The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced an extension of the flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19.
This temporary guidance was set to expire August 31, 2021. Because of ongoing precautions related to COVID-19, DHS has extended the Form I-9 requirement flexibility policy until December 31, 2021. See the original ICE news release from March 23, 2020 for more information on how to obtain, remotely inspect, and retain copies of the identity and employment eligibility documents to complete Section 2 of Form I-9.
Survey Says Employers Are Delaying Reopening
Almost two-thirds (66%) of organizations are delaying reopening their offices due to COVID variants, according to a survey of 238 executive leaders by Gartner. 16% of organizations are mandating vaccination—a significant increase from 2% of companies in January. 33% of executive leaders said that FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine has increased the likelihood that their organization will mandate employees get vaccinated. But nearly 50% reported that FDA approval will have no impact on whether their organization mandates vaccination.
Organizations are employing a mix of incentives and restrictions to encourage vaccination, with 28% offering vaccinations at work; 18% offering nonmonetary incentives (like additional time off); and 17% offering monetary incentives. 15% of respondents reported that their organization is mandating that employees get COVID tests before coming into the office if they don’t show proof of vaccination. Further, 21% of companies are limiting access to certain parts of the workplace—for instance, the gym, cafeteria, or bus transportation—for unvaccinated employees; 8% are planning to terminate employees who don’t get vaccinated.
Will OFCCP Be Stalking You?
In November 2019, OFCCP announced it would not “request, accept or use” Component 2 pay data from EEO-1 reports. This OFCCP announcement came after the EEOC’s notice that it would not be seeking renewal of approval to collect pay data beyond 2017 and 2018.
OFCCP is now revisiting this issue. In a Notice to be published in the federal register on September 2, 2021 OFCCP said it “believes the position taken by [OFCCP] in the November 2019 notice was premature and counter to the agency’s interests in ensuring pay equity.” This announcement may signal that OFCCP could seek to use the data for enforcement purposes.
NLRB’s New Agenda
Jennifer Abruzzo, NLRB General Counsel, recently issued a memorandum outlining the key labor issues that she wants to focus on.
Some of the issues likely to be addressed are:
- Employer handbook rules.
- Confidentiality provisions in separation agreements.
- The Board’s definition of what constitutes “Protected Concerted Activity.”
- Expansion of union access to employer property.
- Changes to the definition of employee status (i.e. how the board determines whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor).
- The Board’s jurisdiction over religious institutions.
- A change to current Board law to allow for bargaining orders in cases where an employer refuses to recognize and bargain with a union where the union presents evidence of a card majority and the employer is unable to establish a good faith doubt as to the Union’s majority status.
- Expansion of the law to allow for employees to strike and or picket.
New CT Voting Law
On June 23, 2021, Governor Lamont signed Senate Bill 1202, that includes a requirement for employers to provide employees with two hours unpaid time off to vote on the day of a regular state election. In the case of a special election for U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, state senator, or state representative, the new requirement to provide time off applies only to employees who are “electors” (meaning already registered to vote). Thus, non-registered voters are not entitled to time off to vote in a special election.
Unpaid time off applies only for time off taken during the employee’s regularly scheduled work hours on election day and only when taken when the polls are open. Employees must request the unpaid time off at least two working days in advance. The law is now in effect and remains in effect until June 30, 2024.
Written by: Gordon M. Berger, Partner
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