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October 28, 2020

Today, the States of Connecticut and New Jersey added California, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts to their travel advisory lists.  While Massachusetts also meets the criteria for New York's list, Governor Cuomo's cites the "interconnected nature of the region" as rationale for not including the Commonwealth. Similarly, Rhode Island meets the criteria for inclusion on Connecticut's list, but is exem...

October 26, 2020

New COVID-19 contact tracing procedures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week have expanded the category of individuals who are deemed to be in close contact with each other – and will complicate the task of trying to maintain a safe workplace environment. The updated guidance now indicates that workers  should be considered to be at risk of contracting COVID-1...

September 14, 2020

Late on Friday September 11 via a temporary rule published in the Federal Register, The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) updated provisions within its final rule implementing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, in response to an August federal court ruling that struck down aspects of the original rule. These updates take effect September 16.

Among the changes is a revision of DOL's definiti...

September 8, 2020

President Trump signed several executive orders on Saturday, August 8. One of these orders allows for the suspension of Social Security tax collection for individuals making less than $4,000 on a bi-weekly basis, and is effective September 1 through December 31, 2020.

On August 28, the IRS provided guidance to employers on how to apply the memo in respect to the applicable wages and due date of def...

September 4, 2020

The list of lower-COVID risk states in Massachusetts has grown as of September 4. Please continue to consider your vacation policy previously discussed on this blog, as it regards this list.

Travelers from COVID-19 lower-risk States are not required to fill out the Massachusetts Travel Form and do not need to quarantine.

States are included on the list based on meeting two criteria: averag...

September 3, 2020

On August 27, The Department of Labor threaded a needle with some very fine distinctions in it's latest updates to their FFCRA FAQ page as it regards the current start of the school year and the applicability of the FFCRA's Family Leave. (Answers #98, 99, 100)

FFCRA leave is not available to take care of a child whose school is open for in-person attendance. If a school offers both in-person and on...

September 1, 2020

The Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave has announced that the “annual” payroll tax exemptions received by employers for insured plans under the Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (the “Law”) have been extended. 

The Law requires most private employers in Massachusetts to provide covered individuals with paid family and medical leave (“PFML”).

Massachusetts employees may be entitled...

August 4, 2020

The new, stricter Massachusetts travel ban took effect on August 1.  

What you should not do: You should not tell your employees that they cannot travel to higher risk states for personal reasons.

What you can do: You can implement an up to date CDC screening and follow COVID-19 OSHA, CDC guidelines and comply with state travel bans. Employers can also strongly discourage their employees from taking...

August 4, 2020

In April, the New York Attorney General sued the Department of Labor over the DOL’s April 1 rule that told employers how to implement the Families First Coronavirus Response Act  (FFCRA) on the theory the rule "unlawfully narrows" the number of people who are covered by the emergency paid leave law.

The rule defines the limits of who qualifies for paid leave and the suit challenged four parts of th...

July 30, 2020

Governor Baker’s new Executive Order  imposes strict rules governing travel to Massachusetts from places other than “lower risk states.” Effective August 1, all visitors entering Massachusetts (including returning residents, students, and international travelers) from anywhere other than New England, New York, New Jersey, or Hawaii will be required to complete a Travel Form, and quarantine fo...

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