OSHA’s latest guidance recommends that fully vaccinated workers in areas of substantial or high community transmission wear masks in order to protect unvaccinated workers; recommends that fully vaccinated workers who have close contacts with people with coronavirus wear masks for up to 14 days unless they have a negative coronavirus test at least three to five days after such contact; clarifies recommendations to protect unvaccinated workers and other at-risk workers in manufacturing, meat and poultry processing, seafood processing, and agricultural processing; and links to the latest guidance on K-12 schools and CDC statements on public transit.
OSHA continues to emphasize that vaccination is the optimal step to protect workers and encourages employers to engage with workers and their representatives to implement multilayered approaches to protect unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers from the coronavirus.
Unvaccinated Health Premium Surcharge?
Some employers are considering increasing health insurance for unvaccinated employees by up to $50 per paycheck because of potential cost risks. There’s precedent for raising insurance premiums on individuals who are deemed a greater health risk. Take smokers, who are more likely to die of cancer and tend to face higher health costs than nonsmokers.
Military Leave Might Have To Be Paid
In Travers v. Federal Express Corp., the Third Circuit held that paid leave is among the “rights and benefits” that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act requires for employees on military leave if an employer provides it to employees on comparable, nonmilitary leave, such as jury duty and sick leave. The ruling follows a similar decision by the Seventh Circuit in White v. United Airlines Inc. et al. However, the court did not define “comparable”.
Employer Credit Available for Providing Paid Leave for Vaccination
The IRS updated the frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the paid sick and family leave tax credits under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The updates clarify that eligible employers can claim the credits for providing leave to employees to accompany a family or household member or certain other individuals to obtain immunization relating to COVID-19 or to care for a family or household member or certain other individuals recovering from the immunization. This new reason for paid sick or family leave also applies for the comparable credits for self-employed individuals.
Guidance for Second Half of 2021: ERTC
The Treasury Department and the IRS issued further guidance on the Employee Retention Credit, including guidance for employers who pay qualified wages after June 30, 2021, and before January 1, 2022, and additional guidance on miscellaneous issues that apply to the credit in both 2020 and 2021. These changes, made under the American Rescue plan, amplify prior guidance.
The guidance also responds to questions received and covers reporting qualified wages and related health insurance costs.
EEO-1 Deadline Extended
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has announced on its EEO-1 Data Collection website that it has again extended the deadline for filing EEO-1 Reports this year. The deadline now is Oct. 25. The prior deadline was Aug. 23. The announcement makes clear that there will be no more extensions.
Written by: Gordon M. Berger, Partner
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