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COVID-19 ETS Is One Step Closer to Implementation

October 15, 2021

The White House is currently reviewing a draft of OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which will require all employers with 100 or more employees to either mandate the COVID-19 vaccination or conduct weekly testing.

Based on this analysis by OMA Connections Partner Fisher Phillips, the White House could complete its review and give its approval any day now — meaning OSHA could publish the ETS in the Federal Register (making it the official law of the land) by the end of this month. The ETS would become effective immediately in federal OSHA states, such as Ohio, with enforcement commencing after an expected grace period. (The ETS likely will include language noting it supersedes any state or local law concerning vaccines that is not as strict as the ETS.)

Fisher Phillips has also published this seven-step guide to help employers implement a COVID-19 testing program — even if they are not subject to the ETS. 10/13/2021

Analysis: Prepare for OSHA’s ETS, Despite Imminent Legal Challenges

October 15, 2021

Multiple legal challenges await OSHA’s forthcoming Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which will require employers with 100 or more employees to mandate COVID-19 vaccination or conduct weekly testing.

According to OMA Connections Partner Fisher Phillips, despite OSHA’s legal hurdles, affected employers should not assume that they will not be required to comply. The firm advises impacted employers to “prepare to roll out a mandate or testing regimen, regardless of what you hear.” The firm offers this suggested three-step plan. 10/14/2021

Bill to Limit Ohio Employers’ COVID-19 Options Stalls Again

October 15, 2021

Ohio House leaders this week scrapped plans to hold a floor vote on a revised version of House Bill 435, OMA-opposed legislation that would restrict employer options during COVID-19. The AP says the bill “could be dead.”

On Wednesday, Oct. 13, Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) told the news media that House Republicans — who hold a 64-35 seat advantage — had failed to reach a consensus on how or whether to move forward with the bill. This week marked the second time in three weeks HB 435 had been scheduled for House floor consideration, but never made it. 10/14/2021

Ohio Manufacturing Pay Averaging More Than $28/Hour

October 15, 2021

The average hourly wage in Ohio manufacturing is now more than $28, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). At the same time, manufacturing hours in Ohio have declined. Employees were working an average of 41.5 hours a week as of August 2021, compared to nearly 42.5 hours last December.

Meanwhile, a report released by OMA Connections Partner MAGNET and Team NEO shows output from the manufacturing sector in northeastern Ohio should grow through 2025, while employment is likely to remain below pre-pandemic levels as manufacturers continue to embrace advanced methods of production. 10/14/2021

Report: Quit Rate Hits New Record, ‘Real’ Unemployment Is 8.2%

October 15, 2021

The official U.S. unemployment rate is 5.2% (and 5.4% in Ohio). However, when including individuals who are no longer looking for a job but who would welcome the chance to work, the “real” unemployment rate is closer to 8.2%, says OMA Connections Partner RSM.

Meanwhile, there are three million fewer workers in the U.S. labor force today compared to February 2020. (Here are the labor force participation rates for the U.S. and Ohio.)

In August, the nation’s “quit rate” reached a record 2.9% — 25% higher than before the pandemic. In manufacturing, the quit rate is 2.5% — the lowest of six major sectors of the economy. “But it has accelerated every bit as quickly as factories race to poach one another’s workers and increase production as supply-chain issues reshuffle the global manufacturing landscape,” The Washington Post reports.10/14/2021

Webinar: Addressing Workplace Harassment

October 15, 2021

Legal experts advise that harassment training should not fall by the wayside, even during COVID-19. On Nov. 3, the OMA will host a webinar presented by Christina Niro, partner with OMA Connections Partner Frantz Ward, to review state and federal discrimination and harassment laws; identify unacceptable behavior in the workplace (in person and online); and profile best practices for preventing and investigating complaints of harassment. Learn more and register. 10/14/2021

Creative Programs to Recognize Your Employees

October 15, 2021

Talent shortages are making it harder than ever to recruit employees, so it’s important to keep the ones you have. To help in this mission, OMA Connections Partner Paycor has published this list of six easy employee incentive ideas. 10/14/2021

Ohio House Hears Testimony on Bill to Limit Employers’ COVID-19 Options

October 8, 2021

This week, the Ohio House Commerce and Labor Committee heard testimony on House Bill 435, the latest attempt by certain House Republicans to restrict employer options during COVID-19. As previously reported, House leaders pulled the bill from floor action last week after objections from the business community, including the OMA.

During an Oct. 6 hearing, Ross McGregor, a former state representative and president and owner of Pentaflex Inc., testified on behalf of the OMA to oppose the legislation. (Watch McGregor’s testimony beginning at the 3:05 mark.) He said the bill would impose the state’s will on the operation of private businesses — and that HB 435’s “gaping exemptions” would make an employer’s decisions meaningless.

“Employers are in the best position to decide what measures make the most sense to protect their companies, not the government,” McGregor said.

Meanwhile, Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) this week told news media that he was reluctant to dictate vaccine policies to private employers. 10/7/2021

Responding to COVID-19 Vaccine Religious Objections

October 8, 2021

OMA Connections Partner Fisher Phillips has been monitoring how employers with COVID-19 vaccine requirements are managing religious exemption requests.

In this new guidance, the firm says that while each employer must make its own decisions about the lengths it will take to respond to religious accommodation requests, some employers have adopted creative approaches that other employers “may consider replicating.” 10/7/2021

Helping Employees With Chronic Conditions

October 8, 2021

More than half of the U.S. population has at least one chronic condition — like asthma, diabetes, hypertension, or a back disorder — and nearly 30% has more than one, according to the CDC. has published this list of strategies for business leaders to better understand and support employees with chronic illness. 10/4/2021