Coronavirus (COVID-19)

During the Covid-19 pandemic, companies should focus in the first instance on health and safety issues for workers, customers, and the public at large during a pandemic, but they cannot lose sight of the wage and hour risks that are lurking in these challenging times.

For a staggering number of U.S. businesses over the past

Let me be the millionth person to say that we are living in unprecedented times.

Well, unless you count the Spanish Flu, which few of us probably dealt with as that was more than a century ago.

And, not incidentally, few if any of the wage-hour laws employers deal with today were in place back

With summer rapidly approaching and COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders still in effect, many companies face an important and difficult decision of canceling this year’s summer programs, delaying start dates or conducting programs virtually. This ultimately will be a business decision with no one-size-fits-all answer.

A good first step is to assess whether the influx of new summer workers will help or hinder current operations. Are temporary summer interns a boost to productivity or a drag on experienced employees who may be called upon to train and mentor them? Will the employer expect to offer employment to these summer recruits following the internship?

In addition, given the seismic nature of COVID-19 that has indiscriminately shaken businesses in most industries, can an employer’s business afford to bring on temporary summer workers and, if so, does the business have the literal and figurative bandwidth to support these workers, especially if they will be teleworking for at least part of the summer?

Below are five compliance and management issues employers should consider for their upcoming summer programs.

Onboarding

Typically employers have a pre-employment screening process in place for summer interns/analysts/associates, which may include, among other things, screening for illegal drugs and controlled substances; investigating and verifying criminal history; and verifying education and prior employment history. Many steps in the screening process take place in person. However, even where new hires may be asked to commence employment remotely, including an incoming summer class, compliance is still possible.

Since the start of COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has relaxed many of the regulatory requirements for onboarding new hires. On March 20, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that for the next 60 days or for the duration of the National Emergency (whichever is sooner), employers with staff teleworking due to COVID-19 can obtain and inspect new employees’ identity and employment authorization documents remotely rather in the employee’s physical presence, as long as they provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and teleworking policy for each employee.


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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shelter-in-place and related orders, many businesses across America have already shuttered, while others are on the brink of collapse.  In these challenging times, businesses are understandably considering any and all potential solutions to keep their employees on payroll while remaining solvent.  Some employers have even been considering

The U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has renewed its invitation to employers and employees to engage in a “national online dialogue” in connection with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which took effect on April 1.  The DOL is soliciting comments and questions with respect to its questions and answers, posters, and fact sheets

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As we previously wrote here, employers with work-from-home (“WFH”) policies in place need to make sure they are appropriately

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