The US Department of Labor recently published answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) and model notices for the new COBRA premium subsidy made available to many employees and their dependents under the American Rescue Plan Act. As explained in an earlier post, the new law allows “assistance eligible individuals” (AEIs) – defined as COBRA qualified beneficiaries who had a qualifying event due to a reduction in hours or an involuntary termination of employment, and who elect coverage – to receive fully subsidized COBRA continuation coverage for periods covering April 1 through September 30, 2021. The new law also extends … Continue Reading
Trump-era independent contractor rule withdrawn
Effective today, May 6, 2021, the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Trump-era independent contractor rule has been officially withdrawn. The Trump-era independent contractor rule, which never went into effect due to the change between presidential administrations, would have made it easier for companies to classify workers as independent contractors.
Trump-era independent contractor rule
The Trump-era independent contractor rule expressly adopted and clarified the “economic realities test” for worker classification, and would have narrowed the focus of the inquiry to five distinct factors: (1) the nature and degree of the individual’s control over the work; (2) … 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
Throughout the United States, employers are weighing whether to have a mandatory vaccination policy for COVID-19. The objective is to bring employees back to work safely and the understandable desire to return to our pre-pandemic status quo.
This post does not advocate in favor or against a mandatory vaccination policy—except to note there may be good reasons not to require it; the law requires accommodation from such a requirement in some circumstances; and there is no clear legal authority to compel employees as a condition of employment to receive a vaccine which has only FDA Emergency Use Authorization. Rather, it’s … 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
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
New York City employers are required to amend their existing sick leave policies as soon as possible due to amendments to the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (the “ESSTA”) that went into effect on September 30, 2020. These recent amendments attempt to align the ESSTA more closely with the recently-enacted New York State sick leave law, which also went into effect on September 30, 2020 (though employees do not have the right to use accrued sick leave under the New York State sick leave law until January 1, 2021).
To learn more about the recent changes … Continue Reading
On July 27, 2020, the first state “Emergency Temporary Standard” (ETS) for COVID-19 went into effect. The ETS requires employers in the state to develop and implement COVID-19 prevention and control measures in the workplace. The ETS is in effect for six months, although this period could be shortened if the Virginia State of Emergency expires, a permanent standard is enacted or the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board repeals it.
Employers covered by the Emergency Temporary Standard
The ETS applies to all public and private employers and places of employment in Virginia, with the exception of federal employers, private … Continue Reading
As part of the most recent New York State budget, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a new mandatory paid sick leave program affecting all New York employers. Under the law, all New York employers will need to provide their employees with paid or unpaid sick leave (whether or not related to the COVID-19 pandemic) as follows:
- For employers with 100 or more employees, up to 56 hours of paid sick leave per year must be provided to each employee.
- For employers with between five and 99 employees, and for employers with fewer than five employees but with a net
Businesses with operations in New York State and, particularly, in New York City, face unique obstacles with respect to reopening their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. With over 380,000 confirmed cases across the state, and over 200,000 confirmed cases in New York City, most New York residents have been affected by the virus in some way, and many are apprehensive about reentering the workplace. New York City’s dense population of over 8 million residents and approximately 10 million commuters — many of whom rely on public transportation — undoubtedly exacerbates these concerns. In light of these concerns, Governor Cuomo extended … Continue Reading
Recently, in McPherson v. EF Intercultural Foundation, Inc., the California Court of Appeals addressed the legality of unlimited or uncapped vacation policies under California law. Three exempt employees sued the company for payment of unused vacation time at termination, despite being subject to an unlimited paid time off policy, because they argued the policy was neither unlimited in policy nor practice. The court agreed. Fortunately for California employers, the decision sets forth guidelines for employers to properly implement such policies and avoid liability. For more information, see our legal update, California court finds employer liable under unlimited vacation policy… Continue Reading
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, many employers are requiring their employees to work remotely (either voluntarily or because several states, including California and New York, have imposed social distancing restrictions). The new work-from-home reality has implications for employers with workers employed in California and other states, as described in COVID-19: Working from home and employer reimbursement of remote-work expenses in California and beyond. For more information, read COVID-19: Working from home and employer reimbursement of remote-work expenses in California and beyond, and for additional information about legal implications of COVID-19, see Coronavirus: Legal implications of a global … Continue Reading
September 30th deadline to provide pay data to EEOC will cover both 2017 and 2018 pay data
As we previously reported in our articles Employers with 100 or more employees must provide pay data to the EEOC by September 30, 2019 and New EEOC pay data deadline: September 30, 2019, following an April 25, 2019 federal court ruling, employers with 100 or more employees should begin to prepare to report pay data to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by September 30, 2019.
September 30th deadline to provide pay data to EEOC
Following an April 25, 2019 federal court ruling, employers with 100 or more employees should begin to prepare to report pay data to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) by September 30, 2019. While there is a possibility that an appeals court could stay this reporting requirement before then, covered employers should operate under the assumption that they will need to meet this September 30, 2019 deadline.
Background on pay data reporting requirement
Under current law, employers with 100 or more employees and federal contractors with 50 or more employees … Continue Reading
Recently, New York State and New York City have continued the trend of enacting employee-friendly legislation and issuing broad enforcement guidance under their respective employment laws and regulations. New York State and New York City employers should be aware of the following recent developments from 2018 and early 2019, and should take action to review and update their practices and policies for compliance.
New York City lactation room and policy laws — new policy requirement
Federal and New York State laws already require employers to make reasonable efforts to provide a room other than a bathroom where a nursing employee … Continue Reading
On May 9, 2018, New York City enacted a number of laws addressing sexual harassment in the workplace. The laws are summarized below. New York City employers who do not yet have anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policies in place should promptly begin the process for adopting them. New York City employers should also begin to make arrangements for providing their employees with anti-harassment training (upon hire and annually thereafter). Such training is now required under both New York State and New York City law. New York State’s law, which was also recently enacted, will become effective first. For a brief discussion … Continue Reading