If you are a British National (Overseas) citizen from Hong Kong, you and your family members can apply for a British National (Overseas) visa, which will entitle you to live, work and study in the U.K. The visa application process launched at the end of January, and the U.K. has since launched a smartphone app that allows you to apply for the visa digitally. We dive into the details of the BN(O) visa and the application process in this alert.
On March 12, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) was signed into law, providing an estimated $1.9 trillion stimulus package to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the ARP’s key provisions include a number of employment-related sections that build upon prior legislation to create a scaffold of employer obligations and worker entitlements arising from the pandemic’s impact on the U.S. economy.
On March 19, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 95, which extends and expands employer requirements to provide supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) to employees impacted by COVID-19. SB 95 goes into effect on March 29, 2021, (i.e., 10 days after being signed by Gov. Newsom) and adds sections 248.2 and 248.3 to the California Labor Code.
On March 12, 2021, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) designed to “significantly reduce or eliminate worker exposures to [COVID-19]” by targeting specific “high-hazard industries or work tasks” with greater frequency of close contact between workers for on-site inspections, outreach, and compliance assistance related to COVID-19 prevention and response measures. While federal OSHA’s NEP technically does not apply to state plans, OSHA is strongly encouraging them to do so; and state plans must submit within 60 days a notice of intent indicating whether they intend to adopt same or similar initiatives.
The NEP specifically targets certain industries based on public enforcement data, such as complaints, inspections and COVID-19-related violations, where the data reflects that workers are expected to perform tasks associated with exposure to COVID-19. The NEP lists numerous “primary” targets, which are divided up as either healthcare or non-healthcare employers.
In an effort to empower Emirati women and to encourage them to play a greater role as board members of listed companies, the United Arab Emirates’ Securities and Commodities Authority (“SCA”) has required all UAE listed companies to have at least one female board director.
Although it is reported that women sit on the boards of 28 of the 110 (26%) listed companies in the UAE, women only hold 3.5% of all board positions. As such, this new SCA requirement seeks to increase female representation at the highest levels of listed companies. Previously, the SCA set a target for companies to achieve 20% female representation on their boards and required those companies that fail to attain this level to explain the reasons for any shortfall.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has updated its COVID-19 FAQs and has issued its long-awaited guidance regarding employers mandating COVID-19 vaccines.
As a preliminary matter, the DFEH explained that it is not providing guidance on whether or to what extent an employer should mandate vaccination within its workforce. Rather, the DFEH stated that its guidance/FAQs are to address how employers comply with the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) if employers require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with an FDA-approved vaccine.