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Update: The Emergency Temporary Standard was published in the Federal Register on June 21, 2021 as an interim final rule.

On June 10, 2021, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released the first nationwide emergency workplace safety rule per President Joe Biden’s January executive order directing the agency to pursue an emergency temporary standard for COVID-19. The newly published emergency temporary standard (ETS) applies only to employers in the healthcare industry, and requires such employers to protect their workers against on-the-job COVID-19 infections. Other employers should consult OSHA’s separately published guidance applicable to workers not covered by the ETS, also published on June 10 and covered in our separate blog post.

Continue Reading OSHA issues COVID-19 emergency temporary standard for healthcare settings

On June 10, 2021, the same day that it released its long-anticipated COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS) for healthcare settings (which we discuss here), the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also issued updated COVID-19 guidance for non-healthcare workplaces (Guidance). The Guidance provides that, with limited exceptions, employers generally need not implement any COVID-19 safety measures for fully vaccinated workers but should continue to take a multi-pronged approach to protecting unvaccinated workers and those who are “otherwise at-risk” due to compromised immunity. Unlike the healthcare ETS, the Guidance for non-healthcare settings is advisory and not legally binding.

Continue Reading OSHA issues updated COVID-19 guidance for non-healthcare settings

On May 28, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its “What you should know about COVID-19” Frequently Asked Questions (the FAQs), answering questions many employers have had regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and addressing additional considerations relevant to returning employees to the worksite. The FAQs include long-awaited guidance on how employers may provide incentives for employees to obtain vaccines, and also discuss employer inquiries about employee vaccination status and mandatory vaccine policies, among other issues.

Below are key takeaways from the EEOC’s May 28 guidance.
Continue Reading EEOC releases guidance on permissible vaccine incentives and other COVID-19 vaccine issues

On May 13, 2021, the CDC updated its guidance for fully vaccinated individuals (Vaccination Guidance), stating that fully vaccinated people (fully vaccinated means two weeks after receiving a second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or two weeks after a first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) can:

  • Resume indoor and outdoor activities

On April 27, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order (EO) that will, beginning in early 2022, raise the minimum hourly wage from $10.95 to $15.00 for workers working on or in connection with covered federal contracts and subcontracts. More information about the EO is available on the Administration’s fact sheet. This minimum wage will increase in subsequent years based on inflation. The EO makes good on the Administration’s announcement in January that the President would increase the minimum wage requirements for federal contractors in his first 100 days in office.   
Continue Reading Biden ups minimum wage to $15 for federal contractor workforce

UPDATE: On April 21, 2021, we wrote the following blog post describing guidance from OSHA that required, in certain circumstances, that employers record adverse COVID-19 vaccine reactions in their OSHA logs. On May 21, 2021, OSHA updated its FAQs to reverse its guidance on when employers should record adverse COVID-19 vaccine reactions. Employers now do

Last year, we discussed several major changes made to Virginia employment laws that provided new protections and rights to employees. Once again, another significant change will occur on July 1, 2021 when Virginia’s new Overtime Wage Act (HB 2063) takes effect. In large part, this new law follows the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)’s overtime protections by requiring employers to pay time and half of the employee’s regular rate of pay to employees who work in excess of 40 hours in a workweek. However, in several key ways, the new Virginia law will expand Virginia employers’ potential exposure with respect to wage and hour claims.
Continue Reading Virginia’s new Overtime Wage Act increases potential exposure to Virginia employers for wage and hour claims

If your company has even one employee in Colorado, as of January 1, 2021, Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (EPEW) requires employers to notify employees within Colorado of all job postings and promotional opportunities, including those outside of Colorado. In some circumstances, the EPEW requires employers to provide compensation information relating to those postings and promotional opportunities. The law also imposes other requirements that are outlined briefly below.

Continue Reading Colorado employers – are you providing required notices to your employees of all job postings and promotional opportunities?

On April 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh placed a “hold” on the implementation of a potential U.S. Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which would set a national COVID-19 safety standard for OSHA-covered employers throughout the United States. While President Biden’s inauguration day Executive Order directed

As employers are revising their return to work protocols in light of increased vaccination efforts and the prospect of increased on-site work, the federal government has been busy implementing additional COVID-19 safety measures for the workplace, including targeted on-site inspections of workplaces where workers may have been or are likely to be exposed to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

Among other actions, on March 12, 2021, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new National Emphasis Program (NEP), effective immediately, prioritizing inspections for “high-hazard industries or activities” where there is a hazard for contracting COVID-19 at the workplace. The NEP, published alongside an Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (ERP) is a result of President Biden’s inauguration day Executive Order in which he directed OSHA to focus its enforcement on COVID-19 efforts. President Biden’s executive order called for OSHA to consider implementing a potential nationwide Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The NEP and ERP suggest that an ETS may be issued in the future by stating that if an ETS is issued, its requirements will take precedence over OSHA’s currently-available standards.

The stated goal of the NEP is to “significantly reduce or eliminate worker exposures to SARS-CoV-2 by targeting industries and worksites where employees may have a high frequency of close contact exposures and therefore, controlling the health hazards associated with such exposures. This goal will be accomplished by a combination of inspection targeting, outreach to employers, and compliance assistance…”
Continue Reading OSHA issues National Emphasis Program and Enforcement Response Plan, targeting certain industries for inspections