COVID-19 Vaccines and the Workforce – Mandatory or Encouraged?

Ruth Binger

By Ruth Binger



Getting back to normal in the next year or so may be impossible without the widespread use of COVID-19 vaccines. Although authorities do not anticipate the vaccines will be widely available until Spring 2021, employers should be considering whether to mandate or merely encourage vaccinations in the workforce.

Currently there is no definitive answer regarding mandatory vaccinations, and your plan will depend on many variables. Because this is the first pandemic in our memory and it is all new to us, consider forming a committee to monitor the status of laws, regulations, and guidance from various agencies.

Your business may be one of the lucky ones that navigated the pandemic without causing a loss of morale or culture, operating safely by working remotely, social distancing, wearing masks, and following CDC requirements. If so, setting aside all other factors, you may simply want to encourage vaccinations for the first few months that they are available, especially given potential concerns about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines and the ever-changing laws. You could do this by training and educating employees as to the efficacy of the vaccine, encouraging participation, and offering the vaccine for free (if not covered by insurance) at the workplace during work hours. Continue reading »

$5,000 Grants Available to Restaurants and Small Businesses in St. Louis County

Ruth Binger

By Ruth Binger



covid-19 helpIn response to the tightening of COVID-19 restrictions for restaurants and some other small businesses, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page announced $5,000 grants through the Small Business Rapid Deployment Fund.

Grants can be used for operating expenses or business costs (e.g., rent and payroll) and purchases needed to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions (e.g., heaters and tents) “incurred between April 1 and December 16, 2020 as a direct result of COVID-19.”

According to the fund’s website, restaurants and small businesses must meet the several eligibility requirements including: Continue reading »

What is The Best Franchise Model For You?

Ruth Binger

By Ruth Binger



franchiseToday, approximately 35 percent of franchises are owned solely or co-owned by women and that percentage is steadily increasing. Women’s superior relationship skills shine in service businesses and women gravitate toward more female oriented franchise models such as hair salons, weight loss centers, flower shops, cosmetic companies, etc. Driven by the desire to start a small business in order to create more flexibility and control over their time and to be their own boss, the franchising model is an exciting lure. Caution, however, speed bumps abound. Your entrepreneurial zeal should be tempered with a reality knowledge check which includes due diligence performed by you, number crunching services performed by your accountant and perspective and legal advice provided by your attorney.

What to Expect from Franchise System

Although the franchise model is no guarantee, the model may increase your chance of staying in business. The Small Business Administration, however, has consistently found that franchises have the same success rates as independent small businesses. Businesses fail for many reasons, some of which the franchise model cannot fix.  A good franchisor should eliminate, control, or manage many of the common mistakes a starting small business makes.  At the minimum for the initial investment and recurring costs of royalty and marketing monthly fees, a franchisee should receive brand recognition (trademarks, advertising and promotion), quality control, site selection and opening support, continuing training and operational guidance, stability, and value for the investment.

Continue reading »

Getting Back to Work: OSHA Guidance for Non-Essential Businesses

Ruth Binger

By Ruth Binger



OSHA has released new guidelines for reopening to help non-essential businesses ensure the safety and health of their employees and customers from the spread of COVID-19.

This new guidance supplements Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 from the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Guidelines for Opening up America Again from the White House.

Under the new OSHA guidelines, businesses should establish reopening policies and procedures in the following areas: Continue reading »

Legal Guidance for Employers on Navigating New Wellness/Health Policies – On Demand Webinar

Ruth Binger

By Ruth Binger



A recent survey of Missouri manufacturers by Missouri Enterprise found that understanding wellness and health guidelines due to Covid-19 is a top challenge for moving forward.

In “Legal Guidance to Help Employers Navigate New Wellness/Health Policies,” a webinar from Missouri Enterprise, I discuss major obstacles and gray areas related to protecting employees in the new normal of Covid-19.

Watch the webinar to learn how to navigate the new health order while protecting employees on the job. Questions include:

  • Can employers require employees to get flu or Covid-19 vaccinations?
  • What questions can an employer legally ask when an employee calls in sick?
  • What can an employer do if an employee doesn’t want to return to work because they are afraid of getting sick?
  • Can an employer require high-risk employees (due to age or health) to stay home?
  • What information can an employer share with other employees if an employee is being tested for the virus?
  • Can a company require an employee to leave work if they seem ill?
  • Can an employer be held liable if an employee contacts the virus at the workplace?
  • If the virus spread through the workplace, is it considered a workers’ comp injury?

Click below to watch the webinar: Continue reading »

Employers Must Report Work-related COVID-19 Cases to OSHA

Ruth Binger

By Ruth Binger



Under new guidelines from OSHA, employers must record all work-related COVID-19 cases that meet the following three conditions:

  1. The case is confirmed as COVID-19 as defined by the CDC.
  2. The case is determined to be work-related.
  3. The case results in any of the following:
    1. Death
    2. Significant injury or illness diagnosed by a medical professional
    3. Days away from work
    4. Restricted work or transfer to another job
    5. Medical treatment beyond first aid
    6. Loss of consciousness.

In addition, per the new guidelines: Continue reading »

Ruth Binger Talks About Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Ruth Binger

By Ruth Binger



Ruth Binger talks with John Launius, President of Vidzu Media, about leadership and the firm’s response to the COVID-19 crisis on Leadership Factor.

If you have any questions regarding your business, contact Ruth or any Danna McKitrick attorney.

https://vimeo.com/402291865

For additional COVID-19 related information, go to our Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resource Center.

Manufacturers Are Stepping Up to Produce Personal Protective Equipment

Ruth Binger

By Ruth Binger



Manufacturers across the country have started repurposing or retooling their factories to produce much needed medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE). Companies with 3-D printers are being utilized to create face masks and shields and components for medical devices.

Here’s just a glance at what is going on in manufacturing. If you have any questions about manufacturing PPE, one of our attorneys can assist you.

Manufacturing Industry:

Medical Technology:

  • The U.S. medical technology industry as a whole is working to meet the urgent demands by increasing production and are finding new suppliers. According to Scott Whitaker, president and CEO of AdvaMed, an international medical technology association, “We’re exploring ways to repurpose, retrofit, and reimagine the production of PPEs. Factories that typically make shoes and underwear and diapers are being retooled to make surgical gowns and gloves. Industrial paint masks and automotive respirators are being transformed into health care-specific safety masks.”
  • The Global Center for Medical Innovation has designed two different face shield types (foam and rigid) that are ready for prototyping and production for manufacturers wishing to produce face shields for healthcare providers. GC
  • The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Engineering has partnered with designers, a hospital, and team of medical providers, and a prototyping company to create an  open source design for a medical face shield.

State Level:

Continue reading »

SBA Loan Assistance for COVID-19 Pandemic

Ruth Binger

By Ruth Binger



UPDATED 4/1/2020

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest economic disaster assistance loans due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic to .

For more information, click on the following links:

SBA COVID-19 Disaster Loans

SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

  • PPP Borrower Information Sheet
  • PPP Application Form
  • Application dates:
    • April 3, 2020: Business owners and sole proprietors can apply through existing SBA lenders*
    • April 10, 2020: Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply through existing SBA lenders*

      *Additional lenders will be available to make loans after they are approved by the SBA

If you have any questions, one of our attorneys can assist you.

Additional Resources:

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resource Center

COVID-19 Business Operations for Danna McKitrick

Posted by Attorney Ruth Binger with assistance from Brenda Christmas Marlowe, Marketing Manager. Binger serves both emerging and mature businesses concentrating in corporate law, intellectual property and technology law, cybersecurity, digital media law, and labor and employment law. Her commitment to the success of small to medium-sized businesses, and her understanding of multi-faceted issues inherent in operations, are what distinguish Binger’s practice.

 

 

Updated COVID-19 Recovery and Reopening Orders: St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Missouri, Outstate Missouri Areas, and Illinois

Ruth Binger

By Ruth Binger



UPDATED 11/18/2020

Review the links below for guidelines for reopening your business based on your location. If you have any questions, one of our employment attorneys can assist you.

Additional Resources:

COVID-19 ORDERS AND INFORMATION

State of Missouri
St. Louis Metro Area

St. Louis County

City of St. Louis

St. Charles County

Franklin County

Jefferson County

Lincoln County

Warren County

Other Missouri City and County Orders

Continue reading »