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Average Hourly Earnings Increase 0.8%, CPI Increases 0.4% in December

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that average hourly earnings increased 0.4 percent from November to December 2020. This result stems from an increase of 0.8 percent in average hourly earnings combined with an increase of 0.4 percent in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Average hourly earnings increased 3.7 percent from December 2019 to December 2020.

Virginia To Enact Permanent COVID-19 Employee Health and Safety Requirements

The Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board has voted to approve a Final Permanent Standard (Final Standard) related to COVID-19. It is anticipated that Governor Northam will approve the Final Standard very soon. The Final Standard sets forth health and safety requirements related to COVID-19 for all Virginia employers and is expected become effective on January 27, 2021. The Final Standard largely adopts obligations already in place under the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that Virginia adopted in July 2020 but which expires on January 26, 2021. The Final Standard contains a few differences from the ETS. For instance, under the ETS employers have been required to notify the Virginia Department of Health each time an employee was confirmed to be positive for the COVID-19 virus; under the Final Standard, employers need only make such notification to the Department of Health if it uncovers two cases within 14 days. The Final Standard no longer allows employers to rely on negative COVID-19 tests as the basis for employees to return to work.

D.C. Passes Sweeping Ban on Non-Compete Agreements and Policies

The District of Columbia (D.C.) has enacted legislation which bans the use of nearly all noncompete provisions in employment agreements and workplace policies. The Act is effective on February 11, 2021. Importantly, the Act does not have a retroactive effect on non-compete agreements in existence before the Act's effective date.The Act will require employers to modify existing employment policies (as opposed to existing agreements), and curtail the practice of offering or imposing non-compete agreements to or on employees who perform work in D.C.The Act does not cover physicians who make at least $250,000 per year; however, the Act requires their employers to provide them with 14 days’ notice of non-compete provisions.

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