NY COVID Leave Can Be Used for Booster

Earlier this year NY passed a law requiring employers to provide employees with up to four hours of paid time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Then, the NY DOL published guidance, clarifying that: (i) the leave is only available for an employee’s own receipt of the COVID-19 vaccine; (ii) the leave must be paid at an employee’s regular rate of pay; and (iii) the law does not permit employers to substitute other existing leave options available to the employee, including New York State Paid Sick Leave.

Now, the NYSDOL revised its guidance to confirm that, even though the CDC has not yet incorporated booster shots into its definition of “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19, paid COVID-19 vaccination leave nevertheless “applies to any COVID-19 vaccination received by an employee, including booster shots.”

NY Paid Leave Law Expanded

NY’s Paid Family Leave law provides employees up to 12 weeks of paid time off to bond with a newly born, adopted or foster child; care for a family member with a serious health condition; or to assist with family situations when a spouse, domestic partner, child or parent is deployed on active military service. Before the recent amendment, family care leave covered caring for a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent or grandchild with a serious health condition, but now includes siblings: biological, step, and half.

NY Employer Monitoring Law

New York Governor Kathy Hocul has signed into law a bill that will require employers to provide notice to employees of electronic monitoring of telephone, email, and internet access and usage.

Effective May 7, 2022, they law will require all private employers to provide written notice upon hire to new employees if the employer does or plans to monitor or intercept telephone or email communications or internet access or usage by the employee. Employers will also be required to post the notice in a “conspicuous place.

The law does not apply to processes that: (i) are designed to manage the type or volume of incoming or outgoing electronic mail or telephone voice mail or internet usage; (ii) are not targeted to monitor or intercept the activities of a particular individual; and (iii) are performed solely for the purpose of computer system maintenance and/or protection.

Employers who violate the law will be subject to fines of up to $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second offense, and $3,000 for the third and each subsequent offense.

Philly Ordinance Addresses Pre-hire Drug Testing

Effective January 1, 2022 a Philadelphia, PA ordinance prohibits employers from conducting pre-hire cannabis testing. Under the ordinance, an employer, labor organization, or employment agency acts unlawfully by requiring employees to undergo pre-hire cannabis testing as a condition of employment. However, it does not address how employers drug test current employees.

Like NY, the ordinance does not apply where drug testing is mandated by federal or state statute, regulation, or order, or where testing is required for a government contract or grant. The ordinance also provides for occupation specific exceptions to testing including positions in law enforcement, positions requiring a commercial driver’s license, positions requiring the supervision or care of children, medical patients, disabled or other vulnerable individuals, and positions where an employee could significantly impact the health and/or safety of other employees or members of the public.

Contractor Mandate Compliance Deadline Extended

Federal Contractor and subcontractor employees covered by Executive Order 14042 and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force Guidance (Task Force Guidance) who originally needed to be vaccinated by December 8, 2021, now have a new, delayed vaccination compliance date of January 4, 2022. 

Tucson, AZ Min. Wage Increase

Under a new law, the City’s minimum hourly wage will increase as follows:

  1. To $13.00 on April 1, 2022;
  2. To $13.50 on January 1, 2023;
  3. To $14.25 on January 1, 2024; and
  4. To $15.00 on January 1, 2025.

The Act will apply to all employees, whether full-time, part-time, or temporary, who perform at least five hours of work within Tucson’s geographic boundaries. Employers may take a tip credit of no more than $3.00 for tipped employees.

DOL, NLRB, and EEOC Align to End Retaliation, Promote Workers’ Rights

(From USDOL) The U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. National Labor Relations Board, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have announced a joint initiative to raise awareness about retaliation issues when workers exercise their protected labor rights. The agencies will collaborate to protect workers on issues of unlawful retaliatory conduct; educate the public; and engage with employers, business organizations, labor organizations, and civil rights groups in the coming year.

A virtual dialogue with the employer community will be launched Nov. 17, focusing on the importance of antiretaliation protections for employees exercising their rights and the agencies’ shared commitment to vigorous enforcement. “These issues cut across multiple worker protection agencies, which is why it is so important to work collaboratively to effectively prevent and forcefully address retaliatory acts against workers,” said Jennifer Abruzzo, general counsel of NLRB. The initiative will build on the work of Memoranda of Understandings between the agencies and strengthen interagency relationships to ensure effective and efficient cooperation to enforce related laws and protect workers’ rights.

WI Law Does Not Require Employers To Pay For Testing

The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has clarified that WI law does not require employers to pay the cost of COVID-19 testing where the testing is offered as an alternative to vaccination and where the federal government has issued a mandate that requires either testing or vaccination of employees.

Wisconsin statute 103.37(2m) provides that:

No employer may require any employee or applicant for employment to pay the cost of a medical examination required by the employer as a condition of employment.

Note, however, that the DWD guidance is not formal and is not binding on any court of law. A court could disagree with DWD and determine that the statute does require payment.

TN Law Limits Mandatory Vaccines

The express language of a new TN law is as follows: “A private business, governmental entity, school, or local education agency shall not compel or otherwise take an adverse action against a person to compel the person to provide proof of vaccination if the person objects to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine for any reason.”

Written by: Gordon M. Berger, Partner

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