HR In Aggregate: State and Local Level Updates

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Biden Announces Vaccine Requirements for Federal Employees, Contractors

On July 29, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden announced new requirements for federal employees and onsite federal contractors regarding vaccination status, masking, and social distancing. While a formal executive order has not yet been published, the White House issued a fact sheet. Learn More

Got the Green Light: New Puerto Rico Law Expands Employment Protections for Registered and Licensed Medical Cannabis Patients

On July 29, 2021, Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi signed into law Act No. 15-2021 (Act 15). Act 15 amends Act No. 42 of July 9, 2017, also known as the Act to Manage the Study, Development and Research of Cannabis for Innovation, Applicable Standards and Limits (Medicinal Cannabis Act). This amendment expands employment protections to employees who are registered and licensed medical cannabis patients. Learn More

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Enacts Another Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

On July 29, 2021, Mayor Bill Peduto signed a new Temporary COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, which will become Section 626B of the City of Pittsburgh Code. It requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave to full-time employees (and a proportional amount for part-time employees) for certain COVID-19-related reasons. 626B was passed as a new law, but it is nearly identical to Pittsburgh’s original Temporary COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (626A) that was in effect from December 8, 2020 through June 17, 2021. Though new 626B’s text largely mirrors that of 626A, there are some important differences. Learn More

Duluth, Minnesota Amends Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance

The mayor of Duluth, Minnesota recently signed File # 21-023-O, which, effective August 19, 2021, broadens covered uses of leave under the Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) Ordinance, and amends employer notice and enforcement provisions. Before August 19, employers should review their paid time off policies to ensure they comply with the ordinance and, if they maintain an employee handbook, ensure the policy is included. Learn More

Texas Governor Abbott Signs New Order Aimed at Bringing Uniformity to the State’s COVID-19 Response

On July 29, 2021, Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-38, combining several existing COVID-19 executive orders for the stated purpose of promoting statewide uniformity and certainty in the state’s COVID-19 response. To that end, the order sets forth the following five objectives: (1) ensure continued availability of timely information about COVID-19 testing and hospital bed capacity; (2) ensure vaccines continue to be voluntary and to protect against compelled disclosure of private COVID-19 health related information (i.e., “vaccine passports”); (3) ensure the ability to preserve livelihoods while protecting lives; (4) ensure no governmental entity can mandate masks; and (5) further ensure uniformity statewide. Pursuant to each objective, the order mandates certain COVID-19 related requirements and overrides any and all conflicting state and local orders, ordinances, policies, regulations, rules or similar measures. Learn More

Mask Up: Bay Area Counties Urge Vaccinations and Mandate Face Coverings Indoors

As follow-up to the California Department of Public Health’s new guidance issued on July 28, 2021, seven Bay Area counties including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma and the City of Berkeley all issued separate orders to mandate masks indoors. The orders require all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings when indoors in public settings. The orders became effective August 3. Learn More

Federal Tax Credits Now Available When Certain Employees Use Emergency Paid Leave to Help Others Obtain or Recover from COVID-19 Vaccine

The federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that certain employers can claim federal tax credits when employees use emergency paid leave to accompany an individual to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination and/or to care for an individual recovering from an injury, disability, illness, or condition related to the vaccine. This credit is available for certain private employers with 499 or fewer U.S. employees, and certain public employers, that are voluntarily providing employees emergency paid leave for various COVID-19-related reasons. Learn More

Montana Releases FAQs on Vaccine Discrimination Law

The Montana Department of Labor & Industry has released several FAQs clarifying Montana House Bill 702. The law, which went into effect on May 7, 2021, prohibits employers from mandating the current COVID-19 vaccines and recognizes an individual’s vaccination status as a protected category under the Montana Human Rights Act. Employers, therefore, are barred from discriminating against an individual in compensation or in a term, condition, or privilege of employment based on vaccination status or possession of an immunity passport. Learn More

Denver Mandates That All Public-Sector and Certain Private-Sector Employees Be Vaccinated for COVID-19

On August 2, 2021, Denver, Colorado Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced that all city employees, as well as private-sector workers in certain “high-risk” settings, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 30, 2021. After September 30, unvaccinated individuals covered by this mandate will not be permitted to work onsite or in the field. In order to meet this September 30 deadline, employees covered by this requirement must receive their final doses of the vaccine by September 15. Learn More

The Key to NYC: Only Vaccinated Employees and Patrons Are Given a Free Pass

On August 3, 2021, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the nation’s first vaccine mandate applying not only to employees, but also patrons of indoor dining facilities, indoor fitness facilities, and indoor entertainment facilities. The measure is described as the “The Key to NYC Pass,” and both employees and patrons who want to access these facilities will have to show that they have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of entry. Learn More

Oregon Announces Coming Rule for Weekly Tests of Unvaccinated Healthcare Workers

On August 4, 2021, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced that the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will create a rule requiring healthcare workers to submit to weekly COVID-19 testing if they are not vaccinated. Based on the governor’s announcement, OHA’s rule will require healthcare workers to show they have been vaccinated for COVID-19 by September 30, 2021. Oregon will require healthcare employers to pay for the weekly testing of their unvaccinated employees. Learn More



Lisa Smith, SPHR, SHRM – SCP

Certified EEO Investigator (EEOC)

Lead Support and Content Chief – HelpDeskforHR.com

“You cannot be audit-proof, but you can Be Audit-Secure.”

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