Business Report: New OSHA COVID-19 safety rules, retroactive paid leave, child care finances

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's safety rules are a setback for labor advocates who wanted much broader requirements

Labor advocates are disappointed with the Biden administration’s new rules on COVID-19 workplace safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has issued mandatory safety rules aimed at protecting workers from COVID-19. But the rules, which require employers to take steps to reduce the chance of transmission of the disease, only apply to workers in health care settings. It’s a setback for labor advocates who wanted much broader requirements. One union leader called the new standards a broken promise to millions of workers.

New Jersey workers who had to miss work due to side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine or because they had to quarantine could receive retroactive paid leave under a new bill. The bill would cover up to two weeks of sick leave and it would apply to workers regardless of how long they’ve been employed. It would be retroactive to the start of 2021, and would continue until the end of September. The bill is heading to the full Senate, after being voted out of committee.

The future of the child care industry in New Jersey was the topic of an event Friday hosted by first lady Tammy Murphy. Advocates said the industry needs more financial support. New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman said low pay for both child care workers and care facility owners is a big issue. Others spoke about the difficulty in finding affordable child care.

Kenilworth-based Merck says the U.S. government has agreed to buy its experimental COVID-19 drug if the treatment is proven to work; a large clinical trial is underway for the drug, an oral antiviral treatment that is designed to stop COVID-19 from progressing and can be given early in the course of the disease.

WATCH: Business Report: Rising inflation, moratorium on utility shut-offs, high cost of living in NJ

MORE: Business Report: Details on campaign spending, Senate Republicans want changes to Gov. Murphy’s budget plan

We’re in this together
For a better-informed future. Support our nonprofit newsroom.
Donate to NJ Spotlight