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Italy Implements Mandatory Green Pass for Workers

Italy Implements Mandatory Green Pass for Workers

​Gero Bongiorno works as the head of research and development at an industrial machinery company in Milan, which is preparing for Italy’s Green Pass for workers. As the Oct. 15 implementation date for the Green Pass approaches, Bongiorno isn’t worried about his own direct reports, who are fully vaccinated. But there are other people in the company who aren’t. Employers and Employees Prepare for Green PassItaly’s Green Pass—a domestic COVID-19 passport that indicates if someone is fully vaccinated or has tested negative for the virus in the last 72 hours—has been required at restaurants, entertainment venues and other public places, but will soon be required for any employees who are working onsite. “The employer is obliged to verify whether people working in the work environment have the Green Pass,” said Vittorio De Luca, an attorney with De Luca & Partners in Milan. Verification can be done occasionally, he said. “There must be a policy applicable in the company stating who is responsible to check how and whom, which information may and which may not be checked, and what happens in the case of [the] lack of [a] Green Pass,” De Luca said.Green Pass and PrivacyEmployees have three options to acquire a Green Pass. They can get fully vaccinated, which is the encouraged option. Otherwise, they can present a negative antigen test that allows a Green Pass for 72 hours, or they can prove that they have recently fully recovered from COVID-19. The Green Pass itself does not specify which category an employee falls under, and because of the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation, companies can’t ask. “The company cannot ask, ‘Are you vaccinated,’ or ‘Is your Green Pass active because you took the test this morning, or the PCR [polymerase chain reaction] test three days ago,’ ” Bongiorno said. The employer is free to define who is responsible to verify if employees have the Green Pass. “But the people who are in charge must be formally in charge, that must be part of a policy, [and] the policy must be communicated to the employees,” De Luca said. Even then, the people responsible for checking Green Passes can only see if the person has one, and not under what circumstances. The Green Pass app just shows “the employee can get into the company or not, no other information in the Green Pass may be subject to examination,” he said.No Green Pass, No PayThere are consequences for both employers and employees who don’t abide by the new mandatory requirements. If an employee declares that he or she does not have a Green Pass before entering the workplace, or is found to not have a Green Pass when asked, the employee will be turned away and won’t get paid until he or she gets a Green Pass.Though the vaccination is not mandatory, the use of the Green Pass and its consequences have already led to an increase in vaccinations, De Luca said. Bongiorno knows people who were persuaded by the Green Pass requirements at restaurants …

Required Vaccinations to Replace U.S. COVID-19 Travel Bans

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Required Vaccinations to Replace U.S. COVID-19 Travel Bans

​The Biden administration plans to rescind the COVID-19 travel bans imposed in 2020 and replace them with vaccination and testing requirements to enter the U.S., beginning in November.Claire Nilson, head of the global mobility and immigration team in the London office of Faegre Drinker, explained that since early in the pandemic, travelers who had been in Brazil, China, the European Schengen countries, India, Iran, Ireland, South Africa and the United Kingdom during the preceding 14 days were banned from flying directly into the United States unless they were either a U.S. citizen or green card holder, or they first applied for and received an exception waiver.The Schengen Area countries covered by the COVID-19 ban include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.The Biden administration’s COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said that fully vaccinated travelers will need to complete pre-departure testing within three days prior to their departure to the U.S., but that they will not be required to quarantine upon their arrival.He said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will determine the definition of “fully vaccinated” and what vaccines qualify for the policy.”So far, the U.S. government has not clarified what will constitute suitable evidence of vaccination and which COVID-19 vaccines will be recognized beyond the three already authorized in the United States [Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson],” Nilson said.Notably, hundreds of millions of people worldwide received the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been recognized by the World Health Organization but has not won approval from U.S. regulators. The CDC will also issue a contact tracing order requiring airlines to collect contact information from each U.S.-bound traveler. “This will enable the CDC and state and local public health officials to follow up with inbound travelers and those around them if someone has potentially been exposed to COVID-19,” Zients said.Alka Bahal, a partner in the Morristown, N.J., office of Fox Rothschild, said that it’s not just leisure travelers who are happy with the Biden administration’s announcement; the move will have a significant positive impact on U.S. business immigration.”Many foreign nationals in the U.S. on work visas have remained restricted to the U.S. due to the travel bans, having been unable to visit home due to fears of being unable to return,” Bahal said. “Hopefully, the lifting of the bans will be soon followed by the resumption of normal visa processing at U.S. consulates and embassies worldwide. This will further increase visa processing by enabling foreign nationals who have been unable to obtain their first U.S. work visas to now obtain them and come to the U.S. to work.”For the past 18 months, virtually all visitors from the banned countries have been prohibited from traveling directly to the United States. Some resorted to workarounds such as spending two weeks in an intermediate country like Mexico or the Dominican Republic, before obtaining a negative coronavirus test and then entering the U.S.For foreign …

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Report: First Year with Employer Critical for LGBTQ+ Employees

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Report: First Year with Employer Critical for LGBTQ+ Employees

​Newly hired employees who identify as LGBTQ+ typically will come out during their first year at an organization or not at all, according to a new global report.”For most LGBTQ+ people, the first year in a new job is critical in the coming-out journey,” Boston Consulting Group (BCG) researchers noted in Why the First Year Matters for LGBTQ+ Employees.Across the countries surveyed, an average of 70 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents said they came out during the hiring process or within the first 12 months of starting their job. After the first year with the employer, only 10 percent came out and the other 20 percent never disclosed their identity as an LGBTQ+ individual.”We observed this broad trend across most of the countries we surveyed, except in India and China, where employees in general took longer to come out or chose to stay closeted: just 36 percent and 56 percent of LGBTQ+ respondents in India and China, respectively, said that they had come out by the end of their first year at work,” the researchers wrote.The findings are based on a global survey of 8,800 people who worked in corporate settings and have high levels of education. Respondents were from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.Almost two-thirds (61 percent) of respondents identified as LGBTQ+, and the survey was skewed toward those working for companies with relatively advanced LGBTQ+ policies and programs, according to the report. Most respondents (88 percent) were between the ages of 18 and 44. CREATE LASTING IMPACT IN THE WORKPLACEJoin us at the SHRM INCLUSION 2021 conference Oct. 25-27 in Austin, Texas, for three engaging days of learning and networking. You will get the tools, best practices and actionable solutions you need to build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace. Register Now Coming out is not a singular event, the researchers noted, but “a journey defined by daily decisions and interactions. It can include coming out to colleagues or clients.”Even after making the initial leap to share their identity at work, many LGBTQ+ individuals choose to cover up that information at times,” they wrote. About one-fourth of respondents who described themselves as mostly out at work “said that they would on occasion lie, omit details, or avoid answering questions about their sexual orientation.”About half of the respondents who were not out at work said they did not plan to come out, with more than 63 percent saying their sexuality and gender identity is a private matter.Deena Fidas thinks those who cite privacy as a reason for avoiding disclosure do so because they likely experienced negative consequences elsewhere. She is managing director and chief program and partnerships officer at Out & Equal, headquartered in San Francisco. The organization works exclusively on LGBTQ+ workplace equality through its global programs and Fortune 500 partnerships.”When LGBTQ+ people say it’s nobody’s business, it’s because they faced discrimination,” she said. “The vast majority of …

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British Columbia Updates Rules for Investigations, Working Children

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British Columbia Updates Rules for Investigations, Working Children

​British Columbia, Canada, has broadened and clarified its ability to investigate employment compliance matters and will tighten rules for hiring children younger than 16 years old under changes to the province’s Employment Standards Act (ESA).The changes arose from 2019 amendments to the ESA meant to ensure employment standards are evenly applied, properly enforced, and reflect workers’ and employers’ evolving needs. New Investigatory FeaturesAs of Aug. 15, 2021, new rules went into effect governing investigation, complaint and determination processes under the ESA. Among other changes, British Columbia’s employment standards director may conduct an investigation to ensure compliance with the ESA “at any time for any reason,” and expand a probe stemming from one worker’s complaint, according to the amendments.”The director of employment standards has always had the power to investigate compliance with the ESA and Employment Standards Regulation regardless of whether or not a complaint has been filed,” said George Vassos, an attorney with Littler in Toronto. “The changes now make it clear that the director can initiate or stop or postpone an investigation ‘at any time or for any reason.’ “In addition, he said, “The director will now be able to expand an investigation of one worker’s complaint to the broader workplace if needed. This certainly strengthens protections for workers.”Other employees need not sign on to the original complaint for the director to broaden the investigation, noted Ritu Mahil, an attorney with Lawson Lundell LLP in Vancouver. If the wider probe isn’t completed or doesn’t resolve the matter, the director must rule on the original complaint.The employment standards director isn’t required to hold hearings when investigating but must give investigated parties the opportunity to respond, Mahil noted. When an investigation concludes, the law now requires the director to issue a written report summarizing the findings, she said.The report must be provided to the complaining party, the person cited in the complaint and anyone whom the director believes deserves an opportunity to respond. “This step provides procedural fairness for everyone involved before a decision is made,” Vassos said.While fired employees must file any complaint within six months of their last day of work, the new rules allow a worker an extension if the director believes that special circumstances delayed the filing or that an injustice would otherwise occur without the extra time.The director must investigate any complaint considered to be filed validly. Under the new provisions, the director can now use alternative dispute resolution during an investigation, calling on a neutral mediator to help settle or arbitrate matters. Vassos called the option beneficial for employers and employees.Child Employment RulesESA amendments also put into place several new rules going into effect on Oct. 15 related to hiring children, including specifying the type of work permitted and permissions required.”New changes to employment standards will better protect young people at work by raising the general working age in British Columbia from 12 to 16 and defining the types of jobs appropriate for those under 16,” the government said in a press release, which noted …

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