What the CDC’s New Guidance on Fully Vaccinated Individuals Means for Employers

Posted in Employee Handbooks & Policies, Employment Discrimination Harassment & Retaliation, Workplace Safety & OSHA

With the CDC’s May 13 announcement lifting the mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals in most non-healthcare settings, many Americans are excited at the thought of a return to normalcy. However, employers should consider these questions before lifting their own mask requirements for workers who are fully vaccinated. Continue Reading

Deadline Looms to Notify Current and FORMER Employees of COBRA Premium Subsidy

Posted in Employee Benefits, Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention

Employers, if you had employees who had been on your group health plan who were involuntarily terminated or whose hours were reduced as early as November 1, 2019, read this! If those employees became eligible for COBRA and did not elect COBRA coverage when it was first offered, OR if they originally elected it but are no longer enrolled, employers must notify them by May 31 of a special COBRA subsidy available to them.

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Family and Medical Leave: What’s New and What’s Not

Posted in Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention, Medical & Other Leaves, Wage & Hour

Last month, President Biden rolled out “the American Families Plan,” a proposal that would phase in paid family and medical leave for employees with certain medical and family obligations. The proposal would cost around $225 billion over 10 years, which, according to the White House, would be paid mostly by upping taxes on the wealthy. According to a White House fact sheet, President Biden’s proposed plan would guarantee workers 12 weeks of paid leave, which they could use to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, deal with a loved one’s military deployment, find safety from sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence, heal from their own serious illness, or take time to deal with the death of a loved one. The program would provide workers up to $4,000 a month, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages replaced, rising to 80 percent for the lowest wage workers. The program would phase in paid family and medical leave over a 10-year period, guaranteeing 12 weeks of paid parental, family, and personal illness/safety leave by the 10th year.

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Not So Fast: DOL Pauses Aspects of FLSA Tip Regulations Final Rule

Posted in Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention, Wage & Hour

Employers should continue to track and keep records of the percentage of time tipped wage earners spend performing non-tip eligible tasks, as the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has pressed pause on several provisions of the Trump Administration’s 2020 Final Rule addressing Tip Regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Among the provisions paused is one that effectively eliminated the so-called “80/20” Rule and allowed an employer to still take a tip credit for certain non-tipped duties.

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Weed and the Workplace: Recent Developments in New York, Virginia, and Colorado

Posted in Employee Benefits, Employee Handbooks & Policies, Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention, Medical & Other Leaves, Workplace Safety & OSHA

Employers take note: recently New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana use through Senate Bill 854A, and Virginia is not far behind. These and other developments related to marijuana continue to impact the workplace.

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Mandatory Versus Voluntary Vaccinations: An Employer Guide

Posted in Employee Benefits, Employee Handbooks & Policies, Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention, Employment Discrimination Harassment & Retaliation, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, Wage & Hour, Workplace Safety & OSHA

With COVID-19 vaccines now available to every adult in the United States, employers are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel after a year of uncertainty. But for employers whose workforces spent a year away from the office, a safe return to normalcy presents new legal, practical, and ethical questions.

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ARPA COBRA Premium Subsidy – Time for Employer Plans to Update COBRA Notices

Posted in Employee Benefits, Employee Handbooks & Policies, Wage & Hour

Employers should be busy preparing tailored COBRA continuation coverage notices for certain individuals, addressing complicated election and altered COBRA premium topics that took effect only in recent weeks. Below, we offer practical summaries and specific timing suggestions for the anxiously awaited model notices that have now been released. Notices will soon reach Americans who could receive up to six months of free COBRA coverage after having lost their active employee coverage within a certain time frame due to either an involuntary termination of employment or a reduction in hours.

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Considering Incentives for Employee COVID-19 Vaccines – Tips and Traps

Posted in Employee Benefits, Employee Handbooks & Policies, Employment Counseling & Workplace Claims Prevention, Employment Discrimination Harassment & Retaliation, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, Workplace Safety & OSHA

This blog was based on guidance which is now outdated. An employer may offer an incentive to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation that they received a vaccination on their own from a pharmacy, public health department, or other health care provider in the community, according to new guidance issued by the EEOC on May 28, 2021. For more information, please see our recent blog post

Despite this week’s well-publicized hiccups with concerns having been raised about the safety of certain COVID-19 vaccines, our country’s march toward widespread community vaccination continues. American employers are eying society’s increasing vaccination rates with interest and optimism, as a critical component of their safe and secure workplace strategies and physical return-to-work operational plans.

Certain large employers are going so far as to leverage available governmental resources to offer vaccines on their physical employer premises. But larger numbers of employers are entering the vaccine discussion in a less direct way. For example, employer-sponsored group health plans are paying for the full cost of the vaccines themselves, as well as the administration charges for those vaccines. Additionally, employers are considering further incentivizing vaccinations outside their group health plans.

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ERISA Plan Sponsors – Watch Your Participants’ Data! DOL Issues New Cybersecurity Guidance for Retirement Plans

Posted in Employee Benefits

In response to a recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report recommending federal guidance to mitigate cybersecurity risks in retirement plans and to respond to ever-increasing cyber threats to plan participant data and plan assets, the DOL’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) published its first cybersecurity guidance for plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries, record keepers, and plan participants of ERISA-covered retirement plans. The guidance issued on April 14, 2021 address the following three topics:

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