COVID-19 Update 9/25/2020

 

Consider 24-hr COVID Testing for Employees

Jesse Jacobson with Heppner’s Auto Body in the Twin Cities recently shared that when employee testing is called for, he’s been utilizing a local testing facility that can turn around test results within 24 hours.  According to Jesse, this is particularly helpful when the result is negative – creating peace of mind for the employee and his/her co-workers, not to mention minimizing lost productivity in the shop while awaiting results. 

Heppner’s sends employees to Valley Medical & Wellness, with locations in Woodbury, Burnsville, Minneapolis and Rochester.  Cost is $119.

The State of Minnesota maintains a website where Minnesotans can find a COVID-19 testing site near them. Click here for details.

The site includes a map that features over 250 different clinics and health care facilities that offer the tests. Sites might require an appointment before you arrive, so call ahead to see what your nearest testing site requires and if they offer 24-hour results.

 

U.S. Department of Labor Revises Regulations to Clarify Paid Leave Requirements Under the Families First Cononavirus Response Act

On September 11th, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) posted revisions to regulations that implemented the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

The revisions made by the new rule clarify workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities under the FFCRA’s paid leave provisions, in light of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in an Aug. 3, 2020, decision that found portions of the regulations invalid.

The revisions do the following:

  • Reaffirm and provide additional explanation for the requirement that employees may take FFCRA leave only if work would otherwise be available to them.
  • Reaffirm and provide additional explanation for the requirement that an employee have employer approval to take FFCRA leave intermittently.
  • Revise the definition of “healthcare provider” to include only employees who meet the definition of that term under the Family and Medical Leave Act regulations or who are employed to provide diagnostic services, preventative services, treatment services or other services that are integrated with and necessary to the provision of patient care which, if not provided, would adversely impact patient care.
  • Clarify that employees must provide required documentation supporting their need for FFCRA leave to their employers as soon as practicable.
  • Correct an inconsistency regarding when employees may be required to provide notice of a need to take expanded family and medical leave to their employers.

“As the economy continues to rebound, more businesses return to full capacity, and schools reopen, the need for clarity regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act paid leave provisions may be greater than ever,” said Wage and Hour Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “Today’s updates respond to this evolving situation and address some of the challenges the American workforce faces. Our continuing robust response to this pandemic balances support for workers and employers alike, and remains our priority.”

The Department issued its initial temporary rule implementing provisions under the FFCRA on April 1, 2020. Read the revisions to that temporary rule, which will become effective Sept. 16, 2020 in the Federal Register.

 

Bipartisan House Group Unveils $1.5 Trillion COVID Framework

Frustrated with the stalemate on a new coronavirus relief package, the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus has assembled a roughly $1.5 trillion framework intended as a last-ditch effort to spur negotiations before Congress leaves Washington for the election season.

The plan, led by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Tom Reed (R-NY), is designed for a six-month horizon and includes both new money and reallocation of unspent CARES Act funding. It would address key areas of need including direct stimulus payments to individuals, COVID-19 testing, enhanced unemployment benefits, small business loans, schools, election support, U.S. Postal Service and state and local aid.

The framework is supported by over 75 percent of the 50-member Problem Solvers Caucus, comprised of 25 House Democrats and 25 House Republicans. “Americans deserve a functioning Congress that can rise to the challenge and deliver the relief they need,” Reed said. “Our framework reflects months of bipartisan consensus-building on the actions the federal government can take to help working families and local communities across the country as they navigate the impacts of COVID-19.”

Though issued as a framework with no legislative text as yet, the PSC plan is intended to get GOP and Democratic negotiators back to the table to work out a deal. It’s unclear at this point what impact the PSC framework will have on the stalled negotiations, but it includes provisions that are likely to meet opposition from Senate Republicans, including the state and local aid and additional money for the U.S. Postal Service and election support.

 

House Democrats Prepare New $2.4 trillion Stimulus Plan

CNBC reports that House Democrats are preparing a new, smaller coronavirus relief package expected to cost about $2.4 trillion as they try to forge ahead with talks with the Trump administration. The bill would include enhanced unemployment insurance, direct payments to Americans, Paycheck Protection Program small-business loan funding and aid to airlines, among other provisions. To reach the price tag, Democrats would chop roughly $1 trillion from their previous proposal for a fifth pandemic aid plan. The party aims to restart stimulus negotiations with the White House after talks fell apart last month. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly pushed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to boost the administration’s roughly $1.3 trillion offer by another trillion dollars. 

 

 

 

 

Note: This content and analysis is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Please consult your legal and financial advisors for detailed information before taking any action.

Written by aasp@aaspmn.org

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