News and Analysis
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) this week posted an updated and expanded technical assistance publication addressing questions arising under the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It features a Q&A section to address frequent questions from employers. 4/9/2020
Supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment to raise Ohio’s minimum wage to $13 an hour this week filed a lawsuit to help it get the hike on the November ballot. Hannah News Service reported that because of the governor’s stay-at-home order, the group is asking the court to extend the deadline for submitting signatures; lower the threshold for the number of signatures needed; allow for continued collection during verification; and allow signatures to be collected online. 3/31/2020
The NLRB this week finalized changes to union election rules focused largely on the process of decertifying unions. According to a story by Politico.com, before the changes, unions could block decertification elections indefinitely by filing unfair labor practice charges. Under the new rule, ballots can in some instances be opened and counted rather than impounded. Organizers will also be required to provide evidence they have support from a majority of workers before entering into a full bargaining relationship with an employer.
While the AFL-CIO voiced its displeasure, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation called the rule a “significant step forward towards fully protecting the statutory right of employees … to remove a union opposed by a majority of workers.” 4/2/2020
The OMA has created a list of frequently asked questions that we have received from members regarding state and federal actions taken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The answers provided in this FAQ document are not legal advice, but intended to serve only as guidance and general reference for manufacturers. For specific questions regarding your operations, be sure to work with your internal experts and legal counsel. 3/26/2020
Last week, Congress passed and President Trump signed a second coronavirus emergency aid package called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) — known as “phase two” of the federal response. The bill addresses the growing health and economic crises with provisions for paid sick leave, free testing and expanded unemployment benefits.
Members have raised questions about this new law, so we thought we would share insight published by selected OMA Connections Partners regarding the FFCRA:
- Clark Schaefer Hackett’s updated summary.
- RSM’s “Tax Alert” summary.
- Bricker & Eckler summary.
- Plante Moran’s summary.
- GBQ Partners’ frequently asked questions.
If you’re looking for analysis of the pending $2 trillion emergency package — known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, or “phase three” — Clark Schaefer Hackett has an early summary, as does Calfee, Fisher Phillips, and the National Association of Manufacturers. The House is scheduled to vote on the legislation later today, March 27. 3/27/2020
This State of Ohio website has been created for essential businesses — including manufacturers and their suppliers — to help ensure compliance with Ohio’s stay-at-home order. It includes the workplace safety “checklist” that is contained in the order. Please take time to visit this site. 3/26/2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has suspended all representation elections, including mail ballot elections, for the next two weeks effective immediately, through and including April 3, 2020. The NLRB said it will monitor the situation and adjust the date as necessary. 3/23/2020
Due to the continued spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) — and government’s response — the OMA this week emailed special updates to members and hosted two briefings to address concerns and questions raised by manufactures. These updates and recorded briefings are available at the OMA’s COVID-19 Resources Page, which also contains important links to federal, state, and OMA Connections Partner resources.
For health-related questions about COVID-19, contact the Ohio Department of Health’s call center at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634) or visit the ODH website. 3/26/2020
Due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) — and government’s response to it — the OMA this week sent members special updates on Thursday, March 19, Wednesday, March 18, and Monday, March 16. (Click on the email dates if you missed our communications.) The OMA will continue these special updates as necessary — and will warehouse content on the OMA’s COVID-19 Resources Page.
This outbreak is first and foremost a human resources crisis, but its impact now reaches far beyond the HR space. Therefore, there are several other virus-related updates throughout this Leadership Briefing.
At last check, Ohio had 119 confirmed cases and 33 individuals hospitalized. Positive test results have been found in 24 counties.
Counties with confirmed cases were: Ashland (1), Belmont (2), Butler (8), Clark (1), Coshocton (2), Cuyahoga (53), Darke (1), Delaware (2), Franklin (10), Geauga (1), Hamilton (1), Huron (1), Lake (2), Lorain (6), Lucas (1), Mahoning (5), Medina (5), Miami (1), Montgomery (1), Richland (1), Stark (5), Summit (6), Trumbull (2), Tuscarawas (1).
Here is new COVID-19-related guidance from OMA Connections Partners:
- Clark Schaefer Hackett has published this summary of the new federal “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” which takes effect April 2. The firm notes that employers may be eligible, depending on the direct or indirect impact to their employees, for up to a total of $12,000 in tax credits for employees that are on sick leave and/or emergency leave.
- Frantz Ward has also published a summary of the new federal law. Bricker & Eckler has posted its analysis, too.
For health-related questions about COVID-19, contact the Ohio Department of Health’s call center at 1-833-4ASKODH (1-833-427-5634). 3/20/2020
Here’s the latest regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19):
- Gov. Mike DeWine has announced he will close all K-12 schools — public, private and charter — at the end of the day Monday, March 16, until April 3. (Please check with your local schools for exact details.) The closures do not include child-care facilities.
- Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Amy Acton has signed an order banning gatherings of 100 or more people. The ban does not include grocery stores, forms of transit, typical office environments, or factories, among others places.
- Because community spread is occurring, Dr. Acton said it’s likely that at least 1% of Ohio’s population is carrying this virus today. One percent of the state’s population is roughly 117,000 people. (See video of the governor’s latest COVID-19 update.)
- As of Thursday, five Ohioans had tested positive for the coronavirus. There are 52 Ohioans awaiting coronavirus test results, while 30 have tested negative and 333 are under health supervision. This website provides real-time, Ohio-specific information regarding the coronavirus.
- If you have questions regarding how to protect your employees and prepare for COVID-19, the ODH coronavirus call center can be reached at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH. The agency operates the center seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and staff includes infectious disease experts.
- ODH has released this brief guidance document for employers, as well as a list of frequently asked questions.
- OSHA has published 35 pages of guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19.
- The World Health Organization has published a five-page guidance document for employers.
- The CDC has published a list of frequently asked questions about the coronavirus, and a short document on keeping workplaces and homes safe.
- The U.S. EPA has published a list of disinfectants to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, as has the American Chemistry Council’s Center for Biocide Chemistries. The latter says “this product list is not exhaustive but can be used by business owners to identify products suitable for use during the COVID-19.”
- Several OMA Connections Partners have published guidance for employers:
- RSM has created its coronavirus resource center to help business leaders stay on top of this developing situation, including this article on five things businesses can do operationally to prepare.
- Bricker & Eckler has posted this guidance on maintaining a healthy workplace after employees have traveled.
- Dinsmore published this article covering the many laws an HR manager needs to consider while implementing practical business solutions required during a pandemic.
- Calfee reports the IRS has announced that high-deductible health plans are allowed to cover costs associated with testing and treatment for COVID-19 without violating current regulations.
- This interactive map by Johns Hopkins shows the location of every reported COVID-19 case in the world. At last check, more than half of the cases were listed as “recovered.”
The OMA continues to monitor updates from ODH, as well as the latest situation summaries from the CDC. 3/12/2020