D.C. recently passed the Protecting Businesses and Workers from COVID-19 Emergency Amendment Act of 2020. The order requires employers, for the duration of the public health emergency, to “adopt and implement social distancing and worker protection policies to prevent transmission of COVID-19” in accordance with Mayor’s Order 2020-080. The Act also prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee that: (1) refuses to work with or serve individuals who refuse to comply with workplace protections; (2) tests positive for or quarantines because of COVID-19 or is caring for someone who has symptoms or is quarantining because of COVID-19; and (3) attempts to exercise any right or protection granted to them under the Act or to stop or prevent a violation of worker safety regulations.
The Act grants the Chief Procurement Officer (“CPO”) the authority to enter into an indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity (“IDIQ”) contract for PPE, sanitization and cleaning products, related equipment, or other supplies to further D.C.’s COVID-19 recovery efforts. Under this provision, local businesses would be able to place orders under the IDIQ contract at set prices.
The Act also creates a Personal Protective Equipment Grant Program, which would allow the Mayor to issue a grant to eligible small businesses to purchase or receive reimbursements for purchases of PPE for their employees. The grants would become available, subject to the availability of funds, on October 1, 2020. Grants may be up to $1,000 per business for PPE purchases made after July 28, 2020, for businesses demonstrating “financial distress caused by a reduction in business revenue” due to COVID-19.
The Act is effective as of August 13, 2020 and will remain in effect no longer than 90 days. Employers may be subject to penalties of $50 per violation per employee per day for repeated or willful violations, or $500 penalties for violating the prohibition of retaliation against employee provisions.
For guidance regarding how this legislation affects your business, contact the employment law experts at General Counsel, PC today at 703-991-7973.