Caietti Law Group News Feedhttps://www.caiettilaw.com/?t=39&anc=518&format=xml&stylesheet=rss&directive=0&records=20en-us25 May 2020 00:00:00 -0800firmwisehttp://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rssFinancial Elder Abuse - Marrying into Elder Abusehttps://www.caiettilaw.com/?t=40&an=108884&format=xml&p=659313 May 2020 | Bloghttps://www.caiettilaw.com?t=39&anc=518&format=xml&stylesheet=rss&directive=0&records=20Work at Home as Reasonable Accommodation in Disability Cases with COVID-19https://www.caiettilaw.com/?t=40&an=108631&format=xml&p=659304 May 2020 | Bloghttps://www.caiettilaw.com?t=39&anc=518&format=xml&stylesheet=rss&directive=0&records=20COVID-19: Employer Toolbox - Personnel Policies and Employee Handbookhttps://www.caiettilaw.com/?t=40&an=108499&format=xml&p=659328 Apr 2020 | Blog<p>Even the most prepared employer may not have anticipated a global pandemic reaction plan was needed as part of their business plan, policies, or employee handbook. Stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders and the resulting reductions in business revenue, combined with new federal and state legislation, can be confusing and overwhelming, to say the least.</p> <p>Here are some policies and procedures to consider adding to your business arsenal, as well as some COVID-19-related topics to review.</p> <ul> <li>Remote work policy and authorization form</li> <li>Remote access policy</li> <li>Furlough policy</li> <li>Health and safety policies and postings</li> <li>FFCRA mandatory postings</li> <li>Updated state unemployment website information</li> <li>Federal and state sick leave requirements under COVID-19 specific legislation</li> <li>Local and state rent relief policies, for residential and commercial tenants</li> <li>Expansion of FMLA coverage for COVID-19-related leave requests and needs</li> <li>Small business relief programs, including paycheck protection, economic injury grants, and debt relief</li> </ul> <p>It is also a good idea to review your existing policies and handbooks to make sure everything is compliant with state and federal laws.&nbsp; Additionally, with the ongoing furloughs and economic impact, reviewing your files to ensure you have the required furlough, layoff, and termination paperwork is prudent.</p> <p>For example, a &ldquo;packet&rdquo; of information and forms for reference when making the difficult decision to furlough or terminate an employee might include:</p> <ul> <li>Notice to Employee as to Change in Relationship</li> <li>&ldquo;For Your Benefit&rdquo; Unemployment Pamphlet from EDD</li> <li>COBRA and Cal-COBRA notices and election forms</li> <li>Coverage continuation notices</li> <li>Federal and Cal-WARN Act notice</li> <li>Acknowledgment of final paycheck</li> </ul> <p>Now is also an appropriate time to verify contact information for your employees.&nbsp; This ensures you can contact them via email and/or phone if you need to notify them of a furlough or offer available work.&nbsp; Further, you will have a valid mailing address in the event you have to send a check, wage statement, or other information and documents.</p>https://www.caiettilaw.com?t=39&anc=518&format=xml&stylesheet=rss&directive=0&records=20COVID-19: Unemployment and Underemployment Claims in Californiahttps://www.caiettilaw.com/?t=40&an=108287&format=xml&p=659321 Apr 2020 | Blog<p>Many California employers are hoping to make layoffs and reductions in force methods of last resort, instead opting first for furloughs, pay cuts, or changes in status from full-time to part-time for their employees. Employees who are subject to such reductions may still be eligible for partial claim benefits from the EDD and CARES Act (stimulus) Pandemic Unemployment Act benefits.</p> <p><b><i>Unemployment and Underemployment Claims</i></b></p> <p>In California, the maximum weekly benefit amount for unemployment insurance (UI) is $450.&nbsp;The weekly amount is calculated by looking at the highest-earning quarter in an applicant&rsquo;s base period and dividing the total wages from that quarter by 26.&nbsp;If the resulting number is $450 or greater, the applicant receives the maximum benefit amount.&nbsp;Anything less, the applicant receives that amount per week.</p> <p>When an employee experiences a reduction in weekly wages earned, perhaps, for example, a furlough resulting in the employee&rsquo;s regularly scheduled weekly hours decreasing from 40 to 32, the employee can apply for an underemployment or partial unemployment insurance claim.</p> <p>Partial claims are calculated by first finding the UI weekly benefit amount if an employee was totally unemployed.&nbsp;In California, the benefit amount can range from $40 to $450.&nbsp;Then, the employee&rsquo;s new weekly amount must be calculated.&nbsp;The new weekly amount is what the partial claim is based on, so it can change if employees work more hours or fewer hours in a given week.</p> <p>The EDD subtracts 75% of the new weekly amount from the maximum benefit to find the partial claim amount.&nbsp;A pay reduction itself does not guarantee that an employee will receive partial claim benefits.&nbsp;It is the amount of the pay reduction that is critical in determining eligibility.&nbsp;For example, if an applicant&rsquo;s maximum benefit is $450 and a pay cut or reduction in work hours results in earning only $320 per week, the partial claim amount is: 450-(320 x 75%) = 210.&nbsp;The employee would receive $210 as the partial claim benefit amount.</p> <p>This is an approximation and will differ from employee to employee, but it is a little-known unemployment insurance benefit that could provide critical benefits to employees facing pay cuts or changes in status during this time.</p> <p>Additionally, the CARES Act provides for an additional $600 week in federal benefits, routed through and distributed by state unemployment agencies.&nbsp;This means eligible employees must apply for unemployment insurance claims through the California EDD in order to receive the federal funds.&nbsp;The $600 additional weekly benefit is added to any state benefit an employee receives, as long as the employee is eligible to receive at least $1 in state benefits.&nbsp;Thus, an employee in California could receive $640 to $1,050 per week in unemployment benefits after the CARES Act funds are distributed.&nbsp;</p> <p>This illustrates the importance of partial unemployment claims &ndash; employees who experience partial unemployment could be eligible for $600 in federal stimulus funds, even if not totally unemployed.&nbsp;</p> <p><b><i>Pandemic Unemployment Assistance</i></b></p> <p>As part of the CARES Act, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program helps Californians who may not be eligible for regular state UI benefits and are unemployed or underemployed for COVID-19 related reasons.&nbsp;Business owners, self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and applicants with limited work histories are the main focus of PUA in California.</p> <p>PUA offers up to 39 weeks of UI benefits starting with weeks of unemployment beginning February 2, 2020, through the week ending December 26, 2020, depending on when an applicant became impacted by the pandemic.</p> <p>Applicants are eligible for weekly PUA benefit amounts as well as the supplemental $600 weekly benefit allotted through the CARES Act Pandemic Additional Compensation program described above.&nbsp;The $600 supplemental weekly benefit is available for unemployment starting the week of March 29, 2020 through July 25, 2020.</p> <p>PUA has its own eligibility criteria, including:</p> <ul type="disc"> <li>You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis.</li> <li>You are unable to work because a health care provider advised you to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.&nbsp;</li> <li>A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.</li> <li>You are providing care for a family member or a member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.&nbsp;</li> <li>A child or other person in the household for whom you have primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19&nbsp;<b>and</b>&nbsp;the school or facility care is required for you to work.</li> <li>You became the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19.</li> <li>You have to quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19.&nbsp;</li> <li>Your place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.</li> <li>You were scheduled to start a job that is now unavailable as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.</li> <li>You are unable to reach the place of employment as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.</li> <li>If you work as an independent contractor with reportable income, you may also qualify for PUA benefits if you are unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work because the COVID-19 public health emergency has severely limited your ability to continue performing your customary work activities, and has thereby forced you to stop working.</li> </ul> <p>The California EDD will start accepting online applications for PUA benefits on April 28, 2020.&nbsp;Applicants can be eligible for benefits dating back to February 2, 2020, depending on the last day of work and PUA effective date.&nbsp;Initial benefit payments are broken down into three time periods:</p> <ul> <li>$167 per week of unemployment due to a COVID-19 related reason from February 2, 2020 through March 28, 2020</li> <li>$167 plus $600 per week of unemployment due to a COVID-19 related reason from March 29, 2020 to July 25, 2020</li> <li>$167 per week of unemployment due to a COVID-19 related reason, up to a total of 39 weeks</li> </ul> <p>Unemployment and underemployment benefits provided by new federal legislation are distributed through state unemployment insurance agencies.&nbsp;Employees and employers should be aware of the unemployment and underemployment insurance benefits and options as businesses and workers navigate these unprecedented times.&nbsp;Additional information can be found at edd.ca.gov and employees should be encouraged to regularly visit the EDD&rsquo;s COVID-19-specific pages for assistance and information.&nbsp;New resources and guidance are constantly added as the new benefits are implemented.</p> <p><i>The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.&nbsp; Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.&nbsp; This website contains links to other third-party websites. &nbsp;Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; the author does not recommend or&nbsp;endorse the contents of the third-party sites.</i></p> <p><i>Readers of this website should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. &nbsp;No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. &nbsp;Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein &ndash; and your interpretation of it &ndash; is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.&nbsp; Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website authors, contributors, contributing law firms, or committee members and their respective employers.&nbsp;</i></p> <p><i>The views expressed at, or through, this site are those of the individual authors writing in their individual capacities only &ndash; not those of their respective employers or this site.&nbsp; All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this site are hereby expressly disclaimed.&nbsp; The content of this posting is provided &quot;as is;&quot; no representations are made that the content is error-free.</i></p>https://www.caiettilaw.com?t=39&anc=518&format=xml&stylesheet=rss&directive=0&records=20Trust/will Beneficiaries May Be Able to Sue The Estate Planning Attorney for Malpractice Based on the Negligent Drafting of the Will and/or Trusthttps://www.caiettilaw.com/?t=40&an=108189&format=xml&p=659316 Apr 2020 | Bloghttps://www.caiettilaw.com?t=39&anc=518&format=xml&stylesheet=rss&directive=0&records=20COVID-19: Commercial Rent Reliefhttps://www.caiettilaw.com/?t=40&an=107880&format=xml&p=659308 Apr 2020 | Blog<p>When it comes to rent relief, options for residential tenants have been widely publicized, but many employers, facing a downturn in business, are wondering what options <i>they</i> have for relief.</p> <p>The City of San Diego passed a temporary ban on evictions for commercial and residential tenants on March 25, 2020 which is in effect until May 31, 2020 (or potentially longer, if the City Council extends it). It applies to tenants who cannot timely pay rent due on or after March 12, 2020 due to COVID-19.&nbsp;&nbsp;California Governor Newsom signed a similar executive order on March 27th.&nbsp;&nbsp;The city ordinance requires tenants, commercial or residential, to do the following:</p> <ul> <li>Provide written notice to the landlord, on or before the date rent was due, that the tenant is unable to pay rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19</li> <li>Financial impacts can include a substantial decrease in business income due to business closure, loss of compensable hours of work or wages, layoffs, or substantial out of pocket medical expense</li> <li>Within one week of providing notice, provide the landlord documentation or objectively verifiable information that the tenant is unable to pay rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19</li> <li>Tenants afforded protection under the Ordinance have up to 6 months from the date the ordinance is effective (March 25th) or the withdrawal of Governor Newsom's order, whichever is first, to pay all unpaid rent.&nbsp;&nbsp;This means you are still required to pay the full amount of rent owed pursuant to the terms of the lease, even if there is a temporary delay or nonpayment.</li> </ul> <p>The full text of the City of San Diego ordinance is available at: <a href="https://docs.sandiego.gov/council_reso_ordinance/rao2020/O-21177.pdf" target="_blank">https://docs.sandiego.gov/council_reso_ordinance/rao2020/O-21177.pdf</a></p> <p>Governor Newsom&rsquo;s executive order is available at: <a href="https://www.gov.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/3.27.20-EO-N-37-20.pdf" target="_blank">https://www.gov.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/3.27.20-EO-N-37-20.pdf</a></p> <p>The full terms of the City of San Diego ordinance include enforcement provisions and detail other scenarios, including rent payments in the event a lease is terminated early.&nbsp; While the ordinance is in effect through May 31, 2020, it is likely this could change, as we have seen COVID-19 create an ever-changing landscape of protections, provisions, and relief.</p>https://www.caiettilaw.com?t=39&anc=518&format=xml&stylesheet=rss&directive=0&records=20COVID-19: Furlough Policieshttps://www.caiettilaw.com/?t=40&an=107837&format=xml&p=659307 Apr 2020 | Blog<p>As quarantine, isolation, and stay-at-home orders remain in place, employers and employees are facing business closures and workload reductions which have lasted for several weeks and could continue for months. As a result, employers need to consider the possibility of layoffs or furloughs for their workforce.</p> <p>While a layoff is, for all intents and purposes, a termination, a furlough is a mandatory, temporary, unpaid leave from work.&nbsp; Furloughs can be for one day a week (for example, many California school districts instituted &ldquo;furlough days&rdquo; several years ago, sporadic days without school to try and reduce payroll due to budgetary concerns) or for a longer duration.&nbsp; At the end of a furlough, employees are notified they can return to work.&nbsp; The idea behind a furlough is that a reduction in work will be spread across multiple employees instead of just one, hopefully reducing the number of employees facing a layoff.</p> <p>For employers who are currently experiencing a reduction in business yet expect to reopen or hope for an increase in work in the coming months, furloughing employees should be considered as an option.</p> <p>Creating and distributing a furlough policy to employees can provide guidance and expectations for the furlough and employees&rsquo; ongoing employment with the company.&nbsp; In a time of uncertainty and constant changes, it can also provide reassurance to your workforce.</p> <p>Things to consider when drafting a furlough policy:</p> <ul> <li>Start with an introductory paragraph explaining the company is experiencing a reduction in business due to the current economic situation and public health emergency/COVID-19, and, as a result, the company must impose a furlough on some employees</li> <li>Employees are not fired, terminated, or laid off.&nbsp; Work hours are being reduced for business reasons</li> <li>Employees are expected to return to their normal work schedule at the end of the furlough period</li> <li>Hourly, non-exempt employees will be paid for all hours/days worked and will not be paid for hours/days for which they are required to take furlough leave without pay</li> <li>Exempt employees will be subject to partial-week or full-week furloughs</li> <li>Employees are free to seek employment with other employers during this time, subject to all company agreements and policies.&nbsp; If an employee secures alternate employment, they need to inform the company/their supervisor/designated contact person immediately</li> <li>Company benefits will continue during the furlough period</li> <li>Employees may file for unemployment due to the reduction in schedule caused by the furlough (direct employees to your state&rsquo;s unemployment agency &ndash; in California, it is <a href="https://www.edd.ca.gov/" target="_blank">https://www.edd.ca.gov</a>)</li> <li>Employees must continue to follow all usual work policies and procedures (and the policies and procedures in the Employee Handbook, if you have one &ndash; consider making this and the policies and procedures accessible online or sending electronic copies to all employees)</li> <li>Employees must notify the company/their supervisor/designated contact person of any changes in contact information so the company can continue to reach employees</li> </ul> <p>In California, the Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement (DLSE) has determined that a properly executed week-long furlough will not result in the employee losing an exemption or being paid improperly as a salaried, exempt individual.&nbsp; However, exempt employees must be paid for the entire workweek if they perform any work within that workweek.&nbsp; As a result, the furlough must be for the entire defined workweek(s) and advance notice must be given.</p> <p>Exempt employees can also be subject to partial-week furloughs, for example, 80% work for 80%, but this is viewed as a salary reduction, not necessarily a true furlough.&nbsp; Employees should also be given advance notice of this type of arrangement.&nbsp; In both scenarios, it is important to ensure the employee&rsquo;s salary does not dip below the minimum exempt salary threshold.</p> <p>Additionally, DLSE guidance states that furloughs longer than 10 days may constitute terminations, and therefore employees would be entitled to final pay, vacation time, and all other notices, paperwork, and information when a termination occurs.&nbsp; While DLSE guidance is not binding on California courts, it is still something to consider when examining the scope and duration of a potential furlough.</p> <p>At the end of the policy, include an acknowledgment of receipt for the employee to sign and return to you.&nbsp; This document should be added to their personnel file. Make sure to include contact information for a company representative and/or direct employees to their supervisors if they have any questions &ndash; this is uncharted territory for many employers and employees alike, and it is important to encourage open communication and asking of questions in order to effectively furlough employees and ensure you are limiting exposure to off-the-clock work during a furlough leave.</p> <p><i>The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.&nbsp; Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.&nbsp; This website contains links to other third-party websites. &nbsp;Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; the author does not recommend or&nbsp;endorse the contents of the third-party sites.</i></p> <p><i>Readers of this website should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. &nbsp;No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. &nbsp;Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein &ndash; and your interpretation of it &ndash; is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.&nbsp; Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website authors, contributors, contributing law firms, or committee members and their respective employers.&nbsp;</i></p> <p><i>The views expressed at, or through, this site are those of the individual authors writing in their individual capacities only &ndash; not those of their respective employers or the firm.&nbsp; All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this site are hereby expressly disclaimed.&nbsp; The content of this posting is provided &quot;as is;&quot; no representations are made that the content is error-free.</i></p>https://www.caiettilaw.com?t=39&anc=518&format=xml&stylesheet=rss&directive=0&records=20COVID-19: Remote Work and Access Policieshttps://www.caiettilaw.com/?t=40&an=107838&format=xml&p=659307 Apr 2020 | Blog<p>Quarantine, isolation, and stay-at-home orders have had, and will continue to have, rippling effects across the economy, including the large section of the workforce now expected to work from home. For many employers, having some or all of its staff accessing the system remotely is new territory.&nbsp; Having a remote work and access policy can help create guidelines and structure for this new territory of business operations.</p> <p>First, consider having employees complete authorization forms for remote work and access (RWA Forms).&nbsp; The form will state a duration of time for remote work (use the end date for your local stay-at-home order and prepare new forms if/when this date changes) and the reason for working remotely.&nbsp; Place the form in the employee&rsquo;s personnel file.</p> <p>Second, draft a policy setting forth guidelines for remote work and system access.&nbsp; In addition to reminders to follow all company policies and the employee handbook, it should include provisions regarding use of employer-provided equipment (software and hardware), as many employees might be working from home/remotely for the first time and have newly-acquired company electronics, like phones or laptops.</p> <p>Some items to include in your policy:</p> <ul> <li>Employees must follow all usual work policies and procedures (and the policies and procedures in the Employee Handbook, if you have one &ndash; consider making this and the policies and procedures accessible online or sending electronic copies to all employees)</li> <li>Employees will confirm the secure use of company and client information during remote access</li> <li>All remote work-related information should be stored in accordance with the company&rsquo;s document storage system</li> <li>Track and record hours worked in the same manner required as when working at the regular company worksite</li> <li>Employees shall be reachable by phone, text, or email during agreed-upon work hours</li> <li>Overtime and meal and rest break policies remain in place, and the employee needs to record hours worked and breaks taken</li> <li>If the employee is unable to maintain a work environment that is ergonomically sound, clean, safe, and free of obstructions or hazardous conditions, they need to let their supervisor/HR/designated contact person know immediately</li> <li>Employees agree to report work-related injuries</li> <li>If employees are required to use their personal cell phones, devices, computers, printers, supplies, etc., they need to request reimbursement by submitting the appropriate expense reimbursement form</li> <li>Employees with company-issued equipment agree to care for it and prevent any intentional damage to the equipment, damage resulting from gross negligence, damage from a power surge without use of a surge protector, or damage from failure to maintain virus protection software</li> <li>Employees are expected to preserve company information and maintain confidentiality &ndash; do not leave documents up on computer screens, do not take client calls where others can hear you</li> </ul> <p>At the end of the policy, include an acknowledgment of receipt for the employee to sign and return to you.&nbsp; This document should be added to their personnel file. Make sure to include contact information for a company representative and/or direct employees to their supervisors if they have any questions &ndash; this is uncharted territory for many employers and employees alike, and it is important to encourage open communication and asking of questions in order to create productive work-from-home environments and ensure the company&rsquo;s work product and confidential information remains secure.</p> <p><i>The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.&nbsp; Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.&nbsp; This website contains links to other third-party websites. &nbsp;Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; the author does not recommend or&nbsp;endorse the contents of the third-party sites.</i></p> <p><i>Readers of this website should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. &nbsp;No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. &nbsp;Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein &ndash; and your interpretation of it &ndash; is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.&nbsp; Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website authors, contributors, contributing law firms, or committee members and their respective employers.&nbsp;</i></p> <p><i>The views expressed at, or through, this site are those of the individual authors writing in their individual capacities only &ndash; not those of their respective employers or the firm.&nbsp; All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this site are hereby expressly disclaimed.&nbsp; The content of this posting is provided &quot;as is;&quot; no representations are made that the content is error-free.</i></p>https://www.caiettilaw.com?t=39&anc=518&format=xml&stylesheet=rss&directive=0&records=20COVID-19: FFCRA and DOL Guidancehttps://www.caiettilaw.com/?t=40&an=107732&format=xml&p=659303 Apr 2020 | Bloghttps://www.caiettilaw.com?t=39&anc=518&format=xml&stylesheet=rss&directive=0&records=20COVID-19: Families First Coronavirus Relief Acthttps://www.caiettilaw.com/?t=40&an=107733&format=xml&p=659303 Apr 2020 | Bloghttps://www.caiettilaw.com?t=39&anc=518&format=xml&stylesheet=rss&directive=0&records=20