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FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT
March 19, 2020

As expected, yesterday the President signed into law HR 6201: Families First Coronavirus Response Act. HR 6101 is a sweeping piece of legislation that aims to provide a variety of emergency relief measures to businesses and individuals, including paid family and sick leave for employers with FEWER THAN 500 employees.

Here is a link to the new law, which will take effect no later than April 2, 2020 (providing employers with up to a fifteen (15) day period to implement business protocols, policies and procedures to comply with the Act’s requirements) : https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201/text. A copy of the Act is also attached to this e-mail.

The new law adds 2 new leave obligations for small and medium-sized employers through December 31, 2020.

First, it amends the FMLA for COVID-19-related leaves as follows:

  1. Amends the definition of ‘employee’ to include anyone who has been employed by an employer for at least 30 days.
  2. Amends the definition of employer from "50 or more employees" to "fewer than 500 employees."
  3. Provides leave for an employee who is unable to work or telework due to a need to care for the employee’s minor child if the child’s school or place of care has been closed or the child care provider is unavailable due to a public health emergency.
  4. Provides that the first 10 days of COVID-19-related leave may be unpaid and allows employees to choose to substitute accrued vacation/PTRO or other sick leave during this time period.
  5. After the first 10 days of unpaid leave, employers must continue paid FMLA leave at a rate of no less than two-thirds of the employee’s usual rate of pay. The Act limits the amount of required pay for leave to no more than $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate.
  6. Requires job restoration following any such leave for any employee of an employer with 25 or more employees.

Please note that unlike the usual FMLA eligibility requirements, an employee is eligible upon completion of 30 days of employment to take the emergency paid family leave.

Second, it provides 80 hours of paid sick leave for full-time employees (or pro-rata for part-time employees) if the employee is unable to work or telework as follows:

  1. $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate if:

(1) The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;

(2) The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19; or

(3) The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.

  1. $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate if:

(4) The employee is caring for an individual subject or advised to quarantine or self-isolate

(5) The employee is caring for a son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed, or child care provider is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions; or

(6) The employee is experiencing substantially similar conditions as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.

An employee is immediately eligible for paid sick leave. This new sick leave obligation is IN ADDITION TO any existing sick leave benefits already provided by the employer, and the employer cannot require the employee to first use the employer-provided sick leave benefits.

Discrimination and retaliation for exercising leave rights is prohibited. Failure to provide leave constitutes a failure to pay wages (hence exposure to wages claims). While an employee-friendly law, these new leave requirements make it more expensive for employers to do business. Employers must first pay the employees and then get reimbursed in the form of a tax credit equal to 100% of the leave wages paid by the employer. There are many questions raised by this new law, and we expect the Department of Labor to issue guidance soon. In the meantime, employers must start taking steps for the imminent requirement to comply.

DAVIS WANG PROMOTES MICHELLE YOUNKIN TO MANAGING ATTORNEY
October 24th, 2019

Davis Wang, PLC, a woman and minority-owned full-service employment law and complex litigation firm, is pleased to announce that Michelle Younkin has been promoted to Managing Attorney.

As Managing Attorney, Ms. Younkin oversees all aspects of the Firm’s operations and, with Founder Shirley Wang, is responsible for facilitating client relationships, devising and implementing litigation strategies and providing high-level strategic advice. Ms. Younkin plays an active role in the recruitment and professional development of the Firm’s attorneys and staff and leads the Firm’s diversity, inclusion and values-based initiatives.

In addition to her management responsibilities for the Firm and the Firm’s clients, Ms. Younkin also litigates complex cases. Her current practice focuses on the defense of class and collective actions, including wage and hour claims, and discrimination claims brought under federal and state employment and fair housing statutes. She advises private and public companies and non-profit organizations, along with their boards, on best practices for compliance with wage and hour laws, the prevention of workplace discrimination and harassment, and the prevention of workplace violence.

“Michelle is an excellent attorney, and a creative, strategic thinker. Her two decades of legal practice combined with her past experience as an entrepreneur give her a distinctive perspective on the issues facing our clients. Michelle solves problems without known solutions, and I am excited that Michelle will join me in leading the growth of the firm,” says Shirley Wang, the Founder of Davis Wang.

Prior to beginning her employment law practice, Ms. Younkin litigated antitrust and unfair business practices matters in the main office of an international law firm based in San Francisco. Her later role as Founder of a boutique e-discovery company, informs her practical, business-oriented approach to litigation and trial strategy. Ms. Younkin earned her law degree from the University of California Hastings College of the Law, and her undergraduate degree in English and Psychology, summa cum laude, from Kenyon College.

DAVIS WANG WELCOMES ADDITION OF SENIOR COUNSEL HANNIBAL P. ODISHO
October 7th, 2019

Davis Wang, PLC, a woman and minority-owned full-service employment law and complex litigation firm, is pleased to announce the addition of Hannibal P. Odisho as its Senior Counsel.

Mr. Odisho joins Davis Wang with a decade of employment law experience representing companies, governmental employers, and non-profit organizations in all phases of employment law litigation, including wage and hour disputes, employment whistleblower claims, and employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation cases...Read More

News

2019 Employment Laws Updates

2018 Employment Laws Updates

2017 Employment Laws Updates

Trainings/Presentations

Best Practices for Conducting Internal Workplace Investigations—Tips From the Trenches, 15th Annual National Association of Dealer Counsel

April 29, 2019, Dana Point, CA.

Shirley Wang on panel of speakers.

Navigating Compliance and Litigation Landmines of CA Wage and Hour Laws

May 14, 2019, Alameda County’s California Employer Advisory Council, Fremont, CA.

Shirley Wang and Courtney Rogerson on panel of speakers.

Recent Results

  • Successfully briefed, argued, and obtained from the California Court of Appeal (First Appellate District) an affirmance of judgment following a favorable jury verdict for a home care services provider and individually-named defendants on a complex personal injury matter.
  • Successfully briefed, argued, and obtained from the California Court of Appeal (Fourth Appellate District) an affirmance of judgment following dismissal from a successful demurrer and motion to strike obtained on an employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation matter on behalf of the nation’s largest public school employees’ labor union.
  • Obtained favorable settlement prior to class certification on a class and Private Attorney General Act action complaint relating to a novel pay averaging theory of unpaid wages claims, along with other pay stub and meal and rest period claims involving service technicians for nationwide specialty services cleaning company.
  • Obtained a dismissal from the federal court of the Northern District of California for a nationwide non-profit affordable housing provider relating to a civil rights/habitability matter.
  • Obtained a dismissal of class claims from the Los Angeles County Superior Court prior to the commencement of discovery in a wage and hour class action alleging unpaid wages for off-the-clock work, missed meal and rest periods, unreimbursed business expenses, among other claims on behalf of a nationwide specialty cleaning services company.
  • Obtained voluntary dismissal following submission of a Motion for Summary Judgment on behalf of a nonprofit private club in a breach of contract matter.
  • Obtained quick voluntary dismissal of a breach of privacy lawsuit filed in San Diego County Superior court prior to filing a responsive pleading for a nationwide car dealership.
  • Successfully obtained voluntary dismissal of unpaid wages lawsuit involving an auto service technician paid on piece-rate

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