Pfizer and Moderna are distributing their vaccines for COVID-19 for front line workers and high-risk individuals, creating feelings of increased optimism for 2021. However, perhaps due to the quick development of the vaccines, a significant percentage of the population continues to express doubt about getting inoculated.
In our last E-Alert, we reminded you that, absent any last-minute action by Congress, the mandated paid sick leave and expanded paid FMLA were both scheduled to expire on December 31, 2020. With that expiration the tax credits available to employers to cover the cost of the mandated paid leave would also lapse.
Congress worked through the weekend to finalize additional COVID-19 relief legislation. Although not yet final at the time of writing, all reports indicate that the new bill does not extend the Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave expansion (EFML) for parents, both of which Congress passed as part of the FFCRA in March.
Although college has taken on myriad different shapes for students this year, it remains both an exciting and anxiety-inducing time for parents. In addition to the academic and social navigation that parents fret about when their college aged child lives independently and often far away, health and safety have taken on an out-sized role for many parents against the backdrop of the current global pandemic.
On January 1, 2021, Maine becomes the first state in the nation to mandate that employers provide their employees with general-purpose paid time off. After over a year of rulemaking and review, the Maine Department of Labor has issued regulations interpreting the new statute.
Cases of COVID-19 are increasing in some states due to each Governor managing the public health crisis in his or her own way. New England states currently have lower positivity rates than many others and Governor Charlie Baker wants to keep it that way in Massachusetts.
On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a long-anticipated ruling that sexual orientation and gender identity fall within Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s sexual discrimination protections and thus, it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees for being homosexual or transgender.
On June 4, 2020, Congress passed a much anticipated amendment to the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”). Importantly, the PPP Flexibility Act relaxes a number of the requirements making it easier for employers to qualify for loan forgiveness.
On May 19, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) altered its policy regarding an employer’s obligation to record cases of COVID-19 in the workplace. Previously, OSHA required only employers in the healthcare/emergency responder/correctional institution fields to record positive cases of the Coronavirus and to determine if the case was work related.