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Labor Department Proposed Rule on Independent Contractors Published

Today the Department of Labor’s new proposed rule on determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor was published in the official Federal Register, triggering a 30-day public comment period that will last until October 26, 2020. The DoL says the rule adopts an “economic reality” test to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, and, instead of identifying a list of factors as in the past, it identifies two “core” factors and…

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County Judge Nelson Wolff Extends COVID-19 Executive Order

On Monday, Bexar County’s Judge Nelson Wolff once again extended his COVID-19 executive order, this time all the way to October 28th. For employers in San Antonio and Bexar County, the most notable provision was one extending the requirement that commercial entities providing services directly to the public have a health and safety policy that makes employees and visitors wear face coverings when it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing. The executive order specifically cited provisions…

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Labor Department Issues Guidance on COVID-19 Wage & Hour & Leave Issues

Today, July 20th, the U.S. Department of Labor issued three new guidance documents on COVID-19 issues important to employers. The first guidance is a Q&A on COVID-19 and wage and hour issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the FLSA).  This one poses and answers 19 questions, such as what are an employer’s obligations to an employee under a government-imposed quarantine, does OSHA apply to a home office, does an employer have to pay hazard pay under the FLSA, and…

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CDC & EEOC Provide Guidance for Testing Employees in Pandemic

In recent weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) have provided guidance for employers contemplating testing employees in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. There are two tests for employers to consider; one is a “viral test,” to determine if someone has an active case of COVID-19.  The other is an “antibody test,” to detect past infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. The EEOC has provided guidance about…

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County Judge Wolff Extends Order on Masks, Other Measures

On July 15th, Bexar County’s chief executive, County Judge Nelson Wolff, issued his Executive Order NW-13, which extended earlier executive orders requiring that businesses have health and safety policies requiring masks and that they post a list of COVID-19 symptoms by entrances. This latest executive order extended the requirements to August 12, 2020.  Businesses can be fined up to $1,000 for violations, but can put up a poster provided by Bexar County to fulfill the requirement.  Judge Wolff’s first order…

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against LGBT Discrimination in Employment

Today the United States Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited discrimination on the basis of “sex” in employment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Thus employers subject to Title VII may no longer discriminate against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Prudent employers may want to make sure that their employees become aware of this and that…

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Texas Supreme Court Declines to Hear Austin Sick Leave Case, Opens Way for San Antonio Case

On June 5th, the Texas Supreme Court denied the City of Austin’s request for the court to review a case from a court of appeals finding Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance unconstitutional. The Supreme Court had had the request since March of 2019. That decision effectively ends the Austin case, but opens the way for the City of San Antonio to pursue the appeal of its own ordinance before the 4th Court of Appeals here.  San Antonio’s appeal was stayed…

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Congress Passes Law to Improve Paycheck Protection Program

On June 5th, the President signed into law H.R. 7010, the “Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020,” a mouthful of a name for a very short but important bill for employers.  The House and then the Senate had passed the bill on a very bipartisan basis.  The sponsors in the House were Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips and Republican Rep. Chip Roy. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was part of the CARES Act passed in March, but the money appropriated…

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CDC Issues New COVID19 Guidance on Cleaning Worksplaces

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just issued a graphic and written guidance for employers on cleaning and disinfecting their workplaces, especially when someone there has been sick. Here is the link: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/disinfecting-building-facility.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fdisinfecting-building-facility.html This is just one of many guidances coming out these days from the CDC, the Department of Labor, and the IRS relating to the COVID-19 epidemic.  Stay tuned for more!

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Small Employers May Now Apply for Payroll Protection Loans

As of today, April 3rd, employers with less than 500 employees may start applying for loans under the  Payroll Protection Program, which was created by the CARES Act passed on May 25th by Congress. The SBA is overseeing the program, and says it will take loan applications through June 30th.  The SBA does not actually make the loan to the small business, which must go through a third-party lender. According to the SBA, the program is “designed to provide a direct…

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