#WorkforceWednesday: First Workplace Safety Mandates, COVID-19 Employee Training, Masks Required at Major Retailers

Employment Law This Week® - Episode 171


It’s #WorkforceWednesday. This week, Virginia became the first state to issue workplace safety standards, but with guidance still varying widely, many nationwide businesses have begun requiring masks.

Virginia Issues COVD-19 Workplace Safety Mandates

As employers grapple with a lack of clear or consistent governmental guidance on how to reopen businesses, last week, Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry adopted the first set of coronavirus-related workplace safety mandates in the country.

Remember: COVID-19 Safety Training

At least 15 states, including California, Illinois, Connecticut, and New York, as well as certain cities, have mandated coronavirus return to work safety training. Most jurisdictions include specific content requirements for the training, such as identifying COVID-19 symptoms, when to seek medical attention, and procedures for preventing its spread at the workplace.

Masks Now Required at Major Retailers

With regulations varying widely across states and cities, businesses have begun implementing their own nationwide policies. This week, Walmart began requiring all of its customers and employees to wear masks in its Walmart and Sam’s Club locations, joining companies like Starbucks, Best Buy, and Costco.

Other Highlights

NYC Requests Masks Except at Home

New York City’s new frequently asked questions on face coverings ramp up mask use recommendations by encouraging anyone in New York City to wear a mask in any indoor setting that is not their home. Click here for more.

Other COVID-19 Requirements for Retailers and Hospitality

Industry-related requirements have been implemented in various states and municipalities—such as Connecticut’s hotels and restaurants, Illinois’ health and fitness centers, and New Jersey’s retailers—as employers begin to plan for reopening and staff return to the workplace. Dive deeper.

Wage and Hour Update: Western Region Edition

  • California continues to focus on AB5 enforcement. This time, it brought a lawsuit against an app-based car washing service alleging the company “made a calculated business decision to misclassify” car washers. Read more
  • Colorado enacted a broad paid sick leave law that provides employees with three new sick leave entitlements: (i) Paid Sick Leave related to COVID-19, (ii) a state-wide Paid Sick Leave, and (iii) Supplemental Public Health Emergency Paid Sick Leave.
  • Washington State’s updated criteria for workers to be exempt from receiving overtime pay, paid sick leave, and other requirements under the state Minimum Wage Act are now in effect. These changes apply to executive, administrative, and professional workers, as well as outside salespeople and computer professionals across all industries in the state.

Stay Up to Date

Our Coronavirus Resource Center is updated daily and has the return-to-work resources you need.

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