September has been a busy month for employers. Below is a quick recap of recent developments.
BIDEN’S PATH OUT OF THE PANDEMIC PLAN
According to the Plan, OSHA will soon issue Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”) that will require all employers across the country with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require unvaccinated workers to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work. Covered employers will be required to provide paid time off to employees to be vaccinated and to recover if they suffer from side effects of the vaccine. It is unclear when the ETS will be published or when the requirements will go into effect.
Separately, employees of contractors that do business with the federal government will need to be vaccinated by November 23, 2021.
The Plan also requires vaccination in certain health care settings, calls on large entertainment venues to require proof of vaccination or testing for entry, strengthens the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and streamlines the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness process for borrowers with loans of $150,000 or less.
COBRA SUBSIDY EXPIRING SOON
The COBRA subsidy provided under the American Rescue Act of 2021 will expire on September 30, 2021. Assistance eligible individuals should have already been notified that their COBRA subsidy is expiring and that they may be eligible for coverage without premium assistance through COBRA, a group health plan, the Health Insurance Marketplace or Medicare/Medicaid.
NY HERO ACT PREVENTION PLANS MUST BE IN EFFECT
On September 6, 2021, COVID-19 was designated as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under the NY HERO Act. As such, all New York employers must now adhere to their NY HERO Act Prevention Plans (“Prevention Plans”). The NYDOL has clarified that the Prevention Plan should be included in employers’ handbooks, not just provided separately.
Employers must also conduct a verbal review of their Prevention Plans with their employees. The NYDOL has advised that, at this time, it does not intend to publish any training resources.
KEY TO NYC VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS BEING ENFORCED
New York City is now enforcing the Key to NYC vaccination requirements. Under the Key to NYC program, indoor food services businesses, indoor gyms and fitness settings, and indoor entertainment and recreational settings must ensure that all employees, contractors and customers provide proof that they have received at least one dose of the vaccine in order to participate in indoor activities, unless the individual is only entering the establishment for a quick and limited purpose.
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If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact our Labor & Employment attorneys or the primary EGS attorney with whom you work.