As many states struggle with the increase in COVID cases, Massachusetts and our surrounding states' numbers continue to do well. Our businesses in Phase 4 await their opportunity to resume operations while those now open adapt to meet all required safety protocols and comply with changes in workplace laws and regulations, secure needed PPE, and deliver products and services to customers in a safe manner. Following, we take a look at some recent changes and updates to help keep you current as well as insights to assist with employees that remain working remotely.
If you have any questions regarding your insurance or risk-mitigating measures during this time, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help! 
DOL Releases Q&A's on Workplace Laws and Coronavirus
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the agency’s publication of additional guidance on applying federal employment laws in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance is in the form of questions and answers added to sets of Q&As the agency issued earlier in the year about the operation of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in workplace situations involving COVID-19.

The DOL’s new guidance on COVID-19 and the FLSA addresses topics such as teleworking and compensable time, maintaining employees’ exempt and non-exempt status, and hazard pay.

In addition to substituting “COVID-19” for “influenza” in many places, the new guidance on COVID-19 and the FMLA adds questions on whether a telemedicine appointment can establish a serious medical condition under the statute (yes, if the appointment meets certain requirements), and whether the FMLA prohibits employers from requiring a COVID-19 test of employees returning from FMLA leave (no, where the testing requirement is unrelated to FMLA leave and applies to all employees). Employers should be aware that while the DOL’s Q&As on the FMLA continue to assert that there is no paid employee leave requirement under federal law, the FFCRA does require paid leave for specified COVID-19-related reasons.

Issues addressed by the DOL’s additional Q&As on the FFCRA include requiring employees returning from FFCRA leave to be tested for COVID-19 and the availability of FFCRA leave after a furlough.
IRS: Employers Must Report Pay for FFCRA Leave on W-2
Employers are required to report the amount of qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) on Form W-2, according to guidance from the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department. The reporting requirement provides self-employed individuals who are also employees with the information necessary to claim sick and family leave tax credits for which they are eligible. Read more..
DOL Issues Revised Optional FMLA Forms
The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has revised the forms employers and employees may use to meet their notification and certification obligations under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

In the statement announcing the changes, the DOL said the forms were revised to include more questions that users can answer by checking a response box and electronic signature features to reduce contact. Read more..
FMCSA Notice: Flexible Drug and Alcohol Testing Rates During COVID-19 Pandemic
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a notice to assure motor carriers that they will be able to test drivers at a lower rate if they can prove that a deviation from current random testing rates was necessary because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The notice is significant because the FMCSA doubled the testing rate for controlled substances in 2020 to 50 percent. The FMCSA is issuing this notice because the agency is aware that the pandemic has created, and may continue to create, major disruptions in the motor carrier industry. Read more..
5 Ways COVID-19 Is Reshaping HR
The coronavirus pandemic has upended the entire world, it seems. With fluctuating infection rates and conflicting official guidance, organizations will need to adapt quickly if they want to succeed in the post-coronavirus landscape. HR teams stand at the forefront of these efforts.

For years, HR departments have been tasked with ushering in fundamental workplace changes, and this moment is no different. This article includes five ways the coronavirus is reshaping HR and how departments can adapt to these new challenges. Read more..

NY Employees
New York Governor Cuomo has issued an order making workers ineligible for state COVID-19 leave if they travel to states on the New York COVID-19 travel advisory. In addition, recent guidance from New York state agencies clarifies when health care workers under repeated isolation or quarantine orders are eligible for leave under the state law. Read more..
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