Many workplace leaders have been wondering, “Can we require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment?” According to a recent Ogletree Deakins benchmarking survey, most employers are not ready to implement mandatory vaccination policies, and 87.9 percent of employers reported that they currently do not plan to require workers to get the vaccine. On the other end of the spectrum, 7.6 percent of respondents have implemented (or are planning to…
In order to address the economic impact of COVID-19 on Ontario’s businesses, in June 2020 the Ontario government created a special leave called “infectious disease emergency leave” (IDEL) through Ontario Regulation 228/20 (O. Reg. 228/20). The purpose of that leave was, among other things, to deem that: employees whose hours or pay have been temporarily reduced will not be deemed to have been discharged or constructively dismissed under the Employment Standards Act, 2000…
On June 11, 2021, the Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board of California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) published proposed revisions to the current Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). On June 17, 2021, the Standards Board will meet again to vote on adopting proposed revisions. This is the third updated revision that the Standards Board has considered in the last month. Until the new ETS takes effect, employers must comply with the…
“A Month of Action on Capitol Hill.” The American Rescue Plan Act was enacted in March 2021, and since then President Joe Biden has been looking for his next major legislative victory. Accordingly, President Biden promised that the next several weeks would be “a month of action on Capitol Hill.” Things are not off to a good start. This past weekend, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) penned an op-ed in a West Virginia newspaper…
On June 10, 2021, simultaneous with the issuance of its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for COVID-19 focusing on healthcare employers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its new COVID-19 guidance for all industries not covered by the ETS. Significant new issues addressed in OSHA’s revised COVID-19 compliance guidance include the agency’s adoption of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) May 13, 2021, guidance relating to fully vaccinated employees. According…
On the morning of June 9, 2021, the White House Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) announced it completed its review of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for COVID-19. At a hearing later that day before the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh told legislators that OSHA expected to release the ETS by June 10, 2021,…
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) issued a new audit standard for employee benefit plans in July 2019. The new standard is commonly referred to as SAS 136, but its official name is “Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 136, Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements of Employee Benefit Plans Subject to ERISA.”  Although SAS 136 imposes new duties on auditors, plan sponsors also have increased responsibilities under this…
On June 7, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that prohibits government entities from requiring individuals to provide evidence of COVID-19 vaccination status and strongly discourages private businesses in Texas from requiring what has become known as “COVID-19 vaccine passports” from customers. This new law is effective immediately. Importantly, the law does not impose penalties or fines for violation, as is the case with Florida’s new law. At the same time,…
On June 9, 2021, the Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board of California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) voted to withdraw the previously submitted Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) changes and instead consider further revisions at its June 17, 2021, meeting. The online meeting generally was improved from the last meeting because the Standards Board restricted use of the chat function and limited public comments to a total of two hours with each speaker…
On May 24, 2021, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced important changes to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (MIOSHA) emergency COVID-19 rules, “Emergency Rules for Coronavirus Disease 2019.” Governor Whitmer also announced that the draft permanent MIOSHA COVID-19 rules have been rescinded in their entirety, and the public hearing to discuss those rules scheduled for May 26, 2021, has been canceled. The updated emergency rules, which take effect on May 24, 2021, and…