Jessica Conklin Elected to Board of Directors for the Center for Artistry and Scholarship

Attorney Jessica Conklin was recently elected to the board of directors for the Center for Artistry and Scholarship (CAS), an organization whose mission it is to develop and support innovative leaders in education so that they may build more equitable, collaborative and creative communities.

In her role, Jessica will work with other members of the board to support CAS as they further their mission to provide leadership coaching, transition planning, board development, fundraising and stewardship and community partnership cultivation. As a true advocate of the organization’s work, she proudly contributes to CAS ability to engage with nationally-recognized partners, proving the efficacy of an arts-infused curriculum.

Jessica is particularly proud to be a champion of the Perrone-Sizer Institute for Creative Leadership (PSi). This initiative is driven to develop a network of adaptive leaders who champion racial justice and equity, and integrate artistic and design thinking, and educational and community-based resources to transform the lives of youth and families.

Jessica invites you to learn more about CAS and its incredible vision for education.

Payal Salsburg Presents to the Health Care Compliance Association

Partner, Payal Salsburg, will present to members of the Health Care Compliance Association. Her program is entitled:  “Q1-Q2 2020 Enforcement Trends and What They Mean For Your Company”. During the July 15th discussion, with her co-presenter, Payal will cover:

  • Assessing compliance risk in light of recent enforcement trends and whether the trends apply to your organization
  • Health care and pharma enforcement risk areas, including financial relationships with medical providers, medical necessity of services, home healthcare and rehab facility fraud, and genetic/drug testing schemes
  • Electronic data risk areas and EHR
  • COVID-19 concerns with telemedicine, false marketing of treatments, and accessing government monetary aid

To register or get information about a recording of the presentation, please visit the HCCA website.

Mark Smith Elected Chair of Massachusetts Court Management Advisory Board

Mark Smith was elected Chair of the Court Management Advisory Board. The Massachusetts Legislature formed the Court Management Advisory Board (CMAB) to assist the justices of the supreme judicial court, the chief justice of the trial court, and the court administrator on all matters of judicial reform.  The CMAB has ten members who are appointed according to categories of experience, including business administration, civil law, criminal law, and information technology, in addition to the attorney general or designee, and the executive director or the Massachusetts office of victim assistance.

Payal Salsburg Presents Force Majeure Webinar To In-House Counsel

Payal Salsburg is presenting a webinar through the Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts (AALAM) to a group of In-House Counsel entitled, “Force Majeure: What it Means for Your Company During the COVID-19 Crisis.” The webinar takes place on Tuesday, May 26th from 4-5pm via Zoom.

During the webinar, Payal will explain how force majeure may give companies some relief for non-performance without penalty when unforeseeable circumstances arise, as well as discuss a few examples of force majeure clauses typically seen in commercial contracts. Payal will also answer questions as to the interpretation and implementation of force majeure clauses.

Payal Salsburg Presents in Webinar On Increasing Visibility for Newer Lawyers

Partner, Payal Salsburg, presents at a Boston Bar Association panel-style webinar on May 21st from 12-1pm to discuss ways that newer lawyers may increase their visibility in the legal community. Joining Payal in the discussion is a diverse panel of speakers including the Chair of the Board of Editors of the Boston Bar Journal, the Editor-in-Chief of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, and a Director of Attorney Coaching at a large law firm.  The program is sponsored by the New Lawyers Section.

Payal Salsburg Featured in Law360 Article: “How Attorneys Are Fighting COVID-19 On The Front Lines”

Law360 featured partner, Payal Salsburg, in an article showcasing how lawyers are volunteering their time to helping others during the COVID-19 pandemic. When not practicing law, Payal is at Mass General Hospital administering to those in need during their most desperate times.  We invite you to read the full article, entitled: How Attorneys Are Fighting COVID-19 On The Front Lines – Law360.

 

Payal Salsburg at Mass General

Boston.Com Features Payal Salsburg’s Volunteerism at Mass General

When not offering legal advice to her clients, Payal Salsburg can be found helping others in need. And in a COVID-19 world, her volunteering hasn’t missed a step. Recently, Boston.com interviewed Payal to learn more about what it’s like to be volunteering at Mass General during the pandemic. She is truly an inspiration. Read the full article.

Small Business Alert: Congress Clears Major Hurdle and Senate Reaches Agreement on Principle Terms of S.3548, “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.” Phase 3.

At 1:00 a.m this morning, Senate leader McConnell announced an agreement in the Senate on the principle terms of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or “CARES” Act, S.3548, subject to minor and technical revisions. A vote in the Senate is expected soon. Much of the relief proposed in the bill would be accomplished through amendments to the tax code, so we urge our clients to consult early and often with their tax professionals.

The Senate bill could affect small businesses in a number of ways.

  1. The bill would expand lending to small business through the SBA and participating lenders. The bill would make “small business interruption loans” available to employers with fewer than 500 employees. Loan payments would be deferred for up to one year, and loan amounts used for “maintaining payroll continuity” March 2020 and June 2020 would be eligible for forgiveness. The amount of loan forgiveness would be reduced pro rata, however, for reductions in workforce.
  2. The bill would provide payments to individuals, including small business owners, in the nature of refundable tax credits. The bill would provide up to $1200 for individuals ($2400 for couples filing jointly). The credit would be reduced by 5% of adjusted gross income in excess of $75,000 ($150,000 for joint returns), but would not be less than $0. And additional $500 credit would be provided per taxpayer dependent.
  3. The bill would provide cheaper access to qualified retirement funds. The bill would eliminate the 10% tax penalty on early withdrawals from qualified retirement plans for coronavirus related distributions, up to a maximum withdrawal of $100,000. If withdrawals are repaid within three years, then the early distribution would be treated as a rollover (i.e., a direct transfer to a trustee) for purposes of capital gains taxes.
  4. The bill could permit certain employers to defer payment of payroll taxes due in 2020 for up to two years.
  5. The bill places some limitations on the recent coronavirus related amendments to Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, which was passed as part of Congress’s Phase 2 response. If enacted, the bill would cap an employers’ obligation to pay for coronavirus-related sick leave at $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate per employee for that employee’s government or doctor ordered self-quarantine or self-care and at $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate per employee for that employee’s absence to care for others as a result of coronavirus or coronavirus related school closures.

Laredo & Smith’s Matt Kane is closely monitoring any additional changes and will keep you informed of emerging items that could impact you and your business. Please do not hesitate to to reach out to any Laredo & Smith attorney with questions or concerns about your small business. We are here to help.

Small Business Alert: Families First Coronavirus Response Act Phase 2

On Wednesday, March 18th,  the Senate passed a slightly revised version of H.B. 6201 and the President signed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” into law. The relevant revisions narrow the application of the Act’s leave provisions to exclude employees caring for any persons other than immediate family members due to COVID19 related illnesses or closings. The Act goes into effect on April 2, 2020. Thus, it concludes a so-called “Phase 2” of the federal government’s coronavirus response (Phase 1 was a supplemental appropriations bill with direct impact on small businesses).

As things escalate in the United States, Congress is already pivoting to Phase 3: a fiscal stimulus package that could top $1.5 trillion. A draft bill has yet to be published, but we expect it to include up to $250 billion in funding for small business loans, as well funding for direct cash payments to individuals. A draft bill could be published before the end of the week, at which point new details will emerge.

Laredo & Smith’s Matt Kane will closely monitor Phase 3 and keep you informed of emerging items that could impact you and your business. In the interim, please do not hesitate to contact any Laredo & Smith attorney with your questions. We are here to help.

Small Businesses Alert: Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The COVID 19 pandemic is slowly stopping the U.S. in its tracks. As governments find ways to flatten the curve, the U.S. House did its part by passing H.B. 6201, entitled “Families First Coronavirus Response Act.” H.B. 6201 is not yet the law, but we anticipate versions of the bill’s most significant provisions will become law as early as this week. This will have significant implications for small businesses. Below is a summary of those potential impacts:

  1. The bill incorporates the proposed “Emergency Paid Leave Act of 2020,” which establishes a federal emergency paid leave benefits program to provide payments to employees taking leave due to the coronavirus outbreak retroactive to leaves begun on or after January 19, 2020. Under this proposed act, subject to certain exceptions, employees who take a coronavirus related leave, including for purposes of caregiving in connection with a school closing, would be eligible for payment of 2/3 of their monthly wages, up to $4,000 per month, for up to three months. This federal benefit would be reduced dollar-for-dollar, however, for any State or private payments for leave over the same period.
  2. The bill will expand the employee protections the Family Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2611 et al., to include employees absent due to a “public health emergency leave.” Additionally, the bill would expand application of the FMLA for “public health emergency leave” to allemployers, regardless of number of employees, and cover employees with only thirty days of service, rather than twelve months. An employee would be permitted to elect to substitute an accrued paid leave benefit, but an employer would not be permitted to require the employee to do so. For employers with fewer than twenty five employees, the requirement to hold the employee’s position open would be relaxed under certain enumerated circumstances.
  3. The bill incorporates the proposed “Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal and Family Care Act.” This act would require employers to provide their employees with at least 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to at least 56 total hours of paid sick time. Importantly, employers with existing paid sick time policies (including those that are imposed by state law) that are as good or better than the proposed federal program would notbe required to provide any additional sick time benefits under federal law. The act would require, however, that employers notify each of their employees and include in any employee handbook certain information concerning the new federal law.

As with the pandemic, the situation is still fluid. And these rules are still subject to revision before passage. Laredo & Smith will be monitoring the bill closely over the next week and communicating information as it becomes known.  In the interim, please do not hesitate to contact your Laredo & Smith attorney with any questions. We are here to help you ride this out.