May 7, 2021
On April 29, 2021, The Boston Globe published an editorial entitled, “It’s time for employers to impose vaccine mandates.” According to The Boston Globe Editorial Board, “COVID vaccines, which are extremely safe and effective, are Americans’ way out of this nightmare, and employers – including the state – owe it to their workers and the public to create safe working conditions.”
While a mandatory vaccination policy may make sense for some employers, the issues associated with such a policy are complex and require careful consideration. As an employer, does it make sense for you to implement a mandatory vaccination policy at this point? Or in the near future? Should you consider a non-mandatory vaccination policy?
May 5, 2021
As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: While the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that employers can institute mandatory vaccination policies, there are many legal considerations that come with those policies, especially as more employees return to work. And employers that do not mandate vaccines are wondering what workplace rules they can implement without legal risk. Attorneys Jennifer Barna and Nathaniel Glasser tell us more. You can also read more about the legal considerations of mandating vaccination.
April 27, 2021
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 allows small and midsize employers, and certain governmental employers, to claim refundable tax credits that reimburse them for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave to their employees due to COVID-19. This includes leave taken by employees to receive or recover from COVID-19 vaccinations.
Click here for more information on eligible employers, the amount of the tax credits and how they are calculated, and how to claim the credit.
April 23, 2021
Employees being infected with Covid-19 can have a significant impact in the workplace, including lost productivity and the self-isolation of groups of employees who may have been exposed, not to mention the potentially severe impact on the health of infected employees. Employers have duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 towards their employees to provide a safe system of work, as well as duties towards members of the public on their premises.
Given this, a measure employers may be considering, particularly as more workplaces begin to open up or people return from working remotely, is carrying out Covid tests in the workplace, or providing tests for employees to do on a regular basis. Read more…
April 14, 2021
With COVID-19 vaccinations rolling out in Australia, employers may be considering asking their employees whether they have been, or will be, vaccinated against the virus. They may also be wondering whether they can, or should, require that their employees get the vaccine.
It is extremely important that employers consider their obligations, as well as their employees’ rights in relation to the collection, use, storage and disclosure of information regarding the health of employees, and in particular in relation to their COVID-19 vaccination status.
They should also understand that there are very limited circumstances under which they may be permitted to mandate that their employees are vaccinated.
In order to assist employers in managing the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out, we ask the big questions in the context of Fair Work and Privacy considerations. Read more…
April 2, 2021
On Friday, March 19, 2021, Governor Newsom signed a new law that provides California employees with COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (CA CSPSL) for certain employees (covered employees) who have been affected by COVID-19. The law took effect Monday, March 29, 2021 and applies retroactively to January 1, 2021. The text of the law is available here. Read more…
March 26, 2021
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) which includes, among its many provisions, a COBRA premium assistance benefit. This provision treats an individual eligible for COBRA assistance, for purposes of any COBRA continuation provision, as having paid in full the COBRA premiums for the period April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021 (the Premium Assistance Period). This relief will be available for anyone who (1) becomes COBRA eligible during the Premium Assistance Period, (2) is currently enrolled in COBRA, or (3) is within their COBRA continuation period (generally 18 months) but did not elect or previously dropped COBRA coverage. Any person who qualifies for assistance and is currently enrolled in COBRA – or did not elect COBRA but is within their COBRA continuation period – must elect COBRA coverage within 60 days of receiving notice of the extended election period from their former employer.
March 19, 2021
President Biden’s January 21, 2021 Executive Order (EO) on COVID-19 tasked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to: launch a national enforcement program, review and correct any shortcomings in their prior enforcement strategies and to determine whether any Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) were necessary and, if so, to issue an ETS by March 15, 2021. The prior Administration had not issued an ETS, and was severely criticized by the Congress and labor unions.
March 17, 2021
President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the Act) into law on March 11, 2021. While direct payments to certain taxpayers and extending unemployment benefits have received most of the attention in the media, the Act also provides for the federal government to pay 100% of the cost of COBRA premiums for the period beginning April 1 through September 30 (the Subsidy Period). The federal government will pay for the cost of the COBRA subsidies by providing certain tax credits to the employer in the case of self-insured medical plans or the insurer in the case of fully-insured medical plans. Read more…
March 10, 2021
New York’s Legislature recently passed a bill, which, if signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, would temporarily amend the New York Labor Law to require New York employers to provide employees with up to four hours of paid leave per injection to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Since the four-hour leave is per injection, employers will have to provide up to eight hours of paid leave for two-dose vaccination regimens, such as those being manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna. It is also possible that additional paid leave time will be needed if vaccine “booster” shots are required in the future.
Any such “vaccine leave” must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay and is in addition to (and cannot be charged against) any other leave to which an employee may be entitled, including under the State’s recently-enacted mandatory paid sick leave law. However, the provisions of this vaccine leave law may be waived in a collective bargaining agreement provided it explicitly references the law. Read more…