COVID-19 BUSINESS RESOURCE CENTER

As a strategic partner, SLG assists businesses in a variety of industries to make informed decisions regarding legal issues stemming from the COVID-19 global pandemic.  We are here to help your business navigate the myriad of evolving federal, state, and local laws and regulations to allow for you to operate safely and in compliance with applicable rules.

BUSINESS CONTRACTS

Evaluate the potential legal basis to proactively terminate or renegotiate contracts with vendors, suppliers, customers, or others as a result of force majeure, frustration of purpose, impossibility or impracticable performance

Provide timely notice of event that allows for delayed performance, including force majeure

Mitigate impacts of delayed performance to the extent possible

When entering new contracts or agreements add force majeure or other delayed performance provisions or clauses for diseases, epidemics, and quarantines

COMMERCIAL AND REAL PROPERTY

Review leases and consider creating addendum related to COVID-19 and/or to address tenant default

Determine impact of rent eviction moratoria on your business and/or your tenants 

Prepare for the “New Normal” as properties re-open by evaluating potential premises liability issues for all visitors and tenants

Consult with environmental health experts, where possible, to develop a cleaning plan, with ongoing monitoring, by a qualified team 

Develop operating protocols, including how to respond to known or suspected COVID-19 cases

Effective communication with all stakeholders is key to managing expectations and insuring that property operations can continue safely and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations

EMPLOYMENT

Effective communication is key: Prepare for and ensure effective communication with employees, including information about their rights and how to raise complaints

Best Practices: Develop best practices to handle remote workers, including telecommuting policies, proper employee classification, and tracking hourly workers

Update Policies and Comply with All Posting Requirements: Review, update, and create policies with respect to leaves of absence, work from home guidelines, vacation time and other PTO, and employee travel, with an eye towards new COVID-19 specific laws and regulations. Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with recent legislation and public health guidance, and that employees are aware of and understand these policies.

  • Employers with more than 25 employees should be aware of the requirements of the 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law, which goes into effect March 29, 2021, at which point it becomes retroactive to January 1, 2021 and remains in effect until September 30, 2021.  This law entitles employees to up to 80 hours of paid sick leave (at a maximum of $511/day for a total cap of $5,110) for qualifying reasons, including to receive a vaccine.  This entitlement is in addition to paid sick leave requirements under the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act (HWHF). The new law also imposes notice posting, wage statement, and record-keeping requirements. FAQs posted by the Labor Commissioner about this law are available here.

Prepare for the “New Normal:” Develop a plan to bring employees back to the workplace

  • Be prepared to address concerns about returning to the workplace for employees in high risk categories

  • What to do if an employee refuses to return to work

  • Consult with environmental health experts, where possible, to develop a cleaning plan, with ongoing monitoring, by a qualified team

  • Develop operating protocols, including to respond to known or suspected cases of COVID-19

Workers Compensation: SB 1159 codifies and supersedes Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-62-20, which had covered all California employees who worked at a jobsite outside their home at the direction of their employer between March 19 and July 5, 2020. SB 1159 also creates for employees who get sick from COVID-19 after July 6, 2020, a rebuttable presumption of eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits if (a) the employee is a first responder or health care worker, or (b) the employee works for an employer with five or more employees and tests positive for COVID-19 during an outbreak at their specific workplace.  FAQs on SB 1159 from California’s Department of Industrial Relations are available here.

ENVIRONMENTAL
INSURANCE

Coverage may be available for the business interruption and lost income experienced as a result of the coronavirus global pandemic and/or the government’s stay at home order

Property policies may apply if the coronavirus constitutes physical harm, damage or loss to property

Employers-practices liability policies may provide coverage for claims resulting from layoffs or furloughs

Directors and Officers policies may provide coverage for claims regarding alleged mismanagement related to the coronavirus pandemic

Review all policies that may apply and immediately notify carrier of potential claims

Collect and maintain documents evidencing financial loss and costs incurred to address and respond to the pandemic

Work closely with broker to review any new policy language for 2020/21 renewals, as additional exclusions may be added as a result of COVID-19 pandemic

GUIDANCE AND OTHER INFORMATION
LOCAL RESOURCES

Disclaimer:  The above is provided for general information only and should not be relied on as legal advice