- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has suspended all representation elections, including mail ballot elections, through at least April 3rd.
- "The Board deems this action necessary to ensure the health and safety of our employees, as well as those members of the public who are involved in the election process," the agency said in a statement. The NLRB said it did not believe it was possible to effectively conduct elections right now, given the operational impacts of novel coronavirus.
- The NLRB is monitoring the situation and will determine whether an extension of the suspension is necessary.
The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented disruptions to workplaces around the world. In the U.S., the NLRB is one of many agencies to alter long-established policies and practices due to exigencies.
Last week, for example, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that employers would be allowed to inspect I-9 documentation remotely for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. Employers must re-examine the documents in person when normal business operations resume.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also announced new coronavirus guidance for employers. WHD discussed whether the federal Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay workers who are unable to work from home, and whether leave to avoid the pandemic would be protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
OSHA's Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 provides information on safe work practices and strategies for preventing the spread of illness.
Employers are well-advised to closely follow new federal guidance as it becomes available, as well as evolving state rules and restrictions. Congress is still working to hammer out a relief package, while an emergency FMLA extension has been signed into law.