News Digest 3-19-2020

Quote of the day

“More employees will want to work from home even after social distancing recommendations are over. They’ll say, ‘I did it before, why can I not do it now?’ which employers will need to be prepared to respond to.”

Angela Hall, professor, Michigan State University’s School of Human Resources and Labor Relations

MSU Today



Washington: King County gives financial advice during crisis

A King County, Washington councilmember provides financial assistance advice, including links to file for workers’ compensation and other services, to help people cope with the coronanavirus outbreak. Patch (Redmond, Wash.)


Tips for working successfully in a time of social distancing

Angela Hall, a professor in Michigan State University’s School of Human Resources and Labor Relations, says the coronavirus experience and its attendant “social distancing” response will significantly change workplaces of the future. Here, Hall offers her top tips to increase productivity and be a good employee. MSU Today


Coronavirus relief bill has limited liability protection for medical mask makers

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, passed over the weekend by the House of Representatives, contains provisions to ensure employees would be able to take paid sick leave, to allow access to free coronavirus tests, and to strengthen the unemployment insurance system. But many Republicans in Congress, as well as industry representatives, wanted the bill to contain liability protection covering all types of respirator masks certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, not just the disposable N95 masks that have been used in industrial and medical settings. Legal Newsline


Michigan gov expands benefits due to COVID-19

As of Monday afternoon, an estimated 600,000 workers in Michigan’s foodservice industry were facing layoffs as the state’s bars and restaurants were ordered to close to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has ordered temporary expansion of unemployment benefits to cover workers who are sick, quarantined, immunocompromised or have an unanticipated family care responsibility, and first responders who become ill or must self-quarantine. The governor also says she is seeking to help self-employed workers and independent contractors who traditionally do not have unemployment insurance. Detroit Free Press


Insurance, contracts may not protect against virus disruptions

The economic reality of the coronavirus, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, is beginning to include questions of how, if at all, insurance may compensate companies for their losses, and whether COVID-19 will trigger force majeure clauses. BizWest


Fed-OSHA issues temp guidance for healthcare industry in response to possible respirator shortage

As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the United States, one concern is whether there are sufficient numbers of respirators in order to protect healthcare providers who are on the frontlines of dealing with infected and potentially infected patients. On March 14, the Department of Labor issued temporary enforcement guidance regarding respirators. National Law Review