Q: Are there any state laws employers should think about when implementing COVID-19 vaccine policies?

A: Yes, multiple states have passed or are considering laws related to COVID-19 vaccine policies.

Savvy employers tracking the latest guidance likely know the many sources of federal guidance pertaining to COVID-19 vaccines in the workplace. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made headlines with its May 13 guidance loosening face mask and distancing restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals, as did the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) with its updated COVID-19 vaccine Q&As. Just recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced an emergency temporary standard for health care employers and updated guidance for employers in other sectors. As if that wasn’t enough, multiple states also have passed laws impacting employers looking to implement a COVID-19 vaccination program.
Continue Reading Move Over, CDC: State Laws May Impact Employers’ COVID-19 Vaccine Plans

* Michael T. Byrne is a 2021 summer associate at Troutman Pepper. He is not admitted to practice law.

Q: Are California employers required to rehire employees they laid off for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: Yes, but only if the employer falls within certain industries and establishes an open job position for which one of its laid-off employees is qualified. Under California’s Senate Bill No. 93 (SB 93), if a covered employer opens a job position and has previously laid off workers due to reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the employer must first offer the position to eligible laid-off employees within five days of establishing the position.


Continue Reading California Provides Right to Recall to Certain Employees Laid off Due to COVID-19

This article was originally published by the EACCNY. It is republished here with permission.

Authors
Jessica Rothenberg, Associate, Troutman Pepper
Dr. Tobias Polloczek, Partner, CMS Hasche Sigle
Dr. Justus Redeker, Partner, CMS Hasche Sigle

As COVID-19 vaccination roll-outs become more widespread in the United States and the European Union, employers should proactively consider the impact of vaccinations on return to work policies and practices. The extent to which employers are allowed to dictate vaccination policies varies by country, and the practical approaches employers are taking also varies by country. This article discusses key aspects of the legal landscape for workplace vaccination policies in the U.S. and the EU,[1] as well as important practical considerations. For more details on the legal situation regarding vaccination and testing in the individual EU member states, please also see the recently published “CMS Expert Guide to Vaccination and Testing for Employers.”
Continue Reading COVID-19 Vaccination in the EU and the U.S.: The Employer Perspective

Q: Has the Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance on the COBRA premium subsidy?

A: On March 25, we reported on the 100% federally funded COBRA premium subsidy included in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), noting the need for additional guidance on a number of issues. See “COVID-19 Resource Guide for Human Resources Professionals: 100% Federally Funded COBRA is Almost Here — What You Need to Know.” In response to questions from stakeholders, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued FAQs on April 7, providing much needed guidance on the COBRA premium subsidy. While the FAQs provide employers with some clarity on the implementation and administration of the COBRA premium subsidy, additional guidance is still needed.
Continue Reading DOL Issues Guidance on Federally Funded COBRA Premium Subsidy — FAQs and Model Notices Provide Clarification for Employers

Q: Has the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued any guidance on workplace COVID-19 vaccination programs?

A: Yes. The CDC released guidance for employers in mid-March. Although the CDC recognizes the limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines, it encourages employers to develop policies and share messages with employees to promote confidence in the vaccine, so employees will choose to get vaccinated when vaccines become more widely available. The CDC guidance addresses a variety of issues including:
Continue Reading CDC Issues Guidance on Workplace Vaccination Programs

Q: What Does the $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan Mean for Employers?

A: On March 11, nearly a year after the enactment of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and CARES Act, and three months after the enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, President Biden signed a sweeping $1.9 trillion stimulus package called the American Rescue Plan. The headline-grabbing elements of the American Rescue Plan include $1,400 direct payments to individuals earning below a certain income threshold, $160 billion for COVID-19 vaccine and testing programs, and $360 billion for aid to state, local, and territorial governments. Critical to employers, the American Rescue Plan once again extends federal unemployment insurance benefits and modifies employee entitlement to COVID-19-related leave under the FFCRA.


Continue Reading The $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan

Q: Are employers immune from liability for issues related to COVID-19?

A: As the pandemic continues and COVID-19 vaccines slowly but surely begin to reach more widespread distribution across the country, many employers continue to worry about potential liability in their workplaces for claims involving COVID-19 infections, along with a host of other claims related to employment.


Continue Reading More States Consider COVID-19 Immunity Laws as Employment Lawsuit Filings Trend Upward

Q: What do employers need to know about the recently released Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance for COVID-19 prevention programs in the workplace?

A: On January 21, President Biden signed an Executive Order on protecting worker health and safety. Pursuant to the order, on January 29, OSHA released new guidance titled, “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace.”


Continue Reading New OSHA Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention Programs

Q: Are outside sales employees considered exempt under the outside sales exemption (OSE) if they work from a home office during the pandemic?

A: Throughout the last 11 months, the pandemic has required most in-person business activity to go virtual; and this is no less true for employees working in sales. However, Zoom meetings and social distancing have made it challenging for employers to classify their sales force as exempt under the OSE of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).


Continue Reading FLSA Exemptions for Outside Sales Employees in the Era of Social Distancing

Q: Are there any new laws or regulations that I should know about as we enter 2021?

A: The year 2020 undoubtedly presented many challenges to employers in keeping up with seemingly ever-changing laws and regulations, in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic that swept our nation. As employers leave the previous year behind and begin focusing on what will follow in 2021, it is important to be mindful of various significant labor and employment law changes — in addition to those specifically related to COVID-19. Below are summaries of key non-COVID-related issues that employers should know about now and in the year ahead.


Continue Reading Goodbye 2020! A Look Ahead to Non-COVID Labor and Employment Updates for 2021