COVID-19 and Federal/State Updates

September 2, 2022

U.S. Federal Update

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC has updated its clinical guidance webpage with information regarding the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently issued an emergency use authorization. Novavax information has also been added to the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccines webpage. We will stay in our lane on this topic, but apparently the Novavax vaccine was developed using more traditional methods. While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA, the Novavax vaccine uses spike proteins to trigger an immune response. The hope is that more people will get vaccinated with this new option.

U.S. State Updates

California

With the end of the legislative session a couple of days ago, we are keeping a keen eye on a few bills that are sitting on Governor Newsom’s desk (he has until September 30, 2022 to sign or veto the bills) that would impact employers in California (from a leave and COVID standpoint):

  • AB 152 would extend COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) through the end of the year and would make other minor changes.
  • AB 1949 would require employers with 5 or more employees to provide up to 5 days of unpaid bereavement leave upon the death of a family member (as defined by the California Family Rights Act).
  • AB 1041 would expand the definition of “family member” (again) under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Employees would be able to care for a “designated person” who has a serious health condition. “Designated person” means any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.
  • AB 2693 would make changes to the COVID-19 notice requirements.
  • SB 951 would increase State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits for low wage earners to 90% of their regular wages starting in 2025. To fund the higher benefit rate, it would remove the taxable wage ceiling for employee contributions. If this bill is not signed by the governor, the weekly benefit percentage for SDI and PFL benefits will revert to 55% (currently 60% or 70% depending on earnings) for all employees.

Colorado

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) is developing “My FAMLI+ Employer”, which will be their online portal for employers to report wage data, remit premium payments, and more. The portal will be released later this year in a phased approach and employers will be invited to register in small groups before January 2023. However, if you are interested in being invited to register early this fall you can do so by going here.

New York

The Department of Financial Services (DFS) has released updated premium details for the Paid Family Leave (PFL) program for 2023. The contribution rate will decrease from 0.511% to 0.455% of PFL covered wages. The state average weekly wage was updated earlier this year to $1,688.19, which makes the taxable wage ceiling $87,785.88. As a result, the maximum contribution per employee in 2023 will decrease from $423.71 to $399.43. The maximum weekly benefit will increase from $1,068.36 to $1,131.08.

New York has also updated their resources for employers for 2023:

PFL Fact Sheet

Model Language for Employee Materials (template)

Employee Notice of Paid Family Leave Payroll Deduction for 2023

Statement of Rights for Paid Family Leave (PFL-271S)

Another reminder for 2023 – as of January 1st, employees will be able to take PFL to care for a sibling (biological, adopted, step-sibling, and half-siblings) with a serious health condition.

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