Topic: Coronavirus

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US: New York employers must provide paid time off for COVID-19 vaccinations

New COVID-19 vaccine paid time off requirement for New York employers

New York employers should be aware of a recently enacted New York State law that entitles employees to paid time off from work to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

COVID-19 vaccine in California

Under this new law, New York employers must grant each employee a sufficient period of time, not to exceed four hours per vaccine injection, to take leave for purposes of obtaining a COVID-19 vaccine.

For employees who will receive a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, this means that such employees will be entitled to up to eight … Continue Reading

US: New COBRA Premium Subsidy in Third COVID Relief Stimulus Act

The latest COVID-relief bill, the American Rescue Plan Act, will allow most current and former employees and their dependents to receive fully subsidized COBRA continuation coverage beginning April 1 and continuing through September 30, 2021—even if they never elected COBRA or dropped coverage. To learn more about what employers with group health plans subject to federal COBRA need to know about the new law, read our legal update, Beware of the COBRA lurking in the weeds of the latest COVID-relief bill.… Continue Reading

Extension of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until end September 2021

In the budget on 3 March 2021, the Chancellor announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the CJRS) would be extended until the end of September 2021. The CJRS was due to end on 30 April 2021, but with many restrictions (in particular in the hospitality and leisure sectors) not being fully lifted until June at the earliest, the Chancellor was under pressure to extend the scheme. There are however changes to eligibility criteria and contributions under the scheme.

From 30 April 2021 until 30 June employees who are placed on furlough under the CJRS will continue to receive 80% … Continue Reading

What options do working parents have when trying to balance their work and home responsibilities during the pandemic?

The current national lockdown in the UK has imposed school and childcare closures for all but those children of essential key workers. Even prior to lockdown measures, many children were being sent home regularly to isolate, due to a positive case of Covid-19 in their class or school bubble. This has inevitably left many working parents struggling to balance their work with caring responsibilities, whether this is balancing duties while working from home, or managing childcare in order to go into the workplace if working from home is impossible.

To date, there are currently no emergency provisions in place for … Continue Reading

The COVID-19 vaccine @ work: a Dutch employment law perspective

At a time when the world is suffering from the COVID pandemic, hope rests in the advent of Covid-19 vaccines. In addition, employers are trying to anticipate the ever-changing situation in the workplace. In doing so, they must adhere to existing laws and regulations, which were not written with a situation like this in mind. The vaccination program is slowly but surely getting underway in the Netherlands. The question becomes: as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to everyone in the near future, is it possible to require employees to get the vaccine before returning to the workplace?

Can employers require Continue Reading

Germany: COVID-19-vaccination and employment law

In Germany, employers are obliged to take all necessary measures, including those to protect against infection (such as offering working from home, increased hygiene protections, social distancing and behavior) and offering voluntary company vaccination programs, in order to protect the health and safety of the workers in the company and to fulfil their obligations under occupational health and safety law. The newly developed vaccines are offering some hope in turning the tide in the fight against COVID-19. The Federal Labor Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht – BAG) had already provided guidance to employers on their obligations and liability in connection with employer-initiated … Continue Reading

US: Latest California Labor & Employment Developments from January 2021

This past month saw the inauguration of President Biden, who promptly took steps that will have an immediate impact on California employers. Plus, new COVID-related laws took effect, some expired (but may be re-enacted), and a federal appeals court eased the meal/rest break burden on the transportation industry. For a brief summary of these an other California labor and employment law developments from January 2021, read our California wrap-up: The top five employment and labor developments for California employers in January 2021.… Continue Reading

Germany: Home office under the new Corona Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance

To combat and prevent the further spread of COVID-19 (the SARS-CoV-2-virus), the German government has issued a new “SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Ordinance” (Corona-ArbSchV) (the Ordinance) providing for additional and time-limited measures to reduce workplace-related personal contacts. These measures include the obligation for employers to offer their employees home working, unless there are compelling operational reasons not to do so. In addition, existing occupational health and safety regulations will be tightened.… Continue Reading

Will COVID-19 vaccinations become mandatory for employees in Italy?

Italy’s COVID-19 vaccination programme is underway, with health care workers and staff in care facilities at the front of the queue. According to a recent report published by the Health Ministry, more than 1 million people received the inoculation in the first two weeks of the nationwide vaccination campaign. This makes Italy one of the fastest-vaccinating countries in the European Union, but the roll out is still not going as quickly as hoped. The current supply of the vaccine is sufficient only to inoculate a small minority of eligible people in Italy and a definitive plan for effective and efficient … Continue Reading

L’accord national interprofessionnel du 26 novembre 2020 : « soft law » à la française

Le télétravail s’est largement développé en France au fil des années, et naturellement, ce mode de travail a été particulièrement utilisé, bon gré mal gré, par les entreprises au cours de l’année 2020, à la faveur de la crise sanitaire, et des recommandations (plus ou moins liantes) du Gouvernement.

Les bases du télétravail ont été posées par un accord national interprofessionnel signé par les partenaires sociaux en 2005 (étendu en 2006), dont certaines dispositions ont été transposées par une loi du 22 mars 2012 dans le Code du travail. Ces règles ont eu pour objet de créer un véritable statut … Continue Reading

Can French employers require their employees to get the Covid-19 vaccine?

Further to the approval by EU authorities of the vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, and further to the recommendations of the French Health authorities on the vaccination programme, the French vaccine campaign against Covid-19 was launched yesterday, at the same time as in all EU countries.

In France, the Government established a specific strategy regarding the vaccine campaign. This includes targeting the most vulnerable and exposed persons first, and progressively extending the Covid-19 vaccine to the rest of the population.

French employers are now asking whether they can insist that employees are vaccinated before returning to the workplace. However, … Continue Reading

Can employers require their employees to get the Covid-19 vaccine?

With the announcement that one of the Covid-19 vaccines has received approval from the UK regulator, employers are now asking whether they can insist that employees are vaccinated before returning to the workplace. There are clearly legal and moral issues that need to be considered.

Firstly, the anticipated Covid-19 vaccination programme in the UK will not be made mandatory as the UK government does not have legal power to do this, alongside the challenges and human rights concerns this would raise in any event. The UK Government has the power to prevent, control or mitigate the spread of an infection … Continue Reading

California imposes new requirement of a COVID-19 Prevention Program

With the approval of Cal/OSHA’s new COVID-19 regulations, the proponents of action-taking won out over those who felt California’s existing laws, regulations, and enforcement arsenal were sufficient to meet the moment. It’s clear that California likes to lead—though it’s not the first state to enact specific COVID-19 standards (Virginia and Oregon got there first).… Continue Reading

US: California employers must take measures to curb workplace spread of coronavirus under emergency CAL/OSHA rules

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board has approved emergency, temporary COVID-19 regulations under California’s Occupational Safety & Health Act. California employers must now establish specific measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in nearly every workplace in California.  The emergency regulations, which the Standards Board approved on Thursday night by a unanimous vote, must first be submitted to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for final approval. Upon submission, the OAL will have only 10 calendar days to approve or deny the proposed emergency regulations. If approved, the OAL will file the emergency regulation with the Secretary of … Continue Reading

Effectuer des enquêtes en milieu de travail… pendant une pandémie

Cette année, les employeurs ont dû relever d’innombrables défis, notamment celui d’effectuer efficacement une enquête en milieu de travail alors que les protocoles de santé et sécurité exigent un certain degré de séparation. Heureusement, les règles de base pour les employeurs sont les mêmes, que ceux-ci effectuent une enquête en respectant une distance de deux mètres ou virtuellement sur Zoom.

  • Ne retardez pas (indûment) :  Avec le temps, les souvenirs s’effacent et les arbitres peuvent interpréter les retards comme un signe que les agissements ne sont pas pris au sérieux ou qu’ils sont tolérés. Cependant, cela ne signifie pas que
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Conducting Workplace Investigations… in a Pandemic

This year has created innumerable challenges for employers— including the challenge of how to effectively conduct a workplace investigation when health and safety protocols demand a certain degree of separation. Fortunately, the same Do’s and Don’ts still apply to employers, whether they are conducting an investigation two meters apart or virtually through Zoom.

  • Don’t (inexcusably) delay: Memories fade over time and adjudicators may interpret delay as a sign that the conduct is insignificant or that the conduct is condoned. This does not mean that investigations need to be rushed, however— on the contrary, hasty investigations can be equally fatal.  Best
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Long-awaited relief for federally regulated employers: Layoff periods extended further

To give federally regulated employers more time to recall employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic, certain layoff periods under the Canada Labour Standards Regulations have (again) been temporarily extended as of November 9, 2020, as follows:

Employee laid off before March 31, 2020

  • Three-month layoff: If an employee is laid off for a period of three months or less before March 31, 2020, the period is extended by nine months after the date on which it would otherwise end. As a result, the employer has 12 months to recall the employee before the layoff is deemed a termination of employment.
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Un soulagement très attendu pour les employeurs sous réglementation fédérale : nouvelle prolongation des périodes de mise à pied

Dans le but de donner aux employeurs sous réglementation fédérale plus de temps pour rappeler les employés mis à pied en raison de la COVID-19, certaines périodes de mise à pied en vertu du Règlement du Canada sur les normes du travail ont (de nouveau) été temporairement prolongées, et ce, à compter du 9 novembre. Voici les points à retenir:

Employé mis à pied avant le 31 mars 2020

  • Mise à pied de 3 mois: Si un employé est mis à pied pour une période de 3 mois ou moins avant le 31 mars 2020, le délai est prolongé de
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Contexte de pandémie : un arbitre se penche sur les droits et obligations des employeurs québécois en matière de télétravail

Dans une très récente décision rendue le 26 octobre 2020[1], l’arbitre Me Jean-François La Forge (l’Arbitre) a rejeté la demande d’ordonnance de sauvegarde du Syndicat des fonctionnaires municipaux de Québec (le Syndicat) visant à forcer la Ville de Québec (la Ville) à favoriser le télétravail.

Ce faisant, l’Arbitre a analysé les décrets récemment adoptés par le gouvernement du Québec afin de protéger la santé de la population dans le contexte de pandémie mondiale de la COVID-19 et a précisé, à cette occasion, certains des droits et obligations de l’employeur en matière de télétravail.

Que Continue Reading

Guidance published on the Extension of the UK Furlough Scheme

Further to our blog post on 5 November, when the UK Government announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will remain open until 31 March 2021, the Government has now published detailed guidance on the extension of the scheme. The guidance is comprised of a number of different documents covering such matters as which employees can be claimed for and how to calculate the claim under the scheme.

The main points to note from the guidance are as follows:

  • For the period 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021 the Government will pay 80% of wages for hours not
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UK Job Retention Scheme extended until 31 March 2021

Further to our post about the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the Chancellor announced on 5 November that the CJRS (also known as the furlough scheme) will remain open until 31 March 2021. The Government also published a policy paper setting out further details of the CJRS, confirming that the scheme rules will remain the same except where indicated otherwise.

The main points to note are that:

  • For claim periods running to January 2021, employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. The £2,500 cap
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Six things you need to know about doing business during Alert Level 1

The national state of disaster has been extended to 15 November 2020, and a further extension is imminent. Employers must become comfortable with the regulatory framework under alert level 1. Here are six things to keep in mind to ensure your business is compliant.

  1. Risk assessments and workplace plans

An employer is required to have a workplace plan and risk assessment, in compliance with the latest Directive from the Department of Employment and Labour issued on 1 October 2020. If your organisation’s plan or risk assessment was implemented prior to this date, it is likely that you are no longer … Continue Reading

Five steps to take when an employee tests positive for COVID-19 in the workplace

With more employers embracing the return to work, employers must be up to speed on what is currently required when an employee becomes infected with COVID-19 at the workplace. Here are 5 practical steps to take when an employee is infected at your workplace:

Step 1: Report

If an employee is confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 at the workplace, an employer must immediately inform the:

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Sick leave under German employment law: Termination, medical certificates by phone and latest topics

Termination in case of the threat of taking sick leave

Employees who respond to an instruction by their employer with the threat of taking sick leave can be dismissed without notice. It is irrelevant whether the employee actually falls ill later or whether the instruction by the employer was unlawful. In a recent decision, the Higher Labor Court Rhineland-Palatinate (LAG Rhineland-Palatinate, 21.7.2020 – 8 Sa 430/19) has once again confirmed the previous ruling of the Federal Labour Court.… Continue Reading

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