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Healthcare and Childcare FSA Fix for 2021, Finally: Special Carryover Rules and More

The Consolidated Appropriations Act provides tax relief for workers who socked away pre-tax money into flexible spending accounts (FSAs) for 2020 and couldn't use it because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now employees may be able to carry over all of their unused funds to use later. Even ex-employees might get more time to spend down unused money instead of forfeiting it. In a recent article in Forbes, McDermott partner Jacob Mattinson speaks to the employer perspective on FSA carryovers. Access the article.

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Cal/OSHA Adopts Emergency COVID-19 Workplace Standards

California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) adopted emergency temporary standards on COVID-19 prevention in the workforce, effective as of November 30, 2020, following approval by the Office of Administrative Law. These temporary standards require most Californian employers to implement a written COVID-19 prevention program meeting certain criteria. While many employers have already followed Cal/OSHA guidance to minimize employees' exposure to COVID-19, the new requirements warrant an immediate review of current policies to ensure compliance. For any companies that have not yet created a written plan, the rules require implementation of a written policy. Writing for International Law Office, McDermott partners Ellen Bronchetti and Michelle Strowhiro break down the details of Cal/OSHA's new standards. Access the article.

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With Everyone Working from Home, What’s the Future of Freelance?

The freelance space, one of the few sectors to thrive as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis, has seen a surge of openings, especially with the shift to remote work. But the blurred new reality can be bad for freelancers: An employer can have two workers doing essentially the same job, and sometimes what differentiates them is not what they turn in or the gains they make for the company but rather their earnings and insurance status, potentially putting a contractor in a disadvantaged position. In a recent article from Durrelliot, McDermott partner Michelle Strowhiro explains the importance of establishing clear boundaries for freelancers and employees alike in the era of “working from home.” Access the article.

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The EEOC Releases First Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccination for Employers

On December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its first direct guidance for employers regarding COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Important takeaways from the guidance, as well as FAQs from the EEOC, are discussed in the attached link. Access the article.

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Digital Health as Healthcare Delivery: A Path to Transform Care Delivery Post-Pandemic

As has been widely noted, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted countless people to rely on telehealth and virtual monitoring for their healthcare needs. This dramatic pivot is catalyzing a demand for digital health tools that will persist post-pandemic, as providers, payers and patients alike grow accustomed to the benefits of digital care. In a recent article for MedTech Intelligence, McDermott partner Jennifer S. Geetter outlines specific steps that digital health technology developers and providers can take to integrate digital health into our care delivery system. Access the article.

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8 Steps to Record Employment Decisions in Uncertain Times

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and an increased focus on social justice, stakes have never been higher for employers to make and document good employment decisions. Those that make poor employment decisions—or do not sufficiently document good decisions—face significant exposure and unwanted scrutiny, both internally and externally, during a time when many employers are struggling to survive. Writing for Law360, McDermott associate Lauren Ziegler provides a step-by-step guide that will help employers create effective documentation in the COVID-19 era and beyond. Access the article.

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SHRM Report: Global Executives Respond to Remote Work, Other Emerging Trends

Remote work will be a talent magnet in coming years and must be viewed as a long-term investment, according to recent global research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Oxford Economics and SAP Success Factors. A recent article by the Society for Human Resource Management outlines remote work trends, and McDermott partner Carole Spink highlights opportunities for employers to connect with their teams in the era of increased remote work. Access the article.

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Be Sure to Change Furloughs into Layoffs Lawfully

Employers that are converting furloughs into permanent layoffs need to ensure compliance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act and with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). In a recent article by the Society for Human Resource Management, McDermott partner Carole Spink explains why employers should carefully consider both state and federal regulations—and the importance of clear communication—when converting furloughs into layoffs. Access the article.

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Can Employers Require Workers to Get Flu Shots?

Flu season is officially here, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic's continued effects across the country, doctors are imploring people to get their annual flu shot. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, McDermott partner Michelle Strowhiro discussed approaches and options for employers as they consider making the flu vaccine mandatory. Access the article.

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