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

On Monday, March 8, 2021, the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) issued new Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People.  The CDC defines “fully vaccinated people” as those who received both doses in a 2-dose series, or one dose of a single-dose vaccine, and two weeks have elapsed since receiving the final dose.  Alongside its recommendations as detailed below, the CDC released a Background Rationale which provides a scientific analysis in support of its recommendations.
Continue Reading CDC Issues New COVID-19 Guidance For Vaccinated Individuals

On March 4, 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) updated its COVID-19 related guidance.  In addition to addressing whether an employer may ask about symptoms, take employees’ temperatures, and require the use of personal protective equipment among other things, the DFEH addresses a question that has been top of mind for many California employers:

Continue Reading DFEH Issues Guidance to Employers Regarding Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies

On January 20, 2021 – nearly a year after the law’s effective date – the New York Department of Labor (“NYDOL”) issued new guidance (the “Guidance”) for employers regarding the scope of available sick leave for employees subject to a mandatory or precautionary order of quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19 (“Quarantine Leave”).  The Guidance creates new obligations for employers in New York and clarifies certain limitations on Quarantine Leave.  It is also intended to supplement other guidance previously issued by the NYDOL, which remains in effect.
Continue Reading New York Department of Labor Significantly Expands COVID-19 Quarantine Leave

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted its Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) on COVID-19 prevention in the workplace on November 19, 2020, which we covered here.  Shortly after their adoption, the ETS became binding and enforceable against nearly all California employers effective November 30, 2020.  The next day, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) published frequently asked questions to provide guidance to employers on compliance with the extensive requirements under the ETS.  In light of significant pushback from employers finding themselves needing to deal with complications arising from near-immediate compliance, Cal/OSHA recently published additional guidance and clarifications to impacted employers.  The complete and comprehensive set of is available here, but key takeaways are below:
Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Provides New Guidance for California Employers to Comply With COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards

Frontline workers of certain large grocery and pharmacy retailers in Los Angeles County and other municipalities across the state may soon receive an additional $4.00 to $5.00 an hour in “hero pay” or “hazard pay” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue Reading California Municipalities Move Closer to Requiring Hazard Pay for Grocery and Pharmacy Workers

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine guidance for employers on December 16, 2020, providing answers related to workplace requirements about COVID-19 vaccines. With COVID-19 vaccinations underway in the U.S., the deployment poses complex questions for employers determining whether to mandate vaccines for all employees and how to manage such mandates. Although the EEOC acknowledges that federal employment laws do not prevent employers from following guidelines from public health authorities, the administration of vaccines to employees raises legal issues employers should consider. This article discusses the EEOC’s new guidance and the process required for employers mandating COVID-19 vaccines for their workforces.
Continue Reading EEOC Takes a Shot at COVID-19: Unvaccinated Employees Can be Excluded From the Workplace