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Workplace Compliance News & Resources

Get the latest safety and workplace compliance news and resources from the federal, state, and local government levels. Below you’ll find late-breaking news, an interactive state map, the latest federal news, and minimum wage changes.

We try to keep it easy to understand and give you some general considerations on what to do, but we always recommend that businesses seek legal counsel for further advice and guidance on your particular situation.

Wherever available, KPA products are updated with the latest government notices and posters for employers.

Breaking News

Latest Federal Workplace Compliance News

DHS Releases Additional H-2B Visas for 2022 Spring/Summer Workers

Who: All employers with H-2B employees

When: Effective immediately

What: The H-2B visa program is a lottery system that allows employers to petition the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for temporary work visas for foreign workers. Due to the strong demand for workers in the U.S. labor market, the DHS announced that it is making an additional 35,000 H-2B visas available for foreign workers starting work between April 1, 2022, and September 30, 2022.

Of the 35,000 visas, 23,500 will be set aside for returning H-2B workers—those who received an H-2B visa or were otherwise granted H-2B status during one of the last three fiscal years. The remaining 11,500 visas are reserved for nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras (whether they are returning H-2B workers or not).

Workers who are exempt from the H-2B cap include:

  • H-2B workers in the U.S. who extend their stay, change employers, or change the terms and conditions of their employment;
  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, and their supervisors; and
  • Workers who work in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands or Guam.

The addition of these visas more than doubles the amount that is normally granted for summer workers. By granting the additional visas, the DHS intends to support American businesses and give foreign workers more opportunities to come to the U.S. Employers must go through the usual petition process and wait for approval, then the worker must apply for an H-2B visa abroad.

How:

  • Start the petition process as quickly as possible for additional H-2B workers.

Additional Resources:

H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers

Workers Who Are Exempt from the H-2B Cap

Effective Immediately: Court of Appeals Reinstates Federal COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

Who: Federal employers and employees

When: Effective immediately

What: On April 7, 2022, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district judge’s ruling regarding COVID-19 vaccination, thereby reinstating the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for federal workers.

The vaccination requirement, which was issued in September of 2021 mandates that all executive agency employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with exemptions for medical reasons and religious beliefs.

Additional Resources:

Executive Order on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees

OSHA Issues Internal Memorandum on Compliance with Form 300A Reporting Requirement

Who: All employers

When: Effective immediately

What: On April 4, 2022, OSHA issued an internal memorandum regarding the requirement for employers to electronically submit their injury and illness records. Because the number of submitted reports is significantly lower than the expected number of reports, OSHA suspects noncompliance. Therefore, the agency will run a computer program on a weekly basis to determine who is likely not complying. They will distribute said reports to regional administrators, have them check validity, and ask administrators to follow enforcement procedures.

The agency can issue a citation for violating the rules only if the violation is within six months of the reporting deadline. In any case, employers who are required to report should take care to ensure they’re meeting their reporting obligation.

How:

  • Review your OSHA Form 300A reporting obligation and ensure that you have a procedure in place to timely file required data.

Additional Resources:

OSHA Memo (April 4, 2022)

OSHA Website

OSHA Solicits Comments on Proposed Rule Changes for Form 300A

Who: All employers

When: Comments due by May 31, 2022

What: On March 28, 2022, the Occupational Safety Hazard Administration (OSHA) announced proposed rule changes that would update the classification system it uses to determine which industries must submit Form 300A data electronically through the OSHA reporting portal. Form 300A is what employers use to report their employee injury and illness data.

Businesses that have 250 or more employees and are NOT in a designated industry would no longer have to submit the Form 300A data.

Businesses with 100 or more employees that are classified in certain high-hazard industries would have to start submitting the Form 300A data.

Businesses with 20 or more employees in certain high-hazard industries would have to continue submitting Form 300A.

By changing the industry designations and making the proposed changes, OSHA anticipates it will 1) be better able to focus resources on businesses where workers are at high risk of illness and injury and 2) respond to emerging hazards. The public may submit comments until May 31, 2022.

How:

  • Submit your comments at Regulations.gov by May 31, 2022.

Additional Resources:

Proposed Rule

Regulations.gov

29 CFR 1904.41

Injury & Illness Recordkeeping Forms – 300, 300A, 301

USCIS Seeks Comments on Proposed Changes to Form I-9, Due May 31

Who: All employers

When: Comments due by May 31, 2022

What: The current Form I-9, which employers use to verify and document employment eligibility, expires on October 31, 2022. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is seeking comments on its proposed changes to the form until May 31, 2022. The agency is proposing these changes to clarify and simplify the form and instructions, and slightly reduce the amount of time it takes to complete the form. Changes include:

  • Reducing the instructions from 15 to 7 pages;
  • Condensing Sections 1 and 2 to one page;
  • Moving Section 3 to its own separate page titled “Reverification and Rehire Supplement to the Form I-9,” which employers would use only if needed;
  • Updating the Lists of Acceptable Documents to include a link to List C documents (on the USCIS website) and the acceptable receipts listed in 8CFR 274a.2(b)(1)(vi)(A-C);
  • Removing electronic PDF enhancements to ensure that the form can be completed on all electronic devices;
  • Elimination of the N/A requirement, which means fields that aren’t applicable could be left blank instead of having to fill in “N/A”;
  • Moving the A-number, I-94, and Foreign Passport boxes into one box;
  • Deleting the QR code box; and
  • Replacing the term “alien” with “noncitizen.”

How:

  • Submit comments at Regulations.gov by May 31, 2022.

Additional Resources:

OMB Control Number 1615-0047 Proposed Changes

Regulations.gov

Proposed Material Changes

Handbook for Employers M-274

White House Advances Equality for Transgender Community

Who: All employers

When: Effective immediately

What: On March 31, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration released a statement announcing its support of the transgender community and the actions it has taken and will take to protect and promote the rights of LGBTQI+ individuals.

The list of actions is extensive. It includes:

  • Biden declared March 31 of each year a Transgender Day of Visibility.
  • Starting April 11, 2022, U.S. citizens will be allowed to select the gender marker “X” on their U.S. passports.
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will provide allow persons filing discrimination claims to select the gender marker “X.”
  • The Department of Homeland Security is implementing new measures to better serve transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming travelers. Screening procedures will protect the dignity of all individuals. TSA PreCheck will allow “X” as a gender marker. TSA is streamlining the identity validation process.
  • When a person wants to update their gender identity on their Social Security card, the Social Security Administration will no longer require proof of identity or a physician’s note.

The Biden-Harris Administration is taking additional actions in support of transgender persons receiving proper mental health and medical care and fair access to housing.

How:

  • Update your retaliation and personnel-file policies to comply with the law.

Additional Resources:

FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Advances Equality and Visibility for Transgender Americans

A Proclamation on Transgender Day Of Visibility, 2022

Travel.State.gov./Select Your Gender Marker

Effective Immediately: Moderna Vaccine Approved by the FDA and CDC

Who: United States employers and employees

When: Effective immediately

What: On January 31, 2022, the FDA approved Moderna’s vaccine against COVID-19 for people over the age of 18. One week later on February 4, 2022 the CDC approved the Moderna vaccine alongside the FDA.

Moderna’s vaccine is the second to be approved by the FDA following the approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in August of 2021.

Moderna’s vaccine is marketed under the name Spikevax. Spikevax contains the same formulation as the EUA Moderna COVID-19 and is administrated in two doses to be taken one month apart.

As of early 2022, over 200 million doses of the Moderna vaccine have been administered throughout the US.

How:

Educate and inform your employees about federal mandates and safety protocols.

Additional Resources:

Spikevax Full Prescribing Information

FDA Spikevax Priority Review

FDA.gov Spikevax Information Page

CDC Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

Effective Immediately: Pfizer’s COVID Pill is Approved by the FDA

Who: United States employers and employees

When: Effective immediately

What: On December 22, 2021, the FDA approved and issued the emergency use of Pfizer’s Paxlovid, the first antiviral pill to be used to treat patients with mild-to-moderate Covid-19 symptoms. Following approval, Paxlovid will be prescribed to patients 12 years and older who weigh at least 88 pounds within the first five days of experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19.

Once prescribed, Paxlovid is administered as three pills that include nirmatrelvir and ritonavir antiviral drugs that are to be taken twice a day for a period of five days. Pfizer has released data indicating that the Paxlovid treatment cut the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% for high-risk adults within the first few days of showing symptoms.

Pfizer expects to have millions of doses of Paxlovid available throughout 2022. The federal government signaled a commitment to making Paxlovid treatment free and accessible for all Americans as more doses become available.

Paxlovid is currently not authorized for:

  • Treatment in patients requiring hospitalization due to severe or critical COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis for COVID-19 prevention.
  • For use longer than five consecutive days.

 How:

Educate and inform your employees about federal mandates and safety protocols.

Additional Resources:

Paxlovid Emergency Use of Authorization Letter

Frequently Asked Questions on the Emergency Use Authorization for Paxlovid for Treatment of COVID-19

2022 Minimum Wage Updates

KPA tracks state and local minimum wage changes for our Vera HR customers, providing them with updated labor posters and more.

Check out the latest minimum wage changes for 2022, typically updated in December and June to ensure you know about the majority of increases before taking effect on January 1 and July 1.

Resources for Success

OSHA Reporting Resource Hub

If regulatory paperwork makes your head spin, have no fear—the workforce safety and compliance professionals at KPA are here to help.

We’ve created this resource hub chock full of OSHA recordkeeping and reporting best practices to help keep your head on straight.

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