On June 17, 2021, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board voted to adopt revisions to the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), and Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order allowing the revised ETS to go into effect immediately.  The revised ETS now applies to nearly all workers in California not covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard.
Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Finally Enacts Revised Emergency Temporary Standards

This week, both houses of the New York state legislature passed a package of amendments (the “Amendments”) to the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (“HERO Act” or the “Act”) designed to clarify, modify, and delay implementation of certain provisions of the Act.
Continue Reading NY HERO Act Requirements Significantly Modified as Amendments Pass New York Legislature

UPDATE:  At its June 9, 2021, special meeting, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board voted to withdraw the revisions to the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) that had been approved at its June 3rd meeting, and were set to go into effect on June 15th.  Instead, Cal/OSHA indicated that it will further consider the recent guidance from the CDC and the California Department of Public Health with respect to face coverings for fully vaccinated individuals.  For now, the original ETS that has been effective since November of 2020 will remain in place.  The Standards Board will convene to consider potential further revisions at a future meeting, perhaps as early as its next scheduled meeting on June 17th.   Stay tuned for further updates.

After several fits and starts, on June 3, 2021, the Cal/OSHA Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board finally passed revised Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) that now take into account employee vaccination status and loosening restrictions from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and California’s elimination of the colored Tier system.  The revised ETS will go into effect on June 15, 2021 and creates additional employer obligations beginning on July 31, 2021.  The Cal/OSHA Standards Board has indicated that it will convene a subcommittee to consider further revisions in the coming months.
Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Approves Revised Emergency Temporary Standards

On May 28, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued an update to its December 2020 guidance regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and incentive programs.  The long-awaited guidance provides clarification regarding mandatory vaccinations, employer and third-party provided vaccine incentives, and confidentiality of vaccination information.  The EEOC guidance left open some questions surrounding vaccine incentives, including what incentives will be deemed so substantial as to be coercive, and whether employers must offer incentives to workers who cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine for religious or medical reasons.
Continue Reading EEOC Takes a Second Shot at COVID-19: Employer Vaccine Incentives Approved, Subject to Exceptions, But Questions Remain

UPDATE:  At its May 20, 2021, meeting, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board agreed to table its vote on the proposed revised Emergency Temporary Standards to allow Division staff time to draft potential revisions that would more closely align Cal/OSHA’s requirements with the CDC’s latest guidance concerning face coverings for fully vaccinated individuals.  Proposed draft revisions will be posted by May 28, 2021, and that draft will come up for a vote on June 3, 2021.  If approved, the revised ETS would become effective on June 15, 2021.  We will provide further details as they arise.

Prompted by increased availability of vaccine appointments, and broad eligibility for all U.S. adults and teenagers, the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and California’s Department of Public Health (CDPH) have loosened restrictions with respect to fully vaccinated individuals, defined as those who are two weeks past their final required vaccination dose (second dose of either Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, or single dose of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine).  Cal/OSHA now proposes to align itself with this guidance through proposed revisions to its Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”), which have been effective since November of 2020, just prior to the pandemic’s winter peak.
Continue Reading Significant Updates to Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards on the Horizon

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) recently issued key guidance in the form of frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) about COBRA Premium Assistance under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”).  In addition to issuing the FAQs, the DOL issued model notices and announced a new website dedicated to the COBRA premium subsidy under ARPA, which can be found at the following link: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ebsa/laws-and-regulations/laws/cobra/premium-subsidy.
Continue Reading COBRA Premium Assistance Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – What Employers Should Know

In a prior article, we explained Senate Bill 95, which requires employers with more than 25 employees in California to provide COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick leave.  You can read it here.  SB 95 creates California Labor Code Sections 248.2 and 248.3.  It goes into effect on March 29, 2021, and applies retroactively to January 1, 2021.  This new COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law allows covered employees to take up to an additional 80 hours of paid COVID-19 related sick leave.
Continue Reading Labor Commissioner Issues FAQs for Supplemental COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Law

Beginning on March 29, 2021, Senate Bill 95 will place additional requirements on employers to provide supplemental paid sick leave to employees impacted by COVID-19.  The bill, which was approved by the legislature on March 18, 2021, and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on March 19, 2021, creates California Labor Code Sections 248.2 and 248.3.  SB 95 dramatically expands the number of employees eligible for COVID-19 paid sick leave, expands the reasons an employee may take paid sick leave, and applies retroactively to January 1, 2021, which will require some employers who previously granted employees unpaid leave for COVID-19 related reasons to retroactively compensate those employees.  Therefore, every employer in California should review SB 95 carefully.
Continue Reading California Enacts Expansive, Retroactive Supplemental COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Law

On March 12, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) launched its new COVID-19 National Emphasis Program (“NEP”).  The new OSHA directive outlines policies and procedures for minimizing worker exposures to COVID-19 by targeting certain “high-hazard” industries and worksites where employees may have a high frequency of close contact exposures.  The NEP and related updates to OSHA’s Interim Enforcement Response Plan (“IERP”) are in response to President Biden’s January 21, 2021 Executive Order, which also gave OSHA until March 15 to determine whether a COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (“ETS”) is necessary.  Although March 15 has come and gone, OSHA may nevertheless still consider and implement a national ETS.  In the meantime, employers should review the information below and familiarize themselves with the NEP to determine whether they may be targeted for a COVID-19-related federal OSHA inspection this spring and summer.
Continue Reading OSHA Adopts New COVID-19 National Emphasis Program to Increase Its Enforcement Efforts