Many employers are addressing whether to reduce the amount of work and headcount of their workforce. When the COVID-19 pandemic is over, employers who acted without carefully evaluating their options and decisions in how they reduced hours and positions, as well as how the decisions were communicated to employees, could face years of legal challenges on top of economic issues. Our panel discusses ways to reduce your legal exposure in these unprecedented times. Topics include:What is a furlough, and what are ways to implement one or more? What are alternatives to reductions in force? What are the types of separations that trigger federal and state WARN, and what are the potential penalties? What should be in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notice? COVID-19 and the “unforeseeable business circumstance” provision of WARN. Can an employer do something post-furlough besides a RIF if revenue hasn’t resumed? Severance and release agreement best practices
The application of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to employee leaves of absence was a conundrum for employees and employers alike even before Coronavirus times. On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), to provide relief to American workers of certain covered employers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. This new law requires covered employers to offer emergency paid leave in the form of a new mandatory paid sick leave benefit and expanded paid leave under the FMLA. Understand the new FMLA and paid sick leave provisions of the FFCRA and obtain practical counsel for navigating the requirements of the law and address questions.