On Jan. 13, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled to stay the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) vaccination and testing emergency temporary standard (ETS). The ETS was developed to establish a mandatory vaccination policy requirement for private employers with 100 or more employees.
ETS Litigation – The ETS went into effect on and has been in litigation since Nov. 5, 2021. It was blocked by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals early on but was reinstated by the 6th Circuit on Dec. 17, 2021.
SCOTUS Reasoning – In its published decision, SCOTUS stated that OSHA was not given the power to regulate public health more broadly than occupational dangers. In addition, SCOTUS explained that challenges to the ETS were likely to succeed on the merits because the agency lacks the authority to impose the mandate. Specifically, the OSHA Act only allows the agency to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures. Finally, the court argues that the requirement that employees either become vaccinated or undergo weekly testing is not an exercise of federal power. Instead, SCOTUS stated the ETS represents a “significant encroachment into the lives—and health—of a vast number of employees.”
On Friday Dec. 17, 2021 the 6th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals reinstated the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) federal emergency temporary standard (ETS) for COVID-19. The 6th Circuit decision reverses the stay ordered in November by the 5th Circuit and allows OSHA to resume ETS implementation and enforcement nationwide. The ETS establishes a mandatory vaccination policy requirement for private employers with 100 or more employees.
ETS opponents have already filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the 6th Circuit’s decision.
Human resources expert Rob Wilson weighs in
‘Tis the season to get new health insurance rates! Rates are dramatically on the rise, with some companies seeing increases in premiums from 20 to 40 percent. Due to COVID’s impact, hospitals need to pay their workers more than ever before, just to retain employees and ensure that they stay staffed. And, supply chain issues mean price increases across the board, even in the healthcare industry.
Here is what employers need to know:
“Inflation is higher now than it has been in years,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and group health insurance expert. “Wages are going up, benefits are going up, taxes are going up. Businesses are already stretched to their utter limit. And health insurance companies are hedging their bets for all the upcoming claims coming up in 2022.”
Employment trends expert weighs in
With the COVID-19 pandemic more under control, many offices are considering the idea of bringing back holiday parties. But, how can you safely host an office party during a pandemic, and are the risks worth the camaraderie?
“Our internal research has shown that many of our clients are going to do a holiday party this year. They’re very eager to start building connections between their staff again, and to bring back some cheer to the office after such a dark time,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment trends expert. “But hosting an office party right now can be difficult. There are several factors that companies need to consider before they start planning a party, big or small.”
On Nov. 4, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a federal emergency temporary standard (ETS) to address COVID-19 infection in the workplace. Affected employers will be required to comply with most provisions of the ETS by Dec. 5, 2021, and with its testing requirements by Jan. 4, 2022. Affected employers include private employers with 100 or more employees. State plans will have 30 days to adopt the federal ETS or implement their own vaccination standard.
ETS Requirements – Employers must determine the vaccination status of each employee, obtain acceptable proof of vaccination and keep a roster of each employee’s vaccinations status. The ETS also requires employers to:
- Develop, implement and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy; or
- Create a policy allowing employees to choose to get a vaccination or wear a face covering in the workplace and have weekly COVID-19 testing done.
HR expert speaks to the cost of remote work, and reveals new findings from the Employco 2021 Return to Work Survey
A new survey has found that over 65% of companies have delayed their plans to return to the office due to COVID variants. The decision to stay remote, which is being called ‘The Great Wait,’ could wind up costing American businesses hundreds of millions.
Rob Wilson, employment trends expert and President of Employco USA, a national employment solutions firm with locations around the country, comments on this breaking news.
“Google has just delayed their return to the office until January 2022,” says Wilson. “Other companies like Facebook, Starbucks, Amazon, and Apple have released similar timelines. Sadly, however, this abundance of caution may end up being very costly.”
Employment solutions CEO discusses exclusive new workplace survey
Just in time for the start of the new fiscal year, a newly-released employee survey led by Employco USA offers a revealing portrait of the American workplace.
“We surveyed 3,000 companies, which together employ over 10,000 employees,” says Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA, a national employment solutions firm with locations around the country.
“We made several key findings which illustrate how the workplace has changed since we returned to the ‘new normal,’ as well as findings which help to predict how things might change in the coming months,” says the employment trends expert.
Most notably, says Wilson, is the fact that only 39% of employers are requiring their workers to mask up when on the job.
Employment trends expert comments on the Better Business Bureau study
A new study from the Better Business Bureau has found that employment scams nearly doubled during 2020. Over 14 million victims fell prey to employment scams in 2020, causing losses of nearly $2 billion.
Employment trends expert Rob Wilson speaks on this troubling trend, as well as offers solutions for companies and employers.
“We’ve known these scams have been on the rise for months, and we have been helping our clients with how to best address the issue, but it is still very shocking to see just how quickly these scams mushroomed during the pandemic,” says Wilson, who is the President of Employco USA, an employment solutions firm based in Chicago.
Wilson says that the perpetrators are stealing employees’ identities in order to access government funds under their name.
Human resources expert offers commentary on this breaking story
Yesterday President Biden directed the Labor Department to mandate that any companies with more than 100 employees either require the COVID vaccination or COVID test all their employees once a week.
“Those companies that don’t comply could face thousands of dollars in fines per employee,” says Rob Wilson, HR expert and President of Employco USA, an employment solutions firm with locations across the country. “This means that even those employers who may disagree with the mandate or dislike requiring the vaccination are left with very little choice: They will have to require the mandate or face costly fines that could cost them their business.”
Meanwhile, United Airlines just made international headlines after it was revealed that the airline giant is putting all unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave, even if they have a religious exemption.
Human resources expert Rob Wilson explains whether employers can inquire about workers’ vax status
New data shows that over half of Americans who are 18+ have received at least one vaccination dose. But even as millions line up to get their vaccinations, vaccination hesitancy is still very much an issue. Experts say that we are reaching a ‘tipping point’ in which the demand of Americans desiring the vaccination will greatly diminish in the next 3-4 weeks, leaving a surplus of COVID-19 vaccinations without any willing patients to receive them.
“Vaccine hesitancy is huge right now, and it’s only growing thanks to the temporary recall of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines. Yet as employers, getting all of our workers vaxxed is on the front of our minds. We want to know that our staff and our clients are as safe as possible, yet how can we encourage vaccinations while still respecting an employees’ right to privacy?” queries Rob Wilson, President of Employco USA and employment trends expert.
But are employers allowed to require the vaccination, and even go so far as to require proof that a worker has indeed been vaccinated?