The Next Wave of COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements?

As the global community continues to manage the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic, countries have taken different approaches to addressing COVID-19 vaccinations. As we have discussed, Italy requires both public- and private-sector employees to possess government-issued health passes (i.e., the Green Pass) that demonstrate proof of (i) vaccination, (ii) a recent negative COVID-19 test result or (iii) recovery from COVID-19 in the six months prior to returning to the workplace. Although this measure stops short of requiring private-sector employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, it represents one of the world’s strictest COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

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BREAKING: Green Pass Required for All Employees in Italy

On Friday, October 15, 2021, Italy rolled out one of the world’s strictest COVID-19 requirements.  In an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to move beyond the pandemic, Italy required the country’s entire workforce, including both public and private sector employees, to possess a government-issued health pass (i.e., the Green Pass).

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Luxembourg Again Extends Cross-Border COVID-19-Related Agreements with Belgium

As we have previously discussed, Luxembourg has developed solutions with its neighboring nations to ease the economic burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers. Specifically, Luxembourg authorities worked with their counterparts in Belgium, France and Germany to develop measures to minimize workers’ tax and social security concerns and implications when cross-border workers telework.

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French Data Protection Authority Provides Q&A Guidance on Health Pass and COVID-19 Vaccination Obligations

As jurisdictions across the world grapple with the effects of the more infectious delta variant, many governments either have taken or are considering more restrictive measures to reduce infection rates and community spread of COVID-19.  As we have previously discussed, France is a country that has taken a tougher stance on encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations and has even required employees in certain sectors and industries, in accordance with Article 12, I, of the Law n°2021-1040, to receive a vaccination.  The French government also recently introduced the Pass Sanitaire (i.e., health pass).  Now, the French Data Protection Authority (“CNIL”) has provided guidance on employers’ obligations regarding collecting health pass information and COVID-19 vaccination data.

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Ontario Again Extends Temporary Relief from the ESA’s Termination and Severance Provisions

As we previously highlighted, on May 29, 2020, the Province of Ontario enacted Ontario Regulation 228/20, Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL Regulation), under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). The IDEL Regulation retroactively reclassified any temporary layoff that occurred during the COVID-19 Period as an infectious disease emergency leave (IDEL). On June 4, 2021, the Ontario government amended the IDEL Regulation to define the “COVID-19 Period” as the period between March 1, 2020, and September 25, 2021. As a result of this extension, nonunion employees with reduced or eliminated work hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic were considered not to be on layoff under the ESA, but instead continue on deemed IDEL.

Now, as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers and continues to affect employers and employees, especially in light of the delta variant, on September 16, 2021, the Ontario government extended the temporary relief measures from the termination and severance provisions of the ESA until January 1, 2022. As such, the temporary measures found in the IDEL Regulation have been amended to define the “COVID-19 Period” as the period beginning on March 1, 2020 and ending on January 1, 2022.

We summarized the Ontario temporary relief measures in our prior blog post and have highlighted and updated our analysis here.

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Vaccine Passport, S’il Vous Plaît

As jurisdictions across the world grapple with the effects of the more infectious delta variant, many governments either have taken or are considering more restrictive measures to reduce infection rates and community spread of COVID-19.  To encourage individuals to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, countries have developed creative initiatives, including by offering lottery tickets for cash prizes and tickets to soccer (i.e., football) matches, entering raffles to win cars, offering soused herring and providing barbeque sausage sandwiches.  Despite these incentives and other forms of encouragement, vaccine hesitancy lingers.  As such, some countries in which the “carrot” (i.e., reward) approach has not enticed enough individuals to receive a vaccination now have resorted to the “stick” (i.e., punishment) approach to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination rates.  France is an example of a country that has taken a tougher stance on encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations.

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