As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold in 2022 it’s expected that employment laws will evolve according to the situation. Many employers will be facing legal questions as they adapt their policies to meet the requirements of the “new normal”. Other legal issues that must be addressed in the new year include the question of leave laws that are paid by the state as well as overtime rules.
Booster Shots in 2022
As things stand now, a fully vaccinated employee is one that has had 1 or 2 shots, depending on the type of vaccine received. To be deemed fully vaccinated an employee would have to have two of the Moderna or Pfizer jabs or one of the Johnson & Johnson shots. As new information is received regarding the omicron variant and the possibility of waning efficacy of the vaccinations over time, a new question arises regarding booster shots. The term ‘fully vaccinated’ may have to be updated to include booster shots in the definition.
Reopening for Business in 2022
A lot of businesses shut down in 2021 as the delta variant roared through the country. Now, many companies will be opening again and this means that safety and employment policies may need to be revamped. The new policies may address face coverings, screening protocols, sick leave, testing for Covid-19 and more.
In some jurisdictions leave laws were permanently expanded or enacted over the last two years. It’s expected that these laws will need to be overhauled in 2022 if the pandemic continues to worsen or if it ends altogether.
Choice of Laws in 2022
Many employees had to work remotely during the pandemic crisis and this continues to be the case today. When a company is located in one state and the employee resides in another, it’s difficult to determine which of the state laws apply. Businesses must evaluate the laws to find out which ones should apply and should stay up-to-date on any changes made in the state laws during 2022.
Federal Contractors Employment Laws
The minimum wage will rise to $15 per hour for all federal contractor employees starting on January 30, 2022. All existing and extensions of contracts must comply with this new requirement. As well, a new reporting system by the name of “AAP-VI” will be introduced at some point so that the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs can verify that the AAPs have been created. It’s expected that all federal contractors will have to submit AAPs on a yearly basis.
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
A vote is expected to take place soon by the Senate on this act, which would offer pregnant workers stronger protection. By law, employers would not be able to deny a reasonable accommodation to pregnant individuals and not just to those that are having difficult pregnancies. Many local legislatures are also addressing workplace discrimination and this trend is expected to continue well into 2022.
Changes to Discrimination Laws
Governments at both the municipal and state levels are making changes to discrimination laws in different areas of the country. In the state of Montana, for example, businesses cannot discriminate against workers that have used marijuana when they aren’t at work. In California, it is unlawful for employers to require workers to sign non-disparagement or settlement agreements that are related to discrimination. In certain sections of North Carolina, gender expression, gender identity, natural hair style and sexual orientation have been added to the protected class definition. In 2022 we may find out whether this trend towards changing discrimination laws will also be adopted by the federal government.
Productivity and Privacy Issues
There will be more concerns about privacy and productivity issues as hybrid working continues to be in force in 2022. Questions will arise regarding the monitoring of productivity while taking confidentiality and privacy laws into account. There are specific surveillance tools that breach privacy laws for workers and determining the best security measures for individuals working from home will need to take place.
As the laws are updated due to the evolution of the pandemic, you need to stay informed and aware of any legal ramifications for your business due to these legislation changes, trends in employment laws, closed head injury laws, on-the-job injury compensation and so on.
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