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Massachusetts Legislation, Regulations, and Programs Regarding COVID-19 Emergency
Verrill, March 2020

On March 24th, the Governor filed legislation to make temporary changes to Massachusetts’ laws and regulations covering a wide range of public and private enterprises to remain in effect during the Covid-19 emergency including the following: 1...

Congress Passes the Paycheck Protection Program
Verrill, March 2020

On March 27, the United States Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES” Act). The Act contains many provisions affecting broad swaths of the U.S. economy. The purpose of this memo is to summarize the Act’s provisions regarding forgiveness of SBA loans used by business to cover payroll, rent, and other expenses necessary for the continued operation of their businesses otherwise known as the “Paycheck Protection Program...

U.S. Department of Labor Releases Families First Coronavirus Response Act Employee Rights Workplace Poster
Verrill, March 2020

As anticipated, on March 25, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a notice/workplace poster (a copy is available at: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/posters) that summarizes employee rights under the newly enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The DOL also provided employers with the following information in the form of Frequently Asked Questions about the notice/poster: 1...

U.S. Department of Labor Publishes Q&A Guidance on Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Verrill, March 2020

On March 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released an initial set of questions and answers (Q&As) concerning the recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This is the first round of DOL guidance providing information to employees and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the FFCRA when it takes effect on April 1, 2020. DOL is expected to publish a workplace poster later today...

COVID-19: Resources for Our Valued Family Law Clients
Verrill, March 2020

This is an unprecedented time in our history, calling for an equally unprecedented level of collaboration among families, especially those who struggle with conflict. We wanted to share with you some facts about how we are dealing with the current pandemic and its effect on our clients and their families, as well as offer you some resources to help you and your family navigate the difficult waters ahead...

IRS News Release Describes Plan to Implement Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Verrill, March 2020

On Friday, March 20, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a News Release, IR 2020-57 (Release), that describes the new paid leave benefits for certain employees of small and medium-sized businesses under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act). In addition, the Release explains how employers will be subsidized by the federal government through payroll tax credits and reimbursements...

A ‘Healthy’ Approach to Possible Commercial Lease Defaults in the Age of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Verrill, March 2020

As COVID-19 cases mount across the country, the inability to perform commercial lease obligations due to unforeseen circumstances has moved to the forefront. In contract-speak, unforeseen circumstances that lead to non-performance by a party are known as “force majeure” events...

Is the Coronavirus Pandemic a Force Majeure?
Verrill, March 2020

The coronavirus disease pandemic is an ongoing shock to the U.S. economic system and every-day life. The construction industry is on the front line of the tumult. Earlier this week, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh ordered the stoppage of construction projects within the City of Boston. The City of Cambridge has now followed suit...

Due to COVID-19, Federal Agencies Relax Requirements Regarding the Provision of Telehealth Services
Verrill, March 2020

In the past few days, in an effort to help keep Medicare beneficiaries healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, key federal agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) and the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced they were relaxing certain requirements that relate to the provision of telehealth services to Medicare beneficiaries and other patients...

COVID-19: FDA Clinical Trial Guidance
Verrill, March 2020

On March 18, 2020, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (“FDA”) published guidance for clinical trial sponsors, investigators, and institutional review boards (“IRBs”) on conducting clinical trials in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the guidance, FDA outlines important considerations for assuring the safety of trial participants, maintaining compliance with good clinical practice, and minimizing risks to trial integrity...

Employer Obligations under the Revised Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201)
Verrill, March 2020

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Act”) in response to COVID-19. Among other provisions, the Act gives a broad group of employees the right to emergency paid sick leave and also expands protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). This summary focuses on the impact to most private employers from the paid sick leave and expanded FMLA provisions, which take effect on April 2, 2020...

Congress Passes Emergency Paid Leave Laws in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic
Verrill, March 2020

On March 18, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a temporary measure designed to increase the availability of paid leave during a time when many employees are being directed to stay at home...

COVID-19 Expanded Access Template
Verrill, March 2020

We are aware that many companies and health care providers are working to expedite the transfer of investigational drugs that may be helpful in treating patients suffering from COVID-19. Although these expanded access arrangements are not required to be and are not always documented in written agreements, there can be benefits to both parties (company and treatment provider) to memorializing the circumstances of the provision of an investigational drug...

To Test or Not to Test: Employer Considerations Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Verrill, March 2020

Q: I am concerned about employees coming to work with a fever—can I test employees’ temperatures before allowing them to work to avoid spreading the coronavirus? Verrill’s View: Maybe—but there are many factors to consider. Generally, taking an employee’s temperature would be a restricted medical examination, but employers may have more flexibility due to COVID-19’s “pandemic” status...

High-Deductible Health Plans can Cover Coronavirus Costs
Verrill, March 2020

Recognizing the need to eliminate potential administrative and financial barriers to testing for and treatment of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), in Notice 2020-15, posted today on IRS.gov, the IRS advised that high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) can pay for COVID-19-related testing and treatment, without jeopardizing their status. This also means that an individual with an HDHP that covers these costs may continue to contribute to a health savings account (HSA)...

Should Employers Recognize COVID-19 As A Work-Related Injury?
Verrill, March 2020

While we know that everyone is being bombarded with COVID-19 recommendations, advice, news and data, one area that appears to have been overlooked is the question of whether COVID-19 infection, if acquired at work and due to the work performed, might result in a workers’ compensation injury. That specific question has not yet been litigated, but the best answer this writer can provide is “probably, yes”...

Leave Sharing Programs: A Critical Bridge for Employees Affected by COVID-19
Verrill, March 2020

  The federal government may soon be providing paid leave assistance to employees affected by COVID-19. In the meantime, however, employers that maintain leave sharing programs can leverage those programs to help soften the financial impact on employees forced to miss work because of COVID-19. Leave sharing programs allow employees to donate their accrued paid time off for use by other employees affected by a medical emergency or major disaster...

COVID-19: Updated FAQs
Verrill, March 2020

Employers across the country are struggling with how to support their employees and their customers, and also to keep their business afloat, as the cry for social isolation to curb the spread of the novel COVID-19 (coronavirus) grows stronger. There are a lot of complicated issues that we are trying to sort through in a moment of crisis and the landscape continues to change...

Responsible Research During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Verrill, March 2020

The world has been thrown off its stride by the 2019 novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the resulting disease, “COVID-19.” At the time of this Alert, the full impact of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 is still unknown...

The Coronavirus: FAQs for Employers
Verrill, March 2020

We’ve been here before. Remember the H1N1 outbreak of 2009? That little bug originated outside of Mexico City. As the virus spread, governments issued travel warnings and schools were on notice to be extra vigilant. There was even a quarantined cruise ship and a run on surgical masks. Sound familiar? The most important lesson from the H1N1 outbreak of 2009 is that while it was scary then, we hardly remember it now...

2020 Estate Planning Update
Verrill, February 2020

SECURE ACT What you need to know: The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act went into effect on January 1, 2020. The most significant provisions of the SECURE Act involve changes to the withdrawal requirements for inherited retirement assets. 10-Year Withdrawal Requirement: Prior to the SECURE Act, beneficiaries of inherited retirement plans were generally permitted to take distributions over the course of their own lifetimes...

Two Proposed Rules Aim to Increase Organ Donation in the U.S.
Verrill, February 2020

On December 17, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued a proposed rule to revise the Conditions for Coverage that Organ Procurement Organizations (“OPOs”) must satisfy in order for organ procurement costs to be paid by Medicare and Medicaid (the “OPO Proposed Rule”)...

2020 Annual Employment Law Update Materials
Verrill, January 2020

On Thursday, January 30, members from Verrill's Employment & Labor group, as well as some from the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation group, conducted a full-day seminar full of employment law related topics that would prepare HR professionals, managers, and in-house counsel for the year ahead. The presentation slides and handout materials from the 2020 seminar are available for download as PDF files below...

Is the New U.S.-China Agreement What Was Prescribed?
Verrill, January 2020

The trade relationship between China and the United States has been top of mind for businesses over the past year. In spring 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping denied the U.S. Government's request to end subsidies for key industries identified by the "Made in China 2025 Initiative...

More Proposed Changes to CCPA Geared to Health Care and Life Sciences Industries
Verrill, January 2020

The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”) took effect on January 1, 2020. Days later on January 8, 2020, the California Senate Health Committee unanimously approved Senate bill A.B. 713 (the “Bill”) to establish new exemptions particularly relevant to the health care and life sciences industries...

 

 

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