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Related eAlerts and Webinars

Warner continues helping our clients address the state and federal issues related to the COVID-19 virus. Our interdisciplinary team of attorneys remain on top of the many changes prompted by this novel coronavirus and continue to provide timely updates and needed outside counsel to our clients.

Warner’s COVID-19 Resource Center provides an array of additional business and legal insights from our attorneys including an archive of our Question of the Day (sorted by date and topic), eAlerts with thumbnail summaries (also sorted by date and topic) and Webinars with quick access for you to register for upcoming webinars or download materials and recordings of previous webcasts.

And if you haven’t already signed up to have future updates delivered directly to your inbox, please subscribe by sending your email address to covid@wnj.com.

Summary of COVID-19 Related eAlerts and Webinars

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Advertising

4-10-20 Advertising: No More Advertising of Certain Non-Essential Goods for Larger Stores

As of April 13, 2020, all operating stores larger than 50,000 square feet must cease advertising certain non-essential goods. Governor Whitmer’s April 9, 2020 Executive Order No. 2020-42 (“Revised Order”) requires operating stores of more than 50,000 square feet to refrain from advertising or promoting goods that are not groceries, medical supplies or items necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and basic operation of residences. Read the full article here.

Banking/Finance

10-6-21 Commercial Finance: SBA Issues Final Rule Related to PPP Loan Review Decision Appeals Process

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued a new Final Rule (“Rule”) addressing the procedures for borrowers of a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan to appeal final SBA PPP loan review decisions to the Officer of Hearings and Appeals (OHA). Read the full article here.

1-27-21 Commercial Finance: SBA Issues FAQs and Interim Final Rule Related to PPP Loan Calculations and Loan Forgiveness

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has released new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and issued a new Interim Final Rule (IFR) addressing “First Draw” and “Second Draw” Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans authorized under the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act (Economic Aid Act). Read the full article here.

1-14-21 Commercial Finance: SBA Issues Two Interim Final Rules Related to PPP Loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued two new Interim Final Rules (IFRs) addressing “First Draw” and “Second Draw” Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans authorized under the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act (Act). Read the full article here.

1-4-21 Commercial Finance: Paycheck Protection Program Loans – Round Two

On Sunday, December 27, 2020, President Donald Trump signed a COVID-19 relief bill that extends and modifies several provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Title III of the new law, called Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits and Venues Act (Act), allocates $284 billion to a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans. Read the full article here.

10-9-20 Commercial Finance: SBA Issues Interim Final Rule and Streamlined Loan Forgiveness Application for PPP Loans $50,000 and Under

On Thursday, October 8, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released SBA Form 3508S, a streamlined loan forgiveness application, and an accompanying interim final rule (IFR) simplifying the loan forgiveness process for businesses that received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan of $50,000 or less. Read the full article here.

10-5-20 Commercial Finance: SBA Issues Guidance on Change of Ownership Process for Entities That Received PPP Loans

On Friday, October 2, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released a Procedural Notice (Notice) addressing the required procedures for changes of ownership of an entity that has received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. The Notice is effective as of October 2, 2020. Read the full article here.

8-5-20 Commercial Finance: SBA Releases FAQs on PPP Loan Forgiveness

On Tuesday, August 4, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of Treasury released new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) concerning forgiveness of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Although the FAQs compile common questions regarding general loan forgiveness, payroll cost forgiveness, non-payroll cost forgiveness and loan forgiveness reductions, this new format may be helpful to review. Read the full article here.

7-24-20 Commercial Finance: SBA to Accept PPP Loan Forgiveness Applications Beginning August 10, 2020

On Thursday, July 23, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued a Procedural Notice (Notice) to inform Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) lenders of the processes for: (1) submitting decisions on PPP borrower loan forgiveness applications to the SBA and requesting payment of the forgiveness amount determined by the lender; and (2) SBA loan forgiveness review and payment of the loan forgiveness amount determined by the SBA. Read the full article here.

7-14-20 Commercial Finance Webinar: Update on PPP Loan Forgiveness

Warner attorneys Charlie Goode, Jeffrey Ott, Ford Turrell and Philip Haywood presented a webinar about the latest developments in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness. Click here to listen to a recording of the webinar.

6-24-20 Commercial Finance: SBA Issues Interim Final Rule Implementing Flexibility Act Changes to PPP Loan Forgiveness Rules

On Monday, June 22, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of Treasury issued a new Interim Final Rule (IFR) implementing changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) contained in the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020 (Flexibility Act). These changes include an extended 24-week covered period in which funds may be utilized, extended five-year loan maturity date, a decrease in the percentage of loan proceeds that must be used for payroll costs to 60%, additional exemptions and safe harbors from reductions in loan forgiveness, and updated timing of when borrowers must apply for forgiveness. Read the full article here.

6-22-20 Bankruptcy: Restructuring Debt for Small Businesses and Family Farmers Post COVID‑19

Join Warner partners Susan Cook and Rozanne Giunta for a webinar for accountants and financial advisors focused on the favorable provisions of the new small bankruptcy law. This law will simplify the reorganization process for small businesses and family farm clients and allow them to restructure their debt on the heels of the COVID‑19 crisis. Click here to read more about this webinar.

6-18-20 Commercial Finance: SBA Streamlines PPP Forgiveness Application for Certain Borrowers and Revises Existing Forgiveness Application

On June 17, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) released a new borrower-friendly, three-page “EZ” Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application (EZ Application), and also released a revised version of its original forgiveness application for borrowers who do not qualify to use the EZ Application. Read the full article here.

6-12-20 Commercial Finance: SBA Issues Interim Final Rule Clarifying PPP Flexibility Act of 2020

On June 5, 2020, President Donald Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (PPP Flexibility Act) into law. Several amendments provided for in the PPP Flexibility Act are retroactive to the date of enactment of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Read the full article here.

6-8-20 Commercial Finance: Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 Summary

On June 5, 2020, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (PPP Flexibility Act) into law. Read the full article here.

5-29-20 Commercial Finance: Small Business Administration Issues Interim Final Rule Related to SBA’s PPP Loan Review Process and Lender Obligations

On Friday, May 22, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of Treasury issued a Lender Interim Final Rule (Lender IFR) that explains the SBA’s process for reviewing PPP loans and provides direction on certain PPP lender responsibilities associated with loan forgiveness. The Lender IFR was issued in conjunction with a Borrower Interim Final Rule (Borrower IFR) outlining borrower obligations related to loan forgiveness. Real the full article here.

5-27-20 Commercial Finance: SBA Issues Interim Final Rule Further Clarifying PPP Loan Forgiveness

On Friday, May 22, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of Treasury issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) that provides some additional clarity on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness. The IFR comes on the heels of the forgiveness Application that SBA issued several days prior (Application). Read the full article here.

5-20-20 Commercial Finance: SBA and Department of Treasury Release Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application and Instructions

On Friday, May 15, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Department of Treasury released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness application. The application includes step-by-step instructions on how to apply for and calculate PPP loan forgiveness in compliance with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Read the full article here.

5-8-20 Commercial Finance: SBA Declares PPP Applicants Must Count Foreign Employees for Size Purposes

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) extends eligibility for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to certain businesses with 500 or fewer employees, among others. On April 2, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued an Interim Final Rule confirming that the SBA’s affiliation rules apply to PPP loan applications. Read the full article here.

5-7-20 Commercial Finance: Paycheck Protection Program: 75/25 Rule

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers are advised to use at least 75% of PPP loan proceeds for payroll costs in order to avoid potential penalties. The current rules are unclear and details are slowly emerging, but the following is an updated overview of issues for you to consider. Read the full article here.

4-9-20 Commercial Finance: Summary of Guidance Related to PPP Loans

On April 3, 2020, Warner provided guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) based on the Interim Final Rule released by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Since that time, the SBA, in consultation with the Department of Treasury, issued further guidance on the PPP. The interim rules and guidance clarified some, but not all, of the open issues related to the administration of the PPP loan program. Read the full article here.

4-3-20 Commercial Finance: SBA Issues Interim Final Rule Related to PPP Loans

On Thursday April 2, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued an interim final rule describing how it interprets the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other related SBA loan provisions of the CARES Act. The interim rule clarified some, but not all, of the open issues related to the administration of the PPP loan program. Read the full article here.

4-2-20 Bankruptcy: CARES Act Temporarily Modifies Provisions of the Bankruptcy Code

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which was signed into law on March 27, 2020, temporarily modifies the Bankruptcy Code to provide: (i) a temporary expansion of the debt limitations under the new Subchapter V small business Chapter 11 provisions of the Bankruptcy Code; and (ii) filing and plan payment relief to Chapter 7 and 13 debtors. These provisions all have a sunset provision which is one year from the enactment of the CARES Act. Read the full article here.

Business Operations

4-22-21 Supply Chain: Webinar: COVID-19 One Year Later: Supply Chain Disruptions

Warner partners Homayune Ghaussi and Laura You presented a complimentary webinar focused on supply chain disruptions plaguing businesses today and legal strategies for them. Click here to learn more about this webinar.

6-15-20 Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Insolvency: Webinar: Small Business Bankruptcy and Michigan Receiverships: Restructuring Alternatives in the Time of COVID-19

Join Warner attorneys Rozanne Giunta and Ralph Colasuonno for a complimentary webinar to address the latest legal changes in bankruptcy and how these changes may impact your business. We will cover the new amendments to the Bankruptcy Code, including the newly streamlined Small Business Chapter 11 process and amendments relating to farm bankruptcies and veteran benefits. Click here to listen to a recording of the webinar.

6-3-20 Health Law: Telehealth in a Changing World – Trending Risks and How to Minimize Potential Exposure

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a paradigm shift in the world of telehealth medicine. Federal rules and regulations, which historically limited Medicare telehealth visits to beneficiaries living in rural areas, have been temporarily relaxed or lifted with one goal in mind: to provide Medicare beneficiaries with greater access to health care while containing the spread of the virus. Among other sweeping changes, providers may now waive Medicare beneficiaries’ copays and deductibles in certain instances, where such waivers likely would have been deemed an impermissible “kickback” prior to COVID‑19. Read the full article here.

5-27-20 Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Insolvency: Webinar: Strategies to Address Financially Distressed Suppliers Resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Join Warner partners Gordon Toering and Jonathan Lauderbach for a webinar on dealing with financially distressed suppliers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses paused all operations due to government shutdown orders to keep employees and customers safe. Today, we are seeing the aftereffects of the pandemic and an increase in financial distress for all companies, including suppliers. Your suppliers’ financial problems can quickly become your own, creating supply chain disruptions and additional costs. However, there are legal strategies available to help deal with your company’s financially troubled suppliers. We will identify and offer best practices and legal tools to address distressed manufacturers and suppliers. Click here to listen to a recording of the webinar.

5-21-20 Governor Whitmer Expands the Reopen of Retail and Car Dealerships, and Permits Non-Essential Medical and Dental Procedures and Veterinary Services

On May 21, 2020, issued new Executive Order 2020-96 (Expanded Reopen Order), which rescinded all prior Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Orders (collectively, Prior Orders). The Expanded Reopen Order takes effect immediately and continues through May 28, 2020, at 11:59 p.m., though several of the changes do not take effect until 12:01 a.m. on May 26, 2020. Read the full article here.

5-20-20 Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Insolvency: Webinar: Feeling the Cash Crunch? How to Manage Distressed Customers in the Uncertainty of COVID-19

Join Warner partners Susan Cook, Rozanne Giunta and Dennis Loughlin for a webinar focused on managing distressed customers during this uncertain time. COVID‑19 has thrown everything we know as “business as usual” out the window. We have all witnessed or experienced its effects ─ and no industry is immune. Many industries are in uncharted territory, as we’ve never attempted to restart entire sectors of our economy from zero. Vital cash resources are being stretched to the limit, resulting in cash-flow crunches. From identifying the early signs of troubled customers to walking the fine line of maintaining business relationships with those customers, we will address pitfalls to be mindful of to make sure your company doesn’t absorb all the risk. Click here to listen to a recording of the webinar.

5-1-20 Supply Chain: Webinar: Business Update: Managing Your Supply Chains After COVID-19

Join Warner attorneys Michael Brady and Homayune Ghaussi in an update about managing external relationships and supply chains after COVID‑19. In this webinar, we will cover: a) how and when to invoke a force majeure provision in an agreement; b) what risks are associated with a force majeure declaration; c) what is expected of my business after I declare a force majeure or have been shut down by a shelter in place order; d) how do I manage customers and suppliers as I get my business up and running again; and e) how to allocate capacity among my customers and establish priority among my suppliers. Click here to listen to a recording of the webinar.

4-24-20 Government Affairs: Webinar: From the Capitol: COVID-19 Update

Join Warner attorneys Troy Cumings and Jim Cavanagh in a COVID‑19 update from Michigan’s capitol. In this webinar, we will address: a) how Lansing has responded to the COVID‑19 crisis; b) the current landscape in Lansing; c) how federal guidelines on reopening will impact Michigan; d) if more executive orders are on the way; and e) when and how the state could transition out of the Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order. Click here to listen to a recording of the webinar.

3-25-20 Medical Device and Manufacturing: Protections Against Liability for Individuals and Entities Providing COVID-19 Countermeasures

Some suppliers are being asked to contribute and shift their production efforts to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are wondering what their potential liability could be if they decide to undertake efforts to manufacture products that are not within their typical practice. The short answer is that there is broad immunity under federal law (that likely preempts state law and bars any state law claims) and a rebuttable presumption of immunity under Michigan law. Read the full article here.

3-24-20 Aerospace, Defense and Government Contracting: White House Mobilizing American Manufacturing in Response to COVID-19

Two recent presidential actions have paved the way for private industry to aid the nation’s COVID-19 response. The president has declared a national emergency under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988 to enable the federal government to access a $50 billion relief fund. He also invoked the Defense Protection Act (DPA) to encourage private industry to increase the production and distribution of emergency medical supplies. Read the full article here.

3-23-20 Government Affairs: Summary of Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order

On March 23, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-21 (the “Order”) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Order demands residents remain at home “to the maximum extent feasible” and prohibits in-person work that “is not necessary to sustain or protect life.” The Order takes effect on March 24, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. and continues through April 13, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. Read the full summary here.

3-18-20 Health Law: Broad Guidance Issued for Telehealth Remote Communications During COVID-19 Crisis

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued broad guidance and announced that it will exercise enforcement discretion for telehealth remote communications during the COVID-19 public-health emergency. Read the full article here.

Cybersecurity

1-11-21 Cybersecurity and Privacy: Preparing For the Next Generation of Ransomware Attacks

More sophisticated ransomware attacks appear to be on the increase. With the disruptions resulting from COVID-19, government regulators and law enforcement are warning businesses to be on the lookout for ransomware attacks. Specifically, those business that operate in highly regulated industries – health care, finance and government contractors – need to be cautious. Additionally, any business that runs older legacy systems that may no longer be regularly patched or supported is also vulnerable. A patient in a German hospital recently died because of delayed treatment after hackers launched a ransomware attack against the hospital’s computers. Read the full article here.

8-4-20 Cybersecurity and Health Care: Callers Beware: How Health Care Companies Can Avoid Liability Under the TCPA

In today’s digital world, hospitals and other health care organizations are increasingly communicating with patients by way of automated text messages, prerecorded voice calls or facsimile. Appointment reminders, prescription refill calls, patient satisfaction surveys, promotions and advertisements or other messages can be easily transmitted to numerous patients by a simple click of a button. However, what callers may not realize is that by simply clicking that button, they may inadvertently violate a federal law known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Read the full article here.

5-28-20 Cybersecurity: Webinar: Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Challenges for Employers Resulting from COVID-19

Join Warner attorneys Norbert Kugele, Nathan Steed and Kelly Hollingsworth for a webinar on data privacy and cybersecurity challenges for employers resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We will address issues that arise as employees work remotely and return to work, such as employee privacy and COVID-19 screenings. In addition, we will explore important regulatory and legal concerns and ways to mitigate potential risks as businesses are forced to adjust to operational changes. Click here to to listen to a recording of the webinar.

4-17-20 Cybersecurity: Confidentiality of Employee COVID-19 Information: An Update from the EEOC

If your business continues to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have implemented screening procedures to identify sick employees who should not be working. Health information that you collect from your employees in this context needs to be kept confidential, and to the extent that you keep records of these screenings, you must ensure that the information is kept separate from the employee’s personnel record. Read the full article here.

4-13-20 Cybersecurity: Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Concerns Amid COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, significant issues related to data privacy and cybersecurity are on the rise, largely triggered by two key factors: (1) more workforce members working remotely; and (2) organizations processing more employee health information. Below, we discuss some of the issues organizations are facing as a result of these and other factors and offer tips for mitigating the risks. Read the full article here.

4-13-20 Cybersecurity: Beware of COVID-19 Scams and Phishing Attacks

During the COVID-19 crisis, criminals continue to ply their trade and many are trying to exploit the crisis for their gain. As an increasingly large number of employees work from remote locations, it continues to be important for businesses to educate their employees about these kinds of attacks to prevent information systems from being compromised. Real the full article here.

Environmental

6-8-20 Resources, Energy and Environment: President Trump Issues Executive Order Curtailing National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act Reviews

On June 4, 2020, President Trump issued an executive order directing the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Transportation and the Departments of Interior and Agriculture to identify infrastructure projects and projects on federal lands that can be moved forward and completed on an expedited basis. The order, citing a national emergency related to economic impacts resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, requires the heads of these agencies to submit a list of such projects to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) within 30 days, and continue to report to OMB on progress every 30 days thereafter. Read the full article here.

4-1-20 Resources, Energy and Environment: EGLE (Sort of) Follows U.S. EPA’s Lead by Excusing Some Environmental Obligations During the COVID‑19 Pandemic

Last week, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a potentially broad policy restraining federal civil enforcement for various environmental obligations. Specifically, the March 26, 2020 Bodine Memo states that the EPA will conditionally exercise “enforcement discretion” for noncompliance with environmental obligations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full article here.

Estate Planning

11-6-20 Trusts and Estates: Governor Whitmer Signs Remote Signature and Notarization Legislation

Yesterday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed several COVID-19-related bills into law that are important to the real estate industry, estate planners and other businesses that rely on notarized or recorded documents. Read the full article here.

4-23-20 Charitable Contributions: New Charitable Contribution Opportunities Under the CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) enacted on March 27, 2020, created incentives to make charitable contributions in 2020, especially for those that itemize deductions. The CARES Act increases the maximum 60% of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) charitable contributions limit to a 100% limit for certain charitable contributions made in 2020. The higher 100% of AGI limit applies to “Qualified Charitable Contributions” as described below. In essence, charitably inclined individuals may be able to completely offset their taxable income for 2020, which opens the door for many other planning opportunities. Read the full article here.

4-9-20 Estate Planning: Michigan Allows Remote Signing of Estate Planning Documents During the COVID-19 Pandemic

See an update to this eAlert: May 7, 2020, FAQ

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for estate planning is more crucial than ever. Our trusts and estates attorneys are working remotely and have been able to effectively discuss estate planning matters with our clients via conference calls and video conferences. We have continued to prepare the estate planning documents our clients need to ensure that trusted individuals can make business, financial and health care decisions in the event of incapacity and that our clients’ wishes are followed with respect to the distribution of their property in the event of death. Read the full article here.

General

6-4-21 Beware the Department of Justice’s New Post-COVID-19 Enforcement Priorities

As the dust begins to settle from the nation’s herculean effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched several new enforcement efforts to prosecute individuals and entities which took advantage of the crisis for personal gain. The DOJ calls its enforcement response to COVID-19 fraud “historic” and promises to prosecute anyone who engages in such fraud “to the fullest extent of the law.” Read the full article here.

5-17-21 Michigan Eliminates Mask Requirement for Fully Vaccinated Individuals, but Workplace Rules Remain Unchanged

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has updated the Gatherings and Face Mask Order (New Order). The New Order comes in response to the CDC’s latest guidance, which recommended that “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting,” except where required by applicable law, including local business and workplace guidance. The New Order is consistent with the CDC’s latest guidance, but represents a departure from the governor’s recently announced MI Vacc to Normal Challenge. Read the full article here.

5-5-21 Michigan COVID-19 Update: Larger Capacities and Reduced Mask Requirements

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued a new Gatherings and Face Mask Order (New Order) on May 4, 2021, that takes effect on Thursday, May 6, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and extends through May 31, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. The April 16, 2021, Gatherings and Face Mask Order (Prior Order) will remain in effect until this New Order is effective. Read the full article here.

3-2-21 New Gathering Orders Expand Indoor Capacity and Allow for Nursing Home Visitations

On Tuesday, March 2, 2021, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued two new orders effective Friday, March 5, 2021, through April 19, 2021. The first order is a revised version of the previous Gatherings and Face Mask Order expanding capacity limitations for various venues and residential gatherings. The second order allows for visitation at long-term care facilities under certain restrictions and requirements. Read the full article here.

2-4-21 Mask Up and Play On! Contact Sports Resume with Risk Reduction Measures

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued a new Gatherings and Face Mask Order (New Order). The New Order, effective on Monday, February 8, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., permits contact sport practice and competition when wearing a mask. The January 22, 2021, Gatherings and Face Mask Order (Prior Order), will remain in effect until February 7, 2021. Read the full article here.

1-22-21 New Gathering Rules Provide for a Return to Indoor Dining

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued a new Gatherings and Face Mask Order (New Order). The January 13, 2021, Gatherings and Face Mask Order (Prior Order) will remain in effect until January 31, 2021. The New Order is effective on Monday, February 1, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. except for expanded limits on capacity in certain stadiums and arenas hosting sporting events where such expanded limits are effective immediately. Read the full article here.

1-13-21 Further Extension and Modification of the Gatherings and Face Mask Order

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has updated the Gatherings and Face Mask Order (New Order). The December 18, 2020, Gatherings and Face Mask Order (Prior Order) has been modified and extended through January 31, 2021. The New Order is effective on Saturday, January 16, 2021. Read the full article here.

12-18-20 Further Extension and Modification of the Gatherings and Face Mask Order

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (Department) has updated the Gatherings and Face Mask Order (New Order). The December 7, 2020, Gatherings and Face Mask Order (Prior Order) has been modified and extended to January 15, 2021. The New Order is effective on Monday, December 21, 2020. Read the full article here.

12-7-20 Extension of the Gatherings and Face Mask Order

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has updated the Gatherings and Face Mask Order (New Order). The prior Gatherings and Face Mask Order (Prior Order) has been extended to December 20, 2020. Read the full article here.

11-16-20 DHHS Order Further Limits Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings and Restricts Higher Education In-Person Learning

In response to the continued rise of COVID-19 cases in Michigan, on November 15, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued its updated Gatherings and Face Mask Order (DHHS Order), further restricting the size of indoor and outdoor gatherings, prohibiting in-person education in high schools, colleges and universities, and requiring continued use of face masks. The DHHS Order takes effect on November 18, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., and will remain in effect through December 8, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. Read the full article here.

10-30-20 DHHS Extends its Epidemic Order

On October 29, 2020, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), extended and revised its epidemic order addressing COVID-19 concerns. The Gatherings and Face Mask Order (DHHS Order) largely tracks the DHHS’s previous order requiring the use of masks in indoor spaces (which include schools) and while playing organized sports, as well as prohibiting congregation at food service establishments. There are, however, a few significant changes. Read the full article here.

10-13-20 MI Supreme Court Doubles Down: Governor’s Executive Orders Are Void

On Monday, October 12, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court issued two rulings that clarify its earlier ruling that Governor Whitmer lacked authority to declare a state of emergency and issue executive orders after April 30, 2020, without the approval of the Legislature. First, the high court denied the Governor’s motion to keep her executive orders in effect until the end of the month, despite the court’s In re Certified Questions decision. That decision was issued after the court received questions from a federal court regarding whether the Governor had authority under the 1945 Emergency Powers of the Governor Act and the 1975 Emergency Management Act, and answered that the Governor did not. Read the full article here.

10-6-20 The State of Mask Requirements and Other Limitations

On Friday, October 2, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an opinion which stated that the statutes Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been relying on as the source of the authority to issue executive orders either do not authorize the Governor’s actions or are unconstitutional. The opinion from the Michigan Supreme Court affects many of the requirements the Governor had put in place in Michigan. The Michigan Supreme Court opinion also resulted in new executive action from both the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and county governments. Read the full article here.

10-3-20 MI Supreme Court Rules Against Governor’s Executive Orders

Late Friday afternoon, October 2, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an opinion which states that the statutes Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been relying on as the source of her authority to issue executive orders either do not authorize the Governor’s actions or are unconstitutional. Despite the dramatic nature of the decision, it has no immediate legal effect. The short version: the Governor’s executive orders remain in effect for the time being, but there is going to be a lot of scrambling in Lansing for the next few weeks. Read the full article here.

9-3-20 PLAY ON!

On September 3, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-176 (Safe Start Order) and Executive Order 2020-175 (Safeguards to Protect Michigan’s Workers from COVID-19 Order), rescinding Executive Orders 2020-160, 2020-161 and 2020-162. The revised Safe Start Order reopens Michigan’s gyms and pools, and allows for organized sports practices and competitions to resume in regions where they were previously restricted. All of these reopenings are subject to strict safety requirements contained in the Safeguards to Protect Michigan’s Workers from COVID-19 Order. Read the full article here.

7-30-20 State of Michigan Slows Down Reopening

On July 29, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020‑160 (Amended Safe Start Order) amending Michigan’s Safe Start Plan and limiting indoor gatherings statewide to 10 people or less and, across most of the state, outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people. Governor Whitmer also issued Executive Order 2020‑161 (Amended Safeguards Order) amending the safeguards to protect Michigan workers and including provisions for the operation of casinos. These executive orders are the latest in a series of executive orders issued by Governor Whitmer responding to the novel coronavirus, COVID‑19. Read the full article here.

7-11-20 No Shirt, No Shoes, No Mask—No Service! State of Michigan’s Current Rules on Reopening

On July 9, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-145 regarding safeguards to protect Michigan workers. On July 10, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-147 expanding the mask use requirement for Michigan residents and businesses. These executive orders are the latest in a series of executive orders issued by Governor Whitmer responding to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Read the full article here.

6-5-20 Upper Peninsula and Traverse City Regions Move to Stage 5; Non-Essential Personal Care Services to Return June 15, 2020

On June 5, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued new Executive Order 2020-115 (Supplemental Reopen Order). The Supplemental Reopen Order does not rescind Executive Order 2020-110 (Reopen Order) but modifies the Reopen Order for Regions 6 and 8 by permitting social gatherings, performances and events, and opening indoor swimming pools. The Supplemental Reopen Order also allows non-essential personal care services to open effective as of 12:01 a.m. on June 15, 2020. Read the full article here.

6-1-20 Governor Whitmer Further Reopens State of Michigan

On June 1, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued new Executive Order 2020-110 (Reopen Order), which rescinded the Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Orders 2020-69 and 2020-96. The Reopen Order takes effect immediately, though certain changes do not take effect until 12:01 a.m. on June 4, 2020, and 12:01 a.m. on June 8, 2020. Read the full article here.

5-18-20 Governor Whitmer Partially Reopens Retail, Restaurants and Offices in Upper Peninsula, Traverse City Regions

On May 18, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued new Executive Order 2020-92 (Reopen Order), which rescinded all prior Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Orders (collectively, Prior Orders). The Reopen Order takes effect immediately and continues through May 28, 2020, at 11:59 p.m., though many of the changes do not take effect until 12:01 a.m. on May 22, 2020. Read the full article here.

5-12-20 Litigation: Webinar: Gaining Access to Government Data During COVID‑19 with FOIA and OMA

Join Warner attorneys, Kristina Araya, Daniel Ettinger and Brian Wassom for a webinar focused on two key legal tools for gaining access to government data: the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Open Meetings Act (OMA). We will share tips, tricks and recent developments from a legal insider’s perspective along with a background on the Michigan and federal FOIAs. Click here to listen to a recording of the webinar.

5-7-20 Governor Whitmer Issues Michigan’s Safe Start Plan

On May 7, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the details of her MI Safe Start Plan, a plan to re-engage Michigan’s economy in six phases. In conjunction with leaders in health care, business, labor and education, the Governor developed the plan based on six phases of the pandemic, including: (1) uncontrolled growth; (2) persistent spread; (3) flattening; (4) improving; (5) containing; and (6) post-pandemic. Read the full article here.

5-7-20 Governor Whitmer Issues New Executive Order to Reopen Manufacturing

On May 7, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued new Executive Order 2020-77 (May 7th Order), which rescinded the prior Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Orders issued on April 24, 2020, March 23, 2020, April 9, 2020, and May 1, 2020 (collectively, Prior Orders). The May 7th Order takes effect immediately, though some changes do not take effect until 12:01 a.m. on May 11, 2020. Unless otherwise altered by this new order, all the prior stay home requirements remain in effect through May 28, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. Read the full article here.

5-3-20 Governor Whitmer Issues New Revised Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order

On May 1, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued new Executive Order 2020-70 (May 1st Order), which rescinded the prior Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Orders issued on April 24, 2020, March 23, 2020, and April 9, 2020 (collectively, Prior Orders). The May 1st Order takes effect immediately and continues through May 15, 2020, at 11:59 p.m., though many of the changes do not take effect until 12:01 a.m. on May 7, 2020. Read the full article here.

4-24-20 Governor Whitmer Issues Revised Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order

On April 24, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued new Executive Order 2020-59 (April 24th Order), which rescinded the prior Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Orders issued on March 23, 2020, and April 9, 2020, (April 9th Order). The April 24th Order takes effect immediately and continues through May 15, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. Read the full article here.

4-24-20 Summary of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act

This week the Senate and House passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (“PPP Enhancement Act”). The PPP Enhancement Act, once signed by the President, provides additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program originally implemented by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to assist businesses affected by the COVID‑19 pandemic. The PPP Enhancement Act also increases funding for Disaster Loans and Grants, and appropriates funds for hospitals, states and localities to increase COVID‑19 testing capacity. Read the full article here.

4-24-20 Webinar: Reopening Michigan: Legal Issues to Consider

Ed Bardelli, Michael Brady and Troy Cumings presented a webinar for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce on April 24, 2019, and addressed the legal issues to consider when Michigan reopens. Updates from Lansing’s capitol were presented, along with tips for reopening businesses and bringing employees back to work. They also discussed assessing your contractual relationships with vendors and customers – and the risks of declaring force majeure. View the PowerPoint presentation here and reach out to Ed BardelliMichael Brady and Troy Cumings with questions.

4-9-20 Governor Whitmer Issues New Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order

As expected, on April 9, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued new Executive Order 2020-42 (“Revised Order”), which rescinded the prior Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order issued on March 23, 2020 (“Previous Order”). The Revised Order takes effect on April 9, 2020 at 11:59PM and continues through April 30, 2020 at 11:59PM. Read the full article here.

3-29-20 Warner Summarizes the CARES Act

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) into law. The CARES Act provides emergency assistance to individuals, families and businesses affected by COVID-19. The CARES Act is divided into two divisions. Division A includes programs to benefit individuals, companies and the health care system affected by COVID-19. Division B describes the supplemental appropriations to help the government respond to COVID-19. Read the full article here.

Human Resources

1-25-22 Labor and Employment: OSHA Announces It Will Withdraw Vaccination/Testing ETS

Earlier today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that on January 26, 2022, it will be withdrawing its emergency temporary standard (ETS) mandating vaccination or weekly testing for certain employees of larger employers. The announcement comes almost two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated a hold on the ETS while challenges to it played out at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court’s ruling was not a decision on the merits, so it was possible (but unlikely) that the Sixth Circuit could have found the ETS to be valid. Real the full article here.

1-13-22 Labor and Employment: Supreme Court Blocks OSHA Vaccine or Testing Rule

In a widely-anticipated decision, the Supreme Court this afternoon blocked the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard that would have required employers with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccination or weekly testing and masking. Finding that the states, businesses and nonprofit organizations that challenged the rule were likely to succeed on the merits of their claim, the court temporarily stayed the rule. In doing so, the court determined that while COVID-19 is a risk that occurs in many workplaces, it is not an “occupational hazard” that can be regulated in this manner by OSHA. While this does not permanently end the dispute, it frees employers from the current compliance deadlines and signals that future implementation of the rule is unlikely. Read the full article here.

1-11-22 Employee Benefits: New Guidance on Health Plan Coverage of OTC COVID Tests

Yesterday, the federal government issued guidance in the form of FAQs that implement President Joseph Biden’s earlier announcement that individuals who purchase over-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 diagnostic tests for personal use during the public health emergency will be able to seek reimbursement from their health plan. Real the full article here.

1-7-22 Labor and Employment: MIOSHA May Delay Adoption of OSHA ETS on COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing

Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on whether to stay the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Emergency Temporary Standard on COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing (ETS). The outcome of this hearing will have significant ramifications for employers and employees. The ETS requires COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for all workers at most companies with 100 or more employees. The issue is on appeal after the Sixth Circuit dissolved a previously issued stay of the ETS on December 17, 2021, clearing the way for OSHA to begin enforcing the ETS. Read the full article here.

12-20-21 Labor and Employment: Sixth Circuit Dissolves Stay of OSHA’s ETS Mandating Vaccine or Testing for Large Employers; OSHA Sets New Enforcement Deadlines

On Friday, December 17, 2021, the Sixth Circuit dissolved the Fifth Circuit’s stay of OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for workers at most companies with 100 or more employees.  Read the full article here.

12-6-21 Labor and Employment: Sixth Circuit Declines To Speed up Schedule for Considering OSHA ETS Stay

Employers will have to wait a little longer for a decision from the Sixth Circuit as to the status of the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for workers at most companies with 100 or more employees. Read the full article here.

11-17-21 Labor and Employment: OSHA ETS Challenges Transferred to the Sixth Circuit Court

Yesterday, the federal courts assigned to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Court all of the challenges to OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for workers at most companies with 100 or more employees. There are at least 34 pending ETS challenges that will be consolidated in the Sixth Circuit, including the cases in which the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a nationwide stay of the ETS last week. Read the full article here.

11-10-21 Labor and Employment Webinar: What Employers Need to Know About the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard

Warner attorneys Karen VanderWerff, Ryan Grondzik and Anne Steen presented a webinar titled “What Employers Need to Know About the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard,” on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. Read more about this webinar here.

11-8-21 Labor and Employment: Warner Offers Federal Contractor Vaccination Policy

In September, President Joe Biden issued Executive Order 14042 which mandated vaccinations for federal contractors and subcontractors. Following the executive order, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force led by the White House COVID-19 Response Team, issued guidance outlining the requirements for compliance. Last week, the White House announced that the deadline for covered employers to comply has been extended from December 8, 2021, to January 4, 2022, mirroring the deadline for compliance with OSHA’s COVID Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard. Read the full article here.

11-8-21 Labor and Employment: Fifth Circuit Stays OSHA Standard Mandating Employee Vaccination or Testing

As predicted, the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that OSHA published in the Federal Register on Friday was immediately challenged, and just one day after the publication, a federal appeals court suspended its implementation. Read the full article here.

11-4-21 Labor and Employment: Additional Details: OSHA Issues Standard on Vaccine or Testing Mandate

Today, OSHA issued its long-awaited Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for all workers at most companies with 100 or more employees. The ETS and related materials are available here. Read the full article here.

11-4-21 Labor and Employment: Breaking News: OSHA Issues Mandatory Vaccine or Testing Standards

This morning, OSHA has issued its long awaited Emergency Temporary Standard (“standard”) requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for all workers at most companies with 100 or more employees. The standard is set to take effect on Friday, November 5, 2021. Employers must begin providing time off for workers to get inoculated by December 5, 2021, with workers needing to be fully vaccinated or submit to weekly testing by January 4, 2022. Read the full article here.

9-10-21 Labor and Employment: OSHA To Require Employers With 100-Plus Employees to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccines or Testing

The White House announced on September 9, 2021, that the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated against COVID‑19 or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative COVID‑19 test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. Employers must also provide paid time off to employees for the time it takes to get vaccinated and to recover if they suffer an adverse reaction to the vaccine. As an Emergency Temporary Standard, the rule will undergo an expedited review process before taking effect. Read the full article here.

8-25-21 Employee Benefits: Can an Employer Charge Unvaccinated Employees a Higher Health Plan Premium?

Delta Airlines made the news this week by announcing it would require employees who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine to pay $200 more per month for their health care insurance. Even before Delta made this announcement, we were getting the question, “can an employer do this?” The answer is “yes” if the program is structured to comply with wellness program rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Read the full article here.

6-22-21 Labor and Employment: MIOSHA Rescinds COVID-19 Emergency Rules, But Employers Still Have Health & Safety Obligations

Following the lead of Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) announced new Emergency Rules this morning relating to COVID‑19. Under the new Emergency Rules, most Michigan employers are no longer required to maintain a COVID‑19 preparedness and response plan or ensure that their employees abide by the various workplace safety protocols that they have been following since last year. Read the full article here.

6-11-21 Labor and Employment: OSHA Issues Emergency Temporary Standard on COVID-19 for Employers in Health Care Sector

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a COVID‑19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on Thursday, June 10, 2021, for employers in the health care sector. OSHA issued the ETS in response to the Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety signed by President Joe Biden in January. The ETS takes effect on the date it is published in the Federal Register. That date has yet to be determined. The ETS contains a number of work-place safety requirements for covered employers, including infection control measures, paid leave and training. Read the full article here.

6-3-21 Employee Benefits: IRS Clarifies Treatment of Dependent Care Assistance Programs

A Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) allows tax-free payment of day care expenses that employees incur so that they may work. The most common example of a DCAP arrangement is a dependent care flexible spending account (FSA), under which an employee sets aside pre-tax wages to reimburse qualifying day care expenses. Read the full article here.

5-25-21 Labor and Employment: Updated MIOSHA Rules Eliminate Masks for Fully-Vaccinated Employees

On May 24, 2021, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) issued updated Emergency Rules (“Rules”), which take effect immediately. A copy of the Rules are available here. The updated Rules contain a number of changes to the prior rules. Read the full article here.

5-20-21 Employee Benefits: IRS Provides Guidance on COBRA Premium Assistance Program

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 included a COBRA premium assistance program, which subsidizes 100% of the COBRA premiums from April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021, for individuals who have COBRA coverage during that time period resulting from a reduction in hours or an involuntary termination of employment. The Department of Labor has previously provided guidance about notices that employers must send by May 31, but this guidance did not address many questions that employers have struggled with around eligibility. Moreover, there’s been a great deal of uncertainty around who covers the COBRA premiums and how to get reimbursed. Read the full article here.

5-13-21 Labor and Employment: CDC Guidance and MIOSHA Rules Differ On Vaccinated People Resuming Activities Without Masks or Social Distancing

The CDC announced on May 13, 2021, that “Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing.” However, the CDC cautioned that such guidance would not apply where masks and social distancing are required by “federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” Read the full article here.

5-11-21 Labor and Employment: Michigan Hits First Vaccination Milestone in Governor’s MI Vacc to Normal Challenge

Yesterday, Michigan hit the first of the four steps in Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s "MI Vacc to Normal Challenge." Step 1 of that challenge takes effect 14 days after 55% of the population age 16 and over in Michigan have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. The governor announced hitting this milestone in a Tweet saying: “I’m excited to announce that 55% of Michiganders have gotten their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is a huge milestone in getting #MIVaccToNormal and means that on May 24, we can return to in-person work. If you haven’t yet, please schedule a vaccine appointment today.” According to the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, as of May 10, at least 4,455,395 Michigan residents, or 55.02% of the population age 16 or greater, had received one dose of the vaccine and the official Step 1 starting date will be May 24, 2021. Read the full article here.

4-29-21 Labor and Employment: Governor Whitmer Announces Michigan's Path Out of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Michigan’s Vacc to Normal Plan (“Plan”), a four-step plan that charts Michigan’s path out of the COVID‑19 pandemic. The Plan outlines the vaccination-based milestones on which the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (“MDHHS”) will base future epidemic orders. Read the full article here.

4-27-21 Labor and Employment: Webinar: COVID-19 One Year Later: Employment Issues

Warner attorneys Kiffi Ford, DeAndre’ Harris, Zainab Hazimi and William Lentine presented a complimentary webinar where they discussed the various employment issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to learn more about this webinar.

4-14-21 Labor and Employment: Governor Whitmer Extends MIOSHA’s Emergency Rules on COVID-19, and MIOSHA Releases Proposed Permanent COVID-19 Rules

MIOSHA announced today that it has extended its Emergency Rules on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID‑19) (“Emergency Rules”). Initially, the Emergency Rules were scheduled to expire today, April 14, 2021. As a result of the extension, however, the Emergency Rules will now remain in effect until October 14, 2021, at the latest. Notably, MIOSHA extended the Emergency Rules without any modifications. Read the full article here.

4-8-21 Labor and Employment: MDHHS Reinstates 14-day Quarantine Period for Close Contact with COVID-19

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document, effective April 5, 2021, which reinstated the standard 14-day quarantine period for individuals who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19. The decision to extend the quarantine period from 10 to 14 days was attributed to increasing case rates and variant spread in Michigan. Read the full article here.

3-17-21 Employee Benefits: COBRA Subsidies and Other Important Benefit Provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act

President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) last week, the latest COVID-19 pandemic federal stimulus bill whose provisions impact employer-sponsored health and welfare plans. Read the full article here.

3-12-21 Labor and Employment: President Joe Biden Signs American Rescue Plan, Extending Unemployment Benefits and FFCRA Tax Credits

On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA), a $1.9 trillion dollar package that continues the federal government’s efforts to address the economic impact of COVID-19. Among other things, the ARPA provides for an extension of enhanced unemployment benefits and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) tax credits for paid leave. The enhanced unemployment benefits were established by prior COVID-19 relief packages and were set to expire on March 14, 2021, and extended tax credits for FFCRA leave were set to expire on March 31, 2021. Read the full article here.

3-2-21 Employee Benefits: UPDATE: Government Clarifies End of Benefit Plan "Outbreak Period"

Last week, we published an eAlert titled, “Benefit Plan ‘Outbreak Period’ Set to Expire at the End of February – Maybe?” that said the benefit plan “Outbreak Period” was maybe set to expire on February 28, 2021, depending on how a one-year limit on deadline suspensions under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the federal tax code (the “Code”) is interpreted. We mentioned that it would be nice if the government released guidance on the issue. In a classic case of “ask and you shall receive,” on Friday, February 26, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued that guidance in Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01 (the “Notice”). Read the full article here.

2-22-21 Employee Benefits: Benefit Plan "Outbreak Period" Set to Expire at the End of February – Maybe?

Employers may be well aware of the current extension on certain benefit plan deadlines during the “Outbreak Period.” However, they may find it surprising to learn that those deadlines are maybe set to expire on February 28, 2021, absent action from the government. Read the full article here.

2-11-21 Labor and Employment: New Public Health Recommendations for Vaccinated Persons from CDC

On February 10, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its public health recommendations for vaccinated persons. You can find that guidance here. Read the full article here.

1-25-21 Labor and Employment: President Biden Issues Executive Order on Worker Health & Safety: What Does It Mean for Employers in Michigan and Other States?

On Thursday, January 21, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order (Order) directing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue revised workplace safety guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This Order is in keeping with the President’s campaign platform and his efforts to otherwise deal with the pandemic. Read the full article here.

1-7-21 Labor and Employment: Ring in the New Year with a New COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan

If we have learned anything about the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that the only constant is change. Within the last few months, the CDC’s guidance on COVID‑19 has evolved, governmental executive orders have been rescinded, various state departments have enacted new rules and orders and the state legislature has enacted its own laws regarding COVID-19. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the requirement that all employers need to have a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan. Read the full article here.

12-29-20 Labor and Employment: Michigan Legislature and Governor Revise Employee Quarantine Law to Align with CDC Guidance

On December 29, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law Enrolled Senate Bill 1258 (the “Act”) which takes effect immediately.

Among other things, the Act resolves inconsistencies between PA 238 and current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relating to how long an individual should quarantine after coming into contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive. Read the full article here.

12-29-20 Labor and Employment: The Important Points for Employers in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

On December 27, 2020, President Donald Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA), which among other things, averted a shut down of the Federal Government. The entire CAA is over 5,500 pages and contained within the CAA is the $900 billion dollar pandemic relief package. Of importance to employers, the pandemic relief provision of the CAA does three primary things: Read the full article here.

12-29-20 Employee Benefits: Partial Termination Relief for Retirement Plans in New Stimulus Bill

There’s some potential good news for retirement plan sponsors in the new Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) signed into law on Sunday night. It includes a temporary rule preventing partial plan terminations for qualified retirement plans in some circumstances. This affects both defined contribution and defined benefit plans. Read the full article here.

12-28-20 Employee Benefits: FSA Options Now that President Donald Trump Signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021

Last week, we told you about the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA), and the provisions regarding Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). When Congress passed the bill, we thought it would be promptly signed into law by President Donald Trump. But then President Trump raised objections to the bill, signaling the possibility that it might not be signed into law at all. President Trump finally signed the bill into law on Sunday, December 27, 2020. Read the full article here.

12-23-20 Employee Benefits: Is the Consolidated Appropriations Act in Trouble?

Yesterday, we sent out an eAlert titled “Stimulus Bill Provides New Relief for FSAs; Other Developments for Health & Welfare Plans,” describing provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 that offers employers new options for their Flexible Spending Accounts because of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, we assumed that President Donald Trump would promptly sign the bill into law. However, today, we’re seeing news stories that he may have an objection to the bill. Read the full article here.

12-22-20 Employee Benefits: Stimulus Bill Provides New Relief for FSAs; Other Developments for Health & Welfare Plans

Just in time for Christmas, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA). Here’s a quick update on some recent legal developments affecting health and welfare plans. Read the full article here.

12-17-20 Labor and Employment: EEOC Provides Q&A Regarding Employees' Vaccination Rights

Yesterday the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published additional questions and answers to their COVID-19 guidance titled “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.” Read the full article here.

12-14-20 Labor and Employment: Minimum Wage Increase for 2021 Unlikely in Michigan

On December 11, 2020, the Michigan Bureau of Employment Relations Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced that it was highly unlikely that the minimum wage increase scheduled for January 1, 2021, would go into effect in Michigan. Read the full article here.

12-4-20 Labor and Employment: CDC Revises Close-Contact Quarantine Guidance – What Does It Mean For Michigan Employers?

On December 2, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance on when individuals should quarantine after potential exposure to the coronavirus. As it has consistently done throughout the pandemic, the CDC recommends that people should quarantine after they have been in “close contact” with someone who has COVID-19. Read the full article here.

11-20-20 Labor Litigation: Webinar: Managing Your Risk of COVID-19 Employment Litigation

As expected, employers are seeing a shift in liability exposure as claims related to COVID-19 take off. Warner partners Andrea Bernard, Amanda Fielder and Ryan Grondzik presented a webinar discussing these developing trends in COVID-19-related employment litigation, as well as other claims against employers, and explore ways to limit your exposure. Click here to listen to the recording.

11-17-20 Labor and Employment: Webinar: Considerations for Remote Employees

Warner attorneys Sean Cook, Nathan Steed, Allyson Terpsma and Anne Steen presented a webinar focused on challenges and opportunities with having a remote workforce. As more companies have moved to remote work arrangements, either by choice or necessity, there are a variety of legal implications employers should consider. In this webinar, we addressed privacy concerns, wage and hour issues, disability accommodations, workers’ compensation and safety considerations, as well as tax withholding. Click here to listen to the recording.

11-13-20 Labor and Employment: MIOSHA Revises "Remote Work" Guidance

Earlier this week, MIOSHA revised the answer to its previously published FAQ regarding remote work addressed in the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Frequently Asked Questions. Read the full article here.

11-10-20 Labor and Employment: Webinar: New COVID-19 Rules and Requirements for Michigan Employers

Warner attorneys Steve Palazzolo, Karen VanderWerff and DeAndre’ Harris presented a  webinar focused on current workplace safety requirements. In early October, the Michigan Supreme Court invalidated Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders, including those relating to COVID-19 and workplace safety. Almost immediately, the Department of Health and Human Services and MIOSHA issued emergency rules to fill the void. Click here to listen to the recording.

10-22-20 Labor and Employment: Governor Whitmer Signs Three Bills Providing COVID‑19-Related Protections to Workers and Employers Governor Whitmer Signs Three Bills Providing COVID‑19-Related Protections to Workers and Employers

On Thursday, October 22, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a trio of bills providing certain COVID‑19-related protections to both workers and employers. All three new laws apply retroactively to March 1, 2020. Read the full article here.

10-22-20 Labor and Employment: CDC Issues Guidance on What is "Close Contact" for COVID-19 Purposes

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, employers have been dealing with the concept of “close contact” for purposes such as employee notifications of positive workplace cases and employee quarantine obligations. On October 21, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an updated definition of “close contact” for purposes of determining whether someone should quarantine following a suspected or confirmed exposure to people with possible COVID-19. Read the full article here.

10-15-20 Labor and Employment: MIOSHA Steps In to Fill Void Left by Invalidated Executive Orders: What Does This Mean For the Workplace?

As a result of the Michigan Supreme Court’s recent orders, Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders relating to COVID-19 and workplace safety have been invalidated. This has resulted in considerable confusion for employers and workers as to what their rights and obligations are. Read the full article here.

9-25-20 Labor and Employment: Back to the Movies: State of Michigan Moves to Permit Gatherings and Events

On September 25, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-183 (Amended Safe Start Order) amending Michigan’s Safe Start Plan to permit larger indoor gatherings and open certain places of public accommodation as of 12:01 a.m. on October 9, 2020. Governor Whitmer also issued Executive Order 2020-184 (Amended Safeguards Order) updating the safeguards to protect Michigan workers. Finally, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-185 to amend Executive Order 2020-142 to require all students in grades kindergarten and up to wear masks in classrooms and require school districts and nonpublic schools to publish information about any cases of a probable or confirmed COVID-19 positive individual present on school property or at a school function during the period of infection. These executive orders are the latest in a series of executive orders issued by Governor Whitmer responding to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Read the full article here.

9-14-20 Labor and Employment: DOL Revises FFCRA Rule in Response to Federal Court Ruling

On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued its initial temporary rule implementing the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Shortly thereafter, the state of New York challenged various aspects of the rule. In a decision issued on August 3, 2020, a federal judge agreed, in part, with the state, finding certain portions of the rule to be invalid. New York v. United States Department of Labor et al., No. 20-CV-3020 (JPO), 2020 WL 4462260 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 3, 2020). In response, the WHD announced on September 11, 2020, revisions to its rule. Those revisions will take effect on September 16, 2020. Read the full article here.

8-28-20 Labor and Employment: Back to School (Virtually or Not) and the FFCRA

As students start going back to school, employers have had a number of questions regarding the application of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and in-person, virtual or hybrid school attendance. On August 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor issued some additional answers to questions regarding virtual school and the availability of paid time off under the FFCRA. The three new questions and answers deal with virtual attendance, part-time attendance and optional in-person or virtual attendance. Read the full article here.

8-27-20 Labor and Employment: Governor Whitmer Updates the List of Principal Symptoms of COVID-19

On August 27, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-172, “Protecting workers who stay home, stay safe when they or their close contacts are sick,” rescinding Executive Order 2020-166.  Most notably, Executive Order 2020-172 updates the list of principal symptoms of COVID-19. Read the full article here.

8-25-20 Labor and Employment: Federal Court Upholds Testing Requirements for Agricultural Workers

Earlier this month, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued an emergency order imposing requirements to test agricultural workers for COVID-19. The DHHS order applies to migrant-housing operators, agricultural employers and agricultural employees. Those requirements went into effect on August 24, 2020, after a federal court rejected attempts to block them. Read the full article here.

8-11-20 Employee Benefits: IRS Gives Details on CARES Act Funding and Benefit Limitation Rules for Defined Benefit Plans

The IRS is still busy issuing guidance on the retirement plan provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). This time it’s about the funding and benefit limitation rules for single‑employer defined pension plans, in the form of Notice 2020‑61 (Notice). Read the full article here.

8-10-20 Labor and Employment: Governor Whitmer Revises COVID-19 Workplace Safety Order

On August 7, Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended the State of Emergency through September 4, 2020. On the same day, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-166, revising the earlier Executive Order 2020-36 that requires individuals to stay home if they are at particular risk of infecting others with COVID-19, meaning they: (1) are positive for COVID-19; (2) have principal symptoms of COVID-19; or (3) have been in close contact with someone who is positive or has principal symptoms of COVID-19. Read the full article here.

7-2-20 Employee Benefits: IRS Releases COVID-19 Relief and Other Guidance on Mid-Year Changes to Safe Harbor Plans

On Monday, June 29, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2020-52 (Notice) that provides limited relief to certain mid-year amendment restrictions and notice requirements for safe harbor plans. Read the full article here.

6-27-20 Labor and Employment: A Reminder Regarding Return to Work Plans

On June 18, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-127, extending the State of Emergency in Michigan through July 16, 2020. In that order Governor Whitmer stated, “On June 10, I moved the Upper Peninsula and the region surrounding Traverse City to Phase 5, allowing for the reopening of movie theaters, gyms, bowling alleys and other businesses. If current trends persist, I hope to move the rest of the state to Phase 5 by July 4.” Read the full article here.

6-26-20 Employee Benefits: IRS Issues Guidance on Waiver of 2020 Required Minimum Distributions

The IRS has been busy issuing guidance on the retirement plan provisions of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The latest is Notice 2020‑51 (Notice), which gives direction on the waiver of 2020 required minimum distributions. Read the full article here.

6-25-20 Employee Benefits: More Answers From IRS On COVID-Related Retirement Plan Distributions and Loans

The IRS finally issued much‑needed additional guidance for plan sponsors and recordkeepers on COVID-related distributions and loans from retirement plans and IRAs authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Notice 2020-50 (Notice) supplements the retirement plan FAQs the IRS previously released in May 2020. Read the full article here.

6-11-20 Labor and Employment: Webinar: Updated Safeguard Requirements for Your Workplace as Michigan Reopens

Join Warner attorneys Jon Kok and Steve Palazzolo for a complimentary update on the requirements for your workplace as Michigan reopens. On June 5, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-114, which updates the safeguards required to protect workers from COVID-19. In addition to revising the requirements for various industries from previous executive orders, the Order provides new guidance for in-home services, personal care services, entertainment venues, fitness centers and similar operations. We will walk you through the new and updated requirements and answer your questions on compliance. Click here to listen to the webinar recording.

6-11-20 Employee Benefits: Webinar: The New Normal and What’s Next for Retirement Plans

Join Warner attorneys Justin Stemple, Jennifer Watkins and Heidi Lyon for a complimentary webinar about recent law changes under the CARES Act and related guidance. Many employers and their workforces have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and have experienced challenges with the legislation changes and guidance affecting retirement plans. Click here to listen to the webinar recording.

6-10-20 Employee Benefits: Webinar: Health and Welfare Plans: Legal and Strategic Issues

Join Warner attorneys Norbert Kugele and Stephanie Grant for a complimentary webinar on the legal developments affecting health and welfare plans since the beginning of 2020 and the strategic decisions employers must make in the face of uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to listen to the webinar recording.

6-8-20 Employee Benefits: COVID-19 Relief Keeps Coming: IRS Provides Remote Signature Relief for Retirement Plans

Under the Internal Revenue Code, certain participant elections, including spousal consents, are required to be witnessed in the physical presence of a plan representative or notary public. Applicable Treasury regulations allow for electronic notarization, but the notary or plan representative must still physically witness the electronic signature. Read the full article here.

6-5-20 Labor and Employment: New Executive Order Requires Significant Safeguards for All In-Person Work

On June 5, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-114 (“Order”), rescinding and replacing Executive Order 2020-97, which established workplace safeguards to protect employees from COVID‑19. In addition to restating the previously ordered workplace requirements of Executive Order 2020-91, summarized here, and the amended workplace requirements of Executive Order 2020-97, summarized here, the Order requires employers in the in-home service, personal care, sports and entertainment, and fitness industries to implement specific safeguards to protect their employees from COVID‑19. Read the full article here.

5-26-20 Labor and Employment: Webinar: Requirements for Your Workplace as Michigan Reopens

Join Warner attorneys Jonathan Kok and Steven Palazzolo for an update on the requirements for your workplace as Michigan reopens. On May 18, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-91, which requires employers to implement specific safeguards to protect workers from COVID-19. Click here to listen to the webinar recording.

5-18-20 Labor and Employment: New Executive Order Requires Significant Safeguards for All In-Person Work

On May 18, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-91 (“Order”) and Executive Directive 2020-6, which require employers to implement specific safeguards to protect their employees from COVID‑19. Read the full article here.

5-15-20 Employee Benefits: New Optional Changes to Section 125 Cafeteria Plans Aimed at Adding Flexibility

To increase flexibility over aspects of Section 125 cafeteria plans, the IRS recently issued Notice 2020-29 (Notice) that gives employers the choice to allow employees to make new mid-year election changes regarding their health care coverage, health care FSA and/or dependent care FSA. Employers may also expand the claims period for using health care FSA and/or dependent care FSA funds after the end of a grace period or plan year. These changes—which employers may, but are not required to, adopt—are temporary during 2020 and reflect the unanticipated changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full article here.

5-11-20 Employee Benefits: Got Questions About the CARES Act and Retirement Plans?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has (some) answers! The IRS released a set of FAQs on its website focusing exclusively on coronavirus-related relief for retirement plans and IRAs (“Retirement Plan FAQs”). Read the Retirement Plan FAQs here. Read the full article here.

5-6-20 Litigation: Webinar: Employment Litigation After COVID-19

Please join Warner attorneys Ed Bardelli and Amanda Fielder for a complimentary webinar addressing employment litigation after the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses have faced myriad practical and legal employment challenges as they implement measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while minimizing the economic impact. Click here to listen to the webinar recording.

5-1-20 Employee Benefits: Additional Employee Benefit Plan Deadline Relief Due to COVID-19

The Department of Labor (DOL), in coordination with the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS), issued guidance providing deadline relief for employee benefit plans and plan participants. The relief was issued in two separate notices: (1) a notice issued solely by the DOL (DOL Notice) announcing an extension of deadlines for furnishing notices and disclosures to plan participants, beneficiaries and other persons so that plan fiduciaries and plan sponsors have additional time to meet their obligations during the COVID-19 outbreak under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA); and (2) a notice issued jointly with the DOL and Treasury Department/IRS (Joint Notice) to provide additional time to comply with deadlines affecting group health, disability, retirement and other plans. Both notices provide relief for deadlines occurring from March 1, 2020 (the beginning of the COVID-19 national emergency declared by the President), until 60 days after the announced end of the COVID-19 national emergency (Outbreak Period). Read the full article here.

4-29-20 Labor and Employment: Webinar: Preparing the Facility for Operations After COVID-19

Warner attorneys Andrea Bernard, Karen VanderWerff and DeAndre’ Harris presented a labor and employment update addressing internal operations after COVID‑19. In this webinar, they discussed: a) the protocols to put in place for operations to resume; b) PPE needed for employees who return to work; c) whether or not a preparedness plan is necessary; d) cleaning and maintenance requirements; e) how to enforce social distancing among employees; and f) proper procedures to follow if an employee tests positive or has symptoms after they return to work. Click here to listen to the webinar recording.

4-28-20 Labor and Employment: CDC Provides Additional Guidance on Symptoms of COVID-19

As we learn more about COVID‑19, new information continues to be released by the CDC. On Monday, April 27, 2020, the CDC updated its guidance on Symptoms of Coronavirus. Read the full article here.

4-27-20 Labor and Employment: Webinar: Returning Employees to Work After COVID-19

Warner attorneys Ed Bardelli, Amanda Fielder and Steve Palazzolo presented a labor and employment update addressing employees returning to work after COVID‑19. In this webinar, we covered: a) how to communicate with employees when it is safe to return to work; b) how to decide who to bring back; c) how to decide when to bring people back; and (d) how to plan for employees who refuse to return to work. Click here to listen to the webinar recording.

4-24-20 Labor and Employment: DOL Supplements Its Guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) continues to update its Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA): Questions and Answers in an attempt to provide employers with guidance on how to implement the paid leave provisions of the FFCRA. Read the full article here.

4-24-20 Immigration: A Concise Analysis of the New Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants into the U.S.

The new Presidential “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID‑19 Outbreak” became effective just before midnight on April 23, 2020. There was a great deal of concern leading up to the publishing of the Proclamation, with some fearing draconian effects. In actuality, the Proclamation does little to change the immigration landscape in place since late March 2020. Read the full article here.

4-24-20 Labor and Employment: Webinar: Strategies and Pitfalls for Retaining, Terminating and Returning Employees to Work in the World of COVID-19

Jon Kok, Allyson Terpsma and Anne Steen presented a webinar addressing strategies and pitfalls for retaining, terminating and returning employees to work during this COVID-19 pandemic. They addressed reduced hours, underemployment and the latest developments with unemployment (i.e., how it will work under these new laws). Click here to listen to the webinar recording.

4-22-20 Employee Benefits: No COVID-19 Deadline Extension for Annual Funding Notice

An annual funding notice (AFN) is required for all defined benefit plans (not defined contribution plans, like 401(k) or 403(b) plans) subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The AFN must be provided no later than 120 days after the end of each plan year. For pension plans with a calendar plan year, the 2020 deadline is April 29, 2020 (due to the leap year). Although the CARES Act allows the Department of Labor (DOL) to delay the AFN distribution deadline, the DOL has failed to do so. As a result, the April 29, 2020, distribution deadline still applies. Read the full article here.

4-17-20 Labor and Employment: Webinar: How to Develop and Implement a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan to Protect Your Employees and Your Business

Warner attorneys DeAndre’ Harris, Gerardyne Drozdowski and Gaëtan Gerville-Réache presented a webinar on how to develop and implement a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan that will protect your employees and your business. We discussed what to include in the plan to ensure compliance with Michigan Governor Whitmer’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order 2020-42. We will also discuss how to implement the plan to both minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure to employees and reduce the company’s exposure to liability for an outbreak of COVID-19 in the workplace. Click here to listen to the webinar recording.

4-15-20 Employee Benefits: Executive Compensation Limits Under Certain CARES Act Loans

The CARES Act authorizes the United States Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund to provide loans, loan guarantees, and other investments to eligible businesses, states, and municipalities that incur losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To be eligible for this type of CARES Act loan, the eligible business must agree to certain limits on executive pay during the period beginning on the date the loan agreement is executed and ending one year after the loan or loan guarantee is no longer outstanding (the “Limitation Period”). Read the full article here.

4-6-20 Labor and Employment: Governor Whitmer Prohibits Retaliation Against Employees Who Stay Home Because They (or Someone They Have Close Contact With) Have COVID-19 or Its Symptoms

On Friday, April 3, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-36, aimed at “protecting workers that stay home, stay safe when they or their close contacts are sick.” Real the full article here.

4-2-20 Labor and Employment: U.S. Department of Labor Announces New Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Regulations

On April 1, 2020, the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a temporary rule regarding the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The regulations created under the rule reaffirm prior DOL guidance and provide clarity regarding a number of outstanding questions. Read the full article here.

4-1-20 Labor and Employment: IRS Issues Guidance on Employee Documentation Necessary for Employers to Maintain and Substantiate Tax Credit Eligibility Under FFCRA

In its most recent guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), the Department of Labor (DOL) instructed employees to provide their employers with documentation in support of their leave “as specified in applicable IRS forms, instructions, and information.” Last night, the IRS released guidance on what information and documentation an employer may request from an employee to substantiate the employer’s eligibility for tax credits for qualified leave wages under the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act and Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act provisions of the FFCRA. Read full article here.

3-31-20 Labor and Employment: Webinar: Employment Law Update on Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and New Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act

Conditions have been rapidly changing since the FFCRA was signed into law, including new guidance from the Department of Labor. Many questions have arisen as employers look to comply with its provisions when it goes into effect on April 1, 2020. Additionally, Congress has now passed a new $2 trillion stimulus package called the CARES Act, which provides additional implications for employers and small businesses. Click here to view a recording of the webinar.

3-31-20 Employee Benefits: Act Now to Determine Treatment of COVID-19 Sick and Leave Pay Under Your Retirement Plan

Starting April 1, 2020, certain employees are entitled to receive sick pay and leave pay related to COVID-19 under the newly enacted Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. It is critical that employers quickly determine how to properly treat these payments for purposes of their retirement plans. These payments may affect both defined contribution plans and defined benefit plans. Read the full article here.

3-30-20 Employee Benefits: CARES Act Provisions for Retirement Plans

Congress has passed significant legislation in response to the COVID-19 emergency. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was enacted on March 18, 2020, and on March 27, 2020, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”). Read the full article here.

3-30-20 Labor and Employment: DOL Issues More Q&As on FMLA and Paid Sick Leave Provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

As previously discussed in Warner’s Q&A for Paid Sick Leave eAlert (3.25.20), the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) continues to issue guidance on the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act and Paid Sick Leave Act provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), primarily through online questions and answers (Q&As). Read the full article here.

3-27-20 Employee Benefits: CARES Act Provisions for Health & Welfare Plans: Implications for Employers

Congress has passed some significant legislation in response to the COVID-19 emergency. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was enacted on March 18, 2020, and today, the President signed the enactment of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Read the full article here.

3-27-20 Immigration: Mutual Aid – Sharing H-1B Health Care Providers in Time of Crisis

The introduction of the COVID-19 virus into American society has severely stretched the resources of our health care facilities and providers. By the very nature of the epidemic, physicians and allied health care providers are not proportionately distributed among areas of greater and lesser need. Understandably, facilities have discussed sharing providers based on need as the crisis unfolds. Many of the providers who could help are H-1B foreign workers within the U.S. health care system. Read the full article here.

3-27-20 Labor and Employment: DOL Issues Additional Guidance on Implementation of FMLA and Paid Sick Leave Provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Earlier this week, we reported that the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued initial guidance on the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act and Paid Sick Leave Act provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). This included two Fact Sheets and a Question and Answer (Q&A) document. While helpful, that initial guidance left many open issues. Read the full article here.

3-27-20 Labor and Employment: Practical Tips to Make Your Workplace Safe for “Critical Infrastructure” and “Basic Minimum Operations” Workers

Many Michigan businesses have suspended operations under Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-21 Stay Home Stay Safe. But many have also continued operations as “critical infrastructure.” Still more have asked “basic minimum operations” employees to report to work, as needed, to maintain the value of inventory and equipment, ensure security or perform other permitted activities. In those instances, employers should consider and implement measures to ensure that they provide a safe work environment to employees. Read the full article here.

3-26-20 White Collar Criminal Defense: Stay Home, Stay Safe: How to Protect Your Employees and Your Business When Law Enforcement is Knocking on Your Door

Governor Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order (EO 2020-21) directs all Michigan businesses and entities to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life. In recent days, state and local law enforcement officials have begun to enforce the order against both individuals and businesses, by showing up at businesses and asking questions and by stopping employees and others in transit and inquiring about the purpose or legitimacy of the person’s travel. Read the full article here.

3-26-20 Immigration: Should I Stay or Should I Go? COVID-19 and U.S. – Canada Border Restrictions

On Saturday, March 21, the border between the U.S. and Canada was closed to non-essential travel for the next 30 days. The closure came through a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Canada Border Services Agency. Although the U.S. and Canada did not precisely define “essential travel,” a joint statement released by both governments provided some indication of allowable cross border traffic. Read the full article here.

3-25-20 Labor and Employment: DOL Issues Fact Sheets and Q&A for Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FMLA Leave

In a news release issued March 24, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published its first guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The WHD published a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers and a Questions and Answers (Q&A) document. The Fact Sheets appear to combine both the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and may need to be corrected. We will concentrate on the Q&A document as it answers some of the questions many of you have regarding the two new statutes. Read the full article here.

3-25-20 Labor and Employment: DOL Issues Posters under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act

In addition to its guidance issued yesterday, the Department of Labor today issued posters under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act. Covered employers are required to post this poster no later than April 1, 2020, the effective date of the FFCRA. You can find the poster here.

3-19-20 Employee Benefits: Dependent Care FSAs and Day Care Closures Due to COVID-19

“My child’s day care closed – can I stop my dependent care FSA contributions?” This is probably a common question your employees are asking, as day cares and other child care providers are closing or stopping child care due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Depending on what your plan document says, the answer may very well be “yes.” Read the full article here.

3-19-20 Labor and Employment: HR 6201 – Updated COVID-19 Leave Law Signed by President

Late on March 18, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201), which is aimed at containing the widening effects of COVID-19. The Families First Act creates several significant new leave and sick pay obligations for covered employers. Those obligations will go into effect on April 2, 2020 and expire December 31, 2020. Read the full article here.

3-16-20 Employee Benefits: COVID-19: Important Employee Benefit Considerations

As your company responds to the coronavirus pandemic, here are some issues to take into account with respect to your employee benefit programs. Keep in mind that things are changing rapidly, and we’ll continue to update you about significant legal developments. Read the full Q&A here.

3-16-20 Labor and Employment: HR 6201 – The Impact to Employers and Employees

The House of Representatives passed a bill aimed at containing the widening effects of COVID-19 (HR 6201). The President has already indicated that he will sign it. If passed by the Senate, HR 6201 would create several significant new leave and pay obligations for covered employers. Read the full article here.

3-12-20 Labor and Employment: Federal Agencies Issue COVID-19 Guidance and Resources to Assist Employers and Employees

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads – with cases now reported in some 41 states including Michigan – employers continue to have questions about how they should protect their workers while still operating their businesses and serving their customers. Read the full article here.

Insurance

2-11-21 Insurance: MI Federal Court Allows Salon’s Covid-19 Insurance Case to Proceed in Court Under Communicable Disease Provision

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan concluded that Salon XL Color & Design Group LLC’s claim for insurance coverage arising from losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic could proceed based on the policy’s communicable disease provision and ambiguities with respect to what constitutes a “loss” or “damage” under the policy. Read the full article here.

4-30-20 Insurance: Webinar: Insurance Coverage for Emerging COVID-19 Claims Against Businesses

Warner attorneys Jason Byrne, Kristina Araya and Carly Zagaroli presented a webinar that addressed insurance coverage for COVID-19 claims. As discussed in Warner’s Coronavirus Litigation Trends webinar, we have begun to see a wave of new and unique lawsuits brought against businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. A related, and vitally important, question is: will these new claims be covered by a business’s existing suite of liability insurance coverage or will they be left to defend these claims alone? Click here to listen to the webinar recording.

3-13-20 Insurance: Coronavirus: Insurance Coverage for Business-Related Losses?

COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus, is becoming a widespread public health crisis around the globe. Many businesses have already felt its presence either directly or indirectly through the outbreaks in Asia and Italy, with many more preparing for future business disruptions. Read the full article here.

Litigation

12-20-21 Appellate Litigation/Labor and Employment: Sixth Circuit Dissolves Stay of OSHA’s ETS Mandating Vaccine or Testing for Large Employers; OSHA Sets New Enforcement Deadlines

On Friday, December 17, 2021, the Sixth Circuit dissolved the Fifth Circuit’s stay of OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for workers at most companies with 100 or more employees.  Read the full article here.

12-6-21 Litigation/Labor and Employment: Sixth Circuit Declines To Speed up Schedule for Considering OSHA ETS Stay

Employers will have to wait a little longer for a decision from the Sixth Circuit as to the status of the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for workers at most companies with 100 or more employees. Read the full article here.

8-4-20 Health Care Litigation and Cybersecurity: Callers Beware: How Health Care Companies Can Avoid Liability Under the TCPA

In today’s digital world, hospitals and other health care organizations are increasingly communicating with patients by way of automated text messages, prerecorded voice calls or facsimile. Appointment reminders, prescription refill calls, patient satisfaction surveys, promotions and advertisements or other messages can be easily transmitted to numerous patients by a simple click of a button. However, what callers may not realize is that by simply clicking that button, they may inadvertently violate a federal law known as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Read the full article here.

7-22-20 Health Care Litigation: Provider Relief Act and False Claims Liability – Who Knew There Were So Many Strings Attached?

In response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, Congress has allocated $100 billion to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), and another $75 billion through the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Both allocations direct funding to the health care industry in order to combat the pandemic. The goal is simple: help the health care industry “prevent, prepare, and respond to [COVID‑19.]”  Read the full article here.

5-21-20 Litigation: Webinar: Protecting Yourself Against Consumer and Visitor Claims During COVID-19

Warner attorneys Janet Ramsey, Thomas Amon and Lance Zoerhof presented a webinar on steps you can take to help protect yourself against claims from consumers and visitors. The Michigan Safe Start Plan is a guide for the gradual reopening of businesses and other operations across the state. As this plan is implemented, businesses will be presented with a wide range of challenges as we all learn to work in this new normal. This webinar addressed the specific risks with having customers and other visitors on your premises, as well as the risks associated with offering goods and services during this unusual time, and offer ways to mitigate those risks. Click here to listen to the webinar recording.

5-7-20 Litigation: Webinar: COVID-19 Strategies for Reducing Your Legal Spend During COVID-19

Warner attorneys Ed Bardelli and Amanda Fielder presented a webinar addressing employment litigation after the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses have faced myriad practical and legal employment challenges as they implement measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while minimizing the economic impact. Click here to listen to the webinar recording. 

5-5-20 Class Action Litigation: Beware of Stock Drop Litigation During Times of Crises

The COVID-19 crisis has forced businesses in all sectors to explore new approaches and solutions to deal with the unprecedented challenges presented by the novel coronavirus. Unfortunately, the plaintiffs’ securities class action bar is already proving that, for them, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Plaintiffs’ lawyers are resorting to a familiar playbook (one they pulled out after the 2008 financial crisis, the Ebola and SARS outbreaks, for example) to opportunistically generate lawsuits against publicly-traded companies, generally known as “Stock Drop Litigation.” Read the full article here.

5-5-20 Family Law/Divorce: Virtual Hearing Best Practices for Family Law

While some courts held virtual hearings as a matter of practice prior to March 2020, many courts still utilized in-person hearings. With the current emergency orders in place requiring citizens to stay home and limit in-person gatherings, many courts have found innovative means of providing public access to justice, while limiting traffic in courthouses. This has resulted in sweeping changes in procedures with many courts now performing virtual hearings via Zoom as a regular practice. Read the full article here.

4-28-20 Class Action Litigation: COVID-19 Class Action Litigation Is On the Rise

The widespread economic disruption caused by COVID‑19 has created fertile ground for plaintiffs’ class action firms. Class action activity is on the rise and is likely to intensify in the coming months. Read the full article here.

4-28-20 Litigation: Ask First, Record Second: A Reminder that State and Federal Eavesdropping Laws Apply While Working from Home

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are working remotely and conducting business via telephone calls or videoconferencing. Although these technologies provide convenient opportunities to record, it is important to remember that eavesdropping statutes may prohibit recording of conversations without the consent of the other meeting participants. Violations of these statutes may give rise to criminal and civil liability. Read the full article here.

4-26-20 Litigation: Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire? Potential Civil and Criminal Liability Related to CARES Act Financial Assistance

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) provides unprecedented economic relief to businesses, including many that never before received government support. However, those businesses may not appreciate that the benefits they receive are not risk-free. If enforcement efforts following the 2008 financial crisis are any guide, the government will aggressively enforce civil and criminal laws for years to come against those who commit fraud and abuse the CARES Act funds. Read the full article here.

4-21-20 Litigation: Webinar: Coronavirus Litigation Trends: What We're Seeing and What to Expect

Warner attorneys Janet Ramsey, Mike Azzi and Tom Amon presented a webinar to address litigation trends happening during the coronavirus pandemic. As companies are starting to adjust to the new normal of working through this unprecedented turn of events, it is never too soon to prepare for the inevitable influx of lawsuits. In fact, dozens of coronavirus lawsuits have already been filed across the United States by consumers, workers, shareholders and citizen groups. Click here to listen to the webinar recording.

Real Estate

4-26-21 Real Estate: MI Court Rules That COVID-19 Shutdowns May Give Commercial Tenants a Defense to Paying Rent

A Michigan federal judge recently ruled that an ancient common law doctrine called “frustration of purpose” gives a retail tenant a defense to paying rent for the period the tenant was shut down due to the state’s COVID-19-related public health orders. Read the full article here.

11-6-20 Real Estate: Governor Whitmer Signs Remote Signature and Notarization Legislation

Yesterday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed several COVID-19-related bills into law that are important to the real estate industry, estate planners and other businesses that rely on notarized or recorded documents. Read the full article here.

9-4-20 Real Property Litigation: CDC Order Renews Moratorium on Residential Evictions

The residential eviction moratorium has been extended. On Tuesday, September 1, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a nationwide eviction moratorium through the end of 2020, in light of the expiration of the previous nationwide moratorium established by the CARES Act. Read the full article here.

6-17-20 Real Property Litigation: Update to Previous eAlert on Property Tax Appeal Deadlines

Michigan House Bill 5766 was signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on June 11, 2020. Under this new law, the deadline for filing an appeal of real property taxes for 2020 has been extended to August 31, 2020. Owners of commercial and industrial properties may file an appeal directly with the Michigan Tax Tribunal (MTT) by August 31, 2020. Read the full article here.

6-16-20 Real Property Litigation: New Administrative Order Provides Guidance on Eviction Procedures to MI Landlords and Tenants

On June 9, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court issued Administrative Order No. 2020‑17 (“AO 2020‑17”). AO 2020‑17 gives Michigan landlords and tenants guidance on how courts will handle the expected influx of lease dispute filings after the moratorium on residential evictions is lifted. Some estimates project that 75,000 plus eviction cases will be filed once the moratorium is lifted. Under Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order No. 2020‑118, the moratorium on the filing of most new residential eviction proceedings, or even threatening such proceedings, extends until June 30, 2020. Read the full article here.

6-11-20 Real Property Litigation: Update to Property Tax Appeal Deadlines

On June 9, 2020, the State Tax Commission (STC) issued a memorandum providing guidance as to the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-87 (EO) regarding the expansion of authority for the local 2020 July Board of Review. In its memorandum, which may be found here, the STC states that the Governor’s EO requires the 2020 July Board of Review to hear all matters which could have been heard at the March Board of Review, unless the issue was already heard and decided by the March Board of Review. Read the full article here.

5-19-20 Construction, Real Estate: COVID-19 Safety Requirements for Those in the Construction Industry

Earlier this month, Governor Whitmer issued executive orders permitting work in the construction industry to recommence as a “resumed activity.” Those engaged in construction activities must comply both with the requirements for all businesses with in-person workers and with the additional requirements set out specifically for the construction industry. Read the full article here.

5-19-20 Real Property Litigation: Property Tax Appeal Deadlines Extended Due to COVID-19

On May 14, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020‑87 (the “EO”), which is effective immediately and temporarily suspends certain deadlines for filing 2020 property tax appeals to allow an extension of these deadlines due to the COVID‑19 pandemic. Read the full article here.

5-6-20 Real Property Litigation: Mitigating Premises Liability Risks Posed by COVID-19

Premises liability is a negligence claim which seeks recovery from a facility for an injury allegedly caused by an unsafe condition on the premises. Such claims typically allege that those in control of a facility owe a duty to take sufficient precautions to prevent unreasonably exposing its guests to unsafe conditions on-site, but they failed to do so. Any facility open to the public or with customers, contractors, vendors and others regularly on-site, and tied to an on-site COVID-19 contamination, is a potential target for such a claim. Read the full article here.

5-1-20 Real Estate: Now Is the Time to Review Your Real Property Tax Assessments to Avoid Excessive Property Tax Payments

COVID‑19 is causing major financial setbacks in the real estate industry which is leading many people to evaluate their expenses including real property tax assessments. Property taxes constitute a significant expense incurred by real property owners and one that is frequently overlooked. Many published sources predict the COVID‑19 pandemic will cause immediate and significant downward pressure on the market value of nearly all properties. Read the full article here.

4-29-20 Real Estate: Webinar: What’s Next? How Landlords, Tenants and Lenders are Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic

Warner attorneys Bob Nolan, Tom Amon and Brandon Cory presented a complimentary webinar on landlords, tenants and lenders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Landlords are facing rent payment defaults at an unprecedented rate as COVID-19 brought the world economy to a grinding halt. We explored current options available to landlords, tenants and lenders to protect their business interests, while remaining within the bounds of interim laws, regulations and executive orders. Additionally, we addressed options for rent reduction or abatement, lease renegotiations, managing defaults and litigation risk, and the applicable force majeure clauses in leases. Click here to listen to the webinar recording.

4-10-20 Real Estate: New Executive Order Enables Real Estate Transactions

See an update to this eAlert: May 7, 2020, FAQ
On April 8, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020‑41 (the “Order”), which allows through May 6, 2020, the expanded use of electronic signatures, the remote notarization and witnessing of documents, the recording of physical copies of electronic documents with registers of deeds, and the filing of electronic documents with departments of the State of Michigan. Read the full article here.

Retail

4-15-20 Retail: Michigan Liquor Control Commission Begins Spirits Buyback Program

On April 13, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order No. 2020-46, which created a spirits buyback program for Michigan restaurants and bars. Holders of certain on-premise liquor licenses (specifically, Class C, B-Hotel, G‑1, Club, Continuing Care Retirement Center, Aircraft, Watercraft and Train licenses) are eligible to participate in the buyback program.  Licensees are not eligible if their license was in escrow as of March 10, 2020, or if the licensee has any unpaid non-sufficient funds payments to the MLCC. Read the full article here.

Tax

8-31-20 Tax Law: Treasury Issues Guidance on President‘s Executive Order on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations due to COVID-19

On August 8, 2020, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order and Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster (Memorandum). Pursuant to the Memorandum, the Secretary of Treasury is directed to use his authority to defer the withholding, deposit and payment of the employee portion (6.2%) of social security tax (or FICA) on wages or compensation paid between September 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. The Memorandum also directs the Secretary of Treasury to issue additional guidance regarding the implementation of the deferral. Read Warner’s August 12, 2020, eAlert titled “Payroll Tax Obligations Deferred in Light of COVID-19.” Read the full article here.

8-12-20 Tax Law: Payroll Tax Obligations Deferred in Light of COVID-19

On August 8, 2020, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order and Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster (Memorandum). 

Pursuant to the Memorandum, the Secretary of Treasury is directed to use his authority to defer the withholding, deposit and payment of the employee portion (6.2%) of social security tax (or FICA) on wages or compensation paid between September 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. Read the full article here.

7-30-20 Tax Law: Michigan Department of Treasury Confirms Personal Protective and Safety Equipment Used in Industrial Processing is Exempt from Sales and Use Tax

The Michigan General Sales Tax Act imposes a 6% tax on sales of tangible personal property at retail. The Use Tax Act imposes a similar 6% tax on the out-of-state purchase of tangible personal property that will be used, stored or consumed in Michigan. Read the full article here.

6-11-20 Tax Law: IRS Grants Relief for Qualified Opportunity Funds and Investors Affected by Ongoing 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic

The IRS recently issued Notice 2020‑39 (the “Notice”), which grants relief for qualified opportunity funds (QOFs) and their investors in response to the ongoing COVID‑19 pandemic. The Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) authorizes the IRS to allow taxpayers to postpone the timeline for performing certain acts determined to be affected by a federally-declared disaster. On April 9, 2020, the IRS issued Notice 2020‑23 to provide COVID‑19 relief for certain time-sensitive actions due to be performed on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020. Notice 2020‑39 modifies the relief granted in Notice 2020‑23. Read the full article here.

6-5-20 Tax Law: Reminder - Michigan Department of Treasury Delayed Q2 Estimated Tax Payments Until July 15, 2020

Earlier this year, the IRS issued Notice 2020-23 and supplemental guidance providing extensions to July 15, 2020, for any individual, fiduciary or corporation with a return or payment due between April 15, 2020, and July 15, 2020. Notice 2020-23 expanded the automatic extension to include the second quarter estimated tax payment and fiscal year income tax returns and payments due on or after April 15, 2020, and before July 15, 2020. Read the full article here.

5-18-20 Tax Law: Michigan Department of Treasury Waives Penalties and Interest on Monthly Sales, Use and Withholding Tax Returns Previously Due on May 20, 2020

The Michigan Department of Treasury (“Department”) has announced that it will waive penalties and interest for 30 days for monthly sales, use and withholding tax returns due May 20, 2020, because of compliance difficulties related to the COVID‑19 outbreak, which is in essence a delay of the filing and payment date. Read the full article here.

4-17-20 Tax Law: IRS Provides Coronavirus Relief to Parties in IRC Sec. 1031 “Like-Kind Exchange” Transactions

As described in our recent eAlert available here, the IRS, in Notice 2020-23, provides relief to any person performing certain “Specified Time-Sensitive Actions” as described in IRS Revenue Procedure 2018-58. That Revenue Procedure is available here. In general, these Specified Time-Sensitive Actions include tax elections and other tasks that are due between April 1, 2020, and July 15, 2020. Notice 2020-23 generally postpones the due date of these actions until July 15, 2020. Read full article here.

4-16-20 Tax Law: Michigan Dept. of Treasury Delays Filing Deadline and Waives Penalties and Interest on April’s Sales, Use and Withholding Tax Returns

The Michigan Department of Treasury (“Department”) has announced that it will delay the filing deadline by 30 days and waive penalties and interest for monthly sales, use and withholding tax returns scheduled for payment by April 20, 2020, due to compliance difficulties related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Read the full article here.

4-14-20 Tax Law: Federal Tax Update: COVID-19 Delay for Payment and Filing

As many of you know, the U.S. Department of Treasury published Notice 2020-18 in response to President Trump’s March 13, 2020, pandemic declaration that COVID-19 warranted an emergency under section 501(b) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. Notice 2020-18 provides relief until July 15, 2020, from tax deadlines, payments of tax liabilities and filing of specific income tax returns for Americans who have been adversely affected by the national emergency. Read the full article here.

4-7-20 Tax Law: How to Report the Employee Retention Credit for March Wages

Under the CARES Act, certain employers are eligible for a 50% credit for wages paid to employees under certain conditions as we previously reported to you. The credit can be self-claimed from withheld payroll and income tax. Read the full article here

4-1-20 Tax Law: Webinar: New Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act")

The CARES Act provides emergency assistance to individuals, families and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We provided a summary of the CARES Act as it relates to: new federal Small Business Administration (“SBA”) loans that could assist your business with its day-to-day operations; the potential tax relief available to your corporation; and health care provisions related to hospitals, health systems and individuals' expanded rights. Click here to view a recording of the webinar.

3-31-20 Tax Law: Michigan Tax Update: COVID-19 Delay for Payment and Filing

As anticipated, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently issued Executive Order 2020-26 (the “Order”) in response to Federal Notice 2020-18 to align federal and state tax return and payment due dates. By issuing the Order, the Governor is providing relief from tax deadlines to Michigan taxpayers who have been adversely affected by the ongoing national emergency related to COVID-19. Read the full article here.

3-27-20 Tax Law: CARES Act Includes Many Tax Relief Provisions for 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by the Senate on March 25, 2020, and by the House of Representatives on March 27, 2020. At the time of this writing, President Trump announced that he has signed CARES into law. CARES provides a variety of provisions intended to grant economic relief. Many of the provisions provide tax relief to individuals and corporations. The following is based on the Senate version sent to the House. Read the full article here.

3-23-20 Tax Law: Federal Tax Update: COVID-19 Delay for Payment and Filing

The U.S. Department of Treasury released notice 2020-18 in response to President Trump’s pandemic declaration on March 13, 2020. This notice states that COVID-19 warranted an emergency and the Treasury is providing relief from tax deadlines to Americans who have been adversely affected by the national emergency. The usual due date of April 15, 2020 for filing federal income tax returns and making federal income tax payments is now automatically postposed to July 15, 2020. Read the full article here.

3-20-20 Tax Law: MI Department of Treasury Waives Penalty and Interest for Monthly Sales, Use and Withholding Tax Returns Due March 20, 2020

The Michigan Department of Treasury (“Department”) has announced that it will waive penalty and interest for 30 days for monthly sales, use and withholding tax returns due March 20, 2020 due to compliance difficulties related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Any return or payment due on March 20, 2020 may be submitted to the Department without penalty or interest through April 20, 2020. Read the full article here.

3-16-20 Tax Law: HR 6201 to Create Tax Credits to Help Employers Amid COVID-19 Crisis

The House of Representatives passed a bill with tax-credit provisions aimed at containing the widening economic effects of COVID-19 (HR 6201) and lessening the potential burden on employees and employers. Read the full article here for a full overview of the tax credits and how they could impact your business.

Technology/IP

12-28-20 Technology and Intellectual Property: Congress Delivers a Sleigh Full of Gifts for Intellectual Property Owners

In an eleventh-hour deal struck just before for the winter holidays, both houses of Congress passed three new intellectual property bills as part of its COVID-19 relief and budgetary legislation. Two of these were bills that copyright and trademark owners have long been pushing for, and another slipped in under the radar to provide additional relief against infringing online streaming. All three represent a significant gift to IP owners. Read the full article here.

5-28-20 Technology and Intellectual Property: USPTO Issues Third Extension for Certain Filing Deadlines

As we advised in our previous eAlerts titled, “The CARES Act Cares for IP Owners Too,” and “USPTO Again Extends Certain Filing Deadlines,” the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) twice extended certain patent and trademark filing deadlines pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Noting that the previously granted relief expires May 31, 2020, the USPTO issued a third order on May 27, 2020, providing relief to filers. Read the full article here.

4-29-20 Technology and Intellectual Property: USPTO Again Extends Certain Filing Deadlines

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced yesterday that it was once again extending certain filing deadlines for trademark and patent matters following implementation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The first USPTO filing extensions are discussed in our previous eAlert titled The CARES Act Cares for IP Owners Too. Real the full article here.

4-2-20 Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights: The CARES Act Cares for IP Owners Too

The CARES Act did not leave out patent, trademark and copyright owners. Instead, the CARES Act grants the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Register of Copyrights temporary authority to modify filing deadlines, which is good news for intellectual property holders. Read the full articles here.

3-20-20 Technology and Intellectual Property: The IP Power Pause: Finding Opportunities Amidst the Chaos

International work disruptions are not the norm and, when they happen, they can feel paralyzing. Daily work and life routines drift to a halt. Streets empty, transportation trickles and our relationships retreat. It’s like someone hit “pause” on our personal and professional practices. But, professional “pauses,” if managed strategically, can bolster your business arsenal. We call this a “power pause.” A power pause is particularly advantageous in intellectual property. Read the full article here.

Additional Warner COVID-19 Information and Guidance

COVID-19 Construction Issues

The COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying government orders restraining business operations have led to unprecedented disruption in the construction industry. In Michigan, although some critical infrastructure and health care-related projects continued during the stay-at-home order, most projects were idled until residential and commercial construction was permitted to resume on May 7. This disruption, along with accompanying disruptions in materials manufacturing and access to capital, will undoubtedly lead to disputes among owners, contractors and subcontractors regarding how to handle the resulting delays and cost overruns. Read more.

Lease Defaults and Litigation are Expected to Rise in the Wake of COVID-19

The widespread shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have hit the commercial real estate sector particularly hard. Nationwide, billions of dollars in retail rents and other charges went unpaid for the month of April, as revenue streams dried up due to COVID-19 lockdowns. With Michigan’s lockdown now extending through May 15, 2020, many businesses are grappling with how to address rent payments that are due on May 1st. Read more.

COVID-19 Tips for Video Parenting Time

Whether you live out of state, are self-quarantining or have agreed to wait until after the emergency orders expire to exercise parenting time, staying connected with your child during this difficult time is important. Read more.

Stay Home Stay Safe Order: Impact on Child Custody and Parenting Time Orders and Agreements

On March 23, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-21 (COVID-19) which requires all non-essential workers as defined in the Order to Stay Home Stay Safe for the next three weeks at least, starting at midnight on March 23, 2020. The Order provides a list of exceptions to the rules including addressing compliance with custody orders. Read more.

Warner Helps You Navigate "Business As Anything But Usual"

As we begin to prepare for the safe return to our offices, please know our Warner attorneys continue to work from home without missing a beat – and will do so throughout the month of May. Read more.

Warner in the News

6-15-20 Employee Benefits: Lisa Zimmer Discusses Expanded 401K and IRA Distribution Guidelines Under the CARES Act

Warner Partner Lisa B. Zimmer discusses new 401K and IRA guidelines in the CARES Act in an article titled, "Your Money During COVID-19," in this week's Detroit Jewish News. Zimmer describes the new provisions which allows most retirement plans to offer expanded distributions and favorable tax treatment for up to $100,000 for coronavirus‑related reasons.

6-1-20 Real Estate: Relaxation of real estate evaluation, appraisal requirements

In light of COVID-19, federal agencies have issued guidance that provides flexibility for property evaluations and appraisals. Warner attorneys Rachel Foster and Alexandra Chitwood write a column in the Grand Rapids Business Journal outlining guidance for buyers, sellers and lenders.

5-22-20 Litigation: Stock drop litigation is coming – are you ready?

Warner partner and litigator Brian Masternak provided an overview of stock drop litigation for The National Law Journal in a bylined article. As our nation continues to wrestle with COVID-19, Masternak tells readers that it’s not a question of “if” but of “when” – when stock prices drop precipitously, it’s inevitable that publicly traded companies will see claims of securities fraud over representations or disclosures alleged to be materially misleading.

5-11-20 Litigation: Brian Masternak Warns of Stock Drop Litigation During Times of Crisis Grand Rapids Business Journal

Warner partner Brian Masternak provides steps to prepare for stock drop litigation in the wake of COVID-19. Plaintiff’s attorneys file these lawsuits in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the outbreaks of Ebola and SARS. While the precipitating events may change, the resulting cases from the securities class action bar follow a predictable pattern. Read the Grand Rapids Business Journal article here.

5-11-20 Trusts and Estates: Mark Harder on Estate, Tax Planning Ideas for a COVID-19 Economy Holland Sentinel

Warner Norcross + Judd LLP partner and chair of the firm's Private Client and Family Office Practice Group, Mark Harder writes about the depressed values in the markets, low interest rates and historically high federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions that have created some excellent opportunities for you to make impactful gifts to your family and generate potentially significant tax savings. Following are eight wealth planning tools you may want to consider. Read the full article in the Holland Sentinel here.

5-4-20 Litigation: Beware of Coronavirus Scams and Phishing Attacks Midland Daily News

Warner partners Norbert Kugele, Madelaine Lane and Brian Wassom wrote an article that was published in the Midland Daily News called "Beware of coronavirus scams and phishing attacks." During the COVID-19 crisis, criminals continue to ply their trade, exploiting the crisis for their gain. While employees work from remote locations, it is important for businesses to continue educating their teams about cyberattacks to prevent information systems from being compromised. Read the full article here.

5-4-20 Real Estate: Tom Amon Writes About Lease Defaults and Litigation are Expected to Rise in the Wake of COVID‑19 for the Grand Rapids Business Journal

Warner partner Thomas Amon laid out a roadmap for landlords and tenants to prepare for potential litigation over lease defaults in light of COVID‑19. In this blog for the Grand Rapids Business Journal, he stressed the importance of protecting your position – and your communications.  

4-27-20 Cybersecurity: DBusiness Features Warner’s Article on Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Concerns Amid COVID‑19

On April 27, 2020, DBusiness Tech and Mobility News included an article titled, “Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Concerns Amid COVID-19,” written by Warner Norcross + Judd LLP attorneys Kelly R. Hollingsworth and Jeffrey S. Segal. As the COVID‑19 pandemic continues, significant issues related to data privacy and cybersecurity are on the rise, largely triggered by two key factors: 1) more workforce members working remotely; and 2) organizations processing more employee health information. Below, we discuss some of the issues organizations are facing as a result of these and other factors and offer tips for mitigating the risks. The complete DBusiness article is available here.

4-10-20 Financial Services: GRBJ Discusses CARES Act with Matthew Johnson

Warner Partner Matthew D. Johnson discusses small business resources available in the CARES Act stimulus package in an article titled, “CARES Act guidance for small businesses,” in this week’s Grand Rapids Business Journal. Johnson describes the framework of the $350 billion fund, including details on eligibility for loan forgiveness and special programs under the Entrepreneurial Development Program. 

4-10-20 Technology and Intellectual Property: GRBJ Features Warner’s IP Report

Although COVID-19 has severely disrupted our routines, a professional “pause,” if managed strategically, can bolster your business arsenal. Warner Partners Mary C. Bonnema and Brian D. Wassom co-authored “The IP power pause: finding opportunity amid the chaos” which ran in today’s Grand Rapids Business Journal.

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