Disability, Leave & Health Management Blog

Offering Practical Guidance to Employers

On June 8, 2021, New York State updated the NY Forward Guidance for several industries, including office-based and food services employers, with changes that many people feel are overdue. In addition to incorporating updated mask, physical distancing, and capacity rules that have been in place since New York adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for fully vaccinated individuals on May 19, 2021, the most significant modification to the NY Forward Guidance update…
For years (and I do mean years), the EEOC has waffled about whether incentives were permissible in connection with a medical inquiry under a voluntary wellness program.  Friday, the EEOC issued its most recent pronouncement on the topic, this time related to incentives for COVID-19 vaccinations. The ADA prohibits employers from requiring medical examinations or making “disability-related inquiries” except in very limited circumstances.  One such exception is in the case of a voluntary wellness program. …
Just as you may have been preparing to settle into a relaxing Memorial Day Weekend, the EEOC issued additional informal guidance today concerning COVID-19 vaccination issues. Although there are still many holes to be filled, and employers continue to be left with incomplete guidance, here are some initial highlights and observations: MANDATING THE VACCINE • The EEOC starts off by reminding employers that “It is beyond the EEOC’s jurisdiction to discuss the legal implications of…
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest guidance that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or social distance in many settings raises questions for businesses in retail, hospitality and other settings open to the public. Last week, we discussed considerations for businesses considering relaxing their mask and social distancing policies for employees. Business open to the public may have questions on how the CDC recommendations impact face covering policies…
In a surprise move today, CDC followed the lead of the various states that have lifted their masking and physical distancing recommendations. However, CDC’s new recommendations come with a twist. The CDC’s recommendations only apply to fully vaccinated people in non-healthcare settings.  Here’s what your business should consider as it decides whether to “unmask.” The May 13, 2021 CDC Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People states that fully vaccinated people no longer need…
With COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations decreasing, states are slowly loosening restrictions on businesses. For example, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey announced plans to fully reopen by May 19th  with some constraints remaining in place, including mandatory wearing of masks and social distancing.  All three states have announced significant capacity rollbacks for indoor and outdoor activities.  The capacity rollbacks in these states will affect many businesses as operational needs will increase in the coming…
Last week, President Biden encouraged employers to pay employees for time off to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and highlighted the tax credits available for employers with less than 500 employees. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) signed by the President on March 11, 2021 continued the tax credits available under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) for covered employers who voluntarily decide to provide “qualified” paid sick leave or paid family leave wages…
The Washington State Legislature has temporarily amended the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) Act to create pandemic leave assistance grants for certain employees and employers. Employees and employers cannot apply for these grants until August 1, 2021. This amendment expires on June 30, 2023. Read more about these grants.…
The Biden administration has called for all people at least 18 to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by April 19, 2021. Most states have already done so. A BenefitsPro article cites a 2017 survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) that found almost 60 percent of employers offer on-site flu vaccinations. Naturally, with expanding availability of COVID-19 vaccination doses and widespread eligibility, organizations are asking whether setting up an on-site COVID-19…
Philadelphia has joined a growing list of localities to require employers to provide employees paid COVID-19-related sick leave. When the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expired on December 31, 2020, many employees lost guaranteed paid COVID-19-related leave. As of March 29, 2021, employers with employees working in Philadelphia must provide them paid COVID-19-related sick leave. The new 2021 Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) amends and expands Philadelphia’s previous COVID-19 paid leave ordinance that…