As discussed in our previous "Tis the Season" blog post here, many states are ramping up employment law requirements on a wide array of topics.  Employers should plan ahead now and review their handbook policies to ensure compliance! 

Here are additional legal updates multi-state employers should be aware of:

New York Continues to Keep us Busy:  On, December 31, 2018, New York's statewide minimum wage increased to $11.10 per hour, and New York City's minimum wage increased to $15.00 per hour (for employers with more than 10 employees) and $13.50 per hour (for employers with 10 or fewer employees).

As previously blogged about here, New York State now requires employers to implement sexual harassment policies and training sessions that meet very specific requirements. The policy requirements already went into effect in October of 2018, but the new training requirements will go into effect in 2019 (April for NYC; October for the rest of the state).  The training requirements are very specific (and lengthy)-we guarantee your old training materials need to be updated.

New Jersey Employee-Friendly Bills Introduced:  Not to be outdone by their neighbors in New York, on December 6, 2018, a new bill to gradually increase the NJ minimum wage to $15 per hour was introduced. Another pending bill would increase the amount of paid employee leave under New Jersey's Family Leave Insurance program from 6 weeks to 12 weeks, and would also expand intermittent leave. While the program would continue to be funded by employee contributions, the bill would require all business with 30 or more employees to restore employees to their prior job after leave, and would prohibit discrimination or retaliation against employees who take leave. 

Oh, and don't forget that on November 26, 2018, New Jersey's recreational marijuana bill cleared committee. The NJ bill currently states that employers need not accommodate marijuana use, possession, or being under the influence in the workplace.....yet it prohibits some employers from refusing to employ or penalizing employees solely for failing a drug test. Go figure that one out! If this bill passes in its current form, it will likely impact your drug testing protocols. Stay tuned.

Connecticut Employers: Check Your Applications and Interview Questions:  As blogged about here, effective January 1, 2019, Connecticut became the sixth state to forbid employers from asking job applicants about their salary histories, with an aim toward closing the gender pay gap. The law, "An Act Concerning Pay Equity," prohibits employers from asking applicants about salary and wage payment histories at any point during the hiring process.

From all of us at Sessions, Fishman, Nathan & Israel, we wish you Happy and Legally Compliant 2019!!

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