The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been criticized by some for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some labor unions and other interest groups have been vocal about what they perceive as insufficient action by OSHA to address COVID-19-related workplace hazards. The most recent criticism has come from within the federal government.

Continue Reading If the bear is poked, best to be prepared: OSHA and the pandemic

Employers considering whether to adopt a mandatory vaccine policy should be alert to recently-enacted and pending legislation regulating workplace vaccine policies in certain states. As we reported last month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance for employers to consider before adopting a mandatory vaccine policy.

Continue Reading State law may impact employer vaccine policies

On March 11, 2021, President Joseph Biden signed The American Rescue Plan Act, which provides $1.9 trillion in funds for individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For employers, here are the key provisions to be aware of:

FFCRA tax credit extension

Since January 2021, employers subject to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) have not been required to provide FFCRA leave to employees; however, employers who opt to voluntarily provide FFCRA leave to employees can obtain tax credits to offset certain costs associated with providing the leave. The American Rescue Plan Act does not reinstate the mandate to provide leave or require employers to provide any additional leave, but extends the tax credits for qualifying family leave and sick leave wages that an employer voluntarily pays between April 1, 2021 and Sept. 30, 2021. The measure provides a new yearly allotment of up to 80 hours per employee of qualifying paid sick leave available for 2021 tax credits. Again, this does not obligate an employer to provide additional leave, but allows employers to offer a new bucket of leave to employees if they so choose. Continue Reading The American Rescue Plan Act: What employers need to know

New Jersey just became the fourteenth state to legalize off-duty, recreational marijuana use. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act (NJCREAMMA) into law, which broadly prohibits employers from taking adverse action against individuals for off-duty, recreational marijuana use.

Continue Reading The Garden State legalizes marijuana

Since the presidential inauguration, many employers have been wondering what changes President Joe Biden’s administration will make in the world of labor and employment law. This blog post summarizes a few key changes the Biden administration has already made, as well as a few changes the administration will likely make in the coming months.

Continue Reading Biden administration expected to make major changes to labor and employment landscape

The attorneys behind the Employer Law Report Blog present the final part of our three-part series on the COVID-19 vaccine and employer considerations.

On Jan. 7, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) proposed new rules that would apply to employer wellness programs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Some commentators have suggested that these rules may affect employers who plan to offer an incentive to encourage employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Less than two weeks later, the Biden Administration issued a regulatory freeze and instructed agencies to withdraw unpublished rules, including the proposed wellness program rules. For now, it is important to be aware of the rules because they may indicate the direction the EEOC intends to take when the freeze is lifted.

Continue Reading EEOC proposes new wellness program rules under the ADA and GINA which may limit employers’ efforts to incentivize COVID-19 vaccination

The attorneys behind the Employer Law Report Blog present the second blog in our three-part series on the COVID-19 vaccine and employer considerations.

The COVID-19 vaccination process has begun in the U.S., but at this point, the COVID-19 vaccine is not widely available to most employees. As explored in Part 1 of our series on the COVID-19 vaccine, many employers are deciding whether to require or incentivize their employees to obtain the vaccination. In addition to the issues raised in those posts, employers need to consider the implications of the workers’ compensation system in developing vaccination policies and procedures.

Continue Reading Vaccine policies and workers’ compensation

The attorneys behind the Employer Law Report Blog present the first in a three-part series on the COVID-19 vaccine and employer considerations.

As vaccinations become increasingly available to stop the spread of COVID-19, some  employers are posing the question: Can I require my employees to receive the vaccine in order to make my workplace more safe? The question is somewhat academic right now, since the vaccine is not widely available in most states, but it appears that will change in the weeks and months to come.

Continue Reading COVID-19 vaccine for employees: Can you require it? Should you require it? Can you offer incentives to encourage it?

A new year presents an opportunity to reevaluate the prior year and make any necessary changes for the upcoming year. Although typically this period of reflection relates to healthy eating and exercise regimens, it is also a relevant exercise for evaluating the status of the workers’ compensation system.

Continue Reading Looking back at 2020: Did the COVID-19 pandemic cause the predicted onslaught of workers’ compensation claims?