May 27, 2021

Labor and Employment Newsletter

3 min


New York's HERO Act Attempts to Save Employees from Airborne Infectious Diseases

On May 5, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York HERO Act (the Act) into law to address the threat of COVID-19 and other airborne infectious diseases in the workplace. The Act establishes various employer obligations that go into effect immediately, but Governor Cuomo has already declared that more obligations are likely coming. As employers prepare for the return to the physical workplace, they should keep the following requirements of the Act in mind.

DOL Cybersecurity Guidance: Steps to Protect Retirement Plan Assets

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued long-awaited guidance on the fiduciary duties of plan sponsors to protect retirement plans from cybersecurity threats. The guidance is aimed at enhancing the protection of more than $9.3 trillion in retirement defined contribution plan assets. The DOL guidance includes a list of best practices for retirement plan recordkeepers and other service providers to follow, as well as tips that employers should consider when entering into service agreements with retirement plan recordkeepers and other service providers. The guidance also includes tips for employees to keep their accounts safe. Click below to see the steps plan sponsors should implement to protect plans from cybersecurity threats.

IRS Issues Guidance on the Federal COBRA Subsidies

In March, Congress passed and the president signed the American Rescue Plan Act (the Act). Under the Act, the federal government will subsidize COBRA premiums for certain individuals for up to six months (the Federal Subsidy). Last week, the IRS published new guidance (the Guidance) explaining many details about the Federal Subsidy, the notices, and the tax credits. Click below for a summary of the provisions of the Guidance that are most relevant to employers.

Education Roundup – Key Handbook Updates for the 2021-2022 School Year

As we approach the end of the school year, it is a good time for independent schools to consider updating their employee and parent-student handbooks for the 2021-2022 school year. With the many changes that schools had to make in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new administration, and other federal and state legal updates, it is important to ensure that your employee handbook is current and compliant, provides your school with flexibility, and mitigates potential risk. Click below to see some key issues that independent schools should consider in reviewing their handbooks.

Upcoming Event

The Pros and Cons of Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations in the Workplace: Practical Considerations for Employers

June 15, 2021 | Webinar

As we previously wrote here, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has approved mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies in the workplace, subject to a few limited exceptions. But does this mean a mandatory vaccination policy is right for your organization? During this webinar, Jennifer Prozinski, Nick Reiter, and Janice Gregerson will examine the advantages and disadvantages of mandatory vaccination policies in the workplace and other common questions for reopening work sites.

Attorney Spotlight

Thomas StrongWhat is one piece of advice or takeaway message that your clients should be aware of right now?

Tom Strong: As we come out of the pandemic, employers will need to develop an approach to a wide range of issues differently than in the before times-from DEI, to remote work, to flexible scheduling. The failure to have a thoughtful plan to address all of these issues, to effectively communicate that plan to employees, and to follow through on that plan will create significant disruptions for employers.

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.