The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for the healthcare industry. The new standard focuses on protecting healthcare workers who face the greatest coronavirus risks – those working in healthcare settings where suspected or confirmed coronavirus patients are treated.

Employers subject to the ETS should review the new standard and immediately begin taking steps to comply.

Who Must Comply?

The healthcare ETS applies to settings where any employee provides healthcare ... Read More 

Today, Governor Roy Cooper issued a new Executive Order 220 extending certain COVID-19 response measures. Among other things, the new Order extends Executive Order 215, which lifted many COVID-19 restrictions, but left in place some face covering mandates. The new Order, which is effective through July 30, 2021, does not change the lifting of mass gathering and social distancing limits detailed in Order 215.  

What were some notable changes made under Order 215?

  • Face covering requirements were lifted in most settings.
  • Capacity restrictions were lifted in all settings.
  • Social ...
Posted in Employment

Today, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for the healthcare industry. This ETS mandates the development and implementation of a COVID-19 plan in workplaces where employees provide healthcare services or healthcare support services. It also sets out detailed requirements in areas such as patient screening and management, personal protective equipment (PPE), physical distancing, physical barriers, cleaning and disinfection, ventilation, health screening ... Read More 

Posted in Employment

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated Question and Answer Guidance on COVID-19 vaccinations today. The new guidance clarifies several issues that were making some employers reluctant to provide incentives to encourage employees to get vaccinated. They also provide some clarification for employers implementing vaccination policies that differentiate among vaccinated and unvaccinated employees. Below are some of the highlights from the new guidance: 

  • Employers may require that all employees physically entering the workplace be vaccinated ...
Posted in Employment

There is no clear guidance on whether employers may treat vaccinated and unvaccinated employees differently. Employers considering changes to their policies that would treat employees differently based on vaccination status, should discuss their particular circumstances with legal counsel. Consulting legal counsel is also important because each work environment may have different factors and unique circumstances to consider when evaluating how to maintain a safe and healthy workplace for employees. Some of the issues to be considered in an employer’s analysis include ... Read More 

This week, Governor Roy Cooper issued a new Executive Order 215 lifting mass gathering and social distancing limits and most mask mandate restrictions imposed due to COVID-19. The new Order is effective on May 14, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. and extends through 5 p.m. on June 11, 2021.

What are some notable changes under the Order?

  • Face covering requirements are lifted in most settings.
  • Capacity restrictions are lifted in all settings.
  • Social distancing requirements have been lifted in most settings.

What remains the same?

  • People can continue to wear face coverings, which are recommended ...

This week, Governor Roy Cooper issued a new Executive Order 209 relaxing the outdoor mask mandate and easing the mass gathering limit restrictions imposed due to COVID-19. The new Order is effective on April 30, 2021 at 5 p.m. and extends through 5 p.m. on June 1, 2021.

What are some notable changes under the Order?

  • It lifts the requirement that face coverings be worn outdoors anytime that social distancing of at least six feet cannot consistently be maintained from non-household members. Under the Order, face coverings are no longer required in any outdoor setting.
  • The indoor mass ...
Posted in Employment

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA” or the “Act”), another piece of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, the Act provides premium assistance for eligible employees and their family members who elect continuation coverage under COBRA or a state’s mini-COBRA law and continue health insurance benefits under those laws. The premium assistance is available for coverage between April 1, 2021 and Sept. 30, 2021. Employees pay nothing for their coverage during this time, and employers are ... Read More 

This week, Governor Roy Cooper issued a new Executive Order 204, which further eased various restrictions imposed due to COVID-19. However, the state’s general mask mandate remains in effect.

Among other things, the Order:

• increases mass gathering limits – the new limit for indoor gatherings is 50 people, and up to 100 people may gather outdoors;

• lifts the restriction on the late-night sale and service of alcoholic beverages on bars, restaurants, and other establishments;

• establishes three general categories of occupancy restrictions – up to 100% capacity ... Read More 

Posted in Employment

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law. The Act, which builds in part on certain COVID-19 relief measures enacted in 2020, contains several items that could impact employers’ COVID-related leave policies.

In particular, though employers are still not required to continue offering leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) or the Emergency Family Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA) passed in 2020, employers that elect to do so through September 2021 are eligible for tax credits to cover much of the cost.

The American ... Read More 

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