Seeking “compromise” and following in the footsteps of other governors, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed House Bill (HB) No. 2001 into law on November 23, 2021, broadening exemptions from employer COVID-19 vaccine mandates, permitting the imposition of civil penalties against noncomplying Kansas employers, and providing unemployment benefits to individuals who were discharged for failing to comply with an employer’s vaccine mandate and asserted that their employers violated HB 2001. The new law took effect…
Congress: Always in Crisis Mode. The U.S. Congress returned this week for a three-week sprint to the end of the legislative year. With so much on its plate, it is quite possible that Congress will be working up to and around both Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Here is what Congress has been contending with and what it will face in the next few weeks. Shutdown averted. With less than 36 hours left before funding…
In a November 30, 2021, order, a federal judge sitting in Louisiana entered a nationwide preliminary injunction against the Biden administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) interim final rule entitled “Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination.” The effect of the order is that CMS must immediately “cease all implementation or enforcement of the [CMS] Rule” in the remaining 40 states not covered by an earlier November
On November 26, 2021, President Joe Biden issued a presidential proclamation prohibiting travel into the United States for travelers who were physically present in eight countries in southern Africa (Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe), beginning on Monday, November 29, 2021. The restrictions, which prohibit travel from these eight African countries, come approximately three weeks after the White House relaxed prior location-based travel restrictions, moving to vaccination status-based travel restrictions…
A federal judge has preliminarily enjoined Executive Order (EO) 14042, which requires federal contractors to comply with COVID-19 workplace safety protocols. The preliminary injunction prevents the executive order from being enforced against federal contractors and subcontractors in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. Noting that the court has been “asked to wrestle with important constitutional values,” United States District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove of the Eastern District of Kentucky observed, in part, that presidential authority…
In a 32-page order issued on November 29, 2021, United States District Judge Matthew T. Schelp entered a preliminary injunction against the Biden administration’s Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) interim final rule entitled “Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination.” The effect of the order is that CMS must immediately “cease all implementation or enforcement of the [CMS] Rule” in the following states only: Alaska Arkansas Iowa Kansas…
All but one of Mexico’s 32 states have been cleared by the federal government to open for business and social affairs without restrictions under the nation’s COVID-19 traffic light monitoring system—the largest number of states in green-light status since the system was implemented in June 2020. The only state operating with federally designated restrictions is Baja California, which is in orange status, where the government ranked it in the report for November 1–14,
On November 18, 2021, Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, approved a renewed amendment to the Infection Protection Act that has important implications for employers and employees. The following day, the Bundesrat, Germany’s upper house of parliament, gave its approval to the legislation. The amendment and related measures will come into force on November 24, 2021. The so-called 3G workplace rule (i.e., only vaccinated, recovered, or tested persons [Geimpfte, Genesene, Getestete] are granted access…
On November 4, 2021, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new emergency temporary standard (ETS) that requires employers with 100 or more employees to ensure that their employees are either fully vaccinated or subject to COVID-19 testing at least once per week. On November 12, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order continuing its initial November 6, 2021, stay of the ETS. Since then,…
House Builds Back Better. After months of starts, restarts, delays, and negotiations, the U.S. House of Representatives finally passed the Build Back Better Act on November 19, 2021, by a vote of 220–213. The bill would invest approximately $1.7 trillion, primarily in climate and domestic social programs, and add $367 billion to the federal deficit between 2022 and 2031. In the labor and employment law space, the bill would add a new four-week federal…