Employment Law Updates

On April 27, 2021, the President issued an Executive Order (Federal Register :: Increasing the Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors) which increases the minimum wage for federal contractors. Beginning January 30, 2022, that minimum wage must be at least $15.00 per hour and will be adjusted annually thereafter. The new wage will apply to federal contracts entered into or renewed on or after January 30, 2022. The Order directs the U.S. Department of Labor to issue regulations by November 24, 2021 to implement the requirements of the Order. Some of the questions about details of the Order should be answered by those regulations.

The CDC recently revised its guidelines concerning quarantine and return to work after a worker has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. The new guidelines (COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation | CDC) draw a distinction between people who have been vaccinated against COVID and those who have not been vaccinated.

On September 9, President Biden announced proposals for more aggressive action against the spread of Covid-19. Those proposals consist of 3 primary measures: (1) an executive order mandating vaccines for all federal employees and contractors; (2) an order mandating vaccines for health care workers in settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement; and (3) OSHA regulations requiring employers with at least 100 employees to require employees to be vaccinated.

Under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a COBRA qualified beneficiary who becomes eligible for COBRA due to a reduction in hours or involuntary termination of employment may be eligible for a COBRA subsidy equal to the entire COBRA premium for the period from April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. That subsidy period is now nearing its end.

Our last blog focused on Virginia’s new law requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. The law requires employers to post in a conspicuous location and include in any employee handbook information concerning an employee's rights to reasonable accommodation for disabilities, and provide such information to (i) new employees upon commencement of their employment and (ii) any employee within 10 days of such employee's providing notice to the employer that such employee has a disability. We have received several inquiries about how to handle those requirements, as well as similar requirements of the 2020 law concerning pregnancy/childbirth protections.

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