Our research and regulatory monitoring team frequently tracks labor law developments from all 50 states. The following list of findings from this week’s state legislation research sweep addresses May 2021 regulatory activity in California, Michigan, and Montana. Most importantly, as new information becomes available, Personnel Concepts will continue to provide regulatory updates to affected customers.
This past week, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board considered making COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) changes. The proposed changes would make concessions to mask requirements based on the Center of Disease Control recommendation on fully vaccinated individuals. However, they would still require employers to have an established written COVID-19 Prevention Program. The written program would cover everything from training and communication with employees to investigating COVID-19 cases in the workplace.
The following sections of the ETS are being considered for updating:
- Close Contact Instead of COVID-19 Exposure
- Exposed Group Instead of Exposed Workplace
- Notice Requirement
- Physical Distancing
- Face Coverings
- Exclusion from Worksite
More information on the proposed ETS changes can be found in the Cal/OSHA Standards Board Meeting Webcast from May 20th, 2021.
On May 10th, 2021, Michigan reached the first milestone of their “Vacc to Normal Plan” by allowing all businesses to return to in-person work on May 24th, 2021. The state reached the milestone once 55% of Michiganders, aged 16 and older, had received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Future vaccine-based milestones include the following:
- 60% of Michiganders (4,858,150 residents) receive the vaccine, plus two weeks:
- An increase to the indoor capacity at sports stadiums to 25%.
- Increases the indoor capacity at conference centers/banquet halls/funeral homes to 25%.
- Allows capacity at exercise facilities and gyms to rise to 50%.
- Lifts the curfew on restaurants and bars.
- 65% of Michiganders (5,262,996 residents) receive the vaccine, plus two weeks:
- Lifts all indoor capacity limits, requiring only social distancing between parties.
- Further relaxes limits on residential social gatherings.
- 70% of Michiganders (5,667,842 residents) receive the vaccine, plus two weeks:
- Lifts the Gatherings and Face Masks Order. The Michigan Department of Health would no longer employ broad mitigation measures unless unanticipated circumstances arise. These circumstances include the spread of vaccine-resistant variants.
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed three bills, significantly revising Montana’s Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act, Human Rights Act, and Wage Protection Act. Descriptions of the bills, signed on May 7th, 2021, include the following:
- Montana Human Rights Act (MHRA) – As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the controversy surrounding vaccinations and “immunity passports,” Montana has amended the MHRA. The MHRA now protects those who choose not to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
- Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act (WDEA) – Updates the previous version of the WDEA by including an extension of the probationary period where employees can be terminated without good cause. There is also an increase in proof required for wrongful discharge and a simplified notice for the employer’s internal grievance procedure.
- Montana Wage Protection Act (WPA) – Previously a voluntary act for employers, the changes to the WPA require tip pooling for business in the service industries where tips are collected. The WPA also creates a notification requirement; outlines the jobs that are eligible for tips; establishes no minimum or maximum contributions; and creates payout timelines and recordkeeping requirements.