Effective May 1, 2020, Philadelphia became the tenth jurisdiction to enact employment legislation to protect domestic workers.1 The Philadelphia Domestic Worker Bill of Rights (DWBR) requires companies and individuals who employ domestic workers to provide them with written employment contracts, meal and rest breaks, and paid and unpaid leave. It
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A Pennsylvania court affirmed an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review holding a claimant to be eligible for unemployment benefits after her employer terminated her employment for testing positive for marijuana. Washington Health System v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, No. 886 C.D. 2019 (May 11, 2020).
On May 1, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that, effective May 8, 2020, 24 Pennsylvania counties will be moved from the “red” to “yellow” phase under the governor’s Process to Reopen Pennsylvania. The counties are: Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Union, Venango, and Warren.
On April 22, 2020, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a decision affecting the classification of independent contractors for purposes of the state Unemployment Compensation Law (UCL).
Late on April 20, 2020, the City of Philadelphia issued Temporary Emergency Regulations to the Philadelphia Notification of Intention to Close or Relocate Operations ordinance (Philadelphia WARN Act), continuing the trend of changes to state and local WARN obligations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.1
Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine has issued an order requiring protections for critical workers who are employed at businesses that are authorized to maintain in-person operations during the COVID-19 emergency. The order took effect immediately on April 15, 2020, but does not become “enforceable” until 8 p.m. on April 19, 2020.
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine, M.D. issued an Order on April 15 aimed at preventing further spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. The Order was immediately effective, but it will not be enforced until 8:00 p.m. Sunday, April 19, 2020. Under the Order, life-sustaining businesses authorized to maintain in-person operations are required to implement numerous health and safety measures that require: reconfiguration of work and public spaces; deployment of protective equipment such as masks and shields; notices to customers and employees; and changes to scheduling and break procedures. These requirements affect all life-sustaining businesses except healthcare providers.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has announced a new Order related to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Signed by Dr. Rachel Levine under her authority as Secretary of the Department of Health, the April 15, 2020, Order is designed to provide additional protections for employees of essential businesses who are working during the pandemic — along with the public with whom they come into contact.
The Pennsylvania legislature has amended the state law on unemployment compensation to require employers in the Commonwealth to provide employees at the time of separation with notice of the availability of unemployment compensation — regardless of whether the employer is liable for payment of contributions to the state’s unemployment compensation fund.
In its latest response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania has ordered mandatory cleaning protocols for large buildings throughout the Commonwealth. On Sunday, April 5, 2020, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine issued an Order to take effect immediately at 12:01 a.m. Monday, April 6, 2020. The Order was issued days after Governor Wolf recommended Pennsylvanians wear face masks or coverings when in public.
There were several developments in Pennsylvania this week regarding orders dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Tom Wolf extended his “stay at home” order to all counties in the Commonwealth. The governor also stepped up the enforcement of the business closure orders by state and local government officials. Then, late on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) announced that the waiver process for securing an exemption from the business closure orders will close on Friday, April 3, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. EDT, again leaving the business community scrambling.
The City of Philadelphia launched the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund to assist businesses that are struggling as a result of city- and state-wide mandated business closures. According to city representatives, over $9 million in economic assistance is available in the Fund.
On March 22, 2020, the mayor of Philadelphia issued an Emergency Order temporarily prohibiting operation of non-essential businesses and congregation of persons to prevent the spread of Covid-19, updating and extending his Order of March 17, 2020, and mandating all Philadelphia residents to stay at home except for limited purposes. The Order goes into effect at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, March 23, 2020, and remains in effect “indefinitely.” The mayor’s March 17 Order was set to expire on March 27, 2020.