#WorkforceWednesday: EEOC Rules and Vaccine Incentives, Prioritizing Worker Health and Safety, Notable Executive OrdersEmployment Law This Week® - Episode 195 January 27, 2021
Welcome to #WorkforceWednesday. This week, we look at the key considerations for offering COVID-19 vaccine incentives and the executive orders President Biden issued last week of note for employers.
EEOC’s Proposed Wellness Regulations and Incentivizing Vaccines (Video)
In early January, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued proposed rules on using incentives to encourage employee participation in wellness programs. While we don’t know exactly how President Biden’s EEOC will adjust the proposed rules, attorney Frank Morris explains why employers should keep the rules in mind when offering incentives to employees for COVID-19 vaccination. Read more.
Executive Order Prioritizes Worker Health and Safety
On Thursday, President Biden issued an executive order on protecting worker health and safety. To reduce workers’ exposure to COVID-19, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will revise science-based guidance on COVID-19 workplace safety within two weeks and consider emergency temporary standards. The order also directs OSHA to launch a national program to focus enforcement efforts on COVID-19-related violations. Click for more.
Notable Executive Orders for Employers
Last week, President Biden issued a few other executive orders of note that will impact employers and their workforces:
- Establishing the COVID-19 Pandemic Testing Board and Ensuring a Sustainable Public Health Workforce for COVID-19 and Other Biological Threats
- Ensuring an Equitable Pandemic Response and Recovery
- Supporting the Reopening and Continuing Operation of Schools and Early Childhood Education Providers
- Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel
DOL’s Midnight-Hour Independent Contractor Opinion Letter
Just before President Biden’s inauguration last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued an opinion letter clarifying its final rule on independent contractor status. While the opinion letter provided welcome guidance on the final rule issued in early January, the Biden administration’s decision to strike or replace the final rule is something employers should track.
Roadmap to Compliance
Beyond pandemic-related legislation, many states and localities altered their employment laws in significant ways in 2020, or simply had previously passed laws scheduled to take effect at the start of 2021. Trends across jurisdictions include laws creating or expanding paid leave benefits, pay equity, and anti-discrimination rules; restricting criminal background checks; and limiting the scope of non-compete laws. Learn more about complying with the 2021 changes.
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