Earlier this week, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued much-anticipated proposed regulations regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The proposed regulations can be found here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2020-07237.pdf and are expected to be published early next week. Below, we have highlighted what we view as the most notable and/or significant clarifications of the new law. If you have any questions about the discussion below, the FFCRA, or how the new laws impact your business, please contact The Kullman Firm attorney with whom you regularly work.
§ 826.20 Clarifying The Circumstances Under Which Employees May Take Paid Leave
There are six qualifying circumstances under which a covered employer must provide paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA):
- The Employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
- The Employee has been advised by a health-care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
- The Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis from a health care provider;
- The Employee is caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in (i) or (ii);
- The Employee is caring for his or her Son or Daughter whose School or Place of Care has been closed or the Child Care Provider of such Son or Daughter is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19; or
- The Employee has a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor. The substantially similar condition may be defined at any point during the Effective Period, April 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.
While the reasons themselves have not changed, the proposed regulations make some important clarifications with respect thereto.
With respect to the first reason, for example, the proposed regulations and accompanying Executive Summary make clear that a “local COVID-19 quarantine or isolation order” includes a “broad range of governmental orders, including orders that advise some or all citizens to shelter in place, stay at home, quarantine, or otherwise restrict their own mobility.” (emphasis added). Nonetheless, the inquiry is not as simple or straightforward as it seems. While a governor’s stay at home order may in some circumstances qualify a worker for paid sick leave, the critical question is whether the employee would be able to work or telework “but for” being required to comply with a quarantine or isolation order. The Executive Summary provides an example of a coffee shop cashier who is subject to a stay-at-home order, and the coffee shop is closed due to a business downturn. The Summary concludes that, in this example, because the coffee shop is closed, the cashier would be unable to work even if he were not subject to a stay-at-home order, and therefore, the cashier would not qualify for paid sick leave under the EPSLA (though he might qualify for unemployment). The Summary goes on to note that even if the coffee shop was closed by virtue of a stay-at-home order or similar order, the cashier would still be unable to work (and therefore not qualified to take EPSLA leave), because the coffee shop—and not the cashier—was subject to the order.
With respect to the second reason, the proposed regulations explain that advice to self-quarantine must be based on the health care provider’s belief that the employee has, may have, or is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Further, in order to qualify for paid sick leave under the EPSLA for this reason, the employee must be unable to telework either due to the fact that telework is not an option (e.g., a security guard) or due to extenuating circumstances that prevent the employee from teleworking (e.g., serious COVID-19 symptoms).
The third qualifying reason for paid sick leave under the EPSLA applies where an individual is actively seeking a medical diagnosis and is unable to work or telework. Leave taken for this reason would cover time spent making, waiting for, or attending an appointment for a test for COVID-19. Leave for this reason is limited to employees who are experiencing fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, or any other COVID-19 symptoms identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the case of an individual who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeks medical care but is told he or she does not meet the criteria for testing and is advised to self-quarantine, he or she would be eligible for paid sick leave under reason (ii) above, provided the other criteria are satisfied.
With respect to the fourth reason, the employee is only entitled to leave if, “but for” a need to care for another individual, the employee would be able to perform work, including telework. As with the others, an employee caring for an individual may not take leave for this reason where the employer does not have work for the employee. Additionally, the employee must have a genuine need to care for the individual, a term that encompasses not only an employee’s immediate family member(s) but also a person who regularly resides in the employee’s home, or a similar person with whom the employee has a relationship that creates an expectation that the employee would care for the person if he or she were quarantined or self-quarantined. Although broadly defined, “individual” does not include persons with whom the employee has no personal relationship. Finally, the individual being cared for must either be subject to a quarantine or isolation order or have been advised by a health-care provider to self-quarantine (see reasons (i) and (ii) above).
With respect to the fifth reason, the proposed regulations clarify that the employee may only take paid leave to care for his son or daughter when the employee needs to and is actually caring for his or her child. The regulations further clarify that “son or daughter” includes not only children under age 18 but also children age 18 or older who are incapable of caring for themselves because of a physical or mental disability. This same definition of son or daughter applies to leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA), which allows certain employees to take up to twelves weeks of expanded FMLA leave where the employee is unable to work due to a need to care for his or her son or daughter, whose school or place of care has been closed or is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19. As with other reasons for leave, an employee may not take leave for this reason when the employer does not have work for the employee.
Notably, a related Section, 826.100, requires employees seeking to take leave for this reason to affirmatively represent that no other suitable person will be caring for the son or daughter during the period for which the employee takes leave. Additionally, guidance issued by the IRS in the form of Q&As found here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/covid-19-related-tax-credits-for-required-paid-leave-provided-by-small-and-midsize-businesses-faqs, states that with respect to the employee’s inability to work or telework because of a need to provide care for a child older than fourteen during daylight hours, a statement that special circumstances exist requiring the employee to provide care must be provided by the employee.
The proposed regulations provide no further clarification on the sixth category, though it leaves open the possibility that other conditions may at some point qualify for similar protections.
§ 826.21 Amount of Paid Sick Leave under the EPSLA
Under Section 826.21, a full-time employee is defined as an employee who is normally scheduled to work at least 40 hours each workweek, and full-time employees are entitled to up to 80 hours of paid sick leave under the EPSLA. An employee who does not have a normal weekly schedule is considered to be a full-time employee if the average number of hours per workweek that the Employee was scheduled to work, including hours for which the employee took leave of any type, is at least 40 hours per workweek over a period of time that is the lesser of: 1) the six-month period ending on the date on which the employee takes paid sick leave under the EPSLA; or 2) the entire period of the employee’s employment.
Part-time employees are defined in Section 826.21 as employees who do not qualify as full-time under the standards above. If a part-time employee has a normal weekly schedule, the employee is entitled to the number of hours of paid sick leave under the EPSLA equal to the number of hours the employee was normally scheduled to work over two workweeks. If the part-time employee does not work a normal weekly schedule, the number of hours of paid sick leave under the EPSLA to which the employee is entitled is calculated as follows:
1) if the part-time employee has been employed for at least six months, the employee is entitled to up to the number of hours of paid sick leave under the EPSLA equal to fourteen times the average number of hours that the employee was scheduled to work each calendar day over the six-month period ending on the date on which the employee takes paid sick leave under the EPSLA, including any hours for which the employee took leave of any type.
2) if the part-time employee has been employed for fewer than six months, the employee is entitled to up to the number of hours of paid sick leave under the EPSLA equal to fourteen times the number of hours the employee and the employer agreed to at the time of hiring that the employee would work, on average, each calendar day. If there is no such agreement, the employee is entitled to up to the number of hours of paid sick leave under the EPSLA equal to fourteen times the average number of hours per calendar day that the employee was scheduled to work over the entire period of employment, including hours for which the employee took leave of any type.
§ 826.22 Amount of Pay for Paid Sick Leave under the EPSLA
For each hour of paid sick leave under the EPSLA taken by an employee under Section 826.20 because the employee is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19, the employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19, or the employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking medical diagnosis from a health care provider, the employee is entitled to the higher of: 1) the employee’s average regular rate as computed under Section 826.25; 2) the Federal minimum wage to which the employee is entitled; or 3) any State of local minimum wage to which the employee is entitled. Employees taking leave under the EPSLA for these reasons are not entitled to any more than $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate per employee.
However, an employee is only entitled to two-thirds of the amount described in Section 826.24 and computed under Section 826.25 for each hour of paid sick leave under the EPSLA taken by an employee because: 1) the employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19 or the employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19; 2) the employee is caring for her or his son or daughter whose school of place of care has been closed for a period of time, whether by order of a State or local official or authority at the decision of the individual school or place of care, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, for reason related to COVID-19; or 3) the employee has a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretary of Treasury and the Secretary of Labor. Employees taking leave under the EPSLA for these reasons are not entitled to any more than $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate per employee.
§ 826.23 Amount of Leave under the EFMLEA
An eligible employee is entitled to take up to twelve workweeks of leave under the EFMLEA during the period of April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, and any leave an employee takes under the EFMLEA also counts towards the twelve workweeks of FMLA leave to which an eligible employee would be entitled for any qualifying reason in a twelve-month period. In addition, Section 826.23 makes clear that for leave taken under the EFMLEA, an employee may elect, or an employer may require, that any employer-provided leave, such as vacation, personal leave or paid time off, run concurrently with the EFMLEA leave.
§ 826.24 Amount of Pay for Leave under the EFMLEA
The first two weeks of leave under the EFMLEA are unpaid. After the first two weeks, the employee is entitled to two-thirds his/her average regular rate, as computed under Section 826.25, multiplied by the employee’s scheduled number of hours for each day that leave under the EFMLEA is taken. An employee taking leave under the EFMLEA is entitled to up to $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate for the ten-week period beginning after exhaustion of the first two-week unpaid period.
For purposes of Section 826.24, the “scheduled number of hours” is determined as follows:
1) if the employee has a normal work schedule, the number of hours the employee is normally scheduled to work on that workday;
2) if the employee has a work schedule that varies to such an extent that an employer is unable to determine the number of hours the employee would have worked on the day for which leave is taken and the employee has been employed for at least six months, the average number of hours the employee was scheduled to work each workday, over the six-month period ending on the date on which the employee first takes leave under the EFMLEA, including hours for which the employee took leave of any type; or
3) if the employee has a work schedule that varies to such an extent that an employer is unable to determine the number of hours the eligible employee would have worked on the day for which leave is taken and the employee has been employed for fewer than six months, the average number of hours the employee and the employer agreed at the time of hiring that the employee would work each workday. If there is no such agreement, the scheduled number of hours is equal to the average number of hours per workday that the employee was scheduled to work over the entire period of employment, including hours for which the employee took leave of any type.
Alternatively, Section 826.24 allows an employer to compute the amount of pay for leave under the EFMLEA in hourly increments instead of a full day. In these instances, the employer must still pay the employee two thirds of the employee’s average regular rate as computed under Section 826.25.
Where an employee elects, or the employer requires, that employer-provided leave run concurrently with leave under the EFMLEA, the employer must pay the employee a full day’s pay for that day. However, the employer is capped at taking $200 a day or $10,000 in the aggregate in tax credits for leave under the EFMLEA.
§ 826.25 Calculating the Average Regular Rate under the EPSLA and EFMLEA
To calculate the average regular rate for determining an employee’s pay entitlement under the EPSLA and EFMLEA, employers are required to adhere to the regular rate requirements and calculations under the FLSA. Following the FLSA requirements, employers are to calculate the regular rate for each full workweek in which the employee has been employed over the lesser of: 1) the six-month period ending on the date on which the employee takes paid sick leave under the EPSLA or EFMLEA; or 2) the entire period of employment. Then an employer is to compute the average of these weekly regular rates, weighted by the number of hours worked for each workweek.
Section 826.25 also states that with respect to commissions, tips and piece rates, such amounts are incorporated into the regular rate for purposes of the EPSLA and EFMLEA to the same extent that they are included in the calculation of the regular rate under the FLSA.
§ 826.30 Employee Eligibility for Leave-Health Care Provider Exclusion
As expected from earlier DOL Q&As, the DOL has proposed in Section 826.30 that employers may exclude health care providers (as well as emergency responders) from the EPSLA’s paid sick leave requirements and the EFMLA’s leave requirements. A health care provider is defined, in part, as “anyone employed at a doctor’s office, hospital, health care center, clinic, post-secondary educational institution offering health care instruction, medical school, local health department or agency, nursing facility, retirement facility, nursing home, home health care provider, any facility that performs laboratory or medical testing, pharmacy, or any similar institution, Employer, or entity.” The DOL also includes within this definition, any individual employed by an entity that contracts with any of the above organizations to provide services or to maintain the operation of the facility where the individual’s services support the operation of the facility. The DOL notes further that the broad definition only applies for purposes of determining whether an employer may elect to exclude an employee from taking paid sick leave or expanded FMLA leave under the FFCRA.
Though not contained in the proposed regulations, the DOL’s Executive Summary indicates that while a health care employer (or emergency responder employer) may exercise the option of excluding its employees from paid sick leave and/or expanded FMLA, such exclusion does not impact an employee’s earned or accrued sick, personal, vacation, or other employer-provided leave under the employer’s established policies. Furthermore, the DOL indicates that an employer is not authorized to prevent a health care provider employee or emergency responder from taking earned or accrued leave pursuant to an established employer policy. Here, we believe there is a question whether an employer can exercise reserved discretion within a policy established prior to April 1, 2020 to deny the use of employer-provided paid sick leave or PTO based on language that explicitly indicates that leave approval is in the discretion of the employer for both employee qualification and approval of a request to take paid leave. Similarly, we believe there is an open question whether an employer can amend a leave policy on or after April 1 to suspend use of employer-provided leave either temporarily or indefinitely, in circumstances where a policy or handbook has language reserving to the employer the right to amend its policies and procedures. Based on the language contained in this particular regulation, there could be some risk in doing so.
Additionally, the DOL makes clear that a health care provider or emergency responder employer who elects to allow its employees to take FFCRA leave must comply with the requirements of the FFCRA and will be able to take advantage of the tax credits. Finally, the DOL repeats in its commentary that it encourages employers to be judicious when using this definition to exempt heath care providers and emergency responders from the provisions of the FFCRA.
It is our belief that a health care provider employer considering whether to exclude employees from taking leave under FFCRA should develop a consistent approach as to how it will determine or elect to exclude all employees, certain job categories, or whether it will approach the decision on case-by-case basis. If the latter, special caution should be exercised to avoid giving the appearance that a decision was made on an otherwise prohibited basis under other employment discrimination laws such as Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.
§ 826.40 Employer Coverage – Who Must Be Counted for the 500 Employee Threshold
While there is no surprise in the proposed regulations that the FFCRA only applies to employers with less than 500 employees at the time an employee would take FFCRA leave, buried in section 826.40(a)(iii) is the statement that in determining whether the employer is over or below 500, the number does not include workers who have been laid off or furloughed and have not subsequently been reemployed. Over the last 2-3 weeks many employers, including Kullman Firm clients, have been faced with daunting challenges and tough decisions on how to weather the storm of COVID-19, including making decisions with respect to short-term furloughs of employees and temporary or permanent layoffs. This proposed regulation clarifies that for furloughs and layoffs, those employees are not counted, at least until such employee or employees are returned to work from furlough or layoff. As to timing of the 500-employee count, the regulations make clear that the determination is made when an employee would take leave. The executive summary provides an example which adds a wrinkle. In this example, the DOL states that if an employer has 450 employees on April 20, 2020, then an employee is eligible to take FFCRA paid sick leave based on being advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine. If the employer subsequently hires 75 new employees after April 20, 2020, thus bringing the employer’s workforce to 525 employees, the employer would not be required to offer paid sick leave and/or expanded FMLA to another employee who would have otherwise qualified to take such leave after the date on which the 500-employee count was reached. We believe, based on the above commentary from the DOL that the original employee who did qualify for paid sick leave would remain entitled to remain on the leave originally granted, even if the employee count rises above 500 while the employee is out on FFCRA paid sick leave, but this is less than clear.
§ 826.70 Intersection of EFMLEA and the FMLA—Check the Calendar
In this section of the proposed regulations, the DOL addresses the interplay between expanded FMLA and the FMLA. In the calendar year method that an employer uses for calculating available and exhausted FMLA, if an employee has already taken some but not all approved FMLA during the 12-month period, an employee eligible for EFMLEA may take the remaining portion of the 12-workweek leave. If, on the other hand, the employee has already exhausted his FMLA, then the employee may not take EFMLEA. Similarly, if an employee takes all 12 weeks of EFMLEA, the employee would not be eligible to take normal FMLA during the remainder of the 12-month period that the employer uses to calculate available FMLA leave. In the DOL’s executive summary, it notes that employees are limited to a total of 12 weeks of EFMLEA between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 even if the time period spans two 12-month leave periods under the FMLA based on the 12-month methodology used by the employer.
Finally, as a reminder from the DOL, the regulation makes clear that the interplay between the EFMLEA provisions and the FMLA has no impact on whether an employee would otherwise be entitled to the 80-hours of paid sick leave under the EPSLA for a qualifying reason.
§ 826.80 Posting the FFCRA Notice
This section of the proposed regulations provides that “Every Employer covered by FFCRA’s paid leave provisions is required to post and keep posted on its premises, in conspicuous places a notice explaining the FFCRA’s paid leave provisions.” Alternatively, or in addition, employers may also mail or email the notice to employees and post the notice on an employee information internal or external website. An “Employer,” for purposes of this Act, means, in the case of a private entity, any employer of fewer than 500 employees. (In the case of a public agency, it means any such agency which employs one or more employees.) A number of employers who employ “healthcare providers” or “emergency responders” have asked whether they are covered by the notice posting requirement, since those employees may be exempted from both paid leave entitlements. The regulations on notice posting, however, do not carve out the employer itself from either the notice posting duty (just as they may be subject to other provisions of the FFCRA in general), and the fact that certain of their employees may not be entitled to leave does not excuse the employer from posting the notice.
The DOL has created a poster which can be downloaded and duplicated in order to meet the employee notice requirements in this section of the proposed regulations. A link to the poster can be found here:
§ 826.90 and § 826.100 Employee Notice of Need for Leave and Documentation Thereof
Section 826.90 provides that, while an employer may require an employee to follow “reasonable notice procedures after the first workday” for which he or she takes paid sick leave, such notice may not be required in advance, and it may also be “reasonable for notice to be given by the employee’s spokesperson (e.g., spouse, adult family member, or other responsible party) if the Employee is unable to do so personally.” As for the “Content of notice,” Section 826.90 states that “[g]enerally, it will be reasonable for an employer to require oral notice and sufficient information for an employer to determine whether the requested leave is covered by the EPSLA or the EFMLEA. An employer may not require the notice to include documentation beyond what is allowed by Section 826.100.”
Section 826.100 sets forth some general employee documentation requirements for all types of leave, including the requirements that the employee provide the employer the following documentation: (1) Employee’s name; (2) Date(s) for which leave is requested; (3) Qualifying reason for the leave; and (4) Oral or written statement that the employee is unable to work because of a qualified reason for leave. More specific documentation is required depending on the particular type of qualifying leave being taken:
- For paid sick leave taken because the employee is subject to a Federal, State or local quarantine or isolation order, the employee “must additionally provide the employer with the name of the government entity that issued the quarantine or isolation order.”
- For paid sick leave taken because the employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19, the employee must additionally provide the employer with the name of the health care provider who advised the employee to self-quarantine due to such concerns.
- For paid sick leave taken because the employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a government quarantine or isolation order, or who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, the employee must provide the employer with either the name of the government entity issuing the order, or the name of the health care provider advising the individual to self-quarantine.
- For paid sick leave taken because the employee is caring for a son or daughter whose school or other place of care has been closed, the employee must also provide the name of the son or daughter being cared for, the name of the school, place for care, or child care provider that has closed or become unavailable, and, significantly, “a representation that no other suitable person will be caring for the Son or Daughter….”
Finally, Section 826.110 provides that “the Employer may also request an Employee to provide such additional material as needed for the Employer to support a request for tax credits pursuant to the FFCRA. The Employer is not required to provide leave…” if such materials are not provided. The proposed regulation then directs employers to an IRS website for more information: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/covid-19-related-tax-credits-for-required-paid-leave-provided-by-small-and-midsize-businesses-faqs.
Those IRS Q&As do provide some additional details regarding employee documentation which clarify or supplement what the DOL set forth in Section 826.100:
- For example, with respect to the general requirements for all types of qualifying leave, the IRS indicates that the employee must provide (1) the employee’s name; (2) the date or dates for which leave is requested; (3) a statement of the COVID-19 related reason the employee is requesting leave and written support for such reason… [and] (4) a statement that the employee is unable to work, including by means of telework, for such reason. Interestingly, the IRS documentation requirements are prefaced with the statement that “an eligible employer will substantiate eligibility for [the tax credit] if the employer receives a written request for such leave from the employee in which the employee provides” the four types of documentation listed above. While the DOL regulations stated that “oral” notification could be sufficient, the IRS Q&A‘s very clearly indicate that in order to get the tax credit, employers should receive both the request for leave and required documentation in writing.
- For leave requested because of the need to care for an individual subject to a quarantine order or doctor’s advice to self-quarantine, the IRS adds that the employee must provide the employer with the name of that other person and his or her relation to the employee.
- With respect to leave based on the need to care for a child whose school or daycare center has closed, the IRS requirements add to those of the DOL by requiring that the employee include the name and age of the child (or children) being taken care of, and “with respect to the employee’s inability to work or telework because of the need to provide care for a child older than 14 during daylight hours, a statement that special circumstances exist requiring the employee to provide care.”
§ 826.140 Four-Year Recordkeeping Retention Period Specified
This section of the proposed regulations states that “an Employer is required to retain all documentation provided pursuant to § 826.100 for four years, regardless [of] whether leave was granted or denied. If an Employee provided oral statements to support his or her request for [leave], the Employer is required to document and maintain such information in its records for four years.” (Again, the applicable Q&As from the IRS seem to require written documentation from the employee.) The proposed regulation goes on to state that employers who deny leave because they have fewer than 50 employees “shall document the determination by its authorized officer that it is eligible for such exemption and retain such documentation for four years.” Finally, part (c) of this proposed regulation details five other types of documentation the employer is advised to maintain for a four-year period to support its claim for tax credits from the IRS.
§ 826.160 Employee’s Right to Leave Under the EPSL Is “In Addition To” Other Leave Benefits
While an employee’s right to take the full complement of extended paid family and medical leave benefits can be limited by his or her having taken prior periods of FMLA leave in the leave year, the same is not true of emergency paid sick leave. This proposed regulation states that “[a]n Employee’s entitlement to, or actual use of, Paid Sick Leave under the EPSLA is in addition to – and shall not in any way diminish, reduce or eliminate – any other right or benefit, including regarding [other] paid sick leave to which the employee is entitled” under other state or federal laws, collective bargaining agreements, or employer policies. Thus, if an employer had provided paid leave prior to April 1 in a sign of good faith toward its workforce, the employee would nonetheless be entitled to a fresh 80 hours of paid sick leave beginning April 1. On the other hand, the proposed regulation also makes clear that “no employee has a right or entitlement to receive any retroactive reimbursement or financial compensation through [the paid leave provisions of the FFCRA] for any unpaid or partially paid leave taken prior to April 1, 2020, even if such leave was taken for COVID-19-related reasons.”
§ 826.160 Other Miscellaneous Provisions of Note
Two other provisions in this proposed regulation are worthy of note: one perhaps more surprising than the other. First, the section makes clear that an employee‘s entitlement to paid leave under the FFCRA ends with any separation of employment: “An Employer has no obligation to provide – and an Employee or former Employee has no right or entitlement to receive – financial compensation or other reimbursement for unused [paid FFCRA leave] upon the Employee’s termination, resignation, retirement, or any other separation from employment.” This proposed regulation also contains a section entitled “One time use,” which provides that an employee who changes employers during the effective period of the FFCRA, and has already used some or all of his or her 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave, is entitled to take only the remaining balance (if any) of the 80 hours not yet used at the new employer.
Since legal developments pertaining to COVID-19 are constantly evolving, we recommend that our clients call the Kullman Firm attorney(s) with whom they work for the most current guidance on these matters.