Ontario Appellate Court Ruling Leaves Employers Waiting for Determination on Interpretation of COVID-19 Leave Provisions

Employers in Ontario have been waiting for clarification on the interpretation of COVID-19 leave provisions throughout much of the pandemic. Employers had hoped that the Court of Appeal’s decision in Taylor v Hanley Hospitality Inc. would provide clarity on the implications of Employment Standards Act, 2000 infectious disease emergency leave (IDEL) on an employee’s employment status.

Mexico’s COVID-19 Traffic Light Monitoring System: News for April–May 2022

Mexico’s federal government will soon cease updating its COVID-19 pandemic monitoring system on a biweekly basis, Dr. Hugo López-Gatell, Mexico’s undersecretary of prevention and health promotion, said in a recent press conference. The announcement comes on the heels of the four-tiered system showing all thirty-two states in green status—the only status without restrictions on business and social activities—for the second period in a row.

Cal/OSHA Updates COVID-19 ETS FAQs and Issues Fact Sheet for California Employers

On May 7, 2022, the day after the latest revision to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) went into effect, Cal/OSHA issued updated answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) and a fact sheet. The FAQs continue to evolve and change with each revision and readoption of the ETS. The FAQs now reflect the updated definitions, processes, and changes to the quarantine requirements for close contacts.

Cal/OSHA’s Third Revision to COVID-19 ETS to Be Approved by May 6, 2022

As we previously reported, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board recently voted to adopt the proposed revisions to California’s COVID-19 emergency temporary standards (ETS). Reports initially stated that the Office of Administrative Law would likely approve the language for implementation by May 5, 2022. This date has since changed to May 6, 2022.

Cal/OSHA Approves Third COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) recently approved the third readoption of the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) to take effect on May 7, 2022. This ETS will be in effect until December 31, 2022, as the final update to the ETS. The changes mark the continued evolution of the regulations, with modifications and adjustments to definitions, testing protocols, disinfection and sanitizing, close contact rules, return-to-work procedures, and outbreak policies.

Cal/OSHA Standards Board Adopts Third COVID-19 ETS to Remain in Effect Until December 31, 2022

On April 21, 2022, by a 6-1 vote, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted to adopt the proposed revisions to the current COVID-19 emergency temporary standards (ETS). The only no vote was from a management representative. The Office of Administrative Law is likely to approve the new language for implementation by May 5, 2022.

Minnesota Legislative Update: Employment-Related Bills to Watch

The Minnesota Legislature, currently in regular session until mid- to late May 2022, has drafted various bills that may impact Minnesota employers and employees. Notably, some of the major bills under consideration (or already enacted) include a hair antidiscrimination bill, a measure extending the COVID-19 presumption of workers’ compensation eligibility for certain healthcare workers, and a proposal to restrict noncompete agreements.

Federal Court Enjoins Enforcement of Montana Law That Conflicts With CMS Vaccine Rule

On March 18, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana issued a preliminary injunction in Montana Medical Association v. Knudsen, enjoining enforcement of part of Montana’s vaccination law against “all Montana health care facilities and individual practitioners and clinics” subject to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

Mexico’s COVID-19 Traffic Light Monitoring System: News for March 21–April 3, 2022

For the first time since Mexico’s federal government rolled out its pandemic monitoring system in June 2020, all of the nation’s thirty-two states have been given the green light to conduct social and business activities without restriction, although face masks are still required while using public transportation.

New York City Private Employer Vaccination Mandate Remains, but Exemptions Expanded for Athletes and Performing Artists

On March 24, 2022, New York City Mayor Eric Adams signed Emergency Executive Order No. 62, which expands an exemption to New York’s vaccination order for private-sector workers to include athletes and performing artists who reside in New York City. The executive order takes effect immediately.

Mexico’s COVID-19 Traffic Light Monitoring System: News for March 7–20, 2022

Mexico’s federal government has indicated that the National Health Council will soon decree the end of the pandemic in Mexico. The expected announcement comes on the heels of signs that COVID-19 cases are significantly waning, with community transmission levels low enough for the government to designate all but one of Mexico’s thirty-two states in green status under the biweekly pandemic monitoring system.

Philadelphia Mayor Signs Bill Providing for COVID-19–Related Paid Leave

On March 10, 2022, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed into law the third iteration of the Public Health Emergency Leave law, which will guarantee up to forty hours of paid sick leave (COVID-19 leave) for eligible Philadelphia employees. The COVID-19 leave shall be provided to employees immediately without any waiting period or accrual requirements.

 

OSHA Announces Intent to Focus Inspections in Healthcare Facilities With Attention on COVID-19 Healthcare ETS

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) remains focused on the pandemic in certain workplaces as indicated by its announcement of a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) related to COVID-19. Interestingly, the focus of the NEP includes checking to confirm that certain elements of the COVID-19 healthcare emergency temporary standard (ETS) are in place.

COVID-19 Paid Leave Is Back in Philadelphia

The Philadelphia City Council recently passed a third iteration of the Public Health Emergency Leave law that will guarantee up to forty hours of paid sick leave for Philadelphia employees to recover from COVID-19 or avoid exposing others, to care for a family member with COVID-19 or who exhibits symptoms that might jeopardize the health of others, to care for a child whose school or place of care has closed due to COVID-19, or to take time off to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot (and address any side effects related to such vaccination).

Indiana Approves Restrictions on Employer Vaccine Mandates: What Employers Need to Know

On March 3, 2022, the Indiana General Assembly passed House Bill 1001, which restricts employer COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The final version of the bill was signed right away by Governor Eric Holcomb and is effective immediately. The law’s most notable provisions require covered employers to accept (under certain conditions) medical, religious, and acquired immunity exemptions from vaccine mandates, and to allow employees with exemptions to submit to COVID-19 testing in lieu of immunization.

Mexico’s COVID-19 Traffic Light Monitoring System: News for February 21–March 6, 2022

Half of Mexico’s thirty-two states have been cleared by the federal government to fully reopen for business and social activities, a remarkable change from early February, when only four states were given the green light under the nation’s four-tiered pandemic traffic light monitoring system.

California Governor Newsom Aligns Cal/OSHA Face Covering Regulations With CDPH Guidance

On February 28, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order that updates the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) to align with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance on face coverings for indoor locations issued the same day.

California Unmasks—California Department of Public Health Revises Guidance for Use of Face Masks in Indoor Settings

On February 28, 2022, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued new guidance, further loosening the rules for wearing COVID-19–related masks in the state. Effective March 1, 2022, unvaccinated individuals are no longer required to mask in indoor public settings, although the CDPH included “a strong recommendation” that all individuals, “regardless of vaccine status, continue indoor masking.”

Los Angeles County and City COVID-19 Masking Orders Move Closer to California Department of Public Health Rules

On February 23, 2022, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) issued an order, effective February 25, 2022, that slightly loosened the rules for wearing COVID-19 masks in the county. One day after the LACDPH order, on February 24, 2022, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued the interim “Public Order Under City of Los Angeles Emergency Authority” that mirrored the new Los Angeles County order. While these revisions make the orders from both the county and city much more similar to the California state masking rules currently in effect, they remain stricter than the current state rules.

Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act to End on March 15, 2022

On May 28, 2021, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law an act requiring eligible Massachusetts employers to provide emergency paid sick leave to employees who are unable to work for COVID-19–related reasons. On September 29, 2021, Governor Baker approved an extension of the law, titled “An Act Providing for Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave,” and increased its funding.

New York City Will Lift Mask and ‘Key to NYC’ Requirements

On February 27, 2022, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced that if COVID-19 indicators continue to display low risk levels, the “Key to NYC” will be lifted, effective March 7, 2022. Individuals will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination to enter certain covered establishments, such as indoor dining, entertainment, and fitness establishments. Former New York City mayor Bill De Blasio implemented the Key to NYC through Emergency Executive Order 225 on August 17, 2021.

Mexico’s COVID-19 Traffic Light Monitoring System: News for February 7–20, 2022

Nearly all of Mexico’s central and northern states have been directed by the federal government to limit the number of people on-site for business and social activities to half their normal capacity in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to the government’s latest pandemic tracking system update.

Minnesota Extends Workers’ Compensation Presumption for Frontline Workers Who Test Positive for COVID-19

On February 4, 2022, Governor Tim Walz signed House File (H.F.) 1203 into law, which extends the presumption that certain frontline healthcare workers contracted COVID-19 at work if they test positive. The prior presumption had expired on December 31, 2021.