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