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HR Compliance Updates – January 2022

By January 6, 2022No Comments

🗓️  January Updates

Keeping HR pros up to date with important compliance updates and human resource articles.

Supreme Court will Review Federal Vaccine Mandates

On December 22, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear oral arguments regarding whether two federal vaccine requirements can be enforced while legal appeals are in process. On Jan. 7, 2022, the Court will consider requests on the OSHA ETS for COVID-19 and the CMS emergency rule requiring COVID-19 vaccination for certain health care workers.

OSHA ETS: As a reminder, the OSHA ETS establishes a vaccine -or-test requirement for private employers with 100 or more employees. These employers must require employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested on a weekly basis and wear face coverings at work. Originally, OSHA issued the ETS on Nov. 5, 2021. It was later blocked nationwide by a federal appeals court and then reinstated by another court. Groups challenging the rule have asked the Supreme Court to stay the reinstatement while they appeal the ruling. OSHA plans to delay enforcement of the ETS until at least Jan. 10, 2022.  The Biden Administration’s various vaccine and/or testing mandates for employers with over 100 employees, certain healthcare providers and federal contractors, continue to face significant legal challenges. The following is an update on the status of these challenges:

CMS Rule for Health Care Workers: The CMS rule requires Medicare and Medicaid- certified providers and suppliers to establish a policy requiring covered staff members to be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they are eligible for an exemption based on recognized medical conditions or religious beliefs. Multiple federal court rulings have resulted in the CMS rule being blocked in a number of states. While CMS has indicated that it will not enforce the rule due to pending litigation, the Supreme Court will consider whether the lower court rulings should remain in place during the appeals process.

Our December Compliance Newsletter included several helpful tools and resources for implementing the OSHA ETS within your workplace. I have also included some additional tools below that you may find helpful.

COVID-19 All in One
Vaccination Tracker

Michigan Announces Intent to Align With New CDC Quarantine & Isolation Guidelines

After a brief pause in which the MDHHS had stated that it would not immediately adopt recently-updated CDC guidelines for COVID-19 quarantine and isolation, the MDHHS announced on Friday, Dec. 31 that it will update Michigan’s quarantine and isolation guidelines applicable to the general public to align with the new CDC guidelines. The updated guidance applies to the general public and does not change the current guidance recommendations for congregate settings (nursing homes, group homes, correctional facilities), early childcare or K-12 settings – these settings should continue to use existing guidelines and policies regarding quarantine and isolation.

Employers should pay careful attention to the current CDC guidelines, as they allow employees to return to work sooner. For the quarantine period after exposure, the CDC does not distinguish between persons who are vaccinated but have not received a booster within the recommended timeframe (six months after a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series, two months after a J&J single dose). The new recommendations are:

Positive COVID-19 Test (Isolation):

  • Person should isolate for 5-days after a positive test
  • If after 5-days, one has no symptoms or has had symptoms but they are resolving and no fever, the isolation period ends
  • The individual should wear a mask around others for an additional 5-days

 

Exposed to COVID-19 (Quarantine):

IF THEN
  • Unvaccinated; OR
  • Received 2nd dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine more than 6-months ago with no booster; OR
  • Received J&J vaccine more than 2-months ago with no booster
  • 5-days of quarantine
  • 5-days of wearing a mask around others
  • Received 2nd dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine within the last 6-months; OR
  • Received J&J vaccine within the last 2-months; OR
  • Fully vaccinated and have received a booster
  • No quarantine
  • 10-days of wearing a mask around others

The new quarantine recommendation includes a caveat when “a 5-day quarantine is not feasible” after exposure, a person in that situation must wear a mask at all times when around others for 10-days. The CDC does not explain who determines when quarantine is not feasible, or how to determine if quarantine is not feasible.

Michigan Public Act 238 defines “isolation period” as the number of days an individual must be in isolation after displaying signs of COVID-19. A “quarantine period” is defined as the recommended number of days that an individual be in quarantine after the individual is in close contact. The employee must not report to work until the isolation or quarantine period has passed, and if symptomatic, the employee’s primary symptoms have improved and 24-hours have passed without fever; or the employee tests negative. Therefore, employers may change the amount of days they permit employees to be absent from work, consistent with the new CDC recommendations. If an employee is under the care of a healthcare professional who recommends a longer isolation or quarantine period for the employee, employers may need to allow the employee time-off consistent with the provider’s recommendation.

DOL Announces Rule to Increase Federal Contractor Minimum Wage

The DOL recently announced a new rule that will increase the minimum wage rate for federal contractor employees. The new rule increases the minimum wage for individuals performing work for individuals performing work on or in connection with federal contracts to $15 per hour on Jan. 30, 2022. The rule also allows the DOL to adjust this minimum wage rate beginning Jan. 1, 2023, and creates standards and procedures to implement and enforce minimum wage protections created by the executive order.

The timing for entering into, renewing or extending work under a federal contract determines which minimum wage rate will apply to federal contractor employees working on or in connection with that federal contract. As a result, federal contractors will need to determine and become familiar with the set of rules that apply based on their federal contract date.

Broker Compensation Disclosure Rule

Transparency and shared expectations are gold standards of any successful business relationship, and one of our core values here at Nulty. As your trusted agents, we believe that it’s important to keep you well-informed about important issues and compliance updates. In that spirit, many of you are probably well aware of the Broker Compensation Disclosure Rule that was a component of the CAA (signed into law in 2020) and went into effect on December 27, 2021.

This Rule requires insurance agents/brokers to disclose all compensation to clients if they expect to receive $1,000 or more in direct or indirect compensation for providing their services. This disclosure must be in writing in advance of the date of the contract or renewal and include a description of the services to be provided, a description of all direct and indirect compensation, a description of the arrangement between the payor and broker/agent, identification of the services for which the indirect compensation will be received, identification of the payer of the indirect compensation and a description of how the compensation will be received.

For our clients with a January 1st renewal, you already received a written disclosure from us. If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Nulty agent.

2022 HR Compliance Calendar

For all the years that I worked in HR, I would have loved to get my hands on a monthly calendar that informed me of important due dates for various compliance requirements. Fast forward many years later and voila! I am happy to share that we have created a 2022 compliance calendar for your reference throughout the year.

Live Well, Work Well Newsletter – January 2022

A free wellness resource to download and share in your workplace.

This month’s newsletter topics include:

  • Tips to Make and Keep Your New Year’s Resolution

  • Don’t Let Winter Derail Your Workouts
  • The Health Benefits of Being Organized
  • Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

Carrie A. Nicholson, PHR, SHRM-CP

HR/Benefits Compliance & Sales Advisor

Our Employee Benefits team is here if you have any questions or would like us to help you with your group benefits. Contact Us

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