The impacts of COVID-19 continue to change our lives on a daily basis. The response by the Federal and State governments has immeasurably changed the way we live and conduct business. Employers and employees alike share in the confusion and uncertainty in dealing with the present environment.
What's Happening in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, on March 21, 2020, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 107 (“E.O. 107”) which provides for the closure of most non-essential businesses in the State in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. Businesses, employers and employees alike, impacted by E.O. 107, are asking what can be done to keep generating business revenue and paying employee salaries. On the federal level, on March 18, 2020, President Trump signed H.R. 6201, otherwise known as the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act ("FFCRA"), which amends provisions of the Emergency Family Leave Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act to provide employees of businesses with paid leave in certain instances.
The issue is that these measures, almost like the disease itself, leave both employers and employees with more questions than answers. For example:
- When can I apply for relief under the FFCRA?
- Must I offer my employees paid leave under New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave statute?
- Can I prevent an employee from reporting for work or be subjected to testing if I suspect he or she has the virus or has come into contact with someone suffering from COVID-19?
- Can I refuse to report to work out of fear of contracting COVID-19 without retaliation from my employer?
- What grants or loans are available to assist employers in making payroll during the period of government shutdown?
- Am I subject to liability if my business can’t perform its obligations under a business contract due to COVID-19?
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold and change our lives on a daily basis, questions in the employment law area will undoubtedly increase. To learn more about the impacts of COVID-19 on you and/or your business, and the governments’ response to the same, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (973) 696-8391, ext. 222.