Posted on Jul 07, 2020
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter July 7th, 2020
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and mandatory social distancing, most of our volunteer opportunities and community support activities have been postponed. In response, we've continued to fund local and international charities. We've continued to meet on Tuesdays at noon. But, to maintain social distancing, our meetings have moved on-line. 
Speaker: Liz Adler, Beacon Law Group (Zoom photo below)
Liz spoke with us about employment issues in the era of the COVID-19 quarantine. She is a partner in Beacon Law Group LLC, which specializes in business and employment law. She represents clients in business disputes, wrongful termination and discrimination claims, general counseling and the drafting and negotiation of contracts. Liz co-founded Beacon Law Group after 25 years in private practice in Boston.
She organized her presentation into four parts, commenting on the impact on business from:
  1. Massachusetts' Re-opening Plan,
  2. Congress' Families First Coronavirus Relief Act and
  3. their "CARES Act" (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act), and
  4. Things employers may need to think about on the return to work.
Liz pointed out that the primary source of information on our state's re-opening plan is: For each business considering how to reopen there are four sections to help them create a unique reopening plan that considers: Social Distancing, Hygiene Protocols, Staffing and Cleaning/Disinfecting. They have to plan for the safe distancing and hygiene of both clients and employees. They have to plan a response to the discovery that they've got a sick employee.
The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act created a paid sick leave program funded by the federal government for previously uncovered employees of businesses with less than 500 employees. The first two weeks are at full pay for workers who were quarantined or for working parents who were forced to miss work to care for children whose schools were closed for the quarantine. Weeks three through ten are at 2/3rds pay for caregivers. The CARES Act established loans from the federal government to small businesses that can change to grants, if certain rules are followed that were intended to help retain employees on the payroll despite the quarantine. The CARES Act also expanded federally funded unemployment compensation to 39 weeks with a $600/week supplement and expanded coverage to self-employed and gig workers. Needless to say, there are an extended list of rules and requirements for all of these governmental support programs. A handy summary of these laws is included in the "News" tab on Beacon Law Group's website:
Beacon Law Group can help guide employers to comply with the new laws and the impact on their business from decisions on staff reductions, furloughs vs terminations, pay vs hours reductions, and the procedures to be followed to protect against lawsuits. To contact Liz:
Next Week's Speaker: A Tour of The Needham Channel