New - Alternatives to Layoffs
Presented on May 27, 2020 | With Gerard Panaro
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Many people and firms these days are offering seminars and webinars (some of them even free!) on the emergency family medical leave and sick pay laws that have just been enacted in response to the coronavirus pandemic. What is unique and special about this webinar, however, is that it is not limited just to these two new laws. In 90 minutes, this webinar will give participants a 360-degree view of practically all of the legal issues involved in dealing with the coronaovirus pandemic in the workplace; will offer suggestions for handling the workforce during this crisis; and will give you the legal “pros and cons” of each decision you may make. This webinar, for example, will answer questions such as: what is the difference between furloughing an employee and a layoff?Can you reduce the hours and/or pay of employees? Reassign them? Have them work alternate weeks? If yes, does it make any difference if the employee is classified as “exempt” or “nonexempt”? If an employee is furloughed, can his/her health insurance coverage continue? Can furloughs be unpaid? Can you reduce an employee’s hours, does that trigger COBRA obligations? If you keep employees on the job and they contract the virus, is that considered an “occupational disease” covered by workers comp? These are the types of questions, issues, practical problems that this webinar will address – in addition to covering the emergency leave laws – so that you will at least be aware of your options.
On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a temporary rule implementing the FFCRA’s paid leave requirements. The rule provides direction for administration of the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA); provides direction for the effective administration of the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA); and is intended to provide guidance to the regulated community as they implement the statutory requirements.
There are many positions in a bank which either the courts have classified as “nonexempt” or which, based on the nature of the position, arguably may be exempt or nonexempt. For example, the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that mortgage loan officers are not exempt under the FLSA, so there is no doubt about that. In another action, loan appraisers won a settlement ruling that they were not exempt employees. On the other hand, a loan officer may or may not be classified as an “exempt” employee, depending on the nature of his/her job, the amount of independent judgment and discretion s/he exercised, salary, and other factors. (Simply being paid on a salary basis, by the way, does not automatically make one an “exempt” employee.)
So this webinar will do much more than simply acquaint you with the highlights of the FFCRA; it will also present you with ideas, options and alternatives for avoiding outright terminations and will do so specifically in the context of banking and banking jobs.
Gerard P. Panaro is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center, admitted in D.C. and Maryland, and holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Boston College. He is resident in the D.C. (Georgetown) office of Howe & Hutton, a Chicago law firm with another office in St. Louis, Missouri.
Mr. Panaro has focused on employment law for nearly the entire 25 years he has been an attorney. He is the author of a nationally recognized treatise on employment law, Employment Law Manual, a 1500-page volume that was first published in 1990. He is also a regular contributor of articles to numerous HR magazines and publications, and a speaker and trainer. He is a Bankersonline Guru.