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Building Immunity: COVID-19 Vaccines Amidst the Construction Industry
New Laws Took Effect July 1
WCS News Alert
July 1, in addition to marking ends to the States of Emergency in Maryland and Virginia, brought the enactment of a range of new legislation for the DMV.
Accessibility to Mental Health Services
The Thomas Bloom Raskin Act creates a voluntary program for individuals seeking mental health support through Maryland’s 2-1-1 system. The program provides periodic phone call check-ins to individuals from trained mental health professionals in efforts to connect them with further assistance when requested.
Minimum Wage Increases
Thursday marked an incremental rise in minimum wage for Washington D.C. workers from $15 per hour to $15.20. In Montgomery County, the increase brings hourly rate totals to: $15 for companies with 51 or more employees, $14 for companies with less than 51 employees and $13.50 for those with 10 employees or fewer.
Preserve Telehealth Access Act of 2021
Following pandemic protocol that shifted doctor visits to virtual platforms, the state is extending use of these services. The Act requires insurance carriers and Medicaid to reimburse health care providers for billable telehealth services, including those that are provided via audio only. This applies to telehealth services covering somatic, dental, and mental health services. The Act is an effort to continue health care accessibility for all Marylanders.
Partnership for Workforce Quality Program Expansion
The Program now extends its grant usage not only for the training of existing employees on new technologies and skills, but to train new employees on job functions. The goal of the Program is to aid employers in boosting the competitiveness and productivity of workforces while promoting employment stability. Employers and employees must be located in the state of Maryland to qualify.
Maryland State Song Repeal
“Maryland, My Maryland” ended its 98-year run as the state song. The song, a poem written by James Ryder Randall in support of the Confederacy and sung to the tune of “O, Tannenbaum,” was repealed in efforts to find a more inclusive option for the Maryland of today. A replacement has not yet been decided.
Virginia Human Rights Act Expansion
The Act now includes disabilities as an unlawful means of discrimination. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to assist in a physically or mentally disabled worker’s successful completion of a job when required. It also prevents employers from taking adverse action towards an employee who requests a reasonable accommodation, or denying employment or promotions for the same reason.
Virginia Unemployment Overpayment Waivers
Unemployment claimants who received overpayments due to errors made by an employer or the state may apply to waive repayments. The pay differential forgiveness is applicable to claims made between March 21, 2020 and July 3, 2021, and is for claimants who would face greater financial burden at the need to make the repayments. The program will be organized through the Virginia Employment Commission, and those who have received overpayments will be contacted directly with further information.
Joining 15 other states and D.C. in legalization movements, Virginia adults 21 years of age and older can now possess one ounce of marijuana. Use in public spaces and in vehicles is prohibited.
You can discover more information on recently enacted laws in Maryland and Virginia here.