Ruder Ware News & Insights

Updates on key legal issues and business concerns.

The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) recently released key figures for 2021 that will affect all elderly and disabled individuals who receive program benefits, including social security retirement benefits, social security disability insurance (“SSDI”) income, and supplemental security income (“SSI”). This notice summarizes the changes and their impact on various benefits. Source
After several months of uncertainty, businesses are carefully resuming merger and acquisition transactions. Many (if not most) small businesses took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program, but, as forgiveness is still pending, they are forced to navigate the treatment of these loans in the sale or acquisition process. The SBA issued a procedural notice regarding its requirements effective October 2nd. The Notice provides the requirements a PPP borrower must meet in order to avoid losing its chance at loan forgiveness as a result of a “change of ownership.” A “change of ownership” includes: (1) a transfer of at least 20%…
Today by Interim Rule the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration jointly made it much easier for some Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan borrowers to get forgiveness for their loans.  If the PPP loan amount is $50,000 or less, the borrower can get full forgiveness to the extent that the loan proceeds were used for purposes permitted under PPP.  Such borrowers can ignore any reductions in full-time equivalent employees or reductions in employee salary or wages that would otherwise apply.  Under the PPP, borrowers who have spent all of their PPP loan on permitted expenses still faced reductions in their…
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development adopted an emergency rule to create DWD 120.02 which was approved by Governor Evers on September 23, 2020. As of November 2, 2020, Wisconsin employers will be required to notify workers of the availability of unemployment insurance upon separation of employment. The notification can be accomplished through one of the listed methods: letter, e-mail, text message, flyer and any other department-approved method designed to give immediate notice to employees. The Department’s website states that providing the printed poster in person or by mail would also be a sufficient method. Employers are required to display…
With ever-increasing cases of COVID-19 affecting Wisconsin and U.S. workplaces, many employers have been left confused as to whether, when, and how they are supposed to report those cases to OSHA.  OSHA itself has issued differing guidance since the pandemic began.  It has now, however, come out with some new clarification on those questions. As background, an employer must report the death of any worker from a “work-related incident” to OSHA if it occurs within 30 days of the incident, and the employer must do so within eight hours of determining that the death was work-related.  Employers must also report…
Today Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services issued Emergency Order No. 3 limiting public gatherings.  As written, the Order is effective until November 6.  The order limits “public gatherings” to no more than 25% of the total occupancy limits for a room or building established by the local municipality. “Public gathering” means an “indoor event, convening or collection of individuals that is open to the public.”  The phrase “open to the public” is further defined as to include, but not be limited to,  “rooms within a business location, store, or facility that allows members of the public to enter” and “ticketed…
Employers need to keep abreast of the ever-changing agency rules regarding whether a worker is an “independent contractor” or an “employee.” You might ask, “why does this matter to the government?” The answer is easy: many government agencies—both state and federal—are designed solely to protect employees.  The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (which monitors unemployment insurance, workers compensation, and equal rights for employees) to name a few.  Because “employees” have these protections and “independent contractors” do not, our government is…
Today, Gov. Evers issued Executive Order #90 declaring a new public health emergency in Wisconsin due to recent surges in COVID-19 cases. He also issued a new face coverings order, Emergency Order #1. While these orders are new, they have no material changes from the mask mandate orders Gov. Evers’ issued on July 30 (check out our post outlining what the initial Order covered).  The orders issued today operate as an extension of the previous orders. They are effective immediately and will expire after sixty days (Nov. 21) or with a subsequent superseding order. On July 30, Gov.…
Late last week, the Department of Labor issued a revised rule to address a New York federal judge’s order from this past August that struck down several provisions of the FFCRA.  (For a copy of Ruder Ware’s ealert on that order, click here.) The order left employers confused: Should we follow the original FFCRA or the judge’s order?  We advised several clients to hold off on making any changes until the DOL issued revised regulations. Well, finally, we have them! Note there were four main areas at issue: 1) the health care provider exception; 2) the work availability requirement;…
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) posted an update to “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws” on September 8, 2020. The update modified the Q&As to create a user-friendly comprehensive guide addressing common questions about COVID-19 and federal equal employment opportunity laws for employers. A summary of the updates are below, but click here to review the full list. Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Exams: Employers may ask employees who will be physically entering the workplace if they have COVID-19, symptoms of COVID-19, or if they have been exposed. Employers…
On August 8, 2020, President Donald Trump issued an executive order titled “Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster.”  The order directed the Secretary of the Treasury to use its authority to defer the withholding, deposit, and payment of certain payroll tax obligations. On August 28, 2020 the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued guidance (Notice 2020-65) to employers regarding how to implement the deferral allowed in the order.  The guidance provides that employers are allowed, but not required, to defer withholding of the employee portion of the Social Security payroll taxes (“applicable taxes”)…
On September 1, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a yet-to-be published Emergency Order (Order) prohibiting residential evictions.  The Order will take effect on its legal publication date (expected to be Friday, September 4, 2020) through December 31, 2020.  Specifically, the Order prohibits any action by a landlord or similar owner of residential property or other person with a legal right to pursue the remedy of eviction or possessory action, or to remove or cause to be removed a “covered person” from residential property. The basis given as to why the CDC has authority to implement this…
Today the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division published responses to three new frequently asked questions for  regarding qualifying for paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in relation to the reopening of schools.  This list of FAQs has now hit 100 and is a great guide for employers regarding the FFCRA.  (Note that the DOL has not yet addressed the federal judge’s ruling earlier this month which invalidated several provisions of the FFCRA.  Our e-alert on this ruling can be found here.)   The three new FAQs are below: Is the employee eligible…
Starting last month, the California Attorney General began enforcing the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”). Although the CCPA went into effect January 1, 2020, it provided a six-month grace period to allow companies to comply.  Under the CCPA, California residents, even if temporarily out of the state, are granted substantial data-privacy rights and extensive control over how companies can use their online personal data. The CCPA applies to a for-profit business (or their parent company or subsidiary) doing business in California and that satisfies one or more of the following:  (1) generates mores that $25 million in annual revenue; (2)…
By now, many of you have heard that last week a federal judge expanded several provisions of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  We have been postponing our alert on this hoping the Department of Labor would issue some guidance for employers.  So far, there has been no word from the DOL.  If you have questions about whether your company should follow the judge’s order—or should continue to administer the FFCRA per usual until the DOL issues guidance—please do not hesitate to contact us! On August 3, 2020, Judge J. Paul Oetken of the U.S. District Court for the…
Wisconsin’s COVID-19 response bill (2019 Wisconsin Act 185) was enacted by the Wisconsin legislature in mid-April. It included provisions to charge unemployment claims caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency to the state’s balancing account, rather than to employers’ accounts, in order to relieve employers from increased unemployment taxes in 2021. This Act was tied to the public health emergency declared by Governor Evers which expired in May (executive order 72). The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced that it is interpreting Act 185 to require Wisconsin employers to file form UCB-18823-E, a newly created form, for any initial…