By: Jen McCormick, Esq.
Coverage of contraceptives for women and the availability of a religious or moral exemption (or an accommodation) has been hotly debated recently – particularly due to a new Trump administration rule. Specifically, this rule would expand the pool of employers eligible to opt-out of providing birth control for women based on religious objections. The rule was set to take effect January 1, 2019, but judges in California and Pennsylvania recently blocked these rules from taking effect.
Last week a California judge granted a request for a preliminary injunction for California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Rhone Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and DC. This week (on Monday) a Pennsylvania judge took the next step and issued a nationwide hold on these rules.
Many entities and individuals have strong opinions on this topic, but for how (or whether) the rules may impact businesses we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, employers should pay attention and understand the current rules regarding religious exemptions and accommodations.