As 2018 comes to a close, many states are ramping up employment law requirements on a wide array of topics, including background checks, harassment training, equal pay, and employee-reimbursement requirements.  Employers should plan ahead now and review their handbook policies to ensure compliance! 

Here are just a handful of the legal updates multi-state employers must be aware of:

California:  There are numerous key employment-related bills taking effect in California. In addition to #MeToo-inspired laws, which we covered in this recent blog post, California employers should know about these important new provisions. 

    • Human Trafficking (AB 2034 and SB 970): Certain employers will be required to provide at least 20 minutes of training on human trafficking. 
    • Paid Family Leave Uses (SB 1123): California's paid family leave program will expand to employees who take time off for reasons associated with active duty  
    • Copy of Payroll Records (SB 1252): California employers must provide copies of payroll records upon request.  
    • Criminal History Inquiries (SB 1412): This amendment to Labor Code section 432.7 further limits employers' ability to conduct criminal history inquiries and use criminal history information in employment decisions  

Delaware (SB 360): Delaware will require sexual harassment training (when 50+ employees) and a mandatory notice.

Illinois (820 ILCS 115/9.5): The Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA), which we blogged about here, imposes an affirmative duty on employers to reimburse employees for certain expenses  "necessary expenditures ... incurred by the employee within the employee's scope of employment and directly related to services performed by the employer."  

Michigan (SB 212): Michigan's new sick leave law, which we covered in this blog post, is the Midwest's first statewide sick leave requirement.  This new law goes into effect in March 2019 and provides up to 72 hours of sick leave per year for certain covered reasons. 

New York (A03870): The New York Paid Family Leave (PFL) wage replacement benefit is increasing. New York employers note: 

    • The maximum weekly benefit for 2019 is now up to $746.41.   
    • The maximum duration will now be 10 weeks instead of 8 weeks - not to exceed a total of 26 weeks combined with NY Disability.  

Oregon (HR 2005): Oregon's new equal pay law creates considerable new obligations for Oregon employers, which we blogged about here. Under the new law, employers must display a mandatory poster and:

    • Cannot pay employees different rates of pay for performing comparable work because of their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability or age;  
    • Cannot screen job applicants based on current or past compensation; and 
    • Cannot determine compensation based on current or past compensation.

Washington (SB 5975):  Washington employers will be required to provide paid family and medical leave through an insurance fund that employers and employees both pay into.  Under the new law: 

    • Employees may be entitled to between 12-18 weeks of paid family and medical leave (the length of which may depend upon several factors, including whether the employee experiences a pregnancy-related serious health condition).   
    • Payroll deductions will begin on January 1, 2019, reporting beings on April 1, 2019, and benefits will become available to employees on January 1, 2020.    
    • Employers can opt-out of the program if they have a comparable plan and pay a fee, or may request a waiver for certain employees under certain statutory requirements (i.e., employees physically based outside of Washington).   

 Federal law update - The FMLA  

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) FMLA forms have been updated to reflect they are valid through 8/31/2021.  The FMLA forms can be found here.

Now is the time to ensure legal compliance through updated policies, forms, notices, and practices.  Don't worry, we're here to help!

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