SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – New labor and employment laws went into effect beginning 2021 and Arlene Yang from Meyers Nave joined Good Morning San Diego to discuss some of them.
Yang discussed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which included an Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, and an Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, which provided paid leave for employees who were unable to work because they were required to quarantine or care for children whose school or child care provider was closed. Employers had to front the cost of the leave, which were to be paid for by a payroll tax credit. Both provisions were set to expire on December 31, 2020.
However, on December 21, 2020, Congress passed a pandemic relief bill, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. Although the new law does not mandate that employers to continue to provide the paid leave, employers that voluntarily continue to provide the paid leave may continue to take payroll tax credits until March 31, 2021. Employees who have already exhausted paid leave under the FFCRA in 2020 will not be entitled to additional paid leave.
On December 16, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued new guidance regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
Employers may require their employees to have a COVID-19 vaccination. However, some employees may not be able to be vaccinated due to a disability or may refuse to do so because of a sincerely held religious belief. In these situations, the employer must perform an individualized analysis to show that the unvaccinated employee would pose a direct threat due to a significant risk of substantial harm to the health and safety of others that cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation.
Yang Also discussed AB 685 which requires an employer who receives a notice of potential exposure to COVID-19, the employer must within one day provide written notice to all employees and subcontracted employees, who were on the premises at the same worksite within the “infectious period” and the employees’ exclusive representative. The notice must contain information about what COVID-19 related benefits the employee is entitled to under federal, state, and local laws, and the employer’s disinfection and safety plan. Employers are required to keep a copy of all notices provided to employees for three years. Under the new law, if the employer is notified of a number of COVID-19 cases that meet the definition of a COVID-19 outbreak as defined by the State Department of Public Health, the employer has 48 hours to notify the local public health agency.
Meyers Nave plans to have two webinars next week on their website to go into further detail on the new labor laws in California.