Connecticut’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Program’s Applications Are Now Open

In a press conference on December 1, 2021, Governor Ned Lamont, along with Connecticut Paid Leave Authority Chief Executive Officer Andrea Barton Reeves, announced that the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority is now accepting applications for Connecticut residents who want to participate in the state’s new paid family and medical leave program.

Mexico’s New Minimum Wage for 2022

The Mexican National Commission on Minimum Wages (Comisión Nacional de los Salarios Mínimos or CONASAMI) approved, by a majority vote on December 01, 2021, an increase to the daily minimum wage applicable in Mexico (including the corresponding amount applicable in the Free Zone of the North Border (Zona Libre de la Frontera Norte or ZLFN).

Louisiana Workforce Commission Publishes Posters on Expanded Employee Pregnancy Accommodation Rights

Effective August 1, 2021, the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law was amended to expressly require Louisiana employers with more than 25 employees to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with limitations arising from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, provided that such limitations are known to the employers.

OFCCP Announces Much Anticipated Details About Its New Contractor Portal

As we reported earlier this year, on August 31, 2021, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the new system that the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) developed for federal contractors to submit affirmative action programs (AAPs). The new system is designed to provide covered federal contractors a method of entering, tracking, and submitting AAPs for review by OFCCP.

Breaking News on the CMS Vaccination Rule: Less Than 24 Hours After Being Shelved in 10 States, the Rule Is Sidelined Nationwide

In a November 30, 2021, order, a federal judge sitting in Louisiana entered a nationwide preliminary injunction against the Biden administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) interim final rule entitled “Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination.” The effect of the order is that CMS must immediately “cease all implementation or enforcement of the [CMS] Rule” in the remaining 40 states not covered by an earlier November 29, 2021, order from a federal judge sitting in Missouri that prevented implementation and enforcement of the CMS rule in only 10 states.

Back to the Future: White House Restricts Travel to the United States From 8 Countries Due to New COVID-19 Variant

On November 26, 2021, President Joe Biden issued a presidential proclamation prohibiting travel into the United States for travelers who were physically present in eight countries in southern Africa (Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe), beginning on Monday, November 29, 2021. The restrictions, which prohibit travel from these eight African countries, come approximately three weeks after the White House relaxed prior location-based travel restrictions, moving to vaccination status-based travel restrictions on November 8, 2021.

FMLA Interference: Court Finds Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss to Be Premature

In Smith v. School Board for the City of Norfolk, Virginia, et al., No. 2:21-cv-138 (November 5, 2021), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia refused to grant a motion to dismiss to the Norfolk School Board and individual defendants, finding that discovery was necessary to determine whether outreach to the plaintiff office manager while she was on leave under the Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) constituted more than de minimis contact.

Federal Judge Shelves President Biden’s CMS Vaccine Mandate … But in Only 10 States

In a 32-page order issued on November 29, 2021, United States District Judge Matthew T. Schelp entered a preliminary injunction against the Biden administration’s Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) interim final rule entitled “Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination.”

Mexico’s COVID-19 Traffic Light Monitoring System: News for November 15–28, 2021

All but one of Mexico’s 32 states have been cleared by the federal government to open for business and social affairs without restrictions under the nation’s COVID-19 traffic light monitoring system—the largest number of states in green-light status since the system was implemented in June 2020.

Germany’s Bundestag Plans to Implement 3G Rule (Vaccinated, Recovered, or Tested) for Workplaces and Home Offices

On November 18, 2021, Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, approved a renewed amendment to the Infection Protection Act that has important implications for employers and employees. The following day, the Bundesrat, Germany’s upper house of parliament, gave its approval to the legislation. The amendment and related measures will come into force on November 24, 2021.

Oregon OSHA Anticipates Delay in Adopting COVID-19 Vaccine or Test Standard

When the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new emergency temporary standard (ETS) on November 4, 2021, Oregon OSHA had only 30 days to adopt its own standards, until December 4, 2021. However, in light of a federal court order staying the federal ETS, Oregon OSHA recently updated its website to state that it does not anticipate adopting a rule by December 4, 2021, although it is “continuing discussions with stakeholders.”

Employer-Provided COVID-19 Testing: An Employee Benefits Q&A

Although the fate of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) rules remains in limbo, many employers are moving ahead with efforts to comply with the OSHA emergency temporary standard (ETS) that requires employers with 100 or more employees to ensure that all are fully vaccinated or subject to COVID-19 testing at least weekly.

New California Law Targets Warehouses—and Perhaps All Employers That Use Performance Metrics

A new California law, Assembly Bill (AB) No. 701, provides new regulatory scrutiny of job performance quotas at warehouse distribution centers. The stated purpose of the law is to ensure that the use of production quotas do not penalize workers for taking meal and rest breaks, using the restroom, and complying with other health and safety standards.

Supreme Court Seeks Solicitor General Input on Preemption Challenge to California’s AB 5

On November 15, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an order concerning the California Trucking Association’s (CTA) challenge to California’s independent contractor law, Assembly Bill (AB) 5. The Supreme Court‘s order invited the United States Solicitor General (SG) to file a submission describing the federal government’s position with respect to this case and the question CTA posed to the Court that the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA) preempts AB 5.

Nominee Announced to Become Head of MSHA

On November 12, 2021, the White House announced the nomination of Christopher Williamson to become the assistant secretary of Mine Safety and Health. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Williamson will become the top leader of the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), filling the position that has remained vacant since David Zatezalo resigned at the end of the Trump administration.

USCIS Settlement Agreement Provides Some Relief to H-4 and L-2 Spouse EAD Renewal Applications

On November 10, 2021, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) settled the class action lawsuit Shergill v. Mayorkas. The settlement agreement will update USCIS policy related to certain H-4 and L-2 spousal Employment Authorization Document (EAD) applications. Notably, the settlement agreement provides for an automatic extension of employment authorization for H-4 spouses who have timely filed for a renewal of the EAD work card via Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, if given criteria are met.

Colorado’s November 2021 Rulemaking: ‘Use It or Lose It’ PTO Is Finally Dead, and Other Highlights

On November 10, 2021, after a public hearing and comment submission period, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) published three final rules: (1) the Colorado Overtime and Minimum Pay Standards Order #38 (COMPS 38), (2) the 2022 Publication and Yearly Calculation of Adjusted Labor Compensation Order (2022 PAY CALC Order), and (3) the updated Wage Protection Rules. All these rules go into effect on January 1, 2022, and have significant implications for employers doing business in the state.

Mexico’s COVID-19 Traffic Light Monitoring System: News for November 1–14, 2021

The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico has ebbed significantly in the last few weeks—enough for the federal government to lift all restrictions on social and business activities in nine states. Under Mexico’s four-tiered COVID-19 Traffic Light Monitoring System, those nine states are in “green light” status, the only restriction-free status. Because the pandemic is ongoing, Mexico’s health authorities have continued to urge the population to reduce the risk of infection by complying with government guidelines to prevent the further spread of the virus.