This week, two different sets of guidance were published that impact employers’ COVID-19 policies.
First, on July 27, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance to recommend that all persons, including those who are vaccinated, wear masks in indoor public settings in locales with substantial or high community transmission of COVID-19.
Second, on July 29, 2021, Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 224, which “strongly encourage[s]” employers to follow the CDC guidance and also verify the vaccination status of employees and ... Read More
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
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
On March 8, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance for people who have been vaccinated for COVID-19. (A person becomes “vaccinated” two weeks after receiving the second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.) The public guidance is based on a contemporaneously issued science brief describing preliminary evidence that the vaccines are effective against a variety of coronavirus strains (except a strain out of South Africa) and a growing body of evidence that vaccinated people may be ... Read More
Starting Jan. 1, 2021, employers subject to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) are no longer required to provide employees with COVID-related paid leave, but they may do so in some situations and still receive tax credits for doing so.
The FFCRA, which required that employers provide emergency paid sick leave for COVID-related reasons and emergency paid family leave to employees due to school closures, expires on Dec. 31, 2020. These requirements were not extended as part of the stimulus package passed by Congress on Dec. 21, 2020 and signed into law by the president ... Read More
On Dec. 2, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance to local health departments regarding their options and choices for shortening the length of quarantine after a person is exposed to the COVID-19 virus or has traveled internationally.
Prior guidance required that a person quarantine for 14 days from the last exposure to a COVID-positive person, regardless of any negative test. The purpose of the quarantine period is to prevent spread of the virus by people who may be contagious but never develop symptoms, and to ... Read More
On April 24, 2020, Governor Cooper closed schools for in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019–2020 school year. On May 4, 2020, the Governor signed into law the COVID-19 Recovery Act (the “Act”), effective immediately, which was passed by both houses of the General Assembly on May 2, 2020. The Act affects public schools, personnel, future educators, and students in myriad ways. The stated purpose of the sections of the Act affecting public education is “to clarify or modify certain requirements in consideration of actions and circumstances related to the ... Read More
On May 4, 2020, the Governor signed into law the COVID-19 Recovery Act (the “Act”), effective immediately, which was passed by both houses of the General Assembly on May 2, 2020. The Act establishes new requirements for public bodies conducting meetings and hearings during a Declaration of Emergency.
A remote meeting is one where any member of the public body is participating through simultaneous communication, which may include telephone, video, or other electronic means. Public bodies have been and are permitted to conduct meetings electronically so long as ... Read More
Yesterday, March 26, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued additional guidance on how the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will be applied, the latest in a string of expected clarifications leading up to the April 1 effective date. The FFCRA includes the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA) and Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA). This guidance provided several important clarifications for employers on the DOL’s enforcement policy.
Here are the highlights:
Implications of Furloughs and Closures
- Furloughed employees, or employees whose ...
Last night the Department of Labor (DOL) issued its first guidance on how the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will be applied. A description of the provisions of the two new acts requiring leave under the FCRA: the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLA), which provides for 12 weeks of leave to care for a child due to school closure, and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA), which provides for 80 hours of leave for certain COVID-19 reasons, can be viewed here.
Here are the key takeaways from the new DOL guidance:
- Effective Date: The laws go into effect on ...
Update: President Trump signed these Acts into law on March 18. They are expected to take effect no later than April 2.
Today the U.S. Senate voted to adopt House Bill 6201 with some corrections and clarifications. These changes make the bill much narrower than the earlier version. The President is expected to sign the bill into law. Additional legislation is in the works to address concerns about how employers are to meet the immediate cash flow obligation of paying for leave under this bill.
The main provisions of the adopted bill are summarized below, but one of the most important ... Read More
Updated March 27, 2020
In light of CDC recommendations regarding COVID-19, on March 15, 2020, North Carolina Gov. Cooper issued an executive order closing all public schools in North Carolina for two weeks, beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, through March 30, 2020. On March 23, 2020, Gov. Cooper extended the closure to May 15, 2020.
North Carolina State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction is providing North Carolina-specific guidance regarding what local boards of education and school districts are to do while schools are not in session and when ... Read More
House Bill 6201 was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives with bipartisan support. It creates an obligation for employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide job-protected leave and paid sick leave to employees for absences related to COVID-19. The Senate is expected to take up the bill today, and the President has expressed his support for it. While things could change, as everything has been recently, here’s what we know about the bill now:
Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act:
- What do you mean expansion? There would be a new reason that leave may be ...
- Discrimination Against Caregivers: New Guidance from the EEOC
- Pick Your Backlash: Deciding on a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy Means Backlash for Employers, Regardless of the Policy They Implement
- Vaccine or Test For Large Employers on Hold Again, But Medicare and Medicaid Facilities Must Ensure Covered Staff Are Vaccinated
- Mandatory Vaccination or Testing Is Back: Updates on OSHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard for Private Employers with 100 or more Employees
- OSHA Issues New COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard for Private Employers with more than 100 Employees
- President Biden’s “Path out of the Pandemic” Imposes New Vaccination Requirements
- Updated CDC Masking Guidance; North Carolina Employers Strongly Encouraged to Implement COVID-19 Vaccination, Testing, and Mask Policies
- OSHA’s New Emergency Temporary Standard to Protect Healthcare Workers
- North Carolina Governor Extends Certain COVID-19 Measures
- New from OSHA on COVID-19: A COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare and Revised Guidance for All Other Employers