Legal Updates

Changing Floors: Minimum Wage Increases for Health Leaders to Consider

2021 is set to be a landmark year for the number of jurisdictions raising wage floors across the country. According to a National Employment Law Project report, as of January 1, 2021, 20 states and 32 municipalities raised their minimum wage. By the end of 2021, the report tracks that as many as 24 states and 50 municipalities will increase wages for the lowest-paid workers.

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WHEN IS A PROMISE NOT A PROMISE?

Through our relationships with other people, we often make promises. You may promise to do something, or you may promise not to do something (you may even promise yourself you’re going to get fit once gyms re-open…!). But what does the law have to say about all of this: are promises legally enforceable? If you break a promise to yourself and find that you are firmly parked on the sofa rather than the gym, the only repercussion will be an expanding waistline. But what if you make a serious promise to a friend or relative – would that be legally enforceable if you renege on it? Read more…

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UPCOMING FEDERAL BUDGET — APRIL 19TH PLANNING FOR POSSIBLE CAPITAL GAINS TAX INCREASE

On March 22, 2021, the Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, finally announced the date of the federal budget (the “Budget“) to be April 19th, 2021.

There has been much anticipation and speculation regarding the upcoming Budget, as the previous budget was tabled more than 2 years ago (on March 19, 2019). One of the biggest areas of speculation during the span of budgets delivered under the Trudeau government has been whether the government will announce an increase in the capital gains inclusion rate.

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Russia’s Supreme Court provides clarification on the sale of tourism products and air transportation of passengers in the context of COVID-19

The Supreme Court in its Review as of on judicial practice related to the application of legislation in the context of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 No.31 (“Review”), paid special attention to issues in the field of tourism and air transportation.

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Connecticut Bans Discrimination Based on Natural Hair

On March 4, 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed House Bill 6515, an “Act Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” also known as the CROWN Act (the “Act”).  This legislation bans natural hair discrimination in the workplace by amending Connecticut’s anti-discrimination statute to define “race” as being “inclusive of ethnic traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.”  (Conn. Gen. Stat. 46a-51(23)-(24)).   “Protective hairstyles” is defined to include, but not be limited to, “wigs, headwraps and hairstyles such as individual braids, cornrows, locs, twists, Bantu knots, afros and afro puffs.”

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Collective Bargaining Agreements and COVID-19 Paid Time for Vaccination

New York State now requires employers to grant employees paid time off for COVID-19 vaccinations. In my recent post with Susan Gross Sholinsky and Nancy Gunzenhauser Popper, “New York Issues FAQs on Paid Vaccination Leave Law,” we note that the law allows for limited waivers in collective bargaining agreements. While the law is vague, the State has now given some additional guidance in FAQ’s issued this week.

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Podcast: President Biden’s Use of the Defense Production Act – Diagnosing Health Care

New from the Diagnosing Health Care Podcast:  The Biden administration has invoked the Defense Production Act (“DPA”) to speed up the production of vaccines and increase the domestic production of COVID-19 tests, personal protective equipment (or “PPE”), and other essential supplies. Epstein Becker Green attorneys Neil Di SpiritoConstance Wilkinson, and Bonnie Odom discuss the administration’s reliance on the DPA as it continues to operationalize its pandemic response, and the challenges these actions are likely to present for medical product suppliers.

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Civil Law Issues and Procedural Clarifications in Russia’s Supreme Court Third Review of Cases in the Context of COVID-19

On February 17, 2021, The Presidium of the Supreme Court approved the Review on certain matters of judicial practice in the context of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 No.31 (“Review”). This is the third review by the Supreme Court containing legal positions on the application of law during a difficult sanitary and epidemiological situation.

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New York Issues FAQs on Paid Vaccination Leave Law

As we recently reported, as of March 12, 2021, all private employers in New York must provide their employees with up to four hours of paid leave to get each COVID-19 vaccination shot. The State has now released guidance on the new law (“Law”) in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”). Most importantly, the FAQs clarify that the Law does not create any retroactive benefit rights to paid vaccination leave. Accordingly, while an employer is free to apply the law retroactively if it wishes, the Law mandates that “only employees receiving vaccinations on or after March 12, 2021 are eligible for paid leave.”

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ARPA Provides Welcome Change for Participants in Dependent Care FSAs

One of the changes included in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “Act”) is a temporary increase to the annual limit on pre-tax contributions to a dependent care flexible spending account (“DCFSA”) that can be excluded from income. For single taxpayers and married couples filing jointly, the limit increases to $10,500 (from $5,000) and for married individuals filing separately, the limit increases to $5,250 (from $2,500).  This change is effective for plan years beginning after December 31, 2020 and before January 1, 2022.

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