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COVID-19 Information and Resources

OSHA COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS)

IMPORTANT NOTE: On Friday, November 12, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a stay against OSHA's "vaccine or test" ETS for employers with 100 or more employees. Litigation could continue for weeks or longer, and OSHA has suspended enforcement. As a result, the implementation deadlines (shown below) are not in effect pending further action by the Sixth Circuit Court (selected to rule on the petitions for review). In the meantime, employers that are covered by the ETS are encouraged to identify which workers are vaccinated or not, require mask-wearing, and continue preparation for compliance.

On November 4, 2021, OSHA issued its rule covering COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing for private sector employees, including nonprofits, with 100 or more employees. Following is a brief overview of some of the rule's key provisions and you can download OSHA’s Summary of the COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing rule for more details.

Employee headcount
All employees, including those working part-time and those working from home, count toward the 100-employee threshold.

Important deadlines
By December 5, employers must check each employee's vaccination status and require unvaccinated workers to be masked. Employers must also start providing up to 4 hours of paid time off (including travel time) for workers to get vaccinated, along with reasonable time and paid sick leave to recover from side effects.
• By January 4, 2022, workers who are not fully vaccinated must begin weekly testing for COVID-19 and continue wearing a mask in the workplace.

Exceptions
Employees who work from home or who work exclusively outdoors will not be required to be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. Employees who work part of the time in the office and part of the time remotely are required to comply with the rule.

Exemptions
Employers are required to give workers medical and religious exemptions.

• Exemptions for people with certain medical conditions are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Many employers require people to present a doctor’s note to qualify for this exemption.
• Exemptions for people with sincerely held religious beliefs are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. It is up to employers to determine who qualifies for a religious exemption on a case-by-case basis. This typically involves an inquiry about whether an employee’s stated belief is consistent with their behaviors. (So far, no major religion has barred its members from taking the coronavirus vaccine.)
• Exemptions are not permitted for workers based on prior infection.

Employee Testing
OSHA does not require employers to pay for or provide tests, given that the vaccine is free and highly effective, but some businesses may be required to pay under local laws or collective bargaining agreements.
• Employers are not required to provide paid time off for testing.
• All coronavirus tests approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration are permitted, including PCR tests (considered most accurate and reliable), and antigen tests, which generally return results more quickly but are less sensitive.

Recordkeeping
Employers are required to keep documentation of their workers’ vaccination status, such as a copy of their vaccination cards or a signed and dated employee attestation, and COVID-19 test results.

Unemployment
Eligibility for unemployment benefits for workers who are terminated for not complying with the mandate may vary from state-to-state.

COVID-19 Staffing Operations Resources

COVID-19 – Q & A Specific to Staffing from Seyfarth Shaw LLP about client and candidate procedures and communications

Model Practices to Keep Workers Safe

OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

COVID-19 - Adjusting Drug Testing Protocols

EEOC Guidance: What You Should Know about the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19

Department of Labor Guidance: Families First Coronavirus Response Act
(Note: DOL continues to update these implementation regulations without notice)

Health Action Alliance - Employer resources to promote COVID-19 prevention and encourage workers to get vaccinated (e.g., sample vaccination policy, sample messaging language, and guides for responding to requests for medical and religious exemptions)

COVID-19 Information and Resources for Staffing Companies - American Staffing Association

Sample Letter to Employer Clients – American Staffing Association

Sample Letter to Employees – American Staffing Association

COVID-19 Financial Resources

Employee Retention Tax Credits
The COVID Relief Bill signed in December 2020 extends refundable payroll tax credits for nonprofits and for-profit businesses, retroactively expands eligibility to entities that received PPP loans, and significantly increases the reimbursement cap per employee. Contact Rebekah Nuss at Synergi Partners for a no-obligation consultation to evaluate your eligibility for this credit. Should you then engage them to process this credit, Synergi charges a 12% contingency fee of the final credit amount delivered.
Synergi Partners Fact Sheet - Employee Retention Tax Credits

Businesses and nonprofits of any size can defer payment of the employer portion (6.2%) of 2020 Social Security payroll taxes, with the exception of entities that receive loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program. Half of employers' 2020 Social Security payroll taxes is due on December 31, 2021, and half is due on December 31, 2022.
IRS FAQs: Deferral of employment tax deposits and payments through December 31, 2020

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