Employer Guide: Understanding Workplace Vaccine Policies

small business owner with face mask is handing a customer their purchase

With the recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals of COVID-19 vaccines, the topic of vaccines in the workplace—specifically what employers can do—has been a major point of discussion. Topics like, should or can employers implement a vaccination policy, should or can employees be required by employers to receive a vaccination, what will keep my employees and customers safe, what should employers consider when discussing vaccination options, and what are the pros and cons to mandating a vaccine?

While there are many factors that go into making these decisions, however, it is ultimately up to the employer to decide what they feel would be best for their employees and business. Employers should consider all options, weigh the pros and cons as it pertains to their business, employees, and customers, and use substantiated information to make the best possible informed decision.  

To Implement a Policy or Not: That is the Question

Mandating vaccines is the sole choice of the employer. Regardless of the final decision, there are many items to consider. For example, what are the implications for the business, for employees, and customers? When it comes to employees, what steps are you willing to take to either enforce vaccination, continued social distancing or masking, or leave these items to the discretion of each employee? These decisions should be discussed with your human resources representative or team, collaborate with any internal leadership or stakeholders, and, ensure you are approaching the subject appropriately and taking all options into consideration.

Having a fully vaccinated workforce would provide employers peace of mind that their employees are safe and healthy and therefore would take fewer sick days and reduce the risk of spreading illness. It would also provide comfort that the company is focused on protecting any customers with whom employees come into contact.

Objections to implementing a vaccination policy—such as current health conditions that prevent employees from being able to receive certain vaccines, and religious beliefs that prevent employees from being required to receive a vaccination—need to be taken into account if the decision is made to implement a vaccination policy.

In order to implement a mandatory vaccination policy, the vaccine must first be deemed safe and widely available. Additional components to consider when implementing the policy include:

  • Vaccine Costs: If the employee’s health insurance does not cover the cost of the vaccine entirely, employers should reimburse or cover the additional funds to avoid a financial burden on the employee.
  • Educate Employees: Employees should have access to documentation and resources that discuss the safety and importance of vaccinations, including the COVID-19 vaccine, in an effort to encourage them to get vaccinated.
  • Incentivize Employees: You can offer incentives to employees who choose to get vaccinated, encouraging others to do the same. You can also offer paid time off for employees to get the vaccine and recover from any possible side effects.
  • Employee Exemptions: The vaccination plan should include the option to opt out of receiving the vaccine for medical conditions and/or religious beliefs.
  • Human Resources: HR professionals should be the team that handles the communication and distribution on the vaccination policy because they’re typically well-versed in employee-related communications surrounding sensitive topics.
  • Job Descriptions: Employers and HR should update any job descriptions to include any essential duties—such as travel and customer interaction—that would require a mandatory vaccination.
  • Job Interviews: Employers are legally allowed to ask potential job candidates if they are vaccinated against COVID-19. The ADA prohibits employers from asking candidates questions that would reveal a disability during the hiring process, however, the EEOC has clarified that asking employees if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine is not a disability-related question. Any follow-up questions must be job-related and should be reserved until after making an offer.

Has This Happened Before?

In 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) established its first set of guidelines around mandatory vaccination policies due to the H1N1 pandemic (commonly known as “swine flu”). In their guidelines, the EEOC concluded that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibited employers from compelling certain employees from getting vaccinated. The EEOC, in accordance with ADA, also concluded that any employee with underlying medical conditions should be allowed to be exempt from any mandatory vaccination requirements. Similarly, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act allows this same exemption to be given to employees with sincerely held religious beliefs if vaccination legitimately offends the employee’s religious beliefs. In an ADA-protection situation, alternative accommodations would need to be implemented for these employees if a vaccination policy is put in place. These accommodations could include reducing these employee’s interactions with other staff and/or customers.

Outside of these two accommodations, there may also be state-specific laws surrounding vaccination policies. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) remains current on these state laws which can be reviewed here.

Vaccines in the Workplace Best Practices

Here are some best practices and guidance from the CDC surrounding workplace vaccinations:

  • Whether you are mandating vaccinations or not, employers should offer flexible, non-punitive sick leave options for any employees who decide to receive the vaccine—including the COVID-19 vaccine—and experience side effects afterwards.
  • Build confidence in vaccines, specifically the COVID-19 vaccine. Employees who are hesitant to get vaccinated may become more confident and willing after seeing their colleagues get vaccinated.
  • Consider hosting an on-site vaccination clinic. Employers can utilize mobile vaccine clinics that can come directly to the office location to vaccinate employees. The CDC offers guidance on how to host a workplace vaccination clinic for management, human resources, employees, and labor representatives.
  • If hosting a vaccination clinic at your workplace is not possible, employers should make it easy and stress-free for employees to get vaccinated off-site. For example, allow your employees to get vaccinated during work hours, or take paid leave to get vaccinated. You can also support transportation to vaccination site by reimbursing employees for taxis, public transportation, and rideshare services.
  • Promote confidence in vaccines in your workplace by sharing updated, credible information. There is a lot of information circulating on the safety of vaccines, specifically the COVID-19 vaccine, so it is important to make sure you are sharing the most recent updates from credible sources with your employees. The CDC offers some tips on how to build confidence in vaccines in your workplace that you can utilize with your employees.
  • Additional resources such as posters, stickers, factsheets, graphics, and videos relating to the recent COVID-9 vaccines can be found here.

If you are not considering mandating vaccines in your workplace, here are some ways you can operate safely with your employees and customers.

  • Each business has the option to require face coverings to be worn by staff and customers at all times. You can require your staff, regardless of their vaccination status, to wear face masks when interacting with customers, or in shared areas of the office.
  • In shared work areas such as conference rooms and break rooms, employees should practice CDC guidelines of maintaining six feet of distance between each other, and limit the number of employees in these shared spaces at one time.
  • Employers can modify or adjust workstations to maintain a six foot distance, and incorporate transparent shields or physical barriers where six feet is not possible.
  • Provide disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer throughout the office.
  • Encourage employees who are not feeling well, or who have symptoms of COVID-19, to stay home. This includes if a family member of your employee’s is also sick or experiencing symptoms.
  • More guidance on how to keep your workplace safe can be found here.

If you’re looking to implement a vaccination policy for your workforce or looking for alternative options Vensure Employer Services is here to assist! Our team of human resource management consultants will help you determine if a vaccination policy is the best option for your business, and will assist with establishing best practices around the policy. Our HR team of experts is here to support business owners with navigating sensitive topics with their employees and will provide you with all the tools, knowledge, and resources you need to make the best decision for your business and employees.

 

Sources:


SHRM-Employers React to Workers Who Refuse Vaccination as COVID-19 Cases Rise

SHRM- Can Employers Ask Job Applicants About Vaccination and COVID-19?

Mintz- Vaccinate or Terminate: Mandatory Vaccination as Workplace Policy

Centers for Disease Control- Workplace COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

August 2021: Planning Ahead and Updated Posting Requirements

 Plan Ahead

(This section provides you with an overview of current and upcoming laws that take effect) 

Law / Regulation Effective Date 
Texas Amends Sexual Harassment LawSeptember 1, 2021
Colorado Bans the Box for All EmployersSeptember 1, 2021
Texas Amends Data Breach Notification LawSeptember 1, 2021
Texas Removes Handgun License RequirementSeptember 1, 2021
New York City Enforces Fair Work Practices Ordinances’ Wrongful Discharge ProvisionsSeptember 2, 2021
Colorado Enacts Veterans Preference LawSeptember 7, 2021
Colorado Prohibits Discrimination Based on Gender Identity and ExpressionSeptember 11, 2021
Nebraska Bans Hairstyle DiscriminationSeptember 11, 2021
Oregon Amends Military Leave ProtectionsSeptember 25, 2021
Arizona Restricts Collection of Union Dues Or Benefit ContributionsSeptember 29, 2021
Florida Minimum Wage Increases to $10.00September 30, 2021

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Posting Updates

Federal or State Updated Posting Mandatory or Recommended 
TBD 
Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – Overtime Exemptions, Overtime, Joint Employment. ANTICIPATED 
Federal Minimum Wage ANTICIPATED 
Federal Family Medical Leave Act ANTICIPATED 
ANTICIPATED
Illinois You Have the Right to be Free from Job Discrimination and Sexual Harassment ANTICIPATED 
New Jersey Wage Theft ANTICIPATED 
New Jersey Safe Act ANTICIPATED 
New York Discrimination ANTICIPATED 
Virginia Minimum Wage ANTICIPATED 
New York Fair Employment ANTICIPATED 
Colorado Healthy Families and Workplaces Law ANTICIPATED 
New York Minimum Wage ANTICIPATED 
August 2021 
OregonPredictive SchedulingRECOMMENDED
Chicago, IllinoisLabor StandardsMANDATORY
KansasEqual Opportunity in EmploymentMANDATORY
IllinoisJob Safety and Health (IL-OSHA)MANDATORY
IllinoisVictims’ Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA)MANDATORY
IllinoisYour Rights Under Illinois Employment LawsMANDATORY
St. Paul, MinnesotaMinimum WageMANDATORY

August 2021 Washington HR Legal Updates

Washington’s Wage Recovery Act Passed to Include Statutory Wage Liens on Unpaid Wages

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Washington.

What happened?
On April 16, 2021, Governor Inslee signed Senate Bill 5355 (SB 5355) into law.

What are the details?
Effective January 1, 2022, employees will be able to place a lien on their employers’ property to secure unpaid wages while they wait for a resolution on their unpaid wage claims.

These wage liens can be placed on property owned or subsequently acquired by the employer. This includes:

  • Real property in the state.
  • Goods and tangible chattel paper (i.e., records establishing a monetary obligation or security interests) in the state.
  • Accounts and payment intangibles. Only property in the state of Washington is subject to a lien, but employers or property owners do not need to be located in Washington for the lien to attach.

Specifically for willful violations, the property can include the real property and personal property of any officer, vice-principal, or agent. The lien could also apply to the property of those individuals’ spouses, domestic partners, and heirs.

If an employer or owner believes that the wage claim is frivolous and made without reasonable cause or clearly excessive, the party can file a motion in court directing the employee to appear before the court to show cause as to why the requested relief should not be granted. In addition, employers cannot require their employees to waive their rights to obtain a wage lien in any employment contracts or agreements.

The law can be read here.

An article on the new law can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the law in order to familiarize themselves with it prior to it going into effect so that they are aware of the process and what it provides. The law firm, Perkins Coie LLP, encourages employers to review the law as it has specific provisions setting out procedures on how to foreclose on a lien, the priority a wage lien is given over other types of liens, and form notices of wage liens.

August 2021 Virginia HR Legal Updates

Virginia’s Overtime Wage Act Amended

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Virginia.

What Happened?
On August 10, 2021, Governor Northam signed HB 7001 into law.

What are the details?
The Law amends the Virginia Overtime Wage Act (VOWA), which was effective July 1, 2021. The amendment incorporated the availability of “compensatory time” for certain public sector employees (i.e., leave in lieu of overtime wages) and clarifies that public sector volunteers are not considered “employees” covered by the VOWA.

In addition to this, the Law also restores exemptions for employees in numerous industries, including the following:

  • Certain salesmen, parts men, and mechanics primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles, trucks, or farm implements (i.e., the automobile salesperson exemption).
  • Certain computer employees.
  • Employees of specified amusement or recreational establishments.
  • Employees of specified religious or non-profit educational conference centers.
  • Fishery employees.
  • Certain agriculture employees.
  • Employees of newspapers that have small circulations.
  • Switchboard operators employed by … independently owned public telephone companies of a certain size.
  • Seaman employed on non-American vessels.

The law can be read here.

An article on the law can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the amendment here and their payroll policies to continue to stay in compliance with the amendments to the VOWA.

August 2021 Texas HR Legal Updates

Texas Employers Liability for Sexual Harassment is Expanded

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Texas.

What happened?
Governor Abbott signed two bills into law regarding sexual harassment, Senate Bill 45 (SB 45) was signed into law on May 30, 2021, and House Bill 21 (HB 21) was signed into law on June 6, 2021.

What are the details?
Effective September 1, 2021, the two passed bills will make an impact on employers by expanding employee protection for sexual harassment claims.

The first bill, SB 45, expands coverage of sexual harassment claims to any person or entity that “employs one or more employees” or who “acts directly in the interests of an employer in relation to an employee.” It also requires employers to be attentive to sexual harassment in the workplace and act quickly to stop it. Specifically, an employer would be committing an “unlawful employment practice” if “sexual harassment of an employee occurs and the employer or employer’s agents or supervisors:

  • Know or should have known that the conduct constituting sexual harassment was occurring; and
  • Fail to take immediate and appropriate corrective action.”

The second bill, HB 21, provides employees an additional 120 days to bring a sexual harassment claim under the Texas Labor Code with the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division. This will bring the filing timeframe to 300 days from the date of alleged harassment but only applies to conduct that occurs on or after September 21, 2021.

The documents for SB 45 can be read here.

The documents for HB 21 can be read here.

An article on the laws can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the laws to be aware of the updated standards that will be in place regarding sexual harassment and make any applicable updates to their policies to stay in compliance. The law firm, Akerman LLP, recommends that employers of all sizes:

  • Have anti-harassment policies in place which clearly describe prohibited conduct, establish specific avenues for reporting concerns, and include anti-retaliation provisions; and
  • Train supervisors and others who may have control over workplace conduct in how to recognize and respond to sex harassment or claims of sex harassment.

August 2021 Pennsylvania HR Legal Updates

Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Enacted in Pittsburgh

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

What happened?
On July 29, 2021, Mayor Peduto signed the Temporary COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (626B) into law.

What are the details?
The law, effective immediately and through July 27, 2022, is similar to the previously enacted 626A that was in effect through June 17, 2021, but has some key differences.

The law requires employers with 50 or more employees to immediately provide emergency COVID-19 Sick Time (CST) without a waiting or accrual period once they have been employed by the employer for 90 days.  CST shall be provided in addition to any paid leave or sick time provided by the Employer. The balance calculations are as follows:

CST shall be provided to Employees for the following absences if they are unable to work in person or telework, related to COVID-19:

The law can be found here.

An article on the law is here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the law to update their leave policies and provide the new leave to applicable employees.

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Mandatory Security Checks Considered Compensable Hours Worked

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Pennsylvania.

What happened?
On July 21, 2021, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found in “Re:Amazon.com, Inc., No. EAP 2019” that employees waiting for and undergoing mandatory security screenings is always compensable as hours worked.

What are the details?
In the decision by Pennsylvania Supreme Court, it was concluded that time spent at a mandatory security check on the employer’s premises must be compensated.

This is based on the definition of “Hours worked” that is defined by Pennsylvania regulations to include “time during which an employee is required by the employer to be on the premises of the employer, to be on duty or to be at the prescribed workplace, … and provided further, that time spent on the premises of the employer for the convenience of the employee shall be excluded.” under 34 Pa. Code §231.1.

The court documents can be found here.

An article on the court decision can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review their payroll policies and make any applicable updates to stay in compliance with the decision made by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

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Philadelphia Implements Mask Mandate

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Philadelphia do not mandate vaccinations for employees, patrons, and guests.

What happened?
On August 11, 2021, Mayor Kenney announced a new mask mandate for the City of Philadelphia.

What are the details?
Effective August 12, 2021, the mandate requires employers to require masks for all persons within and entering their business and must also monitor compliance. Businesses that mandate vaccinations or require proof of vaccination for everyone that entered their doors are exempt from the new rule.

Masks will also be required at all non-seated outdoor events in Philadelphia, with more than 1,000 attendees. An update on August 13, 2021, states that essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and urgent cares must require masks for all staff and patrons and will not be able to utilize the vaccination exception. In regard to city employees, all employees working for the City of Philadelphia must wear double masks while working unless they are fully vaccinated, and all employees hired after September 1, 2021, must be vaccinated.

The mandate can be read here.

An article on the mandate is found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the mandate and their mask policies to make applicable updates to keep them in compliance with the City of Philadelphia.

August 2021 Oregon HR Legal Updates

Temporary Rule Requiring Healthcare Worker Vaccinations in Oregon

Update Applicable to:
Employers with healthcare providers and staff in Oregon.

What happened?
On August 5, 2021, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) enacted a temporary rule for COVID-19 prevention measures.

What are the details?
Effective immediately and through January 31, 2022, the temporary rule requires healthcare personnel and healthcare staff who work in healthcare settings to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis at a minimum. The standards set by the rule must be met and implemented by September 30, 2021.

The workers covered in the rule are individuals —either paid or unpaid—who work, learn, assist, observe, or volunteer in a “healthcare setting” and who are “providing direct patient or resident care” or are potentially exposed to patients, residents, or infectious materials. This includes traditional healthcare providers (e.g., physicians and nurses), but it also includes “unlicensed caregivers” and employees working in clerical, security, billing, and administrative functions, among others, in healthcare settings.

The healthcare settings covered by the rule include any place where physical or behavioral health care is delivered. Included are nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, adult foster homes, residential facilities, residential behavioral health facilities, pharmacies, hospice, vehicles or temporary sites where health care is delivered (for example, mobile clinics, ambulances), and outpatient facilities (e.g dialysis centers, health care provider offices, behavioral health care offices, urgent care centers, counseling offices, as well as chiropractic or acupuncture clinics.

The rule also requires Oregon employers of healthcare providers or healthcare staff, contractors, or responsible parties have and follow a policy for

  • Requesting and obtaining proof of vaccination from every healthcare provider and healthcare staff person.
  • Requiring COVID-19 testing “on at least a weekly basis” for healthcare providers and healthcare staff persons who are unvaccinated or whose vaccination status is not known.
  • Maintaining documentation of weekly COVID-19 test results for any healthcare provider or healthcare staff person who is unvaccinated or has an unknown vaccination status.

The rule can be read here.

An article on the rule can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Covered employers should review the temporary rule and update their applicable policies to stay compliant with the COVID-19 guidelines set in place by the rule.

August 2021 New Jersey HR Legal Updates

New Jersey Requires Vaccines or Testing of Employees in High-Risk or Healthcare Settings

Update Applicable to:
Employers in New Jersey in the covered businesses detailed below.

What happened?
On August 6, 2021, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 252 (EO 252).

What are the details?
The order, effective September 7, 2021, requires employers in the “covered settings” to have adequate policies, privacy protections, and training or education procedures in place. The employer settings covered in the order are as follows:

  • Healthcare facilities:
    • Acute, pediatric, inpatient rehabilitation, and psychiatric hospitals (including specialty hospitals, and ambulatory surgical centers).
    • Long-term care facilities.
    • Intermediate care facilities.
    • Residential detox, short-term, and long-term residential substance abuse disorder treatment facilities.
    • Clinic-based settings (e.g., ambulatory care, urgent care clinics, dialysis centers, Federally Qualified Health Sites, family planning sites, and opioid treatment programs).
    • Community-based healthcare settings (e.g., Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, pediatric and adult medical daycare programs, and licensed home health agencies and registered health care service firms).
  • High-risk congregate settings:
    • State and county correctional facilities.
    • Secure care facilities operated by the Juvenile Justice Commission.
    • Licensed community residences for individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD) or traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
    • Licensed community residences for adults with mental illness.
    • Certified day programs from individuals with IDD or TBI.
    • Certain long-term care facilities subject to prior New Jersey Department of Health Executive Directives.

Covered settings must establish a policy that requires covered workers to provide adequate proof of full vaccination for COVID-19 or submit to COVID-19 testing one to two times weekly minimum. Any covered workers who are not fully vaccinated or have not provided adequate proof of vaccination by the effective date must submit to the testing protocol until fully vaccinated.

Covered workers are considered fully vaccinated two weeks or more after receiving the second vaccine dose in a two-dose series or after a single-dose vaccination. The acceptable forms of vaccination proof include:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccination Card issued by the vaccination site (or an electronic or physical copy of the card).
  • An official record from the New Jersey Immunization Information System (or other state registry).
  • A record from a healthcare provider’s portal or record system on official letterhead, signed by a licensed physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, or pharmacist.
  • A military immunization record from the Armed Forces.
  • A docket mobile phone application record or any state specific application that produces a digital health record.

Beginning the effective date, covered workers in a covered setting that are unvaccinated for COVID-19 must submit to COVID-19 testing at least one to two times per week. The covered setting also must establish a policy for tracking test results and report those results to its local health department.

The order can be read here.

An article on the order can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the order here and their current policies on vaccination to process any applicable updates and introduce any required policies to compliant with the state of New Jersey.

August 2021 Minnesota HR Legal Updates

Duluth Passes Ordinance on Expanded Leave Usage

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Duluth, Minnesota.

What happened?
On July 19, 2021, Mayor Larson signed Ordinance #21-023-O into law.

What are the details?
The ordinance, effective August 19, 2021, will expand the covered uses of leave under the Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) Ordinance and amends employer notice and enforcement provisions.

Once in effect, employees will be able to use leave when they lose work hours when their place of employment closes for public health reasons (a covered use with particular meaning during COVID-19). Other pre-existing reasons employees can use leave includes illness, injury, or health condition (and diagnosis, care, or treatment thereof), preventive medical care, and for reasons connected to domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.

Employers that maintain employee handbooks will need to include a copy of the company’s ESST policy or, if the employer has a substantially equivalent paid leave benefit to comply with the ordinance, a copy of that equivalent paid leave policy.

Employers must display or provide the city-created poster to employees or provide a company-created notice that advises employees of their rights under the ordinance. The amendments allow employers to comply with this notice requirement by providing new employees a copy of their ESST or substantially equivalent paid leave policy.

In addition to other legal or equitable relief available, the city will order employers to provide employees with written notice of a violation and the corrective action taken.

The ordinance can be found here.

An article detailing the ordinance is here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review their paid leave policies and employee handbook (if applicable) to make any changes needed due to the Ordinance. The law firm, Littler Mendelson P.C., recommends that employers also monitor the city’s ESST webpage for updates to the rules or other generally applicable or COVID-specific FAQ the city publishes.

August 2021 Maine HR Legal Updates

Maine Limits Pre-Offer Criminal History Checks with Fair Chance Act

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Maine.

What happened?
On July 6, 2021, Governor Mills signed “An Act Relating to Fair Chance in Employment” (HB 1167) into law.

What are the details?
Effective October 18, 2021, the law will place restrictions on employers requesting an applicant’s criminal history on initial employment applications or certain situations being reached.

The employer is prohibited from requesting or asking about an applicant’s criminal history on applications. Employers are also prohibited from stating on applications or in advertisements that a person with a criminal history cannot apply or will not be considered for a position. Exceptions to this rule are where federal or state law, regulation, or rule create a mandatory disqualification based on a conviction or the employer is required under federal or state law, regulation, or rule to conduct a criminal background check.

The employer may ask about the applicant’s criminal history in an interview or once they have been determined as qualified for the position. If an employer does inquire about an applicant’s criminal history or it is revealed during the process, the employee must be given the opportunity to explain the information and the circumstances regarding any convictions, including post-conviction rehabilitation.

There are exceptions to the law’s prohibition where an employer may ask about criminal convictions on the employment application if:

  • The position is one in which any federal or state law or regulation or rule creates a mandatory or presumptive disqualification based on a conviction for one or more types of criminal offenses, and the questions on the initial employment application form are limited to the types of criminal offenses creating the disqualification.
  • The employer is subject to an obligation imposed by any federal or state law or regulation or rule not to employ a person, in either one or more positions, who has been convicted of one or more types of criminal offenses and the questions on the initial employment application form are limited to the types of criminal offenses creating the obligation.
  • The employer is required by federal or state law or regulation or rule to conduct a criminal history record check for the position for which the prospective employee is applying.
  • The employer participates in a program that encourages the employment of persons with criminal convictions.

The law can be read here.

An article on the Law is found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review their hiring processes and documents to make any applicable changes to stay in compliance with the new law and not inquire on criminal history prior to when the guidance allows.

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Maine Expands State’s FMLA to Include Care for Grandchildren

Update Applicable to:
Employers in Maine with 15 or more employees.

What happened?
On June 14, 2021, Governor Mills signed L.D. 61 into law.

What are the details?
The law, effective September 16, 2021 (90 days after the end of the session on June 19, 2021) amends Maine’s Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to include care for their grandchild or their domestic partner’s grandchild.

The law has been updated to read “A child, domestic partner’s child, grandchild, domestic partner’s grandchild, parent, domestic partner, sibling or spouse with a serious health condition”.

The law can be read here.

An article on the law is found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review their leave policies and make any applicable updates to stay in compliance with providing FMLA to their employees.