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.
New York City Council Establishes Board to Assess Employers’ COVID-19 Workplace Health and Safety Protocols and Training
Our colleagues Susan Gross Sholinsky, Nancy Guzenhauser Popper, Eric Emanuelson, and Christopher Shur of Epstein Becker Green have a new post on the Workforce Bulletin blog that will be of interest to our readers: “New York City Council Establishes Board to Assess Employers’ COVID-19 Workplace Health and Safety Protocols and Training.”
On February 10, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued updated guidance and a report emphasizing the importance of a wearing a mask that fits tightly over the face to slow the spread of COVID-19. The report, which provides the basis for the CDC’s updated guidance, is based on CDC experiments that showed “substantially improved source control and reduced wearer exposure” when worn properly. The publications recommend two specific ways to ensure a mask works the best it can: (1) make sure the mask fits snugly against the face and (2) pick a mask with layers, or double mask.
Our colleagues David M. Prager, Jennifer L. Nutter, Alice Kwak, and Mary T. Vu at Epstein Becker Green recently published an Act Now Advisory that will be of interest to our readers in the health care industry: “Annual California Employment Law Update: New Laws for 2021 Provide COVID-19 Protections and Expand Family Leave.” This year, Governor Gavin Newsom signed numerous employment-related bills passed by the California Legislature. Major changes affecting employers with California operations in the coming year include:
Following is an excerpt:
Joining many other states that in recent years have enacted laws regarding physician non-competition agreements, Indiana recently enacted a statute that will place restrictions on such agreements which are originally entered into on or after July 1, 2020.
Notwithstanding numerous restrictions limiting access to many resources during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, marijuana users in states where medicinal and adult use is legal may still have access to cannabinoid supplies. Even as states, counties, and municipalities increasingly restrict or shut down business activities to stem the spread of the virus, many jurisdictions will keep medical marijuana dispensaries open as “essential” businesses like pharmacies and grocery stores.
A post on the Management Memo blog will be of interest to many of our readers: “Coronavirus Considerations for Employers with a Unionized Workforce,” by attorneys Adam S. Forman, Michael S. Ferrell, Steven M. Swirsky, and Elizabeth “Libby” Martin of Epstein Becker Green.
Following is an excerpt:
As we have discussed in prior Advisories, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (“Coronavirus” or “COVID-19”) public health emergency is raising important issues for employers addressing rapidly developing disruptions to the workplace and the lives of employees with mass school closures, workplace closings, the need to reduce staff and expenses, etc. Employers with unionized workforces must take certain additional considerations into account when developing and implementing response plans to the current crisis.
Under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or “Act”), employers have a legal duty to bargain with labor unions representing their employees regarding the employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment. In addition, many employers are party to collective bargaining agreements (“CBA”) with the unions that represent their employees that contain provisions directly relevant to the types of adjustments that may be necessary for businesses to respond to the unprecedented challenges this pandemic and its broad effect on society and commerce presents. Absent language in a CBA recognizing an employer’s right to act, either by adjusting schedules, reducing the numbers of employees working, modifying pay and/or benefits, employers generally may not make unilateral changes to these terms without first providing their employees’ union representatives with reasonable notice and an opportunity to bargain over the same. The current public health emergency does not eliminate these legal obligations of employers, although it certainly affects what may be deemed reasonable notice and an opportunity to bargain given the ongoing emergency.
Accordingly, unionized employers planning their responses to Coronavirus should consider the following factors …
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