Human Resources

The Washington Report

June 16, 2021

Note to subscribers: Due to the current environment, information is changing at a rapid rate. While we do our best to provide timely updates, it is possible that the information shared in the newsletter may change or be revised after our publication deadline. Stay healthy and safe! ~The Washington Report team

Other HR/Employment

IRS Publishes Two New FAQs for Small and Mid-Sized Employers Under ARPA
On June 11, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published two new, separate sets of frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) to assist families and small and mid-sized employers in claiming credits under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Both the child and dependent care credit as well as the paid sick and family leave credit were enhanced under the ARPA, enacted in March 2021 to assist families and small businesses with the fallout of the COVID-19 and recovery underway. The two sets of FAQs provide information on eligibility, computing the credit amounts, and how to claim the tax benefits.

The IRS news release is available here.

The FAQs for small and mid-sized employers are available here.

The FAQs on the child and dependent care tax credit are available here.

Spring 2021 Regulatory Agenda Released
On June 11, 2021, the Biden Administration released its Spring 2021 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, which provides an updated report on the actions federal departments and administrative agencies (e.g., the Department of Labor (DOL), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of the Treasury, Department of Health and Human Services, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, etc.) plan to issue in the near and long term. The agendas include regulatory plans and priorities for 2021 and provide a framework of activity expected throughout next year. Departments and agencies may delay the release of regulations at any time, so it is important to note that projected timelines are estimates and may not be met by the date(s) indicated in the agendas.

A variety of regulations are scheduled to be issued in the months ahead potentially impacting health care, retirement, compensation, and employment. For additional information, please refer to the specific regulatory agendas.

The link to the Current Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions (i.e., updated Regulatory Agendas and Plans, searchable by department and agency) is available here.

A DOL news release outlining worker-centered protections found in the Spring 2021 agenda is available here.

OSHA Releases COVID-19 Guidance for Health Care Workers and Updates Guidance for Other Industries
On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect health care workers from contracting COVID-19. The standard focuses on health care workers most likely to have contact with someone infected with the virus. OSHA announced the new standard alongside new general industry guidance, both of which are aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

On the same day, OSHA also published updated guidance to help employers and workers in other industries protect employees who are still not vaccinated, with a special emphasis on other industries noted for prolonged close-contacts like meat processing, manufacturing, seafood, and grocery and high-volume retail. According to the OSHA guidance page, the summary of latest changes include:

  • Focusing protections on unvaccinated and otherwise at-risk workers;
  • Encouraging COVID-19 vaccination; and
  • Adding links to guidance with the most up-to-date content.

Please refer to both sets of guidance for specific details.

The OSHA news release is available here.

The ETS for health care workers is available here.

The updated guidance for employers and employees is available here.

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