November 09, 2021

The New Normal: COVID-19 Digest

2 min

Our attorneys and professionals have been analyzing pandemic developments that may impact your business. Explore their insights.


Second Circuit Gives the Green Light on New York's Vaccine Mandate Banning Religious Exemptions for Healthcare Workers

Last month, the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld New York state's vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, vacating an earlier decision by the Northern District of New York that prohibited the state from enforcing its COVID-19 vaccine mandate on the grounds that it denies healthcare workers a religious exemption to receiving the vaccine. The ruling has immediate implications for healthcare employers in New York with employees refusing the vaccine for religious purposes.

Shot or Not? OSHA Standard Sets Requirements for Large Employers

While many employers have voluntarily established mandatory vaccination policies, the lack of consistent applicable laws and guidance has made them difficult to administer. Recognizing the need for universal standards and considering the continued high transmissibility of COVID-19 in the workplace, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration's (OSHA) emergency temporary standard (ETS) is the federal government's attempt to stem the tide of infections among workforces.

COVID-19 Vaccinations Now Mandatory for Millions of Healthcare Workers

On November 5, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an emergency regulation, the Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Rule, which requires that eligible staff working at Medicare- or Medicaid-certified providers or suppliers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

DC Expands Universal Paid Leave Benefits

Last month, the Universal Paid Leave Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 gave many workers in the District of Columbia expanded access to paid medical, parental, and family leave benefits under the District's Paid Family Leave program. The expansion is set to expire on November 21, 2021, but the DC City Council is aiming to make the enhanced benefits permanent by including nearly identical provisions in the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Support Act, currently under review by Congress.

COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Programs: Employee Benefit Considerations

On November 5, 2021, OSHA published an ETS covering COVID-19 vaccination and testing. Under the ETS, employers with more than 100 employees must adopt a policy requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

COBRA Deadlines During the COVID-19 National Emergency

Because of the disruption wrought by COVID-19, certain federal agencies established the Emergency Relief Period to provide employers and individuals with extra time in which to take certain COBRA-related actions. Recently, the IRS issued guidance to clarify the way in which the Emergency Relief Period applies to the deadline for making an initial COBRA premium payment.