On April 7th, the United States Department of Labor issued detailed guidance and model notices to assist employers in implementing the COBRA premium assistance requirement under Section 9501 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the ARP).

The ARP requires employers to provide a 100 percent COBRA premium subsidy – between April 1, 2021 and Sept. 30, 2021 – for employees whose reduction in hours or involuntary termination of employment makes them eligible for COBRA continuation coverage during this period. An employer or plan to whom COBRA premiums are payable, advances the COBRA premium and is then entitled to a tax credit for the amount of the premium assistance provided.

Continue Reading American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Requires Employers to Pay Employee COBRA Premiums Until September 30, 2021

President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, into law. This post provides details of the bill which includes stimulus checks for individuals earning below certain income thresholds, aid to state and local governments, and money to support vaccine and testing programs, among other things.

This post provides an overview of the aspects of the plan which specifically affect workplaces.

Continue Reading The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: What Does It Mean for Employers?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today issued interim recommendations – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html – for fully vaccinated people.  As more individuals have access to the three COVID-19 vaccines being administered under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), individuals and employers are wondering what that means in terms of gatherings, work, and travel.  The CDC has indicated that what was published is an interim set of recommendations subject to review and modification based on the level of community spread of the virus, the proportion of the public which is fully vaccinated, and the rapidly evolving science on vaccines.

Continue Reading So, You’ve Gotten the Vaccine, Now What? The CDC Has Some Advice

Beginning February 11, the Biden Administration has launched a “Federal Retail Pharmacy Program” for COVID-19 vaccines. The is a public/private partnership which involves over 40,000 pharmacy locations across the country.

The CDC worked with states “to select initial pharmacy partners.” One criterion was the proximity of the pharmacy to more “at risk” populations.

Additional information

The Centers for Disease Control has issued new guidance regarding quarantine requirements for individuals who have been vaccinated, and for those who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection.

For those who have received the vaccine, the CDC is no longer recommending quarantine following close contact with an infected person if the individual meets all three of the following criteria:

Continue Reading CDC Revises Quarantine Guidance For Those Who Have Been Vaccinated, Or Who Have Recovered From A COVID-19 Infection

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services has issued a guidance for Mass employers who may wish to have their employees vaccinated. The guidance is not a mandate, and is fairly complex regarding steps employers must take to have their employees vaccinated.

Continue Reading The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services Issues Employer Vaccine Guidance on Heels of Federal EEOC Position Allowing Employers to Mandate Vaccines

Although Congress had the opportunity to extend the requirement that companies with 500 or fewer employees provide paid medical leave and family leave to workers impacted by COVID-19, it did not do so; and those mandates expired on December 31, 2020.  The eleventh hour stimulus package did keep in place, through March 31, 2021, the tax credit to employers who voluntarily continue to provide this paid benefit.

The USDOL has issued some guidance to provide “clarity around some of the novel issues that FFCRA’s expiration raises” according to Wage and Hour Administrator Cheryl Stanton.  As of December 31, 2020, the DOL added two questions and answers (104 and 105) to its very helpful general FFCRA guidance located at  https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions.

Continue Reading FFCRA Leave: Gone But Not Forgotten as DOL Issues Guidance Post-Stimulus

The COVID-Related Tax Relief Act of 2020 and the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, both part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, (collectively the “Stimulus Bill”) contain numerous provisions related to employer sponsored benefit plans. Below are some of the key provisions relating to welfare plans, retirement plans and other employer provided benefits.

Continue Reading Benefit Plan Provisions in the Stimulus Bill

President Trump last night signed into law a bipartisan bill extending a number of benefits set to expand on December 31, 2020 and expanding other pandemic relief benefits. A summary of the provisions which will impact individual employees and workplaces follows:

  • FFCRA Emergency Sick and Family Leave benefits were not extended and will expire as