The Washington Report
March 25, 2020
Note to subscribers: Due to the current environment, information is changing at a rapid rate. While we do our best to provide timely updates, it is possible that the information shared in the newsletter may change or be revised after our publication deadline. Stay healthy and safe! ~The Washington Report team
COVID-19 Relief Bill Signed Into Law
President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) on March 18, 2020. The FFCRA, among other provisions, provides temporary payments to individuals for family and sick leave, allows businesses to receive tax credits for providing such payments, and requires group health plans to cover testing for COVID-19 without cost-sharing to participants.
For additional information on the FFCRA, please see the Aon bulletin President Trump Signs COVID-19 Relief Package Into Law in the Publications section of the newsletter.
The full text of the FFCRA (H.R. 6201) is available here.
EEOC Hosting Webinar to Address COVID-19 Questions
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will publicly host an online webinar addressing questions arising under any of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws and the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, March 27.
The webinar will be devoted to answering questions submitted in advance about how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in light of any of the federal EEO employment nondiscrimination laws. The EEOC is asking for questions to be submitted by email to COVID19.Questions@eeoc.gov by 9:00 p.m. (Eastern time) on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, for consideration in this webinar. The webinar will supplement the COVID-19 publications already issued by the EEOC.
Information about the webinar is available here.
Departments and IRS Announce Plan to Implement COVID-19-Related Paid Leave for Workers and Tax Credits for Small and Midsize Businesses
On March 20, 2020, the Departments of Labor and Treasury (the Departments) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing COVID-19-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020. According to the press release, information regarding the process to receive an advance payment of the credit will be posted in the near future.
The press release is available here
For more information about the credits and other relief, please visit the Coronavirus Tax Relief page on IRS.gov, available here
EEOC Provides Information About What Employers Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19; Provides Pandemic Preparedness Publication
On March 18, 2020, the EEOC posted information about what employers should know about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19. According to the EEOC, the ADA and Rehabilitation Act rules “continue to apply, but they do not interfere with or prevent employers from following the guidelines and suggestions made by the CDC or state/local public health authorities about steps employers should take regarding COVID-19. Employers should remember that guidance from public health authorities is likely to change as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. Therefore, employers should continue to follow the most current information on maintaining workplace safety.”
The EEOC has provided guidance (a publication entitled Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the ADA), consistent with these workplace protections and rules, that can help employers implement strategies to navigate the impact of COVID-19 in the workplace. This pandemic publication, which was written during the prior H1N1 outbreak, “is still relevant today and identifies established ADA and Rehabilitation Act principles to answer questions frequently asked about the workplace during a pandemic.”
The EEOC publication, Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the ADA, is available here.
OSHA Provides Guidance on Recording Workplace Exposure to COVID-19
On March 13, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released guidance on recording workplace exposures to COVID-19. OSHA recordkeeping requirements mandate covered employers record certain work-related injuries and illnesses on their OSHA 300 log. According to OSHA, COVID-19 can be a recordable illness if a worker is infected as a result of performing their work-related duties. However, per the OSHA website, employers are only responsible for recording cases of COVID-19 if all of the following are met:
- The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19 (see the Centers for Disease Control information on persons under investigation and presumptive positive and laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19);
- The case is work-related, as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5; and
- The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR 1904.7 (e.g. medical treatment beyond first-aid, days away from work).
Please refer to the OSHA website for details, updates, and other applicable employer resources. Please note that some government websites are experiencing technological issues due to increased traffic. Readers may have to cut and paste the links below to access the information.
The OSHA guidance is available at: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/standards.html
The OSHA publication OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 is available at: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf
President Trump Signs COVID-19 Relief Package Into Law
“Families First Coronavirus Response Act” Requires Employers to Provide Paid Family and Sick Leave; Health Care Plans Must Cover COVID-19 Testing Without Employee Cost-Sharing
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the first of several pieces of legislation intended to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FFCRA, among other provisions, provides temporary payments to individuals for family and sick leave, allows businesses to receive tax credits for providing such payments, and requires group health plans to cover testing for COVID-19 without cost-sharing to participants.
The Aon bulletin, which provides additional information on the FFCRA, is available here.
Aon Presents: Investment Market Update: Q2 2020
Register for Aon’s webinar, on April 15, 2020, at 11:30 a.m. CST/12:30 p.m. EST, to hear from industry leaders as they review the market highlights from Q2. Aon experts will also provide investments strategies for portfolios and current positioning for doing business in a volatile world.
This Q&A-style webinar will cover a range of topics, including:
- The Q2 market update;
- Investment outlook for the second half of 2020;
- Rebalancing, return-seeking and potentially risk-reducing portfolio opportunities; and
- Investing in private markets during volatility.
Please register for the Investment Market Update: Q2 2020 webinar here.
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