Come the new year, California employers will need to comply with a host of new workplace-related laws. Here is an overview of key new laws, along with recommendations for compliance. The laws take effect on January 1, 2023, unless otherwise specified.
New York Employers Now Required to Provide Paid Leave to Take COVID-19 Vaccine
Effective March 12, 2021, all public and private employers in New York must provide each employee with up to four hours of paid leave to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine injection. The new law, which took effect immediately after being signed by Governor Cuomo, adds a new Section 196-c to the New York Labor Law and Section 159-c to the New York Civil Service Law.
Employees are entitled to paid leave, at their regular rate of pay, for a “sufficient period of time, not to exceed four hours per vaccine injection,” unless the employee is entitled to receive a greater number of hours under an existing employer policy or collective bargaining agreement. Accordingly, employees who must take two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are entitled to take up to eight hours (i.e., four hours per injection) of leave. The paid leave provision expires on December 31, 2022.…
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Extension of the UK Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
On Saturday 31 October, the UK Government announced a new national lockdown and confirmed the extension of the existing Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, more commonly referred to as the “furlough” scheme.
In this alert, we set out what the UK Government has announced and what this means in terms of the support available to employers, including the status of the Job Support Scheme (the “JSS”), which was originally due to replace the furlough scheme from yesterday.…
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California Mandates COVID-19 Supplemental Sick Leave for Larger Employers
California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1867, to create COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (CPSL) requirements for employers with 500 or more employees, filling a gap left by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which applies only to employers with under 500 employees. The new law also codifies existing supplemental paid sick leave requirements for certain food-sector workers that were implemented in April under California Executive Order E.O. N-51-20.
AB 1867 took effect on September 19, 2020. It will expire on December 31, 2020, although if Congress extends the emergency sick leave provisions of the FFCRA, the provisions of AB 1867 would automatically be extended for the same period.…
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Effects of Ephemeral Mass Unemployment
IRS Empowers Employers to Increase Health Coverage, FSA Election Flexibility During Pandemic; Clarifies HDHP COVID-19 Relief
On May 12, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) published Notices 2020-29 and 2020-33. Notice 2020-29 is the latest installment in COVID-19 relief guidance targeted at health and welfare benefits. The Notice enables employers to provide flexibility to employees to modify their health coverage and flexible spending account (“FSA”) elections and gives employees until the end of 2020 (but not 2021) to use certain FSA amounts that may otherwise be forfeited. Unlike certain COVID-19 relief related to retirement plans, employers may make the relief under Notice 2020-29 available to all participants, regardless of whether they have suffered a COVID-19-related loss.
Notice 2020-33 allows employers to adopt an indexed maximum carryover amount for health FSAs, beginning with amounts that may be carried over from the 2020 plan year to the 2021 plan year.…
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CARES Act Expands COVID-19 Testing and Other Health and Welfare Benefits
On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the largest economic stimulus bill in U.S. history: the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”). In this blog article, we take a closer look at the provisions affecting health and welfare plans.
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Unemployment Insurance Benefits under the CARES Act
In response to the growing unemployment numbers due to business slowdowns across the country, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides expanded unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to workers impacted by COVID-19. The move is no doubt well intentioned, but serious questions have been raised about the specific benefit design adopted by Congress and the ability of state unemployment agencies—hardly models of efficiency in the best of times—to respond to the deluge of claims now inundating them. In fact, one of the potentially most attractive UI features in the new law—its short-time compensation provisions—seems likely to face serious obstacles to implementation due to lack of administrative resources and the vagaries of state law.
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