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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has updated its What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws web page once again with more FAQs about COVID-19 vaccinations for employees.  The new FAQs address mandatory vaccination policies, vaccination incentive programs, and confidentiality requirements. These key updates include the following: Federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated…
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a number of changes to the American workforce, including shifts in how work actually gets done – or doesn’t get done. According to government data, the pandemic has accelerated the rate at which Americans are retiring, with a reported 2.7 million Americans over the age of 55 considering retirement years earlier than they had imagined. Thanks to soaring stock market and real estate values, older workers who can afford…
On June 12, 2021, a Texas federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against Houston Methodist Hospital filed by unvaccinated nonmanagerial workers challenging the hospital’s policy that required all covered employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The suit challenging the hospital’s vaccine mandate – Jennifer Bridges et al. v The Methodist Hospital – was filed on May 28, 2021. The hospital’s vaccination policy included a phased approach to vaccinating employees, with management personnel being in the first…
During testimony before the House Committee on Education and Labor on June 9, 2021, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh told lawmakers that the DOL is reviewing the current overtime pay threshold that he said is too low and should be subject to automatic and regular updates. Currently, the overtime threshold is $684 per week, or $35,568 annually. Workers who earn below the threshold amount are required to be paid overtime, even if they are classified…
Employers are contesting OSHA citations for COVID-19-related violations at a rate that is five times higher than the national average for all federal workplace safety violations, according to a recent Bloomberg report. Many employers are appealing their violations based on often-changing OSHA requirements as well as a belief that failing to appeal a violation may lead to civil litigation. According to OSHA, employers filed 172 appeals of COVID-related violations from July 1, 2020, to…
On June 10, 2021, OSHA issued an emergency temporary standard to protect workers in healthcare settings from COVID-19. In addition, OSHA issued general COVID-19 guidance for other industries that focuses on protecting unvaccinated workers and encouraging vaccination. COVID-19 ETS for Healthcare Workers According to the OSHA COVID-19 ETS Fact Sheet, the ETS is aimed at protecting workers facing the highest COVID-19 hazards—those working in healthcare settings where suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients are treated. This…
By Anne Tyler Hall, Eric Schillinger, and Allison Richter* Hall Benefits Law Atlanta, GA *Anne Tyler Hall is the founding attorney of Hall Benefits Law, and her team counsels clients on fiduciary matters, healthcare reform, executive compensation, health and welfare benefits, and retirement plan legal issues. Eric Schillinger is Lead ERISA Counsel at HBL and concentrates his practice in the areas of qualified, health and welfare, and nonqualified employee benefit plans, including…
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released its Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2022 Final Rule Part Two, which becomes effective on July 6, 2021. The final rule is largely targeted to insurers and Exchange regulators; however, employers and health plan advisors should take note of several provisions that could potentially impact their health plans, including the following: Annual Cost-Sharing Limit Increases The annual maximum cost-sharing limit for self-only…
On April 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance on Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. Per the CDC, people are considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks following their second dose in a 2-dose series vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna) or two weeks following a single dose vaccine (J&J). People who are fully vaccinated can: Resume the same activities they did prior to the pandemic without wearing a…
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) includes a provision that authorizes a 100% subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums to help continue health benefits for employees who lost their jobs or suffered a reduction in work hours. On April 7, 2021, the DOL issued guidance on the ARPA COBRA premium assistance. Eligibility The ARPA’s COBRA subsidy is available to Assistance Eligible Individuals (AEIs) who lost their jobs or were placed on part-time work…