With the certification of the Electoral College votes complete, Joe Biden will become President on January 20 and no doubt usher in sweeping changes. If you want to know what to expect, join us for a webinar on Tuesday, January 19 at noon Eastern. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview:
The pandemic relief package enacted by Congress in late December briefly extended the available payroll tax credits for leave provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) through March 31, 2021. The relief package did not extend the requirement to provide paid leave, so after December 31, 2020, employers are not mandated to provide paid sick or family leave under the FFCRA. However, eligible employers that elect to provide leave may claim a payroll tax credit for leave wages paid through March 31. Eligible employers are businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees.
2021 is here, and with the new year comes changes for New York employers seeking to ensure full compliance with newly effective laws, or changes to the law, throughout the State. Employers are well-advised to review the changes for the new year, summarized below.
Employers may require employees in the workplace to get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to newly issued guidelines from the EEOC. But employers may not necessarily terminate an employee who refuses.
While the vaccine may still be months away for most Americans, employers should prepare now for the issues that will arise, including those relating to pre-vaccination screening, administering the vaccine, and handling employees who object on medical or religious grounds. The EEOC guidelines, appearing as a new Q&A Section K in its Technical Assistance bulletin on COVID-19 addresses these and other issues, along with applicability of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), and more.
Voters around the country recently approved a number of ballot initiatives legalizing the use of marijuana for recreational and/or medical purposes, further complicating the patchwork of existing marijuana laws found throughout the country. The confusion is compounded by the fact that marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, thereby making it illegal (at the federal level) for an employee to use or possess marijuana for any reason. This dichotomy has always produced headaches for employers, but as new states continue to enact statutes with differing requirements relating to marijuana use and its impact in the workplace, employers must now be even more vigilant and learn the requirements of each state’s specific marijuana statutes in order to anticipate and prevent unnecessary legal claims.
Nearly all California employers must take steps now to comply with the requirements imposed by the new slate of emergency regulations intended to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in California workplaces. These regulations, adopted by CAL/OSHA on November 30, 2020 are immediately effective. Here is what employers need to know now to protect their businesses and their employees.
The paid leave requirements under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) will end on December 31, but employers should take steps now to claim the associated tax credits for any required leave they provided to their employees.
It seems that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is getting into the holiday spirit and addressing religious bias for the first time in twelve years. Last week, the EEOC proposed updated religious discrimination guidance for public comment. This guidance (clocking in at well over 100 pages) is in line with the agency’s goal to revamp its stance on religious discrimination and protections afforded to employers, especially those affiliated with a religious faith. For employers, the recent guidance provides reasons both to celebrate and gear up for a chilly winter.
On November 3, 2020, nearly 60% of California voters approved a ballot measure to create a carve-out from the state’s expansive independent contractor law, AB 5, for drivers on technology platforms such as Lyft, Uber, Doordash, and Postmates. Proposition 22 essentially creates a new category of workers by allowing transportation technology companies to continue to treat drivers on their platforms as independent contractors while simultaneously requiring the companies to provide a new array of benefits traditionally reserved for employees.
Two new statutes affecting all employers operating in Colorado, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (EPEWA) and paid sick leave through Colorado’s Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, will add to the compliance burden of all employers operating in Colorado effective January 1, 2021.
The impact of each new law on employers is discussed below.