Last week, I shared with you eight ways that President Biden changed employment law on Day One. It took me a while to cobble together that post. So, I was kind of hoping that “46” would take a few days off or something so that I could unwind in the blogcuzzi without worrying about any new Biden/HR content for this week.
No such luck.
First, President Biden directed his administration to lay the groundwork for an Executive Order within the first 100 days that requires federal contractors to pay a $15 minimum wage and provide emergency paid leave to workers. The former speaks for itself. Details to come on the latter.
Second, the President wants the U.S. Department of Labor to “consider clarifying that workers have a federally guaranteed right to refuse employment that will jeopardize their health and if they do so, they will still qualify for unemployment insurance.” Consider clarifying, eh? Folks, this is not a polite “pretty please” request. Instead, it’s only a matter of time before your employees can refuse to work and collect unemployment instead, which may include a $400 supplement from the feds. We’ll have to wait and see what DOL guardrails look like.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about that CDC COVID-19 toolkit. It’s intended for businesses with essential workers, such as police officers, firefighters,
snarky employment law bloggers, and people working in education, child care centers, and grocery stores.
There’s a boatload of content, which the CDC advertises as “a variety of resources that you can use virtually or in-person (with proper COVID-19 safety precautions).”
Here’s what you’ll find.
- Introductory letter: Send this letter to encourage your branches, offices, or units to review and use the toolkit materials.
- Key messages: Use these key messages about the COVID-19 vaccine to educate your employees.
- Frequently Asked Questions: Use these to help answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine in your workplace.
- Slide deck: These basic slides about COVID-19 vaccines are for informational meetings within your organizations. You can use all or part of the set or also include your own organization’s information.
- Facts about COVID–19 vaccines
- Newsletter content: This short newsletter-style blurb can be widely distributed to share information on COVID-19 vaccines.
- Letter to your employees: Customize this letter about the COVID-19 vaccination to send to your staff.
I read the FAQ for employers so that you don’t have to. Here’s the deal:
- How does our business implement one of these vaccination programs? The CDC gives you a list of people to consult, including human resources. Greeeeeeeeeat! But there is some guidance for planning vaccination clinics off-site and resources for hosting a vaccination clinic.
- Must we have a vaccination program? The feds won’t require it. But, check state and local rules too just to be safe.
- Can we encourage people to get vaccinated? Sure. The CDC recommends offering free vaccinations during work hours.
- What information should employees get before vaccination? The law requires that vaccination providers participating in the program provide vaccine recipients with certain information, including an EUA Fact Sheet for recipients about the vaccine they are receiving and possible side effects, as well as a vaccination record card with the name and manufacturer of the vaccine they received, where they received it, and when they need to return for a second dose of vaccine if required. You can also hand out this flyer from CDC.
- Must employees social distance and wear masks after getting vaccinated? Yes.
- Do employees that already had COVID-19 need to get vaccinated? Yes.
Here are my two cents: If you want to have a vaccination program, call an employment lawyer first. I’ve gotten many such inquiries for the past few weeks.