Client Alerts, News Articles & Blog Posts

Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

America’s New COVID-19 Relief Package — Unpacked

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the highly anticipated American Rescue Plan Act (the “Act”) into law, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill aimed at addressing and resolving many of the lingering questions and concerns following the expiration of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) on December 31, 2020.

Among the most notable provisions of the Act include the following:

FFCRA Tax Credit Extension | While employers are no longer mandated to provide paid sick leave to covered employees under the FFCRA, the Act grants an extension to the government tax credit previously provided to employers under the FFCRA if an employer elects to continue such paid time off to its employees. This tax credit remains available through September 2021 for employers with fewer than 500 employees. In addition, the Act now gives paid family leave for 12 weeks, instead of 10 weeks, ultimately providing an employee 14 weeks of paid leave when including the paid sick leave. Finally, the Act resets an employee’s FFCRA availability beginning on April 1, 2021. Meaning, any FFCRA time used before April 1, 2021 will not count against the employee’s leave entitlement after April 1, 2021.

COBRA Coverage | Also through September 2021, the federal government will subsidize the entirety of COBRA premiums for employees (and their covered family members) facing layoffs, ensuring health insurance coverage despite COVID unemployment concerns.

Unemployment Benefits | Prior to the passage of the Act, the weekly $300 unemployment supplement was set to expire in mid-March; however, now, these supplemental payments have been extended through September 6, 2021 — the first $10,200 of which will be tax-free for households earning up to $150,000. The Act additionally provides new protections for self-employed workers otherwise uncovered by state benefits.

Based on the changes to the FFCRA and the increased availability of vaccines, we recommend that clients consider revoking their FFCRA leave policies to avoid renewed employee eligibility for paid leave, including increased paid family leave for 12 weeks. If employers continue to provide paid leave under the FFCRA, they will remain eligible for payroll tax credits, up to the permitted maximums, for eligible leave time, through September 30, 2021.

As businesses across the country witnessed firsthand last year, federal and state legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic is ever-evolving and requires a watchful eye to remain in the know. For more information on any of the above-provisions or for any questions related to the American Rescue Plan Act, please contact BMD Labor and Employment Partner Bryan Meek at bmeek@bmdllc.com or 330.253.5586.

Thank you to Monica Andress for her assistance drafting this Client Alert.

Protections Under Federal and Ohio Law for Bona Fide Prospective Purchasers of Contaminated Property

Most industrial/commercial property developers are generally aware of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), often also referred to as “Superfund”. CERCLA, a United Stated federal law administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, was created, in part, because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized that environmental cleanup could help promote reuse or redevelopment of contaminated, potentially contaminated, and formerly contaminated properties, helping revitalize communities that may have been adversely affected by the presence of the contaminated properties. Commercial property developers should be aware that CERCLA provides for some important liability limitations for landowners that own contaminated property impacted by materials hazardous to the environment. It can also assist with landowners concerned about the potential liabilities stemming from the presence of contamination to which they have not contributed. In particular, CERCLA provides important liability limitations for landowners that qualify as (1) bona fide prospective purchasers (BFPPS), (2) contiguous property owners, or (3) innocent landowners.

Puerto Rico Is Open For Business

Puerto Rico has the highest vaccination in the nation. More than 73% of the total population is fully vaccinated. The U.S. national average is just over 57%. The ports opened in June 2020 and San Juan held it first live concert this past summer. It is important to remember that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and there is no need for visas, the banking systems is almost identical to the mainland and the Island uses the U.S. postal service and U.S. dollar as its currency. There are thousands of flights from the U.S. to Puerto Rico daily and all main airlines fly to the Island.

Ohio Medical Board Changes Telemedicine Rules

A SCMS News Article by Scott Sandrock.

The Rising Threat from Insiders – Get Your House in Order

As its name implies, an ‘Insider Threat’ originates inside an organization. An ‘insider’ is any person who has or had authorized access to or knowledge of an organization’s resources, including personnel, facilities, information, equipment, networks, and systems. ‘Insider threat’ can manifest from malicious, complacent, negligent or unintentional acts that negatively affect the integrity, confidentiality, and availability of the organization, its data, personnel, or facilities. Certainly, ‘Insider Threat’ can be an activity by a bad actor employee, but can also arise from an inadvertent or unknowing action inside an organization (such as an employee who unintentionally opens a phishing email or clicks on a malicious link).

In Cybersecurity– A Good Offense is the Best Defense

2021 has been a watershed moment for cybersecurity incidents as cybercrime has become a frequent headline and cyber criminals have thrived on unsuspecting and/or unprepared businesses and institutions. For example, the Solar Winds attack exposed sensitive data from top companies like Microsoft as well government agencies[1] and the Colonial Pipeline attack substantially disrupted the petroleum supply chain[2]. We have seen an almost 20% increase in data breaches and attacks since last year.