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‘Unprecedented Interest’ in Employer-Covered Abortion Travel

If the US Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade (as suggested by a leaked draft on May 2), employers who want to provide abortion coverage to employees and their families could encounter serious challenges. In this Bloomberg Law article, McDermott’s Sarah G. Raaii noted that employers that provide travel expenses for abortions might encounter resistance from state laws like a Texas statue that permits citizens to sue abortion providers for abortions performed around six weeks.

“If a state wants to interpret this very broadly—and it seems that some of them have indicated that they do—to really just punish anyone involved even peripherally with providing abortion in the states, employers could potentially be at risk.” Raaii said.

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Telework Boom Has Employers Rethinking Hiring, Onboarding

The process of recruiting and onboarding new employees will require re-examination as remote work becomes a permeant fixture of the American workplace. In this Law360 article, McDermott Partner Ellen Bronchetti offers perspective about how companies will need to modify these policies and procedures.

“My concern when you don’t have the level of engagement that you used to have when you brought an employee in the door, is whether or not a company’s policies and practices are adequate to instruct employees [about] the rules [and] expectations,” Bronchetti said.

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California to Renew COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for 2022

On January 25, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that his office and state lawmakers had reached an agreement to reimplement a version of California’s COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave through September 30, 2022. It is expected that the state legislature will move quickly to finalize and vote on legislation to effectuate this statewide paid leave obligation.

Read more here.




OSHA Hints at Permanent COVID-19 Standard, Withdraws Vax-or-Test ETS

On January 25, 2022, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it would withdraw its controversial “vax-or-test” Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which required large employers to impose vaccination or testing requirements upon their employees. The withdrawal will be effective as soon as the announcement is published in the Federal Register, which is scheduled to occur on January 26, 2022.

Read more here.




As Some Healthcare Employees Work While Sick, Could Other Industries Follow Suit?

Throughout the latest COVID-19 wave, some healthcare employers have relaxed safety measures to bring COVID-positive employees back to work. According to this Corporate Counsel article, these decisions may signal a new direction in how businesses deal with safety measures as they navigate a competitive labor market and demand. McDermott’s Abigail M. Kagan noted many healthcare facilities are doing their best to balance employee safety with workplace strain.

“If a patient hears that their nurse has tested positive that morning, the patient may be uncomfortable,” Kagan noted. “ … On the other hand, if it’s the difference between having no nurse, or having a nurse that medical authorities in the (United States) seem to believe is not going to be contagious anymore, that’s something that employers have to think about.”

Read more here.




Supreme Court OKs CMS Vaccine Mandate but Blocks OSHA Rule

On January 13, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States released two emergency opinions that change the landscape of the three federal vaccine rules. In summary:

  • A 5-4 Court majority let the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) enforce its vaccine mandate nationwide, impacting specified healthcare facilities.
  • A 6-3 majority blocked the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) from enforcing its vax-or-test Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) applicable to large employers.
  • The third federal vaccine rule—the federal contractor vaccine mandate—remains subject to multiple legal challenges and, at this time, the government is blocked from enforcing the mandate nationwide. The Court has not yet weighed in on this mandate.

Read more here.




Labor Under Biden: What Employers Need to Know

Before the 2020 election, then-US Presidential candidate Joe Biden vowed to be the “strongest labor president you have ever had.” Now having been in office for almost a year, how has President Biden changed the country’s labor environment, and what can employers expect out of his administration? In these slides, McDermott Partners Ron Holland and Kristin E. Michaels and McDermott Associate Philip Shecter provide insight into US labor activity and how the latest labor developments affect both union and nonunion employers.

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Federal Vaccine Mandates Are Back in Play (For Now)

The courts continue to move the vaccine mandate goalposts on employers as dozens of legal challenges work their way through the courts. The latest developments are major game changers for employers. As of today, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) vaccine-or-test rule is enforceable nationwide, and the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Interim Final Rule (IFR) mandating vaccination, subject to exemptions, is enforceable in 25 states.

Read more here.




New York City Unveils COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Details

On December 13, 2021, the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), Dr. Dave A. Chokshi, published an order (the Order) requiring private employers to impose COVID-19 vaccine mandates upon all in-person employees within New York City, with limited exceptions, as of December 27, 2021. DOHMH provided a series of FAQs and additional guidance on December 15, 2021. The Order follows Mayor Bill de Blasio’s December 6, 2021, announcement of this impending mandate.

Read more here.




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