The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.1 percent from September to October 2020. This result stems from an increase of 0.1 percent in average hourly earnings combined with no change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Real average hourly earnings increased 3.2 percent from October 2019 to October 2020.
As we enter flu season, and as it now appears that a COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon, employers should be mindful of compliance concerns regarding employees being required to receive certain vaccinations. If an employer mandates that its employees receive a vaccine, it can expect to receive push back from some of its employees. Some push back may be for political reasons, some may be out of fear, and some may be due to disability or religious concerns. Federal law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to applicants or employees that object to receiving a vaccination because of a disability or religious beliefs, unless the accommodation would impose undue hardship on the employer. It is also important to note that courts have broadly interpreted both “disability” and “religion” in the mandatory vaccination context. For example, at least one federal court has held that veganism can constitute a sincerely-held religious belief exempting an employee from an employer requirement to be inoculated with a vaccine containing albumen from chicken eggs.
Atlanta, Georgia-based Risk & Insurance Consultants Inc. has paid $1,599 in back wages after denying paid sick leave to an employee who received a healthcare professional’s instructions to self-quarantine due to coronavirus concerns. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) determined that Risk & Insurance Consultants violated the emergency paid sick leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). After the DOL notified the Company of its obligations, the employer paid the back wages. The FFCRA gives tax credits to U.S. businesses with fewer than 500 employees to provide employees with paid leave for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members for COVID-19-related reasons.
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