The state and some local COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave requirements continue through the summer. And the City of Los Angeles’ mayor issued a public order mandating additional paid leave. Under the order, employees who work within the City of Los Angeles and have been employed by their employer for 60 days are entitled to paid time off to get vaccinated for COVID-19, including traveling to and from the appointment, as well as recovering from the side effects of vaccination, if it prevents the employee from being able to work or telework. Read more about the order here.

The Virginia Office of Civil Rights has issued its new poster for employers regarding reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. Starting July 1, 2021, covered Virginia employers must post this poster in a conspicuous location and provide a copy of the poster to any employee who discloses they have a disability, within 10 days of that disclosure.

The poster clarifies that the law applies to employers with more than five employees for a 20-week period in the current or preceding year. The law takes effect July 1.

(For more details of the new requirements, see our article, Virginia Employers Soon Must Adopt, Provide Accommodation Policies to Employees With Disabilities.)

If you have any questions, contact the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.

 

Since 2019, private employers with at least 50 employees have been required in most instances, pursuant to NRS 608.0197, to provide 0.01923 hours of paid leave to their employees for each hour worked. Now, Nevada has enacted new law requiring employers to provide additional paid leave to allow employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and clarifying that employees may use existing paid leave to care for themselves and their family members. Read more from our Nevada colleagues about these new employer obligations.

Starting on July 1, 2021, most Virginia employers must include information in their employee handbooks about reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and provide that information directly to any employee within 10 days after receiving notice that the employee has a disability. Read more about this new requirement.

Governor Ned Lamont has signed into law a requirement for employers to provide all employees with two hours unpaid time off to vote.  Employers may have missed this development, as it was just one small section within the state’s 800-page budget. The key provisions are:

  • Eligibility for leave:
    • any employee in the case of a state election
    • any employee who is an elector in the case of any special election for United States senator, representative in Congress, state senator or state representative
  • Leave entitlement: two hours unpaid time from an employee’s regularly scheduled work on the day of any covered election during voting hours
  • Conditions for approval: employee must request the time off not less than two working days prior to the election
  • Effective dates: now until June 30, 2024

Maine employees will soon be eligible to take protected unpaid leave to care for serious health conditions of their grandchildren. On June 14, 2021, Governor Janet Mills signed into law L.D. 61, an Act to Include Grandparents Under Maine’s Family Medical Leave Laws. The law amends the Maine Family Medical Leave Act to allow an employee to take unpaid leave to care for a grandchild or a domestic partner’s grandchild. Previously, the law limited leave to care for another individual’s serious health condition to children, domestic partners’ children, parents, domestic partners, siblings, or spouses.

Maine’s FMLA requires employers in Maine who employ 15 or more employees at one location in Maine to provide employees 10 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave over a two-year period. To qualify, an employee must have been employed by the employer for over one year. Employees may use this leave for the birth of a child or adoption of a child 16 or younger; the employee’s own serious health condition; caring for the serious health condition of their children, grandchildren, domestic partner’s grandchildren, domestic partner’s children, parents, domestic partners, siblings, or spouses; donation of an organ for human transplant; or death or serious health condition of the employee’s spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, or child if the death or serious health condition occurs while on active duty in the U.S. military or state armed forces.

Upon the end of this leave, employees are entitled to be restored to the position they had when the leave commenced or to a position with equivalent seniority status, benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. Employers are required to allow an employee to continue his or her benefits during the leave period at the employee’s own expense.

The expansion of the covered reasons for leave to include the serious health condition of a grandchild will go into effect 90 days after the end of the Maine Legislature’s present session.

After releasing an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for COVID-19 for healthcare employers on June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that it is publishing the ETS in the Federal Register on June 21, 2021. The publication gives the ETS immediate effect, but most elements of the ETS will not be enforceable for 14 days, on July 5, 2021.  Read complete coverage.

On June 8, 2021, New York State updated the NY Forward Guidance for several industries, including office-based and food services employers, with changes that many people feel are overdue.

In addition to incorporating updated mask, physical distancing, and capacity rules that have been in place since New York adopted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance for fully vaccinated individuals on May 19, 2021, the most significant modification to the NY Forward Guidance update is the change in screening questions. The guidance no longer requires employers to ask about symptoms, close contact, or COVID-19 infections that occurred in the last 14 days. Instead, the new daily health screening questions properly reflect the most current CDC and New York State Department of Health isolation and quarantine guidelines for COVID-19.

The following three screening questions are required:

  1. Are you currently experiencing, or recently experienced (in the last 48 hours), any new or worsening COVID-19 symptoms?
  2. Have you had close contact (being within six feet for at least 10 minutes over a 24-hour period) or proximate contact (as determined by health authorities) in the past 10 days with any person confirmed by diagnostic test, or suspected based on symptoms, to have COVID-19?
  3. Have you tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 in the past 10 days?

Prior to June 8, the time period for all three questions was 14 days, which was premised on outdated COVID-19 public health authority guidance. In addition, if an employee had a preexisting condition that mirrored COVID-19 symptoms, such as migraines, they were required to answer the symptom screening question in the affirmative. The updated guidance permits employees to account for preexisting conditions.

Finally, the updated NY Forward Guidance now expressly provides an exemption from answering the close-contact question in the affirmative for employees who are either fully vaccinated or who have recently (in the last three months) fully recovered from COVID-19.

The updated guidance is a reminder to employers that the NY Forward Guidance is still applicable for businesses seeking to operate in person.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are closely monitoring updates and changes to legal requirements and guidance and are available to help weed through the complexities involved in state-specific or multistate-compliant plans.

If you have questions or need assistance, please reach out to the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work, or any member of our COVID-19 team.

Governor Ned Lamont has signed into law additional protections for breastfeeding workers.  Connecticut law already requires all employers to “make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet” where an employee can express milk in private and also prohibits discrimination or retaliation against employees who have elected to exercise their rights to breastfeed or express breast milk at work.

The additional provisions require, absent undue hardship, that such room or location:

  • be free from intrusion and shielded from the public while such employee expresses breast milk,
  • include or be situated near a refrigerator or employee-provided portable cold storage device in which the employee can store breast milk, and
  • include access to an electrical outlet.

Employers should review their lactation accommodation policies and procedures in light of these new changes, which are effective October 1, 2021.

If you have any questions about this development, please contact the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.