Post-Pandemic Recovery & Renewal

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought wide-scale and fast-moving changes that demand immediate response—with an eye toward the future and eventual economic recovery.

The immense disruption already caused by COVID-19 catapulted businesses and employers into uncharted territory. In the midst of this chaos, it is critical to keep an eye on the future to position your company for the best possible outcome in what is quickly becoming a time of broad-based economic slowdown coupled with dramatic changes in the future of work.

In light of this, all businesses—even those considered essential—are under pressure to adapt to the “new normal,” save costs, and balance safeguarding their short-term viable business with longer term sustainability. As the “crisis” portion of the pandemic gives way to reopening, recovery and growth, the long lasting economic impacts, affecting supply chains, customer demand, and financial and credit markets, will require creative solutions.

HOW WE HELP

To help you, we have assembled a cross-disciplinary COVID-19 Task Force Return to Work Team who can advise you on the current state of affairs and what the future holds as we move through and out of the current pandemic. Our team is already advising on the developments of the rapidly changing pandemic across the globe and leveraging our collective experience to assist clients. We have a deep understanding of how the pandemic is affecting businesses deemed essential and non-essential, and the related legal, business, and workforce issues that are specific to both. Likewise, we are already helping clients prepare for a "return to work" by modeling various scenarios from continued social distancing, to a full engagement of their workforces in normal operations. We are ready to bring this knowledge to help you emerge stronger. We can advise you on:

Recovery Readiness and Planning: The pandemic will end eventually, but the effects it has on your business will potentially be long-lasting and far-reaching. From preparing your workplace for long-term social distancing and adhering to more stringent workplace safety guidelines, to modifying your contracts and defending against commercial class actions, we can assist you in navigating this truly uncharted territory.

Crisis Management and Corporate Governance: Businesses and their directors and officers are navigating new, and unfamiliar business-critical issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our clients are balancing business, risk, and compliance issues and we are actively guiding them to preserve the interests of their business and stakeholders. From business continuity, solvency issues, and executive compensation, to board meeting procedures and crisis communications, our team can partner with you to overcome the legal challenges that have come to light.

Navigating Economic Stimulus: Governments--on the state, federal and local levels--are moving quickly to provide a safety net for the economy. The recent passage of the CARES Act in the US created a wealth of programs and incentives for businesses of all sizes. Our team can advise you on the provisions, tax credits, and tax deferrals available for large and small businesses, nonprofits and franchisees, including eligibility, documentation requirements, access and duration procedures, and other practical guidance. Understanding what you may qualify for, tracking legislation to ensure industry visibility with key government stakeholders, determining what solutions will work best for your business, and strategically managing the loan forgiveness program will be critical to leveraging and maximizing these benefits in the coming months.

Workforce Strategies: As the pandemic unfolds, the pressure will be on employers to sustain business operations under an ever-increasing network of state, local, and federal regulations in the US and on a country-by-country basis across the globe. We can provide immediate advice on global workforce challenges, workplace safety, leave policies, remote working strategies, redeployment of inactive workers, moving to 24/7 operations, immigration, and more. Tactics such as headcount reduction and reorganization must be undertaken with prudent consideration for current needs and the return to normal levels of demand in the future.

Training. For many sectors, the need for long term social distancing means that remote work is here to stay. Effective training will play a critical role in ensuring your workforce stays productive and compliant and, where needed, helps meet requirements of EEOC, DOJ, DOL, SEC, and other governmental enforcement actions.. Our training subsidiary, Seyfarth at Work, offers a number of virtual, instructor-led programs that are specifically designed to increase learner buy-in and teach compliance and workplace best practices without legalese. Topics range from the unique circumstances of managing remote teams and maintaining respect in challenging times, to harassment and bullying prevention, code of conduct and ethics, and managing within the law. We also offer state-required social distancing and workplace protocol training for those returning to physical worksites as local economies continue to open.

Employee Benefits: One of the main costs for businesses are employee benefits, and businesses are dealing with the effects of the pandemic on retirement plan benefits and pensions, executive compensation, and health and welfare benefits. Workforce management issues resulting in reduction in hours, furloughs, and severance situations have required unique approaches to termination or bridging of benefits. As business move to the new normal, the impact of the economic situation and the workforce decisions will need to be reflected in the benefit programs to ensure they continue to serve their function of recruitment, retention, and reward at a cost that makes sense for the business. Our dedicated group of employee benefits lawyers can help respond to these business developments and help navigate the required and desired changes to benefits coverage.

Regulations and Legislation: Drawing on our extensive network of government contacts, we can help you anticipate regulatory changes and rapidly interpret new legislation when it is passed. Our in-depth industry knowledge and access to the legislative process positions us to prepare and advise our clients on new laws well before the competition. Having an understanding of where the legal landscape is headed gives our clients time to prepare for a post-pandemic world. Our team is tracking legislation and impact in real time, allowing us to assist clients whereever they may have operations, and to interpret and comply with state, and often locale-specific regulations.

Leases, Contracts and Force Majeure: The global pandemic has disrupted business relationships worldwide—from landlord/tenant contracts to supply chain and vendor agreements. You may also be questioning whether you have insurance coverage for losses stemming from this pandemic. In this time of unpredictability and uncertainty, we are here to help navigate and review the full scope of your contracts and insurance coverage, identifying and assessing risk and, importantly, navigating potential relief. To that end, we assist clients in identifying balanced solutions and practical considerations for applying existing force majeure provisions and, looking to the future, how they may be modified and enhanced.

Data Privacy and Protection: During the pandemic, whether you have reduced staffing or employees accessing systems offsite, your data protection practices are a critical buffer against loss of intellectual property, trade secrets, and the confidential data of your employees and business. Nearly every business now employs a remote workforce, deployed with nearly no notice or time to plan ahead. Security is critical to ensure that the newly online business maintains its vast infrastructure, and businesses must regain a step ahead of the world of malware, phishing, and computer viruses. Looking to the future, we can also help position you for success in the event a return to remote work becomes necessary on short notice.

Finance, Restructuring, and Transactions: From impacts to the M&A market and supply chains, to workouts, restructurings, and bankruptcies, the fallout of the coronavirus will likely change the shape of your business. We are here to help lenders and borrowers negotiate loan modifications, balancing short-term needs and long-term implications. Businesses will want to be poised to seize tax and financial incentives, as well as positioning their companies to take advantage of distressed businesses and consolidation opportunities.

Post-pandemic Litigation: Despite businesses’ best efforts during and after the pandemic, experts agree that we can expect an uptick in litigation and new, novel legal theories to support those claims. Our team is prepared to help you defend post-pandemic class actions, on a range of topics, from commercial litigation to labor and employment concerns to continuity of business and product liability and a host of other issues brought to fore by the rapid changes impacting businesses as a result of the pandemic.

Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center