The Impact of COVID-19 on Employment Law: What Employers and Employees Need to Know

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended almost every facet of our lives, and employment law is no exception. With businesses shutting down, employees losing their jobs, and government restrictions on working conditions, COVID-19 has brought about a slew of new challenges and legal considerations for employers and employees alike.

Here are some of the key impacts of COVID-19 on employment law:

Unemployment Benefits

The pandemic has caused a surge in unemployment rates, with millions of Americans losing their jobs. To help those who have lost their jobs, the federal government passed the CARES Act, which expanded unemployment benefits. This includes extending the length of time that someone can receive benefits, increasing the amount of benefits that they can receive, and providing benefits to people who wouldn’t normally qualify for unemployment benefits, like self-employed workers and gig workers.

Remote Work

The pandemic has also led to a significant increase in remote work. To keep employees safe, many employers have shifted to having employees work from home. While remote work was already an option for many employees, there are now even more legal considerations that employers and employees need to be aware of. For example, employers need to ensure that their employees have the necessary equipment and software to work remotely, and that they are complying with data privacy and security rules.

Workplace Safety

In addition to remote work, employers need to take steps to ensure workplace safety. This includes providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees, implementing social distancing measures, and implementing cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Employers also need to ensure that they comply with laws related to workplace safety, like OSHA regulations.

Returning to Work

As the pandemic continues, businesses are starting to reopen and employees are returning to work. Employers need to ensure that they have a plan in place for returning to work, and that they are complying with state and local regulations related to reopening. They also need to consider the impact that returning to work will have on employees who have children at home or who are at a higher risk for COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a slew of new legal considerations for employers and employees alike. Businesses need to ensure that they are complying with laws related to workplace safety, remote work, and returning to work. Employees need to know their rights related to unemployment benefits and workplace safety. By staying informed and working together, employers and employees can navigate these uncertain times and emerge stronger on the other side.

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