March 26, 2020
- Directs employers to “make a reasonable effort” to comply with DOT training and testing requirements and, if unable to comply, employers must document why the requirements were not met.
- Maintains that training and testing requirements must still be met in order for employees to exercise related functions, “If employers are unable to conduct DOT drug and alcohol testing due to the unavailability of testing resources, the underlying modal regulations continue to apply.”
- Ordinarily, failure of states to comply with CDL regulations results in withholding of federal highway funds. The FMCSA notice waives this provision for state licensing agencies that choose to extend CDLs and/or extend medical certification requirements.
- Extends validity of intra- and interstate CDLs until June 30, 2020 as well as waives the requirement for a medical examination and certification with proof of valid medical certificate that expired on or after March 1, 2020.
- Identifies federal CDL regulations that FMCSA will not take enforcement discretion on until June 30, 2020.
- Answers common questions for drivers and motor carriers, including document verification and electronic logging device records.
- Questions and answers on TSA procedures for obtaining and renewing hazardous materials endorsements, which are also subject to determinations by state authorities.
- For 90 days, PHMSA will not take enforcement action on the federal requirement to conduct refresher training for hazardous material employees. PHMSA emphasizes that employers may still utilize web based, remote, or on the job training to satisfy the refresher training requirement. See DOT: Guidance on Compliance with DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulations.
- Because Ohio Revised Code 1327.56 requires the ticket to accompany the delivery, utilizing an electronic delivery ticket or taping the delivery ticket to the door of the home would both be good alternatives to knocking and hand delivering the ticket to the recipient. If those alternatives are not available, you may email a receipt per NIST Handbook 44.
March 23, 2020
FAQs ON OHIO STAY AT HOME ORDER
March 22, 2020
NON-ESSENTIAL OHIO WORKERS ORDERED TO STAY AT HOME
March 19, 2020
HR 6201 – THE IMPACT TO EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES
HR 6201, which will be signed by the President, would create several significant new leave and pay obligations for covered employers.
First, HR 6201 would create the “Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act” which would give eligible employees of companies with fewer than 500 employees the right to take leave from their jobs for certain qualifying needs. An eligible employee is one who has been employed by the employer for more than 30 days and who has a qualifying need related to a public health emergency. Qualifying needs are:
If an employee takes qualifying leave under the FMLA Expansion Act, the employee can take the first 14 days of leave as unpaid leave. The employee may elect to use any accrued leave instead of taking unpaid leave, but the employer cannot force any employee to take accumulated leave. After the 14 days, the employer shall provide paid leave for each additional day of qualifying leave. The payment for leave must be equal to at least 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay multiplied by the number of hours the employee otherwise would have been scheduled to work. Employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of qualifying leave, which is in addition to leave for other reasons covered by the FMLA.
HR 6201 gives the Secretary of Labor the right to exempt employers with less than 50 employees from the leave obligation if it is determined that the obligation would “jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.” It remains to be seen whether these smaller employers would be exempted.
HR 6201 would also create the “Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act” which will require all employers under 500 employees to provide paid sick time to all employees (even new hires) for any of the following reasons:
If the employee qualifies for paid sick time, the employer must grant a full-time employee 80 hours of paid leave and must grant part-time employees the number of hours that such employee works on average over a two-week period. Employees must receive full pay for time missed due to their own health reasons, and must be paid two-thirds (2/3) for time missed to care for a family member or child.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave is in addition to any other paid leave the employee is entitled to, so for Michigan employers, that means it is in addition to leave time under the Paid Medical Leave Act. At present, we do not know whether employers could require employees to use sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act for the first two weeks of unpaid leave taken for a qualifying need under the FMLA Expansion Act.
Finally, among other things, HR 6201 will provide dollar-for-dollar payroll tax credits for employers to help offset the cost of paid FMLA leave and paid sick leave. It would also prohibit all group health plans, health insurance issuers and individual health insurance plans from imposing any cost-sharing requirements related to COVID-19. This would include deductibles, copayments and coinsurance.
Both the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act would become effective fifteen (15) days after signed into law by the President, and both would expire on December 31, 2020.
Provided by Warner Norcross & Judd, LLP. If you have questions, please contact any member of Warner’s Labor and Employment Practice Group. 616-752-2000.
March 13, 2020
IMPORTANT COVID-19 MESSAGES
- While the propane industry by its very nature is more isolationist than other energy providers, perhaps you could encourage your drivers to limit interaction with customers.
- Similarly, perhaps it is worth notifying your customers that your drivers will limit customer interaction more than they normally would interact with them during this challenging time.
- Consider limiting exposure of your employees to customer homes in non-emergency situations. When in-home customer assistance is needed, remind your employees to limit customer exposure and practice sound hygiene to limit liability and exposures.
- If you do not already have one, perhaps you could adopt a payment drop box to limit exposure to those customers that pay bills in person.
- Encourage more customers to pay bills via credit card or online payments to limit exposure and lines in your office.
- Hopefully by now, you have received most of your low income assistance payments from the state of Ohio. The OPGA certainly understands how frustrating that process has been for all of you!
- As the COVID situation intensifies, the OPGA would like to warn you that low income assistance is likely to be impacted. The approval and payment processes are likely to be among those affected if/when work stoppages or employee absenteeism occurs.
- While all OPGA members have already shown tremendous patience and grace when it comes to low income assistance and deliveries to low income households, the OPGA would like to ask all members to show more grace and understanding as all Ohio households grapple with this situation.
- If you haven’t done so already, the OPGA asks all members to think about how your company will address low income customer situations on a case-by-case basis if/when payment assistance is impacted by COVID.
- Obviously the flu has already impacted many OPGA members since the 2019-20 heating season started. Should employee absenteeism increase as a result of COVID, are you ready?
- If/when schools or daycares close as a result of COVID, are you and your employees prepared with those effects as you provide heat and energy to your customers?