Courtesy of ESEA's lobbying firm, Harter Secrest & Emery ...
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers are looking for ways to help their employees cope with the ongoing crisis. For example, many employers have offered free coverage of COVID-19 testing and treatment under their group health plans and are enhancing employee assistance program benefits to deal with the psychological toll. Of course, in these uncertain times, many employees are worried about the financial impact of the pandemic, not only with respect to potential lost wages, but also from the ancillary expenses, such as caring for impacted loved ones and daycare expenses now that many schools have closed. When President Trump declared that the COVID-19 pandemic constituted a national emergency on March 13, he opened the door for employers to take advantage of an often-overlooked provision in the tax code that would allow employers to make tax-free "qualified disaster relief payments" to employees.
Please click the button below to review this LEGALcurrents®.
May 4, 2020
New York State DOH Issues Guidance Regarding Testing For Essential Workers!
As New York State aggressively expands COVID-19 diagnostic testing capacity, the Department of Health has revised guidance to increase testing for frontline workers, including all first responders, health care workers, and essential employees who interact with the public, while continuing to prioritize resources. Testing for COVID-19 shall be authorized by a health care provider for individuals who meet one or more of the following criteria:
For additional details, please refer to the NYSDOH website: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-testing.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has granted an RVP waiver to provide additional flexibility to the marketplace to transition from winter-grade, high volatility gasoline to summer-grade low vapor pressure gasoline. The waiver begins on May 1, 2020 and lasts through May 20, 2020. Nationwide Fuel Waiver Concerning Summertime Volatility Requirements for Gasoline.
PHMSA Issues Enforcement Waiver For CDL Hazmat Driver Reoccurring Training
Please click here to read more.
FMSCA Suspends HOS Regulations for Those Aiding COVID-19 Relief. For a copy of the FMCSA waiver please click here.
Use of this waiver is only applicable in the direct support of Emergency Relief.
March 21, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order, which formally adopts the 100% workforce reduction for nonessential businesses. This executive order also tolls until April 19, 2020 any specific time limit “for the commencement, filing or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding, as prescribed by the procedural laws of the state, including but limited to the criminal procedure law, the family court act, the civil practice law and rules, the court of claims act, the surrogate’s court procedure act, and the uniform court acts, or by any other statute, local law, ordinance, order, rue, or regulation, or part thereof.”
Further, this executive order suspends the requirement that company boards hold in-person shareholder meetings, prohibits evictions/foreclosures for 90 days and extends driver’s license and vehicle registrations for the duration of the order. The text of the executive order can be found here:
Overnight, Empire State Development (ESD) updated the guidance for determining whether a business was essential or non-essential. We anticipate that this guidance will continue to be updated, and we will send you those updates as we receive them. The guidance can be found here:
Fuel retailers/wholesalers are covered under the list Essential Infrastructure which includes fuel supply and gas stations are included under the list for Essential Retail, skilled trades, such as electricians, plumbers and other related construction firms and professionals for essential infrastructure or for emergency repair and safety purposes are included under Construction.
As a reminder, for businesses that are unclear regarding their classification as essential, ESD has established an online form that can be submitted to receive an individual designation. The form can be found here:
The form must be submitted by an individual business and cannot be submitted by an Association on behalf of a particular industry.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
It also directs the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to implement a risk adjustment pool to help stabilize the DBL/PFL insurance carrier industry. Also, if federal COVID-19 benefits are approved, these state benefits would only apply if they would provide employee benefits in excess of what is available under federal law.
REMINDER: To help keep up with the quickly changing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, below are some important resources related to the economic impacts for businesses and workers ...
ESEA emailed a notice to members regarding the ordering of cloth face masks through PMAA/FEMA/DOE offer. Forty companies took advantage of this offer and a total 3,400 masks were ordered. Orders to be shipped today. From what we know, there should be another ordering period - Date Still To Be Determined. We will update you once we know more.
ESEA has been able to locate a few other sources for face coverings. Please see below:
Personal Protection Equipment of Texas - can handle orders of any size, for both 3 ply surgical masks, as well as KN95 respirator masks (recently FDA approved). https://ppetexas.com/order-ppe
SC Health SPV - Contact Lance Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-297-799 https://www.schealthspv.com
Click here to download the SC Health Personal Protective Equipment Brochure.
Orange Packaging - a family owned and operated business in Newburgh, NY. are currently producing between 30,000 to 50,000 face shields per week. You can order by contacting Mike Esposito at 845-742-9766 or through the order link.
NARFA N95-Compliant Masks - Contact Josie Gelfin - email@example.com for all orders.
Click here to download the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Order Form.
In addition to PPE face masks and shields, Fuel Management Services is now offering FDA/CDC compliant Kwik-Kleenz Hand Sanitizer and Multi-Purpose Cleaner. For more information click on the links above, see write up below or call 732-929-1964 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for price quotes and other inquiries.
If you or your company can offer PPE equipment or has contacts that can help, please contact ESEA.