April 01, 2021

Labor and Employment Newsletter

4 min


New York State's New COVID-19 Vaccination Leave Law and Employer Vaccination Incentive Plans: Practical Considerations for Employers

Mandatory paid leave to receive COVID-19 vaccinations is now in effect in New York state. This additional paid leave, separate from employees' other leave entitlements, may provide an incentive for employees to get vaccinated, but employers may need to offer other incentives beyond this paid leave to encourage their workforce to get vaccinated for the health and safety of their co-workers. What are some ways to encourage vaccination while remaining compliant with existing EEOC, ADA, and other legal requirements and guidance? Our attorneys explore the topics and themes requiring critical examination before launching your own vaccine incentive program.

Managing a Remote Workforce One Year Later: Legal Lessons Learned for Companies

We have officially passed the one-year mark since COVID-19 permeated the world, forcing employers to make quick and tough decisions about how to keep their workforces safe while preserving their ability to continue operating as productively and successfully as possible. While the transition from in-office to remote work was relatively seamless for some, it presented extreme hardships for others. Now, with over one year of remote work under many of our belts, employers have generally adapted and determined how best to achieve their goals from home. However, the challenges do not end there. Employers must now think about the legal implications of long-term remote work.

Congress Says Employers May Swap Paid Leave for Tax Credits: How the American Rescue Plan Act Can Reduce Employer Tax Payments

Earlier in March, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Under this law, employers with fewer than 500 employees may receive substantial tax credits in exchange for voluntarily providing employees paid sick leave and family and medical act leave for qualifying COVID-19-related absences. Click below for information on how ARPA works, along with some important considerations for employers that may wish to take advantage of the tax credits.

Potential Biden Administration Impacts on Labor and Employment Issues

President Biden's initiatives include many potential changes to the laws that employers had been operating under during the last four years of the Trump administration. Below, Dan Hoffer and Chana Ickowitz have highlighted a few key areas that employers should keep an eye on as the Biden presidency unfolds. These key areas include (1) the classification of workers as employees versus independent contractors; (2) greater employee protections regarding union organizing; and (3) the potential elimination of restrictive covenants nationwide.

A Fix for Hazing in Higher Education Communities? The Reintroduction of Two Anti-Hazing Measures for Higher Education Institutions

Instances of hazing at higher education campuses across the country have gained national attention. These incidents are occurring in all aspects of college life, including sports teams, fraternities, and sororities. In mid-March 2021, two complementary bills were reintroduced in Congress to address the continued issue of hazing at higher education institutions: the Report and Educate About Campus Hazing Act (REACH Act) and the END ALL Hazing Act (the EAH Act, and, together with the REACH Act, the Acts).

Together, these Acts would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 by solidifying a singular definition of hazing, requiring higher education institutions to disclose hazing incidents in their annual Clery Report, and report incidents of hazing misconduct on a publicly available website, if enacted. According to the bill sponsors, the goal of the Acts is to increase transparency for students, prospective students, and parents.

Attorney Spotlight

"Why did you get into the practice of Labor and Employment law?"

Danielle LawrenceDanielle Lawrence: I was especially drawn to the Labor and Employment Group because of the human element of our work, which I found to be unique. Everything we do requires an understanding of people and what drives their relationships with their colleagues and their work. To facilitate that understanding, we also get to learn the inner workings of our clients' various businesses, which reveals interesting aspects about their businesses and workforces I likely would not be privy to if I worked in a different practice group.

At the end of the day, it is always fulfilling to help our clients solve their problems and, we hope, prior to the commencement of any litigation, because our overall goal is to improve their workplaces and processes to set them up for success. But even when we enter defense mode in a litigation, everything comes full circle, because many of our arguments rely on a personal touch.

About the Labor and Employment Group

The bicoastal, 40-person Labor and Employment team at Venable provides guidance and support across the full spectrum of workplace dynamics – helping employers control costs, avoid disputes, and defend themselves when litigation arises. As co-editors of this newsletter, Michael Volpe and Doreen Martin invite you to share the content with your colleagues and reach out with any questions.