Navigating Employment Compliance Rules – Covid-19 and Hazard Pay Laws

Apr 15, 2021

With employers and workers still facing the COVID-19 pandemic more than a year later, many lawmakers are working on legislation to help protect frontline workers. Also, as vaccines are increasingly available to US workers, many states are passing laws for paid vaccine leaves. 

New Legislation Coming in California for Hazard Pay 

In California, cities and counties are passing hazard pay ordinances for frontline workers, such as grocery stores and retail pharmacies. As of March 2021, more than 20 cities or counties in California, including Los Angeles County, Santa Clara County, and San Francisco, have passed an ordinance requiring that frontline workers get paid a hazard rate.

According to the Department of Labor, “Hazard pay means additional pay for performing hazardous duty or work involving physical hardship.” Since the beginning of the pandemic, many businesses have offered hazard pay to frontline workers due to the increased risk. 

Most cities require a $4-$5 per hour increase for frontline workers. Also, when assessing overtime pay, employers must include the hazard pay rate. That means managers must track all hours worked by frontline workers and ensure they’re getting paid at the higher rate. 

With Legion WFM, employers can use differential pay hours by work roles to ensure frontline workers are paid the correct rate when working in a specific California location. Managers can define which employees qualify as frontline workers and configure different pay rates for work roles through integration with payment solutions. All hours worked in a certain work role can be reported via the payfile.

Also, managers and payroll admins can set up Hazard Pay for a location easily. They can use Legion WFM to configure a COVID hazard pay type for the affected California locations. Once the pay type is set up for certain locations and dates, workers receive a hazard pay rate for all hours worked in the hazard period. Legion WFM also supports applying the hazard pay rate for overtime and holiday hours, saving managers time when calculating hazard pay. 

New Legislation in New York for Paid Leave

New York passed a law requiring employers to give workers four hours of paid leave to get vaccinated. For workers who need two doses, they’re entitled to eight hours of paid leave. This leave is independent of a worker’s existing Sick Time Off balance and accruals. This requirement adds complexity because managers have to be sure employees aren’t scheduled at these times and are paid appropriately while also keeping track of vaccination dates. 

With Legion WFM, Time Off balance and accruals can be integrated directly and used to manage a Time Off request. It also clears the employee from scheduling for future dates. Also, if Time Off balance and accruals aren’t used, Legion WFM supports custom pay types. A manager or payroll admin can use Other Pay to add hours to an employee’s timesheet, making compliance easier. Finally, Legion WFM standard reporting enables employers to track paid leave for Covid vaccines.

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