COVID-19 Vaccination Planning for Employers: Questions to Consider for Policy and Practice

As COVID-19 vaccines become more widely accessible, and certain localities relax COVID-19 restrictions, employers hoping to ramp up on-site operations or reduce absenteeism face a new challenge: navigating employee vaccination. Employers are evaluating whether to mandate, strongly suggest or simply remain neutral regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and on-site work.

The considerations surrounding workplace vaccination programs are complex. Business justifications and accommodation issues, potential public relations and employee relations pitfalls, the impact of vaccination on workforce safety procedures, litigation risks on multiple fronts — these are just the beginning. To help piece together this business and regulatory puzzle, we have compiled a list of issues organizations should consider as they set policy and communication plans regarding on-site work and COVID-19 vaccines. We have also identified issues to consider with regard to the practical application of any such policy and the development of related communications to employees or others.

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Preview of Things to Come? Lawsuit Challenges Employer COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate

Access to COVID-19 vaccines continues to expand in the United States and employers are navigating many questions surrounding employee vaccination and return to work. Current polling shows a substantial number of American workers are hesitant about or may refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Now, an employee in New Mexico has filed what appears to be one of the first lawsuits opposing an employer’s vaccination mandate.

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EEOC Issues Opinion Letter on Older Workers Benefit Protection Act Disclosure Requirements for Non-U.S. Employees

In a new Opinion Letter published January 14, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) clarified a long-standing ambiguity as to whether non-U.S. employees working outside of the United States should be included in the description of the “decisional unit” in OWBPA-compliant waivers of federal age discrimination claims. This opinion presents helpful guidance to multinational employers who face a byzantine process when it comes to workforce reductions.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

Practical Tips for Complying With New Cal/OSHA Emergency COVID-19 Standards Increasing Employer Obligations

Exclusion from work, paid time off and rigorous testing requirements. These issues and more came to a head for California employers on November 30, 2020, after the California Office of Administrative Law adopted the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) emergency temporary standards. While many California employers have already implemented COVID-19 plans fulfilling previous requirements for reopening under state and local government orders, the new Cal/OSHA standards vary significantly from what businesses have likely executed to date. We examine the highlights as well as which internal policies and processes affected employers should revisit.

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New California Laws for 2021: What Employers Should Know

Several new laws in California impact employers in a multitude of operational areas. From leave regulations to workers’ compensation, safety enforcement, wages and more, business leaders have much to research when it comes to compliance. All employers with operations in California should be aware of these new laws, understand how these laws may affect their operations and consult with counsel to address any questions on these new obligations.

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Payroll Tax Deferral Update: Treasury Guidance Answers Certain Questions and Raises Others Only Days Before Start of Implementation

Late in the afternoon of August 28, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2020-65 (the Notice) permitting the deferral of employers’ obligation to withhold and deposit with the IRS the employee portion of certain social security (and related railroad retirement) taxes imposed under Sections 3101(a) and 3201(a) (FICA Withholding Taxes) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the Code). The Notice follows President Trump’s August 8, 2020, executive memorandum (the Memo) directing the IRS to issue such guidance, and the deferral period begins on September 1. While the Notice specifies how FICA Withholding Tax deferral is to be effected and how deferred amounts are to be collected, a number of significant questions remain unanswered.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.