|OSHA Issues Emergency Standard Requiring Employee COVID-19 Vaccination or Undergo Weekly Testing
Yesterday, OSHA released a final emergency temporary standard (ETS). The ETS mandates employers with 100 or more employees to require workers to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or produce evidence of a negative covid-19 test once per week. Employers are not responsible for the cost of vaccines or testing. Employers are required to provide up to 4 hours of paid leave for employees receive their vaccination. The four hours cannot be deducted from any sick leave or vacation leave the employee may have accrued. Employers are also required to provide up to two days off for employees who experience side effects of the vaccine. The two days off may be taken from an employee’s accrued leave. If an employee has no accrued leave, employers are not required to pay for leave due to vaccine side effects.
Furthermore, truck drivers who work alone, away from the workplace and outdoors are likely exempt from the vaccine and testing mandates. EMA is seeking confirmation from OSHA on the exemption status of truck drivers.
The ETS is expected to cover 80 million private sector workers nationwide. Employers must develop a clearly written company policy for compliance with ETS detailing procedural requirements for employee vaccination or weekly testing and consequences for noncompliance. The ETS is already facing numerous legal challenges in federal court which may delay implementation of its requirements.
The following Q&A explains the key provisions of the emergency standard that affect energy marketers with over 100 employees. CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REGULATORY REPORT.
EMA will follow-up with a more comprehensive compliance bulletin.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hopes to have votes Friday on two bills: the $1.75 trillion reconciliation package (Build Back Better Act, or BBB), and the bipartisan $1.2 trillion Senate-passed infrastructure package (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, or IIJA). The House has made some changes to the legislation in the past week, most notably lowering the maximum income threshold for receiving EV tax credits and imposing a tax on nicotine. Click here to read an updated summary of provisions is included below, with changes highlighted.
If the House passes BBB today, the House will then pass the IIJA, sending the bill to President Biden and giving him a major legislative victory. Moderate House Democrats still have concerns over BBB, however, meaning it’s possible neither bill is passed this week. These concerns have been exacerbated by the November 2 elections, which saw Republicans sweep all three statewide elections in Virginia and run competitively in New Jersey. Even if the House does pass the BBB, the Senate will likely make extensive changes, meaning negotiations could stretch towards the end of the year. Senate consideration will provide stakeholders with additional opportunities to seek changes.
In other news, Reps. Josh Harder (D-CA), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), and 85 other bipartisan Members sent a letter to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg urging the Department to allow truck drivers 18 and older to become licensed to drive across state lines. The letter cites the current supply chain challenges. In addition, a bipartisan group of seven Midwest governors urged the Environmental Protection Agency to provide guidance on potentially allowing the year-round sale of 15% ethanol blends (e15) in gasoline, noting the recent court decision that vacated portions of the current rule.
Meanwhile, EMA is working with its state associations including the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association (OMEGA) that would prevent Americans who make over $100,000 a year or who are buying an electric vehicle (EV) that costs more than $40,000 from claiming the EV credit. CLICK HERE to read the letter.
Marketers Join Coalition in Open Letter to Biden on Supply Chain
EMA joined 100 other associations in a letter to President Biden on Supply Chain Solutions this week. The 5 solutions include support for the Drive Safe Act to allow younger, qualified drivers – between the ages of 18 and 20 – who satisfy rigorous safety, training, and technology requirements to operate in interstate commerce. We encouraged federal agencies, including the Departments of Transportation and Labor, to collaborate with industry and state and local partners to promote transportation and supply chain occupations, particularly commercial truck driving, as a career of choice.
EMA Opposes Tax Hikes in Biden’s “Build Back Better” Plan
Because we are concerned a vaccine mandate will cripple an already strained supply chain. We ask for flexibility for transportation and supply chain essential workers, particularly truck drivers who spend most of their time in their trucks and have minimal contact with colleagues and customers. Also, Hours of Service Relief Regulatory flexibilities, especially during emergencies, are vital to supply chain continuity. We continue to support last year’s changes to the hours-of-service regulations that give commercial truck drivers greater flexibility while improving safety and efficiency. Finally, we urged the Administration to continue to investigate the causes of inefficiencies at our nation’s ports and work collaboratively to minimize the bottlenecks and operational practices that prevent the seamless movement of cargo through the supply chain.
This week, EMA joined other associations in a letter urging Congress to oppose tax hikes on “Main Street businesses” that are in the Administration’s “Build Back Better” (BBB) Framework.
GOP Releases Climate Change Legislation
The BBB would expand the 3.8 percent Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) to all pass-through business income; impose a new surtax of up to 8 percent on all forms of income, including family businesses; and make permanent and expand the loss-limitation rules under Section 461. Moreover, the tax rate hikes in the Framework would apply to businesses making significantly less than the advertised levels. The White House fact sheet suggests the new surtax would impose a 5 percent tax on a taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income over $10 million, and 8 percent in excess of $25 million. For pass-through businesses held in trust, however, these thresholds are fifty times lower -- $200,000 and $500,000, respectively. The same is true for the expansion of the 3.8 percent NIIT. The expanded NIIT’s threshold for joint filers with S corporation or partnership income is $500,000, but it is just $13,000 for a family business with ownership shares held in taxable trusts. Due to the prevalence of trusts, the higher tax rates included in the Framework would harm tens of thousands of modestly sized family businesses located across the country.
The rate increases contemplated by the Framework are significant. The Tax Foundation estimates they will push the marginal rates of family businesses making more than $500,000 to over 50 percent.
This week, Republican Senators Dan Sullivan (AK), Kevin Cramer (ND), and Cynthia Lummis (WY) — all representing major oil producing states released the “American Energy, Jobs, and Climate” plan, which aims to cut global emissions up to 40% from today’s levels by 2050. Click here on the latest.
October 2021 EMA Small Business Committee (SBC) PAC Contributions
PAC Co-Chairs Brad Bell and Tim Keigher are grateful for the Energy Marketers of America Small Business Committee (SBC) PAC contributions from the following individuals during the October 1-31, 2021, time frame:
Federated Insurance: Risk Management Corner
Arkansas: Steve Turner
California: Marla Carlson
Florida: Maximo Alvarez
Indiana: Scot Imus
Iowa: John Maynes
Louisiana: Frank Marcello, Kent Roussel
Maryland: Kenneth Halperin, Mark Oliver, Ellen Valentino-Benitez, Lock Wills Jr.
Michigan: Mark Griffin
Mississippi: Jim Lipscomb
Nebraska: Chris Danielski
New York: Joe Alonzo
North Dakota: Mike Rud
Oklahoma: Candace McGinnis
Pennsylvania: Ted Harris
Tennessee: Emily LeRoy
Virginia: Timothy Hutchens, Chris Kimbler, Elizabeth McCormick, William Murphy, Mike O’Connor, Minesh Patel, John Phillips, Ronald Prewitt, W. Earle Spruill, Lester Terhune III, Steven Uphoff, David Walsh, W. Stratford Ward Jr., John Watts Jr.
Wisconsin: Todd Bernhardt, Brian Colburn, Chad Furuseth, Eric Long, Jeremy Saunders
Inclement Weather Awareness While on the Job
The weather can be an unpredictable force, and try as we might, it’s impossible to perfectly foresee what Mother Nature will throw at us next, or how severe it may be. One of the main things to keep an eye out for is inclement weather, which is classified as any severe or harsh weather condition that makes it unsafe or impractical to travel, commute, or work outdoors.1 Any abnormal or harsh climatic conditions, such as severe snow, sleet, frigid temperatures, heavy rain, hurricanes, high winds, tornadoes, drought, and wildfires, all fall into the category of inclement weather.
During these events, normal work of a non-emergency nature should be carefully evaluated, as it may not be reasonable or safe to be exposed to any of these conditions, or possible to continue working in a safe manner during regular working hours.
Please click here to read the article. For additional information or to discuss further, please contact your Federated regional representative or EMA’s National Account Executive Jon Medo at 800.533.0472. Federated is an EMA Corporate Platinum Partner.
This article is for general information and risk prevention only and should not be considered legal or other expert advice. The recommendations herein may help reduce, but are not guaranteed to eliminate, any or all risk of loss. The information herein may be subject to, and is not a substitute for, any laws or regulations that may apply. Qualified counsel should be sought with questions specific to your circumstances. © 2021 Federated Mutual Insurance Company.
October 2021 EMA MDF Contributors
Energy Marketers of America Marketer Defense Fund wants to thank the following individuals for their contributions during the October 1- 31 timeframe:
EMA Member Services Spotlight Featuring: Priceline from National Purchasing Partners (NPP)
Arkansas: Steve Turner
Colorado: Colorado Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association
Connecticut: David Daniels
Indiana: Scot Imus
Michigan: Tom Fleming, Bob Hohn
Mississippi: Jim Lipscomb
Missouri: Missouri Petroleum & Convenience Association
New Mexico: New Mexico Petroleum Marketers Association
North Dakota: Matt Bjornson, Mike Rud
Oklahoma: Candace McGinnis
Oregon: Oregon Fuels Association
Tennessee: Emily LeRoy, Tennessee Fuel & Convenience Store Association
Virginia: Mike O’Connor
Washington: Washington Independent Energy Distributors
Wisconsin: John Baltus, Matt Hauser
Corporate donations are acceptable. MDF funds have been used to create a COVID-19 Situational Update & Resources webpage, to hire experts to cover important regulatory agencies and disaster relief dedicated to strengthening our lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. Click here to donate to the EMA MDF.
Members save on travel!
Planning a vacation, work trip or holiday travel? Energy Marketers of America (EMA) members can sign up for free with NPP and save on travel year-round. Please visitto sign up.
When you or your business is ready to travel again, we wanted you to be aware that NPP members save up to 25 percent OFF select hotels worldwide when they bundle trips through the Priceline Partner Network.
Enroll your business with NPP for travel discounts and more. NPP has a diverse catalog of business offers as well as deals you can share with your employees.
Membership is free and there is no obligation to purchase.
Restrictions may apply.