1. It’s our first #WorkforceWednesday of 2021! The past year tested our resilience, and COVID-19 forced everyone to think creatively and adapt quickly. Nowhere was that seen more clearly than in the workplace.

    Workplace Safety and Return to Work

    Workplace safety has been a major priority from the start of the pandemic, and return-to-work planning has been a moving target amid surges across the country. The end of the year brought welcome news on the vaccine front, which raises important issues around Americans with Disabilities Act and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission compliance - workforcebulletin.com/2020/12/17/eeoc-updates-covid-19-guidance-on-employer-administered-or-mandated-vaccinations/.

    Privacy, Cybersecurity, and Remote Work

    With shifts in workplace policies and guidelines came new cybersecurity issues. What was a challenge in the office became a herculean effort with a remote workforce. With more employees returning to work in 2021, employers are seeking to balance workplace safety with privacy concerns around personal information.

    Employee Leave and Benefits

    As the virus spread, federal and state legislation required additional employee leave and benefits. Already, lawmakers have granted employers the ability to extend emergency paid sick leave through March 31, 2021 – workforcebulletin.com/2020/12/30/employers-may-choose-to-extend-paid-ffcra-leave-through-march-31-2021/.

    Employers also took it upon themselves to offer new benefits and wellness offerings to help employees grappling with the pressures of the pandemic.

    Other Highlights

    New Year, New President, New Wage-Hour Issues

    As President-Elect Biden’s inauguration nears, employers are closely watching key wage-hour issues that are likely to change, including the federal minimum wage, the criteria for classifying independent contractors, the joint-employer rule, and the use of class and collective action waivers. Read more - wagehourblog.com/2021/01/articles/general-wage-hour/time-is-money-a-quick-wage-hour-tip-on-a-new-president/.

    Updates from the States

    · Before the New Year, business groups in California sued Cal-OSHA to stop the implementation or enforcement of the agency’s sweeping COVID-19 requirements. Despite these challenges, unless and until the regulations are withdrawn, invalidated, or expire, there could be consequences for noncompliance - ebglaw.com/news/california-imposes-sweeping-covid-19-requirements-on-employers-related-to-prevention-notification-reporting-testing-mandatory-quarantine-periods-and-pay-continuation/.

    · New Jersey may grant businesses in the state immunity from lawsuits related to workers' or customers' exposure to COVID-19. Read more (subscription required) - law360.com/employment-authority/articles/1339339/new-jersey-regulation-and-legislation-to-watch-in-2021.

    · New York has enacted a law requiring that single-occupancy restrooms be gender-neutral. Employers should prepare by ensuring that all single-occupancy restrooms on their premises are clearly designated as gender-neutral. Click for more - workforcebulletin.com/2020/12/29/new-york-enacts-law-requiring-single-occupancy-restrooms-be-gender-neutral/.

    WORKFORCE (re)imagined.TM

    Employers are strategically preparing for business beyond the pandemic. Stay up to date as you reimagine your workforce - ebglaw.com/return-to-work/.

    We invite you to view Employment Law This Week® – learn about the top developments in employment and labor law and workforce management in a matter of minutes every #WorkforceWednesday.

    Watch the series and subscribe for email notifications: EmploymentLawThisWeek.com.

    These materials have been provided for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. The content of these materials is copyrighted to Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. EMPLOYMENT LAW THIS WEEK® is a registered trademark of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

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  2. Welcome to #WorkforceWednesday. This week, Congress finally passes a COVID-19 relief bill as employers make longer-term plans for vaccination programs and return to work.

    Congress Passes Relief Bill

    Congress delivers a COVID-19 relief bill for the holidays. After months of wrangling, Congress passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package in which eligible individuals will receive $600 one-time stimulus checks. The bill also includes additional unemployment benefits and aid for struggling small businesses. However, President Trump has now called on Congress to increase stimulus checks to $2,000 for individuals—making it unclear what will happen next.

    EEOC Publishes COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says employers can require employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Guidance published by the agency states that mandatory vaccination programs are permitted as long as employers follow Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII accommodation requirements. Read more - workforcebulletin.com/2020/12/17/eeoc-updates-covid-19-guidance-on-employer-administered-or-mandated-vaccinations/.

    Employers Delay Return to Work

    As the pandemic numbers continue to climb, an increasing number of employers in the United States and abroad are delaying return to work until early summer. Governments are taking notice of this trend. For example, Luxembourg extended its COVID-19-related amicable agreements with neighboring countries through June 2021. Luxembourg’s agreements are aimed at easing economic burdens for employees who are teleworking across borders. Learn more - workforcebulletin.com/2020/12/17/update-luxembourg-extends-covid-19-related-amicable-agreements-with-neighboring-countries/.

    Other Highlights

    Massachusetts DFML Issues New Forms and Updates

    In advance of new leave benefits going into effect in 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave has released a new poster, certification form, updated FAQs, and information for employers and employees. Click for more on these new items - ebglaw.com/news/massachusetts-department-of-paid-family-and-medical-leave-releases-new-forms-and-updates-ahead-of-tiered-benefits-rollout/.

    Minimum Wage Increases Taking Effect

    More than two dozen states and localities will increase the minimum wage next year. With most of these increases set to take effect on January 1, employers should review their current practices to ensure they remain in compliance with the state and local minimum wage laws where they do business. Here’s a list and more information on the minimum wage increases - wagehourblog.com/2020/12/articles/state-wage-and-hour-laws/2021-minimum-wage-increases-set-to-take-effect/.

    Prohibition of Non-Competes in D.C.

    A recent bill to ban non-competes in Washington, D.C., is currently awaiting approval by the mayor before being sent to Congress. If enacted into law, D.C. will have a much stricter policy than states that have recently restricted the use of non-compete agreements. Read more - tradesecretsandemployeemobility.com/2020/12/articles/non-compete-agreements/washington-d-c-poised-to-ban-most-non-compete-agreements/.

    WORKFORCE (re)imagined.

    Employers are strategically preparing for business beyond the pandemic. Stay up to date as you reimagine your workforce - ebglaw.com/return-to-work/.

    We invite you to view Employment Law This Week® – learn about the top developments in employment and labor law and workforce management in a matter of minutes every #WorkforceWednesday.

    Watch the series and subscribe for email notifications: EmploymentLawThisWeek.com.

    These materials have been provided for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. The content of these materials is copyrighted to Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. EMPLOYMENT LAW THIS WEEK® is a registered trademark of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

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  3. A Trending News interview from Employment Law This Week®, featuring attorney Paul DeCamp, Member of the Firm:

    The Department of Labor will look very different under President-Elect Biden from how it did under President Trump, and the changes could come in the early days of Biden’s presidency.

    We invite you to view Employment Law This Week® – learn about significant developments in employment and labor law and workforce management in a matter of minutes every #WorkforceWednesday.

    Watch the series and subscribe for email notifications: EmploymentLawThisWeek.com.

    These materials have been provided for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. The content of these materials is copyrighted to Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. EMPLOYMENT LAW THIS WEEK® is a registered trademark of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

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  4. The next big pandemic hurdle for employers: the COVID-19 vaccine. Employers are reviewing their options with respect to vaccinations, including mandatory vaccination programs. Employers considering mandatory vaccination programs should recognize they may need to provide reasonable accommodations. Employees with disabilities or sincerely held religious beliefs could be entitled to such accommodations. Liability for health problems caused by an employer-mandated vaccination is hard to predict. Neither OSHA nor the EEOC has issued guidance, but FDA vaccine approval and providing a safe workplace should limit potential liability. Employers may consider encouraging, rather than mandating, COVID-19 vaccination. In either case, employers should develop policies and procedures for addressing vaccination of their workforce.

    For more on the evolving vaccine story, visit ebglaw.com/returntowork/

    These materials have been provided for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. The content of these materials is copyrighted to Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. EMPLOYMENT LAW THIS WEEK® is a registered trademark of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

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  5. Welcome to #WorkforceWednesday. This week, we look at a new COVID-19 quarantine timeline and stricter workplace safety regulations in California.

    CDC Permits Shortened Quarantine Periods

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides that a shorter COVID-19 quarantine may be permissible for asymptomatic people who may have been exposed to the virus, now accepting 10 days of quarantine or seven days following a negative test. However, because state and local public health authorities determine the quarantine options applicable in their jurisdictions, employers must still review and comply with local guidance regarding quarantine periods. Read more - workforcebulletin.com/2020/12/03/cdcs-revised-guidance-allows-for-shorter-quarantine-periods-for-close-contacts/

    CAL/OSHA Emergency COVID-19 Prevention Regulations Take Effect

    California has joined Virginia, Oregon, and Michigan in implementing stricter and more demanding COVID-19 regulations for businesses. The California emergency regulations took effect November 30, and require a written prevention program, no-cost tests for employees during work hours, rules around outbreaks, and more.

    NY Amends WARN Requirements

    The New York Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act now requires NY employers to send advance notice of a NY WARN Act triggering event to a significantly expanded list of government entities, including the school district and each governmental locality that provides emergency services to the affected site of employment. Click for more - ebglaw.com/news/new-york-amends-state-warn-act-to-require-additional-notifications/

    Other Highlights

    International Employment Law Guide for 60+ Countries

    Global employers considering large organizational changes affecting U.S. or international locations can utilize Deloitte Legal’s International Employment Law Guide - ebglaw.com/alliance-for-employment-law-and-workforce-management-services/

    Epstein Becker Green’s Robert O’Hara authored the U.S. section of the guide. The guide summarizes and compares the onboarding and off-boarding rules and costs across 62 countries and by employee level. Learn more about the guide and our strategic alliance with Deloitte Legal - ebglaw.com/alliance-for-employment-law-and-workforce-management-services/

    Updates on Predictive Scheduling and “Ban the Box” Laws

    Predictive scheduling and “ban the box” laws have been increasing or changing in state and local jurisdictions around the country. Read these recent roundups of developments in these areas:

    · Time Is Money: A Quick Wage-Hour Tip on … Predictive Scheduling Laws - wagehourblog.com/2020/12/articles/state-wage-and-hour-laws/time-is-money-a-quick-wage-hour-tip-on-predictive-scheduling-laws/

    · “Ban the Box” Law: Hawaii Legislators Restrict Consideration of Criminal Records For Job Applicants - zenefits.com/workest/hawaii-legislators-restrict-consideration-of-criminal-records/

    WORKFORCE (re)imagined.

    Employers are strategically preparing for business beyond the pandemic. Stay up to date as you reimagine your workforce - ebglaw.com/return-to-work/

    We invite you to view Employment Law This Week® – learn about the top developments in employment and labor law and workforce management in a matter of minutes every #WorkforceWednesday.

    Watch the series and subscribe for email notifications: EmploymentLawThisWeek.com.

    These materials have been provided for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. The content of these materials is copyrighted to Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. EMPLOYMENT LAW THIS WEEK® is a registered trademark of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

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Employment Law This Week®

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Employment Law This Week® tracks the top developments in employment and labor law and workforce management in a matter of minutes every #WorkforceWednesday. Presented by law firm Epstein Becker Green. Learn more at ebglaw.com/employment-law-this-week/

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