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[UPDATE: On April 7, 2021, the Department of Labor issued the model notices required by ARPA, as well as an FAQ to provide additional guidance on the changes to the COBRA subsidies.]

On March 12, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into law, aiming to provide relief to individuals and businesses suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. ARPA impacts employer-sponsored health plans in several ways, including the implementation of a COBRA premium subsidy. Employers should be aware of the actions they must take in response to this change.

COBRA requires an employer-sponsored group health plan to give employees who otherwise would lose coverage due to termination (or another qualifying event) a chance to continue to buy coverage for themselves and any family members on the plan for a limited period after that event. The maximum coverage period generally is 18 months. The plan typically may charge up to 102 percent of the cost of coverage for similarly situated active participants (the COBRA premium).

Continue Reading American Rescue Plan Act’s COBRA health care premium subsidy

On March 2, 2021, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) in the U.S. Department of Labor announced that it is amending its FY 2020 Corporate Scheduling Announcement List (CSAL) for federal supply and service contractors to forego “compliance checks” and “focused reviews” on that list that are not currently underway. Contractors that were identified for a compliance check or focused review in the FY 2020 CSAL should check the amended FY 2020 CSAL to determine whether they are listed for any other type of review. Notably, OFCCP’s announcement does not cancel its more fulsome compliance reviews, impact any reviews from prior lists (e.g., the FY 2019 CSAL) or open reviews, or make any changes to reviews that are pending for construction contractors (which are subject to a different CSAL).

Continue Reading OFCCP amends FY 2020 CSAL, indicating a move to conducting fewer but broader compliance reviews of government contractors

As we explained in a recent post, as of January 1, 2021, COVID-19 leave is no longer mandated under the federal Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA), although covered employers who voluntarily provide paid leave outlined in the FFCRA may take advantage of the FFCRA tax credit through March 31, 2021. Notwithstanding this change

On October 1, 2020, a new Maryland law related to compensation will:

  1. prohibit employers from requesting or relying on job applicants’ prior pay history to make decisions about employment or initial pay in most circumstances; and
  2. require an employer to provide an applicant, upon request, with the wage range for the job applied for.

The District of Columbia recently adopted a new version of emergency laws requiring employers to provide both paid and unpaid leave to eligible employees for certain COVID-19 related reasons. The Mayor signed the Coronavirus Support Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 and the Coronavirus Support Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (together, CSEA) into law on

Benefits will be available to employees under the District of Columbia’s paid family and medical leave program, known as D.C. Paid Family Leave (DCPFL), starting July 1, 2020. As discussed in our prior posts here and here, DCPFL provides partial wage replacement benefits to eligible employees who need to take leave for certain medical or family reasons. The program is funded by employer payroll taxes, which D.C. employers began paying in July 2019. DCPFL is administered by the Department of Employment Services (DOES), which will make eligibility determinations and pay benefits directly to employees.
Continue Reading Are you ready for D.C. paid family/medical leave on July 1? Questions & Answers for employers, including benefits coordination

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to release workplace re-opening guidance, both generally and for employers in specific industries. Employers executing or developing their re-opening plans should consider new guidance along with requirements and guidance at the state and local levels, and watch for continued developments – particularly by checking the CDC website on COVID-19, which is frequently updated.
Continue Reading CDC provides updated guidance and toolkit for employers preparing to re-open

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has published a new self-identification form federal contractors (including subcontractors) must provide to individuals to request information concerning their disability status. OFCCP hopes the changes will increase applicant and employee response rates. Notably, the new form deletes the second page of the current form, which reminds applicants and employees of their right to ask the employer for reasonable accommodations to apply for a job or perform a job. Federal contractors must begin using this form on or before August 4, 2020.
Continue Reading Federal contractors must update their voluntary self-identification of disability forms

Many U.S. employers are eager to reopen their worksites and to resume more normal in-person operations. But resumption of business while the country continues to face the risk of COVID-19 infections presents significant legal and practical challenges. The nature of these challenges will differ based on the employer’s geography and industry. This article describes key labor and employment considerations for U.S. employers in planning and executing a reopening strategy.
Continue Reading Practical and legal considerations for reopening U.S. worksites related to COVID-19

The Mayor of the District of Columbia recently signed two emergency laws that expand obligations of employers to provide leave to employees for COVID-19 reasons: