The Lester & Cantrell Legal Blog

CISA releases Version 2.0 of Essential Critical Infrastructure Worker Guidance

CISA Guidance

On March 28, 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) updated their Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response.

The advisory list identifies workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to continued critical infrastructure viability, including staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, working construction, and performing operational functions, among others.

It also includes workers who support crucial supply chains and enable functions for critical infrastructure. The industries they support represent, but are not limited to, medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement, and public works.

Do you have questions about whether your business is part of the essential critical infrastructure? Read the document: Version_2.0_-_CISA_Guidance_on_Essential_Critical_Infrastructure_Workers

Disclaimer

The blog posts and e-newsletters from Lester & Cantrell, LLP are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Please contact our attorneys to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Lester & Cantrell, LLP and the user. Any opinions expressed on our blogs/e-newsletters are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

SBA offering low-interest federal disaster loans to California small businesses

COVID 19 Guidelines for Employers

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to California small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today. SBA acted under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, to declare a disaster following a request received from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s designated representative, Director Mark S. Ghilarducci of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services on March 13, 2020.

The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in the following California counties:

  • Alameda
  • Contra Costa
  • Lake Mariposa
  • Napa
  • Sacramento
  • San Joaquin
  • Solano
  • Tuolumne
  • Alpine
  • El Dorado
  • Los Angeles
  • Mendocino
  • Orange
  • San Bernardino
  • San Mateo
  • Sonoma
  • Ventura
  • Amador
  • Imperial
  • Madera
  • Merced
  • Placer
  • San Diego
  • Santa Clara
  • Stanislaus
  • Yolo
  • Calaveras
  • Kern
  • Marin
  • Mono
  • Riverside
  • San Francisco
  • Santa Cruz
  • Sutter

    “SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist California small businesses with federal disaster loans. We will be swift in our efforts to help these small businesses recover from the financial impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19),” said Administrator Carranza.

    SBA Customer Service Representatives will be available to answer questions about SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and explain the application process.

    “Small businesses, private non-profit organizations of any size, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises that have been financially impacted as a direct result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) since Jan. 31, 2020, may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred,” said Carranza.

    “These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing,” Carranza added.

    Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non- profit organizations is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

    Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

    The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 16, 2020. For more information about Coronavirus, please visit: Coronavirus.gov.

Employment Guidelines Relating to COVID-19

COVID 19 Guidelines for Employers

COVID 19 Guidelines for Employers

The State of California has several Employment Guidelines Relating to COVID-19.

California State Guidelines for Employers

Workplace Health and Safety

For information on protecting workers from COVID-19, refer to the Cal/OSHA Guidance on Coronavirus. Businesses and employers can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for help with planning and responding to COVID-19.

Reduced Work Hours

Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the coronavirus impact on the economy may apply for the UI Work Sharing Program. This program allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs — retaining their trained employees by reducing their hours and wages that can be partially offset with UI benefits. Workers of employers who are approved to participate in the Work Sharing Program receive the percentage of their weekly UI benefit amount based on the percentage of hours and wages reduced, not to exceed 60 percent. Visit Work Sharing Program to learn more about its benefits for employers and employees, and how to apply.

Potential Closure or Layoffs

Employers planning a closure or major layoffs as a result of the coronavirus can get help through the Rapid Response program. Rapid Response teams will meet with you to discuss your needs, help avert potential layoffs, and provide immediate on-site services to assist workers facing job losses. For more information, refer to the Rapid Response Services for Businesses Fact Sheet (DE 87144RRB) (PDF) or contact your local America’s Job Center of CaliforniaSM.

Tax Assistance

Employers experiencing a hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. A written request for extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return. For questions, employers may call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center.

  • Toll-free from the U.S. or Canada: 1-888-745-3886
  • Hearing impaired (TTY): 1-800-547-9565
  • Outside the U.S. or Canada: 1-916-464-3502

State Guidelines for Employees

Sick or Quarantined

If you’re unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim. DI provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week. The Governor’s Executive Order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so you can collect DI benefits for the first week you are out of work. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim. For guidance on the disease, visit the California Department of Public Health website.

Caregiving

If you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim. PFL provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

School Closures

If your child’s school is closed, and you have to miss work to be there for them, you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits. Eligibility considerations include if you have no other care options and if you are unable to continue working your normal hours remotely. File an Unemployment Insurance claim and our EDD representatives will decide if you are eligible.

Reduced Work Hours

If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, you can file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim. UI provides partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own. Workers who are temporarily unemployed due to COVID-19 and expected to return to work with their employer within a few weeks are not required to actively seek work each week. However, they must remain able and available and ready to work during their unemployment for each week of benefits claimed and meet all other eligibility criteria. Eligible individuals can receive benefits that range from $40-$450 per week. The Governor’s Executive Order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so you can collect UI benefits for the first week you are out of work. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

Self-Employed

The available benefits are insurance programs. To be eligible, either you or an employer had to make contributions in the past 5 to 18 months. It is possible these contributions were made at a prior job, or if you were misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee. We encourage you to apply for the benefit program that is most appropriate for your situation. Visit Self-Employed/Independent Contractor to learn more.

Resources

Employment Resources

Health Resources

SB 873 aims to end the ‘pink tax’

SB 873 would ban companies from charging higher prices for their products based on gender.

SB 873 would ban companies from charging higher prices for their products based on gender.

SB 873, a new bill authored by Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-14th District) and state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), calls for an end to the “pink tax,” which prices women’s products higher than similar products made for men. Although price discrimination for services based on gender was banned after the Gender Tax Repeal Act of 1995, SB 873 aims to tighten the restrictions further by including consumer goods. 

SB 873 would ban companies from charging higher prices for their products based on gender, said Jackson, citing examples such as blue soccer balls priced at $6.99, and pink soccer balls priced at $8.99.

A study by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs reported that approximately 42 percent of products currently on U.S. shelves cost more for women than men, and that women’s products cost roughly 7 percent more than similar products for men. These products include everything from razors and T-shirts to sports equipment and baby items. The report, which examined 800 different products, can be read at “From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer.”  

SB 873 is supported by the National Association of Women Business Owners, California chapter.  Follow the bill’s progress here.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Disclaimer

The blog posts and e-newsletters from Lester & Cantrell, LLP are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Please contact our attorneys to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Lester & Cantrell, LLP and the user. Any opinions expressed on our blogs/e-newsletters are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

2020 amendments to Prop 65

2020 amendments to Prop 65

There are new 2020 amendments to Prop 65, which go into effect on April 1, 2020. Photo by Bente Whyatt on Unsplash.

Companies now have more clear guidelines for Proposition 65 warnings, thanks to new amendments adopted by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA).

Effective April 1, 2020, the amendments to Prop 65 to section 25600.2 of the California Code of Regulations state that any business employing 10 or more people should provide  “clear and reasonable warning” before exposing consumers to any chemicals listed under Proposition 65. 

The new amendment aims to assist both manufacturers and retailers by adding the following modifications: 

  1. It clarifies that “compliance may be met so long as the business to which the authorized agent for a retail seller provides the written notice to is subject to Section 25249.6 of Proposition 65.”
  2. It clarifies that entering into a written agreement is not limited to retail sellers, but that other intermediate parties – businesses to which they are selling or transferring product – may also enter into a written agreement.  
  3. It clarifies that confirmation receipt of the renewed warning notices can be received electronically or in writing.
  4. Businesses can now send written warning notes to the authorized agent of the retail seller or the next business in line, such as a distributer, taking legal possession of the products.

OEHHA is also making other modifications to Section 25600.2(b), (c) and (f) for clarity and consistency. The full regulatory text with the modified language is available on request from the OEHHA Legal Office at monet.vela@oehha.ca.gov or (916) 323-2517.

Disclaimer

The blog posts and e-newsletters from Lester & Cantrell, LLP are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Please contact our attorneys to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Lester & Cantrell, LLP and the user. Any opinions expressed on our blogs/e-newsletters are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

Prop 65 Tylenol Warning – Does acetaminophen cause cancer?

Prop 65 Tylenol Warning - Gov. Newsom’s panel considers adding acetaminophen to Prop 65 list of dangerous chemicals

Prop 65 Tylenol Warning – Gov. Newsom’s panel considers adding acetaminophen to Prop 65 list of dangerous chemicals. Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash.

The list of Proposition 65 carcinogens continues to grow. Now a panel appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom might add the common pain reliever acetaminophen to the mix. 

More than 900 chemicals are currently included in the state’s mandatory labeling law. This requires visible warnings for any products that may cause cancer or reproductive harm.

Available over the counter since 1955, acetaminophen is found in more than 600 medications including Excedrin, Tylenol and Midol. Often used as a fever-reducer, acetaminophen “can cause liver damage” if misused, according to the FDA. But according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, acetaminophen is not a carcinogen.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has weighed in on the Prop 65 Tylenol topic. It stated that labeling the medication as a carcinogen would be not only illegal, but “false and misleading.” 

Do you have questions about the Prop 65 Tylenol warning? Give us a call for a consultation.

Disclaimer

The blog posts and e-newsletters from Lester & Cantrell, LLP are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Please contact our attorneys to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Lester & Cantrell, LLP and the user. Any opinions expressed on our blogs/e-newsletters are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.