CDC says COVID is less of a threat

In new COVID guidelines released yesterday, the CDC said that in most settings, adults and children do not need to quarantine after getting exposed to COVID. The reason for relaxing the rules? Because of virus-fighting tools and population immunity, COVID now presents a lower risk of hospitalization and death than in the early days of the pandemic, the CDC said.

Employer Alert—EEOC Pay Reporting Is Set to Return

EEOC Commissioner Keith Sonderling recently announced that EEO-1 Component 2 pay data reporting will return. Even though conducting a pay equity audit currently isn’t specifically required.

EEO-1 Component 2 pay data reporting would require employers to report their compensation data to the EEOC. The best way to get ahead of this reporting requirement is to perform a pay equity audit. Even though EEO-1 Component 2 in its current form doesn’t explicitly require conducting a pay equity audit, it would be in a “best practice” prior to completing the annual Component 2 pay data report.

Pet Leave – Yes, This is a Thing

Some employers have begun allowing employees to take time off when a pet dies, both in an effort to retain valued employees and in recognition of the central role pets play in many families’ lives. Some workplaces have formal pet bereavement policies, which psychologists say is a good idea as people often have a hard time concentrating after losing a pet.

Public Health Emergency Leave Laws Should Apply to Monkeypox

State laws that were enacted to address COVID as a public health emergency should apply in the same manner to a need for leave due to monkeypox. For example, in CO, Public Health Emergency (PHE) leave under the Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Act should allow employees up to 80 hours of total leave for monkeypox. For employees who work less than 40 hours per week, employers must provide the greater of the number of hours the employee is scheduled to work in a 14-day period or the average time the employee works in a 14-day period. Note that PHE leave already used by an employee should be counted towards the total leave available to the employee.

Non-Compete Legislation on the Rise

In Q1 of 2022, 67 restrictive covenant bills were introduced in 21 states. There were 30 more bills in six other states there were introduced after Q1. For example, bills in Oklahoma, Vermont, and West Virginia did not make it out of committee, but Illinois, Iowa, and Kentucky enacted new restrictive covenant legislation (but only addressing nurses). As I reported previously, Colorado passed a comprehensive restrictive covenant statute that went into effect on August 10, 2022. In short, the CO law bans noncompetes for any employee making less than $101,252.00 per year, bans nonsolicitation agreements for employees making less than $60,750.00 per year, and requires the employer to, prior to the start of employment, notify the potential employee “in clear and conspicuous language” that the employee will have to sign an agreement that “could restrict the employee’s future employment options.”

Takeaway: restrictive covenants cannot always be enforced and are state-specific, so update your agreements and move away from “one sizes fits all”.

Unions Are Making a Comeback

In some sectors, union efforts have increased and have been successful. The NLRB says union representation petitions have increased by 58% over last year. Many employers have never encountered unions and are unfamiliar with the laws related to union-management relations, so it’s a good time to consider management training, particularly on the do’s and don’ts of how to address and respond to union campaigns.

NY’s COVID Paid Leave Extended

NY’s COVID paid leave law was supposed to sunset on December 31, 2022. However, Gov. Hochul signed a bill that extends the law through December 31, 2023. As a reminder, the NY leave law requires “a sufficient period of time, not to exceed four hours” of paid leave per dose for employees to be vaccined.

Written by: Gordon M. Berger, Partner 

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