 safety and response. Last week:

  • The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new blog post explaining its COVID-19 paid and sick leave program. (Click here for the Metals Service Center Institute’s review of this issue.) DOL also issued an updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document regarding paid and sick leave. That FAQ document is here, and an explanation is here. MSCI strongly encourages its member companies to review this information to ensure they are in compliance with federal law.
  • The Internal Revenue Service released new guidance that eases restrictions on employers so they can allow their workers to amend their health insurance and flexible spending accounts without waiting for the usual enrollment period. According to The New York Times, employers will be able to allow their workers to drop out of their insurance if they have another available option, sign up for coverage if they didn’t earlier in the year, and add family members to their plan.
  • The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced a temporary change in its standard notice-posting remedy. The alternation, which is explained here, applies to both physical posting and e-distributing of the Notice to Employees in unfair labor practice cases.
  • The NLRB also announced it has resumed representation elections. As Connecting the Dots readers might recall, the NLRB had ordered a temporary suspension of NLRB-conducted elections due to concerns related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. At the same time, labor unions and their allies in Congress are asking that elections be conducted electronically, a move that would be tantamount to card check and could force workers to vote in front of union organizers.