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 the states of Alabama, Ohio, and Oregon. Most importantly, as new information becomes available, Personnel Concepts will continue to provide regulatory updates to affected customers.
On May 6th, 2021, the Alabama State Legislature approved the Darren Wesley “Ato” Hall Compassion Act, commonly referred to as the Alabama Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill or Senate Bill 46. If approved by Governor Kay Ivey, Alabama employers will need to comply with the bill’s new rules. The possible effects on the workplace include changes to prescription drug cost coverage, drug screening, and drug in the workplace policies.
To help employers with costs associated with preventing the spread of COVID-19, Ohio has launched the Indoor Air Quality Assistance Program. The state established the program to reimburse certain private employers for inspections, assessments, maintenance, or improvements to indoor heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. These improvements, however, must play a role in suppressing COVID-19 exposure in the workplace. The deadline to apply for reimbursements on eligible expenses is June 30th, 2021.
The private employer eligibility requirements are as follows:
- Facilities licensed by the Ohio Department of Health (i.e., nursing homes, assisted living/residential care facilities, hospices, etc.)
- Facilities recognized by the Ohio Department of Aging. These include senior centers and adult day centers that are Medicaid providers in the PASSPORT, Ohio Home Care, or MyCare Ohio waiver programs.
- Any facilities certified/licensed by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Facilities can include both substance use disorder and Class 2 and Class 3 residential treatment providers (such as adult care facilities).
- Any facilities certified/recognized by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. These facilities include group homes; intermediate care facilities; and any adult day support providers that are Medicaid providers and have submitted a Provider Assurance Form.
Effective May 4th, 2021, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OR OSHA) published a COVID-related final rule. The rule requires Oregon employers to permanently implement safety measures to protect their employees from the spread of COVID-19.
The rule’s provisions include:
- No “sunset date.”
- Infection and notification protocols
- Mandatory physical distancing and face-covering requirements
- Exposure risk assessments, Infection Control Plans, and training and posting requirements
- Right to return to work for those currently working in quarantine
- Guidelines for industry-specific workplaces
At the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state will eliminate the final rule.