According to a legal opinion posted online on July 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice officially took the position that the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act—which authorizes an “emergency use authorization” for a vaccine—does not prohibit entities, including employers, from requiring a vaccine even if authorized for emergency use only. Read Full Update
Chicago recently enacted an ordinance granting employees rights in connection with getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Employers should be aware of these key provisions:
- An employer may not take adverse action against an employee who gets a vaccine during working hours.
- Regardless of whether an employer mandates vaccination, it cannot mandate that employees receive the vaccine
On March 12, 2021, New York passed a new law requiring all New York employers to provide up to four (4) hours of paid leave for the purposes of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. New York is the first state to implement paid leave specifically limited to time spent getting vaccinated. The law is effective as of March 12, 2021, and the law’s leave entitlement is set to expire on December 31, 2022. In addition to paid leave, the law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who request or take vaccination leave, or otherwise exercise their rights under the new law.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released long-awaited Guidance this morning regarding permissible activities and relaxed precautions for individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second shot of a two-dose vaccine (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna), or two weeks after receiving the single-dose vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson).
Specifically, today’s CDC Guidance states that fully vaccinated individuals may:
- Gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask;
- Gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19; and
- Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure to COVID-19 if asymptomatic.
As the COVID-19 resurgence continues, the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago, have once again updated guidance for employers. For further details, please read our update, which provides a summary of the most recent mandates and guidance as of November 20, 2020.
On April 3, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an updated recommendation that all workers and members of the general public should consider using non-medical face masks or face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 transmission and infection. The CDC does not require individuals to wear face masks; however, businesses should be aware of increased local legislation that may affect their workforce. Many states now mandate the use of face masks and may even require businesses to bear the cost in providing them.