Employment Law Updates

Many employers have laid off employees because of the coronavirus pandemic, but are now calling them back to work. Some companies have received a Paycheck Protection Program loan which, as a condition of loan forgiveness, requires the employer to call back to work those employees who were laid off. We have been receiving reports from employers that some employees are refusing to return to work, primarily for two reasons: (1) the employee is receiving more in compensation from unemployment benefits than the employee had been receiving from the company in pay; and (2) the employee has anxiety about returning to work because of the pandemic.

In another of the many new laws concerning employment, the 2020 Virginia General Assembly passed and the Governor approved HB 395 which will increase Virginia’s minimum wage from its current $7.25 per hour to $15.00 per hour by 2026. The increase is to occur gradually, with the hourly rate increasing to $9.50 on May 1, 2021, $11.00 on January 1, 2022, $12.00 on January 1, 2023, $13.50 on January 1 2025 and $15.00 on January 1, 2026.

The Department of Labor has provided some additional guidance about the small business exemption to the FFCRA’s expanded FMLA child care-related paid sick leave requirements.  An employer, including a religious or nonprofit organization, with fewer than 50 employees is exempt from providing (a) paid sick leave due to school or place of care closures or child care provider unavailability for COVID-19 related reasons and (b) expanded family and medical leave due to school or place of care closures or child care provider unavailability for COVID-19 related reasons when doing so would jeopardize the viability of the small business as a going concern. Businesses are entitled to the exemption if an authorized officer of the business has determined that:

The new Virginia Values Act will go into effect July 1, 2020. This is groundbreaking legislation that, among other things, prohibits discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The law is far-reaching and governs discrimination in employment, public accommodations, housing, banking and education.  This blog will focus on the employment aspects of the new law.

This will be the first in our series about the new legislation resulting from the 2020 Virginia General Assembly session.

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