New York State employers should be aware of a recent law aimed at protecting workers from COVID-19 and other airborne infectious diseases, the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (HERO Act), which imposes significant obligations on covered employers. Among other things, the HERO Act requires the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) to develop industry-specific model safety standards, requires private New York State employers of all sizes to implement and distribute health and safety plans that meet specified requirements, and requires certain employers to permit the creation of joint employer-employee workplace health and safety committees.
On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a mandatory workplace safety rule requiring employers to take specified steps to protect workers from COVID-19. However, the rule applies only to health care settings. Referred to as an emergency temporary standard (ETS), the rule exempts fully vaccinated workers from masking, distancing, and barrier requirements when in well-defined areas where there is no reasonable expectation that any person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be present.
OSHA has also updated its Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace guidance for workplaces … Continue Reading
On May 28, 2021, the employer community got its first glimpse of a revised Cal/OSHA emergency, temporary standard (ETS) for COVID-19 that may become law by June 15, 2021. That day—June 15—is significant because it is the date the governor set as a goal for California to “fully open its economy.” In addition, the CDC’s new guidance allowing fully vaccinated persons to go maskless in some settings was another encouraging sign that normalcy was just around the corner. Indeed, Cal/OSHA had promised to tweak the existing COVID-19 standard with these developments in mind. Instead, the revised standard simply whittles … Continue Reading
Federal OSHA has recently released guidance advising on employer health and safety obligations when employers require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment. Specifically, OSHA addresses the potential (albeit rare to date) of an employee who incurs an adverse reaction to a mandated vaccination. In such a situation, the reaction will be deemed “work-related.”
The ultimate effect of this guidance is that if the adverse reaction involves days away from work, restricted work, transfer to another job or medical treatment beyond first aid, it will be considered a “recordable” incident. In other words, the reaction will … Continue Reading
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.
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
Since the start of pandemic, our courts have rendered a number of decisions regarding the impact of COVID-19 and whether it constitutes superior force (commonly known as “force majeure” ) for the purposes of limiting liability. In particular, we can think of numerous cases in real estate law, whereby lessees and owners looked to the courts for either relief or an order for payment after businesses were forced to shut down by government decree.
But how has COVID-19 as a “force majeure” played out in labour law?
A recently published arbitration decision – SCP, sections locales 2229 et 2301 et … Continue Reading
Depuis le début de la pandémie, nos tribunaux ont rendu plusieurs décisions concernant l’incidence de la COVID-19 et la question de savoir si elle constitue un événement de force majeure aux fins de la limitation de la responsabilité. On peut notamment penser aux nombreux cas, dans le domaine du droit immobilier, où des locataires et des propriétaires se sont adressés aux tribunaux pour obtenir soit un redressement, soit un ordre de paiement, après que des entreprises aient été contraintes de fermer leurs portes en raison des décrets gouvernementaux.
Mais comment la COVID-19, en tant qu’événement de force majeure, a-t-elle été … Continue Reading
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
In a recent decision – Centre de services scolaire du Lac-Témiscamingue et Syndicat de l’enseignement de l’Ungava et de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, 2020 QCTA 641, an arbitrator was called upon to determine if a school board’s requirement that teachers undertake a dual teaching system of simultaneous in-person and online learning was contrary to their right to privacy and constituted fair and reasonable conditions of employment.
As many of us know, given the COVID-19 pandemic, many students have had to miss school to self-isolate. In order to ensure that students in this position would be able to continue their education, one Quebec school … Continue Reading
Dans une décision récente, un arbitre de griefs a précisé les droits et obligations des employeurs québécois en matière de télétravail. Cette décision fait suite à celle qu’il a rendue l’automne dernier dans laquelle il 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.
La décision au stade provisoire
Tel qu’exposé dans notre billet de blogue sur la décision au stade provisoire, essentiellement, l’arbitre a rejeté la demande d’ordonnance de sauvegarde du Syndicat pour deux raisons :
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Dans une très récente décision rendue le 26 octobre 2020, 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
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
As we announced in our blog post here on 24 September the UK Chancellor outlined additional government support to help businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19, which would come into force once the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ends on 31 October 2020. However, with further restrictions being placed on businesses and the introduction of a three tier lockdown, the Government announced on 22 October that the level of support to be provided under the Job Support Scheme (JSS) would be increased.
The JSS relating to businesses that can remain open has been renamed the Job Support Scheme Open (JSS … Continue Reading