COVID-19 OSHA Requirements for Employers with 100 or More Employees

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on November 5, 2021, requiring, among other things, that employers with 100 or more employees institute certain mandatory COVID-19 vaccination or testing policies. Pursuant to the ETS, all the of requirements except for the testing requirements would take effect on December 5, 2021, and the testing requirements would take effect January 4, 2022.

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Summary of the Maine Earned Paid Leave Law

By Labor and Employment

When Does the Law Become Effective and Who is Covered?

The new Maine earned paid leave law will become effective January 1, 2021 and applies to all employers who employ more than 10 employees in Maine for more than 120 days in any calendar year.  (There is an exception for seasonal industries).

A “covered employee” eligible for earned paid leave is essentially any employee covered by unemployment and may include a person who is employed full-time, part-time, or per diem.  (If an employer is in a seasonal industry and has submitted the required reports to the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation designating the seasonal period for the applicable year, an employee working only within the designated seasonal period will be exempt from coverage and not eligible for paid leave under the law).

Employees covered by collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) as of January 1, 2021 are excluded until the CBA expires.  New CBAs after that date must include the earned paid leave benefit at a minimum. Read More

An Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19:  Now What?

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

As an employer, you mandate masks in public spaces, enforce one-way traffic to the bathroom and kitchen, and strategically spread hand sanitizer throughout the office.  Your safety protocol is carefully thought out and painstakingly implemented.  These are important steps to keeping the workplace safe during the pandemic, but do you know what to do if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?  Below is a six-step guide to keep calm and properly address a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace: Read More

Employee Complaints: What You Need to Know and Do

By Labor and Employment

Employee complaints can range from seemingly minor to very serious.  As an employer, it is important that you recognize when a complaint triggers the need for an investigation.  For example, when a complaint involves allegations of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, safety, or violation of company policies, an employer should initiate a timely and thorough investigation.  While these types of complaints can arise from a number of factual situations and vary in severity, they should always be investigated. Read More

Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 Signed into Law

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

Congress has taken action to provide more flexibility for when and how businesses may use Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan proceeds and maintain eligibility for forgiveness.  The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 was signed into law June 5, 2020, after having cleared the Senate on a voice vote two days ago.  The text of the new law can be seen here. Read More

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness: What We Know So Far (As of May 7, 2020)

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

While we all wait for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to release its Interim Final Rule providing specific guidance and instructions regarding PPP loan forgiveness, which was originally due to be released April 26, 2020, here is what we know so far.  PPP loan forgiveness is based on the borrower’s eligible payroll costs and eligible non-payroll costs “incurred and paid” during the 8-week period measured from when the PPP loan funds were first disbursed.  This 8-week period is referred to as the “Covered Period.”  Loan forgiveness will be determined by looking at the loan amount received by the borrower and the eligible costs incurred and payments made by the borrower within the Covered Period. Read More

The Small Business Exemption Under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

When the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was passed, it contained a provision allowing the Secretary of Labor to issue regulations providing an exemption from the Act’s paid leave requirements for businesses with fewer than 50 employees.  On April 6, the USDOL published a temporary rule regarding Paid Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act containing such a small business exemption.  Section 826.40(b) of the temporary rule describes the small business exemption issued pursuant to the Secretary’s regulatory authority to exempt small private businesses from having to provide an employee with paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and expanded family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA). Read More

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) – Summary of Key Provisions for Businesses and Workers

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), a federal stimulus package aimed at providing relief to American individuals and businesses during an unprecedented shutdown of much of the American economy.

Through tax credits, emergency grants, forgivable loans, and loan forgiveness, the CARES Act is designed to provide American businesses with the cash flow and debt relief to retain current employees, rehire employees laid off or furloughed, and to generally weather this severe economic downturn. Read More

Update on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

On March 18, 2020, Congress passed, and the President signed, a revised version of The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the Act) that was first passed out of the House on March 14.  The Act requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide COVID-19-related paid sick and family leave to eligible employees.  Significant changes from the original House version that we reported on are noted by underline, below.  The Act will take effect within 15 days (April 2, 2020). Read More

USDOL Publishes Families First Coronavirus Response Act Leave Poster

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires that employers post a notice advising employees of their rights under the new law.  The United States Department of Labor has now published the poster that employers are required to post regarding the new emergency paid sick leave and family medical leave requirements.  A copy of the poster can be found here.

The DOL explains that employers can satisfy the posting requirement for employees who are working at home by emailing or mailing the notice to employees. The DOL FAQ states:

  • Where do I post this notice? Since most of my workforce is teleworking, where do I electronically “post” this notice?  Each covered employer must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises.  An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.

Please contact Bill Sheils if you have any questions.

Employment Alert: Maine Legislature Passes COVID-19 Legislation to Aid Employees

By Coronavirus, Labor and Employment

Yesterday evening, March 17, 2020, the Maine Legislature passed Legislative Document No. 2167, “An Act to Implement Provisions Necessary to the Health, Welfare and Safety of the Citizens of Maine in Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” as emergency legislation to take effect immediately.  Included in the Act is a provision that makes employees who are temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19 crisis, or who are sick or quarantined or caring for a family member as a result of COVID-19, eligible for unemployment benefits.  There is no waiting period, and there will be no charge against the employer’s experience rating record.   If you are in the unfortunate circumstance of having to temporarily cease operations during this public health emergency, the State of Maine has provided a safety net for your employees.   Employees should be advised of this emergency unemployment benefit if you need to suspend operations or if an employee is quarantined or caring for a sick family member as a result of COVID-19. Read More

A Hiring Checklist for U.S. Tech Companies

By Labor and Employment, Software & Startups

Hiring employees presents unique challenges for tech companies that do not confront other American businesses. In our experience as outside counsel to tech companies, legal mis-steps typically result from oversight rather than a deliberate intention to flout the law. The checklist below is a structured guide to avoiding these common pitfalls in the hiring process. It applies to Software-as-a-Service providers, custom software developers, mobile app developers, I.T. consulting firms and other tech employers. Read More

USDOL Issues Final Rule On New Minimum Salary Threshold For Executive, Administrative, and Professional Exemption To Overtime Rule

By Labor and Employment

Back in March, we reported that the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) had released proposed regulations adjusting the salary level required for the executive, administrative, and professional employee (EAP), or so-called “white-collar” exemptions from the FLSA’s overtime pay requirements. The USDOL has now issued its Final Rule, which is set to take effect on January 1, 2020. Read More

129th Maine Legislature Update

By Energy, Hospitality, Labor and Employment, Land Use & Municipal Law, Municipal

The First Regular Session of the 129th Maine Legislature has adjourned, leaving a number of new laws for us all to understand and comply with.  Listed below by topic area are what we believe are some of the most important new laws for our clients and readers to know about.  We have provided summaries to highlight the major effects of these new laws, but as always, there are details.  Please let us know if you are interested in how these new laws might affect you or your business, institution, or governmental body.

The new laws listed below become effective on September 19, 2019 except as otherwise specified. 

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Maine Places Limits on Noncompete Agreements and Prohibits No-Hire/No-Poach Agreements Between Employers

By Labor and Employment, Software & Startups

Governor Mills signed into law “An Act to Promote Keeping Workers in Maine” (26 M.R.S. §§599-A and 599-B), set to become effective September 19, 2019, placing significant limitations on the use of employee noncompete agreements and prohibiting agreements among employers not to solicit or hire each other’s employees. In passing this legislation, Maine joins its New England neighbors, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, in restricting the use and enforceability of noncompete agreements and joins the national trend in striking down so-called “no poaching” agreements. Read More