Welcome to #WorkforceWednesday. This week, Congress finally passes a COVID-19 relief bill as employers make longer-term plans for vaccination programs and return to work.
Congress Passes Relief Bill
Congress delivers a COVID-19 relief bill for the holidays. After months of wrangling, Congress passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package in which eligible individuals will receive $600 one-time stimulus checks. The bill also includes additional unemployment benefits and aid for struggling small businesses. However, President Trump has now called on Congress to increase stimulus checks to $2,000 for individuals—making it unclear what will happen next.
EEOC Publishes COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says employers can require employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Guidance published by the agency states that mandatory vaccination programs are permitted as long as employers follow Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII accommodation requirements. Read more.
Employers Delay Return to Work
As the pandemic numbers continue to climb, an increasing number of employers in the United States and abroad are delaying return to work until early summer. Governments are taking notice of this trend. For example, Luxembourg extended its COVID-19-related amicable agreements with neighboring countries through June 2021. Luxembourg’s agreements are aimed at easing economic burdens for employees who are teleworking across borders.
Massachusetts DFML Issues New Forms and Updates
In advance of new leave benefits going into effect in 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave has released a new poster, certification form, updated FAQs, and information for employers and employees. Click for more on these new items.
Minimum Wage Increases Taking Effect
More than two dozen states and localities will increase the minimum wage next year. With most of these increases set to take effect on January 1, employers should review their current practices to ensure they remain in compliance with the state and local minimum wage laws where they do business. Here’s a list and more information on the minimum wage increases.
Prohibition of Non-Competes in D.C.
A recent bill to ban non-competes in Washington, D.C., is currently awaiting approval by the mayor before being sent to Congress. If enacted into law, D.C. will have an even stricter policy than other jurisdictions that have recently restricted the use of non-compete agreements.
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