Welcome to our October 2021 edition of AlphaStaff Monthly Compliance Updates!
We are pleased to highlight National and State Legal Updates and resources provided by some of AlphaStaff’s trusted legal partners to help guide and keep you in compliance.
Update: Path Out of the Pandemic
As discussed in AlphaStaff’s September update, President Biden issued an action plan directing the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) that will require all employers with at least 100 employees to ensure their employees are fully vaccinated or be subject to weekly COVID testing. On October 12, 2021, OSHA submitted the ETS for review by the White House’s regulatory office. It is currently projected that ETS will become effective by the end of the month.
The implications under this order are continuously developing, but the true impact of the standards cannot be determined until they have been finalized and published by OSHA. AlphaStaff will continue to provide updates as they become available. For more information, please visit this link.
Mandatory Employee Vaccines: National Legislation Tracking
Littler continues actively tracking as states update their mandatory vaccination legislation. As of this update, the following states have issued legislation regarding mandatory vaccination of either state workers or for some type of private employer: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. For more information, please visit this link.
California Latest Crop of Employment Laws
As the New Year draws closer, California has a long list of employment laws that will become effective January 1, 2022. These provisions will have wide-ranging implications making it imperative to review and adjust applicable policies ensuring continued compliance. Most notably, an amendment was passed to add wage theft laws to the California Penal Code and expand the definition of grand theft to include “intentional wage theft.” Statutes were also passed that applied to specific industries. Please visit this link for the detail of the newly passed legislation.
Connecticut Amends Lactation Accommodation Law
Effective October 1, 2021, Connecticut expanded the scope of the employer’s obligation to accommodate an employee’s right to breastfeed or express milk at the workplace. This statute applies to all Connecticut employers and further clarifies the requirements of the space provided to the covered employee. Like with the ADA and Title VII, the employer is required to comply with this statute as long as it does not create an undue burden. For more information, please visit this link.
Maryland Employment Laws Become Effective in October
On October 1, 2021, four employment statutes became effective and changed multiple aspects of employer obligations and employee rights. Most notably, the statute of limitation for submitting a discrimination complaint increased from 180 days to 300 days. This extension aligns with the timeline established by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Maryland’s legislature also amended their mini-WARN Act to change definitions, thresholds, and notification requirements under this law. In an effort to curtail violence in the workplace, a new law allows employers to petition for a peace order on behalf of an employee. Employers can avoid civil liability under this new law, but that expires on October 1, 2023. Lastly, Maryland amended the Flexible Leave Act to allow employees to use their earned paid leave following the death of a child, spouse, or parent. For more information, please visit this link.
Massachusetts Extends and Expands COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave
Massachusetts previously enacted an emergency paid sick leave law that provided paid leave to all employees for specified COVID-related reasons. Under this Act, employers were entitled to reimbursement through the $75 million COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Fund (the “Fund”). The entitlement was set to expire either on September 30, 2021, or when the Fund was depleted. However, an amendment has passed extending the entitlement to April 1, 2022, or when the Fund is depleted. For more information, please visit this link.
Nevada Adopts Kin Care Law
Effective October 1, 2021, Nevada’s Kin Care Law impacts employers with a policy of providing sick leave to their employees. If the employer offers sick leave, employees must be allowed to use their accrued leave to care for “immediate family” as defined in the statute. The statute also imposes an obligation to post the notice issued by the Nevada Labor Commissioner in “a conspicuous location in each workplace maintained by the employer.” For more information, please visit this link.
Nevada Amends Provisions on Child Support Withholding from Lump Sum Payments
Recently, Nevada passed legislation relating to child support garnishments. Effective October 1, 2021, the amendment expanded the definition of income for child support to include “lump-sum payments” such as commissions, discretionary or nondiscretionary bonuses, profit share, sign-on bonus, or “any other one-time, unscheduled, or irregular payment of compensation.” The amendment also increases the employer’s reporting obligation when issuing a lump payment to an employee subject to a child support order. An employer may not disburse the compensation before providing the appropriate notice to the reporting agency. Courts may impose penalties if an employer fails to comply with this obligation. For more information, please visit this link.
New York Designates COVID-19 as a Highly Contagious Communicable Disease
Under New York Health and Essential Rights (HERO) Act, New York’s commissioner of health has extended the designation of COVID-19 as a “highly contagious communicable disease through October 31, 2021. This designation was initially set to expire on September 30, 2021. Employers are required to implement the safety measures established in the airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan they were previously only obligated to draft in accordance with the HERO Act. For more information, please visit this link.