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OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS Is Back (for Now)

December 22, 2021

As reported in the OMA’s Dec. 20 COVID-19 Update, OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) is in effect again following last Friday’s ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Shortly after the decision, OSHA updated the deadlines for ETS compliance.

OMA Connections Partner Frantz Ward has published this ETS refresher for employers with 100 or more employees:

  • WHAT — Covered employers must ensure that all employees are fully vaccinated or produce a negative COVID-19 test result on at least a weekly basis.
  • WHEN — By Jan. 10, employers must have a written vaccination policy and all other vaccine or test requirements in place. By Feb. 9, all employees must be vaccinated or show weekly proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

As noted by OMA Connections Partner Roetzel, ETS opponents have already filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could temporarily block the ETS while it reviews the case. However, the firm advises impacted employers to be prepared to meet OSHA’s revised deadlines. 12/21/2021

Biden Announces COVID-19 Testing Initiative

December 22, 2021

President Joe Biden has announced that his administration plans to distribute roughly 500 million COVID-19 tests nationwide starting in January, while expanding the number of vaccination and testing sites across the country. Starting in January, Americans will be able to request rapid tests through a website and have them delivered without charge, Biden said.

Meanwhile, U.S. health authorities are considering reducing the 10-day recommended quarantine period for those who test positive for COVID-19 in an effort to help asymptomatic people return to work or school, with the proper precautions.

On Dec. 21, Ohio set a single-day record by reporting 12,502 new cases of COVID-19. The current 21-day case average is more than 8,400. Because northeast Ohio is seeing a significant percentage of the new cases, a large drive-thru testing site has opened in Cleveland. 12/21/2021

NLRB Will Roll Back Joint Employer Standard in 2022

December 22, 2021

As an early Christmas gift to organized labor, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently announced it will issue proposed rulemaking on joint employers in February 2022 — almost certainly making it easier for workers to be considered employed by more than one entity for labor relations purposes.

According to this insight by OMA Connections Partner Fisher Phillips, host employers using employees provided by (or compensated through) a third party, such as a staffing company, should examine the contracts and procedures associated with such arrangements, with particular emphasis on reviewing the contractual right to control (both directly and indirectly) employment terms and conditions. 12/21/2021

Ohio’s Jobless Rate Drops to 4.8% as Manufacturing Adds Jobs

December 22, 2021

Ohio’s unemployment rate was 4.8% last month, down from 5.1% in October; the labor force participation rate was 61.3%, up from 61.2%.

Here’s the most recent county-by-county jobless rates. Here’s the labor market review for Ohio’s metropolitan areas.

Employment in Ohio’s goods-producing industries, at 901,600, increased 3,200 over the month. Manufacturing added 500 jobs. 12/21/2021

Feb. 1 Deadline to Apply for the Ohio Export Internship

December 22, 2021

The Ohio Export Internship Program is looking for interested businesses that need assistance with their exporting initiatives. The program matches companies with highly motivated students from Ohio universities and colleges who have taken export-focused coursework.

The Ohio Department of Development will reimburse participating small to medium-sized businesses 50% of intern wages. Deadline to apply is Feb. 1. Internships will run from May to August. More here. 12/21/2021

DeWine Says He’d Veto Bill Stripping Employer Rights

December 17, 2021

As previously reported, the Ohio Senate is considering House-passed legislation (House Bill 218) that would restrict employers’ workplace safety options during COVID-19.

This week, Gov. Mike DeWine told the Statehouse News Bureau he would veto the bill if approved by the Senate. (The House did not pass HB 218 with a veto-proof majority.) The governor said “government shouldn’t tell businesses how to run their operations” — and that he’s also opposed to OSHA’s vaccine-or-test mandate on employers with at least 100 workers. 12/14/2021

Takeaways for Employers as EEOC Says COVID-19 Is ‘Sometimes’ a Disability

December 17, 2021

As reported in the OMA’s COVID-19 Update, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) just released guidance to clarify under what circumstances COVID-19 may be considered a disability under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.

OMA Connections Partner Fisher Phillips has published this analysis of the commission’s new guidance. The firm says employers “should take proactive steps to prepare for what is likely to be an onslaught of such claims following the issuance of the EEOC’s guidance.” 12/16/2021

Industry 4.0 Requires New HR Strategy

December 17, 2021

OMA Connections Partner Clark Schaefer Hackett has published this new insight that says Industry 4.0 will require HR teams to hire for positions that don’t currently exist. To bridge the skills gap, manufacturers are urged to upskill current workers while building relationships with academic institutions to promote manufacturing and develop apprenticeships. 12/14/2021

OMA Defends Employers’ Rights

December 10, 2021

During a hearing held this week by the Ohio Senate General Government Budget Committee, the OMA voiced opposition to House Bill 218, which would restrict employers’ workplace safety options during COVID-19.

OMA Chair Dale Laws, Whirlpool Corp.’s vice president of manufacturing operations – laundry, dishwashers and small appliances, told senators the OMA opposes any “invasion of employer rights.” While a majority of members don’t have a vaccine mandate and don’t plan to, Laws said employers must have access to the best tools to protect their employees.

Rob Brundrett, OMA’s managing director of public policy services, told lawmakers the association also opposes the federal vaccination mandate facing private employers with 100 or more employees. HB 218 would add even more confusion if OSHA’s vaccinate-or-test requirement is upheld by the courts, he said. (Watch the OMA’s testimony beginning at the 26:40 mark.)

The Ohio House approved HB 218 last month over the objection of business organizations and health experts. 12/8/2021

No New Legal Developments (Yet) on OSHA’s ETS

December 10, 2021

Employers with 100 or more employees continue to closely monitor the status of the legal challenges to OSHA’s vaccinate-or-test emergency temporary standard (ETS), which remains temporarily blocked by court order.

OSHA’s original initial compliance deadline of Dec. 6 has passed. OMA Connections Partner Fisher Phillips says if the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit lifts the stay, a new compliance deadline would be announced in short order, while the Jan. 4 deadline for full compliance would likely be extended. (See Fisher Phillips’ ETS FAQs.)

On Capitol Hill this week, the U.S. Senate narrowly passed legislation that would block the ETS. But even if approved by the House, President Biden has pledged to veto the bill from becoming law. 12/9/2021