Legal Alert – States Opt Out of Enhanced Federal Unemployment

States Opting Out of Enhanced Federal Unemployment

The following states will no longer participate in enhanced federal unemployment benefit programs:

Alabama: Cease on June 19, 2021.

Arizona: Cease on July 10, 2021.

Arkansas: Cease June 26, 2021.

Georgia: Cease June 26, 2021.

Idaho: Cease June 19, 2021.

Iowa: Cease June 12, 2021.

Mississippi: Cease June 12, 2021.

Missouri: Cease June 12, 2021.

Montana: Cease June 27, 2021.

North Dakota: Cease June 19, 2021.

Ohio: Cease June 26, 2021.

South Carolina: Cease June 30, 2021.

South Dakota: Cease June 26, 2021.

Tennessee: Cease July 3, 2021.

Utah: Cease June 26, 2021.

Wyoming: Cease June 19, 2021.

Remote I-9 Rule Extended

USCIS has announced an extension of the rules related to Form I-9 compliance . Due to the continued precautions related to COVID, DHS will extend this policy until Aug. 31. The current extension includes guidance for employees who are hired on or after June 1 and work exclusively in a remote setting due to Covid-19-related precautions.

Those employees are temporarily exempt from the physical inspection requirements associated with Form I-9 until they undertake nonremote employment on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis, or the extension of the flexibilities related to such requirements is terminated, whichever is earlier. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being implemented at this time for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9.

EEOC Technical Assistance: COVID

The EEOC posted updated and expanded technical assistance related to the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing questions and new resource for job applicants and employees, explaining how federal employment discrimination laws protect workers during the pandemic.

The expanded technical assistance provides new information about how ADA and GINA apply when an employer offers incentives for employees to provide documentation or other confirmation of vaccination when an employee gets a vaccine in the community or from the employer or its agent. The technical assistance answers COVID-19 questions only from the perspective of the EEO laws.  Other federal, state, and local laws come into play regarding the COVID-19 pandemic for employers and employees.

The key updates to the technical assistance are summarized below:

  1. Federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19, so long as employers comply with the reasonable accommodation provisions of the ADA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other EEO considerations. Other laws, not in EEOC’s jurisdiction, may place additional restrictions on employers.  From an EEO perspective, employers should keep in mind that because some individuals or demographic groups may face greater barriers to receiving a COVID-19 vaccination than others, some employees may be more likely to be negatively impacted by a vaccination requirement.
  2. Federal EEO laws do not prevent or limit employers from offering incentives to employees to voluntarily provide documentation or other confirmation of vaccination obtained from a third party (not the employer) in the community, such as a pharmacy, personal health care provider, or public clinic. If employers choose to obtain vaccination information from their employees, employers must keep vaccination information confidential pursuant to the ADA.
  3. Employers that are administering vaccines to their employees may offer incentives for employees to be vaccinated, as long as the incentives are not coercive. Because vaccinations require employees to answer pre-vaccination disability-related screening questions, a very large incentive could make employees feel pressured to disclose protected medical information.

Written by: Gordon M. Berger, Partner 

*If you would like additional information on this topic or have HR / Payroll questions, please contact us

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