On May 10, 2021, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will interpret and enforce Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (Section 1557) to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Section 1557 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex (this now includes sexual orientation and gender identity), age, or disability in covered health programs or activities. Additionally, covered entities are prohibited from discriminating against consumers based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
On May 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can:
On March 19, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation (SB 95) providing 80 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (COVID-19 SPSL) for covered employees who are unable to work or telework (work) because:
On March 12, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released an Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan for COVID-19 which provides new instructions and guidance about how it will handle COVID-19-related complaints, referrals, and severe illness reports, summarized as follows:
On March 11, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (HR 1319)(ARP), to address the ongoing economic impacts of COVID-19. Most of the law does not directly affect the HR function, but portions that do are discussed in this alert. The ARP is essentially an extension of the current tax credit scheme for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFMLA) under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA required many employers to provide EPSL and EFMLA in 2020, but became optional when it was extended to cover January 1 through March 31, 2021.
In February and March 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing released or updated the following resources:
On March 9, 2021, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors adopted the Temporary COVID-19 Hazard Premium for Specified Workers in Unincorporated County Ordinance, which provides an additional $5 per hour in hazard pay to employees of grocery stores and drugstores who are working in the county. The ordinance applies to grocery stores or drugstores with 300 employees nationally and 15 or more in a local store and franchisees (whose franchisor has 300 employees nationally and owns at least 10 stores in California. The ordinance is effective April 8, 2021 and is effective for the earlier of either 180 days or the end of the county’s COVID-19 health emergency.
On March 12, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) announced that the EEO-1 Component 1 data collection for 2019 and 2020 will open at the end of April 2021 and close in July 2021. Filers should begin preparing to submit data in anticipation of the April 2021 opening. The exact closing date will be posted when the data collection launches. Employers will be notified of additional details and how to access the online filing system in April. Read more on the EEOC’s employer EEO-1 Data Collection website.