December, 2020


As this year thankfully ends, accompanied by exciting hope for a better one ahead of us, it was a tumultuous year for employment lawyers, whether representing employees or employers.

No single event made an impact upon every workplace as did the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To be safe from the virus, we all worked from home, with all the convenience and frustrations that come from working remotely.

We embraced a new technology, whether Zoom, Teams or Cisco.  Our dress changed, as ties and jackets were replaced by quarter-zips and sweaters.

Most importantly, new laws were passed to help both employees and employers cope with loss of income, loss of business revenue and loss of job.  State and federal courts shut down and continue to be shuttered as this pandemic continues.  Executive Orders by Governors waived time limits for legal action, statutes of limitations and even liability during this pandemic.

As employment attorneys, we earned continuing legal education credits about these new laws affecting the workplace by attending more webinars than we can count.

On March 27, 2020 the CARES Act was passed, including the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which consists of the Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA).  Medical care providers were exempted.

Eligible individuals received a $1200 payment benefit from the federal government.

Unemployment benefits were enhanced through the CARES act.

The CT Department of Labor’s Shared Work Program allowed employers to reduce hours and wages by between 10-60% and permit employees to collect partial unemployment without being laid off.

The CARES Act also provided a small business loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) providing loans of up to 10 million dollars, which could be forgiven.

These employment and business protections end with the expiration of the CARES act, December 31, 2020.

Congress is considering another round of another much-needed stimulus benefit package.

Let us hope that 2021 is a better year for both employees and employers.

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