Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been tasked with issuing an emergency temporary standard (ETS) and to answer key questions regarding President Biden’s recent mandate requiring businesses with at least 100 employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus or submit to weekly testing. Until the ETS is issued, employers can start preparing based on the following information;
· Nonexempt employees must be paid for time spent undergoing testing during the workday, even if the time is on their day off
· Employees may receive paid time off to get vaccinated or recover from any side effects
· Employers will need to consider the costs associated with confirming negative test results for unvaccinated employees
· While insurance may cover the cost of tests, several states have laws predating COVID-19 requiring employers to pay for mandatory medical tests or reimburse employees for any such testing
Several large employers have already informed employees that proof of vaccine will be a requirement of employment unless the employee has a medical or religious reason. However, many employers are waiting until OSHA issues the ETS, which could be issued in the next 30-60 days, to understand their responsibilities.
Employee Benefits play a key role in recruiting and retaining employees, as well as increasing employees’ satisfaction at work. With a more diverse workforce, the “one size fits all” may not cover all employees needs and a variety of benefits is recommended. According to MetLife’s 19th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study 2021, the top five benefits include Medical, Retirement, Paid/Unpaid Leave, Dental and Vision. However, fifty-five percent of small business employees are interested in having their employer offer a wider array of non-medical benefits.
Small businesses can enhance their benefit offerings by adding voluntary benefit without increasing their benefit budget. Non-traditional benefits include critical illness and hospital indemnity insurance, financial planning tools, health savings accounts, legal plans, and even pet insurance. By offering a variety of benefits, employees at different stages in life will have their needs met. Employers should consider taking a survey to see what benefits are most valued as the more benefits offered will require more administrative time.
For more information regarding the MetLife survey or questions regarding benefits, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Effective September 1, 2021, employers that employ “one or more employees” will be subject to heightened scrutiny for sexual harassment claims under Texas law. (Senate Bill 45). The definition of employer has been re-defined as someone that “acts directly in the interests of an employer in relation to an employee”. The current law shields employers with fewer than 15 employees.
Key points include;
· The definition of “employer” has been expanded to include someone that acts directly in the interest of the employer in relation to the employee.
· An employer would commit an unlawful employment practice if sexual harassment of an employee occurs and the employer or employer’s agents or supervisors know or should have known that the conduct constituting sexual harassment was occurring; and fail to take immediate and appropriate corrective action.
· House Bill 21, signed on June 9, 2021, extended the time to file a sexual harassment claim from 180 days to 300 days from the date of the alleged sexual harassment. The House Bill applies only to sexual harassment claims and does not affect the 180-day requirement for filing other discrimination claims.
The above changes may lead to an increased number of sexual harassment claims. In addition, the courts will need to define what corrective actions are regarded as “immediate and appropriate” when analyzing the standards in the sexual harassment context. For more information on sexual harassment prevention training and steps to take for compliance, contact us at email@example.com
The “Anti-Vaccination Passport” Law, (Senate Bill 968) was signed into law on May 7, 2021 and bans government-issued “vaccine passports” (i.e., proof of vaccination) for non-healthcare related purposes.
SB 968 restricts businesses from requiring customers to show proof of vaccination before allowing them on their premises, but it does not contain restrictions for employees. Employers can require employees to show proof of vaccination. In addition, the EEOC’s updated guidance advises that federal anti-discrimination laws do not prohibit employers from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for any employees physically entering the workplace nor do they prohibit offering employees incentives to take the COVID-19 vaccine or educating employees about its benefits.