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COVID-19 Precautions for Employers

Some of our employer-clients are preparing contingency plans, in case they must send their H-1B employees home to telecommute.

As absurd as it would seem, there is no provision to suspend H-1B regulations in an emergency – hopefully, the government will do so to avoid making life miserable for many H-1B employees and their employers in the event of a general shutdown.

Having said that, government regulations prohibit “benching” of H-1B employees, meaning not continuing to pay them because they are temporarily not working. If an H-1B employee’s work location changes to home or elsewhere, the employer would need to evaluate the case, based on duration and location, whether to (1) post the old LCA in a new place, (2) file a new LCA and an H-1B amendment, or (3) do nothing.

This is a situation Deutsch, Killea and Eapen addresses commonly in other contexts, so we have the required knowledge to advise H-1B employers.

The proactive step an H-1B employer may take now is to evaluate whether an H-1B amendment would be required for any H-1B employee who will start to telecommute. Perhaps few or none of your organization’s H-1B employees will require an H-1B amendment or a new Labor Condition Application (LCA). Instead, they might simply need to post an LCA at the new work location.

The attorneys of Deutsch, Killea and Eapen can provide specific instructions for any employee me who will start working at a different address. Contact us.

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