The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

IRS Issues Employer Guidance on COVID-19 Paid Leave Tax Credits

by CUPA-HR

On September 7, the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service issued Notice 2021-53, which includes guidance to employers on reporting the amount of qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees for leave taken in 2021 as provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and as amended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

HR and the Courts

by CUPA-HR

CUPA-HR General Counsel Ira Shepard highlights recent rulings around the EEOC’s first COVID-19 teleworking denial lawsuit under the ADA, a community college employee seeking relief from denial of disability benefits under state law, an ageism lawsuit, and more.

OSHA Provides Details on Upcoming COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard

by CUPA-HR

On September 9, President Biden released his COVID-19 Action Plan, which includes a six-pronged plan to combat COVID-19 through increased vaccinations, testing and other strategies. The Biden Administration is using different agencies to implement and enforce the different requirements. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will require employers with 100 or more employees to test nonvaccinated employees on a weekly basis through an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). While OSHA has yet to release many specifics about the timing and the content of the ETS, the agency did release some information late last week.

Biden Announces New COVID-19 Mitigation Plan

by CUPA-HR

On September 9, President Biden released a new COVID-19 mitigation plan, which includes several new requirements and recommendations for employers, employees, schools and others across the country. The six-part plan includes new policies and strategies to vaccinate more unvaccinated individuals, administer booster shots, keep schools safely open, increase testing facilities and products, protect economic recovery, and improve treatments for COVID-19.

New Q&As Issued on Vaccine-Related Leave and Vaccinations for Federal Contractors

by CUPA-HR

On Friday, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force posted new Q&As for vaccinations and vaccine-related leave for federal employees and contractors. Here are two excerpts that relate specifically to federal contractors: “How should an agency ask onsite contractor employees about their vaccination status?” and “What type of negative COVID-19 test result must a visitor or onsite contractor who is not fully vaccinated show documentation of in order to enter a federal building?”

DHS Extends Form I-9 Flexibilities Guidance Through 2021

by CUPA-HR

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a further extension of the flexibilities on Form I-9 compliance requirements that was initially granted last year. The guidance, which was slated to expire on August 31, 2021, has been extended through December 31, 2021. The guidance will continue to allow for remote inspection of Form I-9 documents in situations where employees work exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19-related precautions.

Guidance on Federal Employee and Contractor Vaccine and Testing Mandates

by CUPA-HR

On July 29, President Biden announced the release of preliminary guidelines for a COVID-19 vaccine attestation mandate for all federal employees. Following these guidelines, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, which was established by Executive Order (EO) 13991, “Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing,” issued updated guidance on the role of federal agencies in inquiring about the vaccine status of federal employees and onsite contractors.

August Legislative Policy Roundup: Update for Higher Ed HR

by CUPA-HR

Though August is typically a quiet time in Washington, D.C., legislative activity during the first half of the month remained steady in preparation for a busy fall. To keep members updated on what to expect, the CUPA-HR government relations team pulled together a summary of recent actions that will continue to take shape after Congress returns from the August recess, including DOL and NLRB nominations, infrastructure bills, and the Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act.

OSHA Updates Guidance to Help Employers Protect Workers from COVID-19

by CUPA-HR

On August 13, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued updated guidance regarding workplace COVID-19 precautions, incorporating, among other things, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s July 27 guidance for fully vaccinated people.

HR and the Courts

by CUPA-HR

CUPA-HR General Counsel Ira Shepard highlights the rise in OSHA’s workplace safety inspections, the differing positions union leaders have taken regarding employer-mandated vaccine policies, recent rulings around a law professor and students challenging each of their institutions’ vaccine mandates, and a student-athlete Title IX retaliation claim.