On September 9, 2021, the White House issued Path Out of the Pandemic: President Biden’s COVID-19 Action Plan . The Plan outlines a six-pronged approach, portions of which will impose new obligations on employers across the country. Read more about these new obligations.

Missouri employers with at least 20 employees will soon be obligated to provide leave to victims of domestic or sexual violence under the Victims Economic Safety and Security Act (VESSA), signed into law by Governor Mike Parson on August 28, 2021. VESSA also requires employers to provide employees notice of the new law no later than October 27, 2021. Read more about these new obligations.

Over its regular and two special sessions, the Texas legislature has passed several bills that are or soon will be in effect and will impact employers’ workplace policies and procedures. Additional special legislative sessions yet may be held and, with them, more changes may be on the horizon. Read more about these developments.

Following on the heels of an executive order by Oregon’s governor requiring full vaccination for teachers, staff, and volunteers in K-12 schools, the Oregon Health Authority issued a new rule requiring that healthcare providers and healthcare staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 as of October 18, 2021.  Read more from our Oregon colleagues here.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its COVID-19 guidance for non-healthcare employers, Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace, on August 13, 2021.

While embracing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) updated recommendations for fully vaccinated people in areas of substantial or high transmission of COVID-19, OSHA also echoes the protocol President Joe Biden adopted for many federal employees and on-site employees of federal contractors and suggests that employers may want to “consider” adopting a policy requiring employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccination or submit to regular COVID-19 testing. Read more about OSHA’s updated guidance here.

A week after issuing the first in the nation order mandating all healthcare workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, on August 11, 2021, the state of California issued an order mandating either vaccination or regular testing for all workers of schools throughout the state.

The order issued by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), applies to public and private schools serving students in transitional kindergarten through grade 12. Home schools, childcare, and higher education are not included in the order. Read more about these new requirements here.

 

Pittsburgh has joined other American cities by enacting new legislation to address the uptick in COVID-19 cases from a sick leave perspective.

On July 29, 2021, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto signed a new ordinance granting COVID-19 sick time to certain employees working within the city (the “July 29 Ordinance”). Although the July 29 Ordinance is technically “new,” it is closely related to (and practically mirrors) Pittsburgh’s December 9, 2020, Temporary COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Time Law (the “December 20 Ordinance”). Similar to the December 20 Ordinance, the new legislation supplements the Pittsburgh Paid Sick Days Act (PSDA) and amends the PSDA by expressly permitting employees to take sick time under the PSDA before it is accrued if the reason for use arises directly from COVID-19. Read more about the new ordinance here.

Puerto Rico has made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for additional industries after Governor Pedro R. Pierluisi extended vaccination requirements for employees in the health and hospitality sectors beginning August 16, 2021. Under new Executive Order (EO-2021-063), restaurants, theaters, and other establishments in the dining and entertainment industries must comply with requirements for mandatory vaccination beginning August 23, 2021. Read more about these new requirements here.

Federal contractors are being contacted by their contracting agencies about implementing requirements relating to President Joe Biden’s mandate that all federal employees and on-site contractor employees either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face repeated testing, and comply with strict social distancing and masking requirements. Read more about these new requirements and next steps for federal contractors.