Thanksgiving evokes different emotions in people.
For some, it’s their favorite holiday. A time to get together with friends and family and celebrate all that life has to offer.
For others, it’s not as sweet. It can serve as a bitter reminder of all that has been lost in the past year, perhaps a job that ended or a beloved family member that has passed.
This year is no different in many ways. We’ve been through a lot in the last year and we seem headed for yet another wave here in Connecticut with rising COVID numbers yet again.
For employers, I always have viewed Thanksgiving as a time for employers to take stock of the changes that are forthcoming in the law and race to finish those projects in the few weeks after the holiday.
Here are three items for employers to focus on:
- Paid leave becomes effective on January 1, 2022. Remember, this will be a state benefit but that law doesn’t impact whether a leave is “protected” or not. For that, a separate change to Connecticut’s FMLA law will also be going into effect on January 1, 2022. As a result, employers should be updating their FMLA policies now to comply with the new law. My colleagues did a terrific webinar on the subject here that you can still review.
- As I noted, the OSHA ETS vax-or-test rule is on hold with the Fifth Circuit’s stay. But I do not anticipate that will be the last word on the law now that the case has been transferred to the Sixth Circuit. So stay tuned on developments there. For federal contractors, the vaccine mandate (with no test out option) is continuing. Just dealing with those two rules is confusing enough. But over the last week, Florida passed comprehensive language that nearly prohibits employers from mandating the vaccine. The change is so dramatic that Disney announced that it was dropping its vaccine mandate. Thus employers should continue to track these developments. There will be more in the next few weeks.
- The state’s new wage range law continues to be in effect. If you haven’t updated your job posting or offer letters to comply with the new law, you may be opening your company up to significant liability concerns. I covered this back in September but I’m hearing anecdotally that employers are still confused as to what is required.
As a “bonus”, employers should track the COVID-infection numbers over the next few weeks. Face coverings may need to be mandated for all staff, for example. In addition, it’s possible the CDC starts to redefine “fully vaccinated” to mean receipt of a booster shot after six months. Employers that have been mandating vaccination should start to consider the impact of booster shots on their policies.
As for me, I’m grateful for the last year, if a bit tired. I’m very grateful to my colleagues and staff that I work with for their tireless efforts under challenging circumstances. I’m thankful for the clients that have called on us to help. We’ve done it all together.
What’s next? Well, over the next few weeks, you may notice some subtle changes for the blog. The blog will have an updated design that will better match the look of my firm’s sister blog, Employment Law Letter. This blog is over 14 (!) years old and I’ve always found it important to keep it fresh and up to date. I will still be writing but will (hopefully) be resuming my pre-pandemic schedule of a post or two a week, instead of the 2-5 posts a week that were happening during the height of the pandemic. Stay tuned for the exciting details.
Have a very Happy Thanksgiving.