Wednesday, December 8, 2021

State Laws Restricting COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates and Passports

Since COVID-19 vaccines first became available, several states have enacted laws that restrict or ban certain entities from mandating them or requiring proof that an individual has received one (also known as a “vaccine passport”) in order to be allowed entry or access to services.

Most of these bans and restrictions are generally pre-empted by the new federal EmergencyTemporary Standard (ETS)— which requires all employers with 100 or more employees to implement COVID-19 vaccination or testing policies— issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on Nov. 5, 2021. However, a federal court has temporarily blocked that ETS from going into effect.

In addition, certain portions of these vaccine-related state laws may still apply even if the ETS does become effective. This is because the OSHA ETS does not preempt any “non-conflicting requirements of general applicability” that apply to “workers and nonworkers alike,” that “regulate workers simply as members of the general public,” and that are consistent with the federal standard. This Compliance Bulletin provides an overview of the state laws that currently restrict or prohibit COVID-19 vaccine mandates or passports. 


Vaccine Passport / Mandate Restrictions


Effective May 24, 2021, Senate Bill 267 prohibits:

  • Government entities from issuing vaccine passports or requiring an individual to receive a vaccine as a condition for government services, with exceptions;
  • Educational institutions from requiring additional vaccines as a condition of attendance; and
  • All businesses from refusing service to an individual based on the individual's vaccination status.

Issued on Oct. 25, 2021, Executive Order 724 directs state agencies not to enforce the federal vaccine mandate and to cooperate with the state Attorney General's efforts to overturn it. It also prohibits state agencies from punishing businesses or individuals for noncompliance with federal vaccine requirements.

Effective Nov. 5, 2021, Senate Bill 9 requires employers with vaccine mandates to allow certain exemptions. 


Effective April 26, 2021, Administrative Order 321 prohibits all state entities and the public from requiring an individual to show proof of vaccination in order to travel to or around the state.


Issued April 19, 2021, Executive Order 2021-09 prohibits state and local governments from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination status to enter a business, building or area or to receive government service, permit or license.

Effective July 1, 2021, Senate Bill 1824 prohibits state entities from establishing COVID-19 vaccine passports and requires all employers with vaccine mandates to provide reasonable accommodations if employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs prevent them from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.


Effective April 28, 2021, House Bill 1547 prohibits state and local governments from:

  • Requiring proof of vaccination as a condition of employment or to access education, goods, services, licensing or permitting; and
  • Discriminating against or coercing individuals who refuse a COVID-19 vaccine by withholding opportunities for career advancement, wage increases or insurance discounts.

Effective Oct. 13, 2021, House Bill 1977 requires employers that require COVID-19 vaccinations to establish a specific exemption process.  


Effective July 1, 2021, Senate Bill 2006 prohibits all business entities from requiring patrons or customers to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccine before being allowed entry to receive services.

Effective Nov. 18, 2021, HB 1 prohibits vaccine mandates for certain employees and requires various exemptions from vaccination mandates.


Issued May 26, 2021, Executive Order prohibits state agencies and providers of state services or state property from implementing vaccine passport programs or otherwise requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of entering the premises of or conducting business.


Issued April 7, 2021, Executive Order 2021-04 prohibits all governmental agencies from producing COVID-19 vaccine passports or requiring proof of vaccination to access state services.


Effective April 29, 2021, House Bill 1405 prohibits the state and any local government from issuing or requiring vaccine passports.


Effective May 20, 2021, House File 889 prohibits all businesses from requiring individuals to provide proof of having received a COVID-19 vaccination prior to entering the business premises.

Effective Oct. 29, 2021, House File 902 requires all employers with COVID-19 vaccine mandates to waive the requirement for individuals who request exemptions for health or religious reasons. It also provides that employment terminations for refusing the COVID-19 vaccination will not disqualify an individual from receiving unemployment benefits nor will it affect an employer’s contribution or experience rates.


Effective May 26, 2021, Senate Bill 159 prohibits state agencies from issuing or requiring an individual to use a COVID-19 vaccination passport within the state for any purpose.

Effective Nov. 23, 2021, House Bill 2001 requires employers that impose COVID-19 vaccine requirements to provide medical and religious exemptions. It also establishes a complaint and investigation process and provides that employees who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine are not ineligible for unemployment benefits.


Effective Sept. 28, 2021, Senate Bill 82 prohibits governmental entities and entities that receive governmental funding from producing, developing, issuing, or requiring a COVID-19 vaccine passport.


Effective June 15, 2021, House Bill 271 prohibits a county, city, town or village that receives public funds from requiring documentation of an individual having received a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of the individual accessing transportation systems or services or any other public accommodations.


Issued April 13, 2021, Executive Order 7-2021 prohibits all governmental entities and all private businesses from requiring vaccine passports to gain entry or receive services.

Effective July 1, 2021,  House Bill 702 prohibits all employers in the state from discriminating against employees or applicants based on vaccination status or on whether the person has a vaccine passport.

New Hampshire

Effective May 27, 2021, House Bill 220 prohibits state and local governmental agencies from mandating that individuals receive a vaccination, including for COVID-19.

North Dakota

Effective May 20, 2021, House Bill 1465 prohibits all private businesses from requiring a patron or customer to provide vaccination status documentation, such as for that of COVID-19.

Effective Nov. 12, 2021, House Bill 1511 prohibits businesses from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination status, post-transmission recovery status or antibody status. It also requires employers that require COVID-19 vaccinations to allow certain exemptions.


Issued May 28, 2021, Executive Order 2021-16 prohibits state agencies from requiring vaccinations as a condition of entry to public facilities.

South Carolina

Issued May 11, 2021, Executive Order 2021-23 prohibits vaccine passports across the state and prevents schools and governments from creating mask mandates.

South Dakota

Issued April 21, 2021, Executive Order 2021-08 prohibits state and local agencies from developing vaccine passports or requiring proof of vaccination.


Effective May 26, 2021, Senate Bill 858 prohibits governmental entities from requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of entering the premises or obtaining services.

Effective Nov. 12, 2021, Senate Bill 9014 prohibits employers from requiring proof of vaccination from a person who objects to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. It also provides for unemployment benefits if an employee’s separation is due to a refusal to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.


Effective June 16, 2021, Senate Bill 968 prohibits:

  • Governmental entities from issuing vaccination passports containing an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status; and
  • All businesses from requiring proof of vaccination from patrons.

Effective Oct. 11, 2021,  Executive Order GA-40 bans “all entities” from compelling any individual, including an employee or consumer, to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, if the individual objects based on personal conscience, religious belief or medical reasons. It also authorizes fines of up to $1,000 for violations.


Effective March 16, 2021, House Bill 308 prohibits state agencies and public universities from requiring proof of vaccination.

Effective Nov. 16, 2021, Senate Bill 2004 requires employers with COVID-19 vaccine mandates to provide for certain exemptions. It also requires employers to pay for COVID-19 testing, prohibits adverse actions against an employee who claims relief and prohibits employers from maintaining a record or copy of proof of vaccination.

West Virginia

Effective Jan. 18, 2022, House Bill 335 requires all employers that require vaccination as a condition of employment to exempt employees and applicants who present certification of medical exemption signed by a medical professional or notarized certification of religious exemption. It also prohibits all employers from penalizing or discriminating against employees or applicants for exercising their rights to be exempt from vaccination mandates.


Effective Nov. 12, 2021, House Bill 1002 prohibits public entities from enforcing any mandate or standard of the federal government that requires an employer to mandate that an employee receive a COVID-19 vaccination. 


Employee Benefit Plan Limits for 2022

Many employee benefits are subject to annual dollar limits that are periodically updated for inflation by the IRS. The following commonly offered employee benefits are subject to these limits:

  • High deductible health plans (HDHPs) and health savings accounts (HSAs);
  • Health flexible spending accounts (FSAs);
  • 401(k) plans; and
  • Transportation fringe benefit plans.

The IRS typically announces the dollar limits that will apply for the next calendar year well before the beginning of that year. This gives employers time to update their plan designs and make sure their plan administration will be consistent with the new limits.

This is a chart of the inflation-adjusted limits for 2022. Most of the limits will increase, although some limits remain the same for 2022. 

Links and Resources





HSA Contribution Limit




Up $50




Up $100

Catch-up contributions



No change

HDHP Minimum Deductible




No change




No change

HDHP Out-of-Pocket Maximum




Up $50




Up $100

Health FSA

Limit on employees’ pre-tax contributions



Up $100

Carryover limit



Up $20

Dependent Care FSA*

Tax exclusion

$10,500 ($5,250 if married and filing taxes separately)

$5,000 ($2,500 if married and filing taxes separately)

Return to traditional rules

Transportation Fringe Benefits (Monthly Limits)

Transit pass and vanpooling



Up $10




Up $10

401(k) Contributions

Employee elective deferrals



Up $1,000

Catch-up contributions



No change

Adoption Assistance Benefits

Tax exclusion



Up $450

* This limit is not generally subject to annual adjustment for inflation. However, for 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) increased the limit to $10,500 (or $5,250 for married individuals filing separately) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Friday, December 3, 2021

Compliance and Benefit News Updates, Dec. 3, 2021 - Vax Mandate Comparison Chart, Intermittent Fasting & More

Tools, Templates and a McGriff Survey

Vaccine Mandate Comparison Chart, McGriff Insurance Services - We have prepared a chart summarizing some of the major provisions of the various federal vaccine mandates. Please note that litigation over these mandates is ongoing and subject to change. Additionally, state laws may also affect employers’ compliance responsibilities.

Compliance Updates

Biden’s Proposed Inflation Cap on Drug Prices Includes Private Insurance Plans - “Corporate groups focused on affordable employee benefits want to keep the language as is so it would provide price-increase protection for companies and their workers and not just Medicare enrollees…House Democrats passed the roughly $2 trillion social agenda legislation last Friday and sent it to the Senate…Opponents could pursue a parliamentary challenge under Senate rules, arguing that penalizing price increases by one private company on another has no bearing on federal budgetary issues. If the challenge succeeds, costs to private insurance plans would be stripped from the inflation rebates.”

The OSHA ETS Legal Battle Continues: Petitioners Request En Banc Review; Government Files Emergency Motion to Dissolve Stay - “Multiple groups of petitioners in the newly consolidated litigation and renamed challenge to the OSHA ETS, now known as the “OSHA Covid Rule Case,” Docket No, 21-7000, MCP No. 165 (6th Cir.) have asked the court to hear the OSHA challenge en banc, with all active judges in the circuit…The government has until November 30, 2021, to file one consolidated response to all the petitions for the case to be heard en banc.”

DOL Announces Rule to Increase Federal Contractor Minimum Wage - On Nov. 22, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new rule that will increase the minimum wage rate for federal contractor employees. The new rule implements Executive Order 14026 and increases the minimum wage for individuals performing work on or in connection with federal contracts to $15 per hour on Jan. 30, 2022.”

House Passes Build Back Better Act, Here’s What Employers Need to Know as It Goes to Senate - “While the BBBA is expected to undergo significant changes during Senate review (and may not pass at all), employers should take note of some key provisions in the House version.”

IRS Releases Final Forms for Next Round of PPACA Reporting - “The Internal Revenue Service recently released final 2021 forms for Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting under relevant Internal Revenue Code sections – and while not much is changing in terms of information you’ll need to report, the stakes have been raised for non-compliance.”

Benefit News

Biden to announce insurance reimbursements for at-home COVID-19 tests - “The White House said that departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury will issue guidance by mid-January clarifying that Americans with private insurance will be able to seek reimbursement for the costs of the at-home tests during the public health emergency. A senior administration official said that the new policy would impact some 150 million Americans who have private insurance. The reimbursement is not expected to be retroactive, but officials are still working out the specifics of the policy.”

Supply Chain Woes Mean Shortages Of Critical Medical Devices In California - "The logjam at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — which handle 40% of all waterbound imports to the U.S. — has triggered shortages of everything from computer chips to paper products and drawn the attention of President Joe Biden. Many Californians are grappling with shortages of lifesaving medical supplies. California hospitals say medical supplies are more difficult to acquire now or are taking much longer to be delivered.... Experts say the shortages and inflation will drive health care costs up, increasing insurance premiums. In addition, some medical device suppliers are considering cutting off providing devices to patients on Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance for low-income people, as they look for ways to reduce costs."

Health & Wellness

300 Minutes a Week of Moderate Exercise May Help Ward Off Cancer - "More than 46,000 cancer cases in the United States might be prevented each year if almost all of us walked for about 45 minutes a day, according to an eye-opening new study of inactivity, exercise and malignancies. The study, which analyzed cancer incidence and the physical activity habits of nearly 600,000 American men and women in every state and the District of Columbia, found that about 3 percent of common cancers in the United States are strongly linked to inactivity. Something as simple as getting up and moving, the findings suggest, might help tens of thousands of us avoid developing cancer in the coming years."

Intermittent fasting reduces inflammation, helps the body like a diabetes medication - Intermittent fasting, characterized by cyclic periods of fasting and eating, has emerged as a popular weight loss approach in recent years. Interestingly, however, a new study reports intermittent fasting can benefit the body in yet another way: reducing inflammation. Scientists from the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute conclude intermittent fasting can increase levels of galectin-3, a protein linked to bodily inflammatory responses. ... 'In finding higher levels of galectin-3 in patients who fasted, these results provide an interesting mechanism potentially involved in helping reduce the risk of heart failure and diabetes,' Dr. Horne adds."