July 2021: Planning Ahead and Updated Posting Requirements

Plan Ahead

(This section provides you with an overview of current and upcoming laws that take effect)

Law / RegulationEffective Date
Chicago, Illinois, Amended Worker Protections Take EffectAugust 1, 2021
New Jersey Cannabis Criminal Background Protections Take EffectAugust 1, 2021
North Dakota Excludes Injuries Linked to Recreational Marijuana from Workers’ CompensationAugust 1, 2021
North Dakota Allows Unemployment Benefits for Military SpousesAugust 1, 2021
Connecticut Minimum Wage Increases to $13.00August 1, 2021
Louisiana Broadens Pregnancy Accommodation RequirementsAugust 1, 2021
Louisiana Limits Use of Criminal History in Pre-employment ScreeningAugust 1, 2021
EEO-1 Filing Deadline ExtendedAugust 23, 2021
Nebraska Amends Service Animals LawAugust 28, 2021
Chicago, Illinois, Amended Worker Protections Take EffectAugust 1, 2021
New Jersey Cannabis Criminal Background Protections Take EffectAugust 1, 2021
North Dakota Excludes Injuries Linked to Recreational Marijuana from Workers’ CompensationAugust 1, 2021
North Dakota Allows Unemployment Benefits for Military SpousesAugust 1, 2021
Connecticut Minimum Wage Increases to $13.00August 1, 2021
Louisiana Broadens Pregnancy Accommodation RequirementsAugust 1, 2021
Louisiana Limits Use of Criminal History in Pre-employment ScreeningAugust 1, 2021
EEO-1 Filing Deadline ExtendedAugust 23, 2021
Nebraska Amends Service Animals LawAugust 28, 2021
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Posting Updates

Federal or StateUpdated PostingMandatory or Recommended
TBD 
FederalFair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – Overtime Exemptions, Overtime, Joint Employment.ANTICIPATED
FederalMinimum WageANTICIPATED
FederalFamily Medical Leave ActANTICIPATED
ANTICIPATED
IllinoisYou Have the Right to be Free from Job Discrimination and Sexual HarassmentANTICIPATED
New JerseyWage TheftANTICIPATED
New JerseySafe ActANTICIPATED
New YorkDiscriminationANTICIPATED
VirginiaMinimum WageANTICIPATED
New YorkFair EmploymentANTICIPATED
ColoradoHealthy Families and Workplaces LawANTICIPATED
New YorkMinimum WageANTICIPATED
July 2021
California, San FranciscoCOVID-Related Employment ProtectionsMANDATORY
California, San FranciscoHealth Care Security OrdinanceMANDATORY
California, San FranciscoMinimum WageMANDATORY
California, Los AngelesMinimum WageMANDATORY
California, Santa MonicaMinimum WageMANDATORY
OhioFair EmploymentMANDATORY
Illinois, ChicagoLabor StandardsMANDATORY
MichiganUnemployment CompensationMANDATORY
MichiganMIOSHARECOMMENDED
IndianaTeen Hour Work RestrictionsMANDATORY
Maryland, MontgomeryMinimum Wage & Overtime LawMANDATORY
California, FremontMinimum WageMANDATORY
California, BerkeleyMinimum WageMANDATORY

July 2021 Washington HR Legal Updates

Washington Enacts Employee Long-Term Care Insurance Program 

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Washington. 

What happened?
On April 21, 2021, Governor Jay Inslee signed the WA Cares Fund (or “Fund”) into law. 

What are the details?
The WA Cares Fund, effective January 1, 2022, creates a mandatory, public, state-run long-term care insurance program for workers. Employers will not have an employer-paid portion of the premium but are responsible for collecting and reporting the premiums. Key points to keep in mind for this Fund are: 

  • The law imposes a new employee-paid premium of $0.58 per $100 of earnings.
  • There is no employer-paid portion of the premium.
  • Employers are responsible for collecting, remitting, and reporting these premiums, and employers will face penalties if they do not.
  • The benefits offered under the WA Cares Fund are limited.
  • The WA Cares Fund premiums are uncapped, but there is a $36,500 lifetime cap, indexed for inflation, on the benefits an employee can receive, so highly compensated employees will help subsidize the program.
  • WA Cares benefits are available only if the employee receives care in Washington.
  • Employees can opt out of the WA Cares Fund only if they secure their own private long-term care insurance by November 1, 2021, and they apply for and receive an exemption by December 31, 2022. 

The WA Cares Fund is being funded by employee premiums paid via a mandatory payroll deduction. Employers are responsible for collecting and remitting these employee premiums, including submitting a quarterly report of these premiums, to the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD). 

The premiums deducted from each individual employee in Washington will be based on the employee’s wages equal to $0.58 for every $100 and will be reassessed every other year, starting January 1, 2024, but has a cap of .58%. All employees must contribute (unless approved for exemption) and the employer will withhold the amount and pay it to the WA Cares Fund. 

Employees may opt out of the Fund by attesting that they have purchased private long-term care insurance before November 1, 2021 and applying for exemption on the Washington State Employment Security Department’s (ESD) website. Exemptions will only be accepted from October 1, 2021 through December 31, 2022, once approved the employee will receive an official exemption approval letter from the ESD that the employer must receive. Once received, the employer must stop deducting premiums beginning the first day of the quarter after the quarter in which the exemption was approved. 

Employers and employees that are party to a collective bargaining agreement in existence on October 19, 2017, are not required to reopen the agreement or to comply with the WA Cares Fund law unless and until the existing agreement is reopened, renegotiated, or expires. 

An article on the new Fund can be read here

The official website for the fund is located here. 

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the fund and update any applicable policies to ensure they are in compliance and prepared to begin deducting and reporting the premiums.

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Washington Enacts Emergency Heat Standard Rule 

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Washington. 

What happened?
On July 9, 2021, Washington’s Department of Labor & Industries filed emergency rules in addition to their existing Outdoor Heat Exposure rules. 

What are the details?
The rules, effective July 13, 2021, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) in Washington added emergency rules that are used to provide additional protections to employees who are exposed to extreme heat. 

When the temperature is at or above 89 degrees, the new and existing rules will combine to require employers to: 

  • Provide water that is cool enough to drink safely.
  • Allow and encourage workers to take additional paid preventative cool-down rest to protect from overheating.
  • Be prepared by having a written outdoor heat exposure safety program and providing training to employees.
  • Respond appropriately to any employee with symptoms of heat-related illness. 

When temperatures reach 100 degrees or above, the employers are required to respond by: 

  • Providing shade or another sufficient means for employees to cool down.
  • Ensuring workers have a paid cool-down rest period of at least 10 minutes every two hours.
  • Have and maintain one or more areas with shade at all times, while employees are present, that are either open to the air or provided with ventilation or cooling and not adjoining a radiant heat source, such as machinery or a concrete structure. The shaded area must be large enough to accommodate the number of employees on a meal or rest break. The shaded area must be located as close as practicable to where the employees are working. 

L&I will be working to incorporate the rules as permanent. 

The rule can be read here

Articles on the rule can be read here, here and here. 

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the emergency rules and make any policy and worksite updates to stay in compliance.

July 2021 Virginia HR Legal Updates

Virginia Passes Medical Cannabis Oil Use 

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Virginia. 

What happened?
On March 25, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam passes House Bill 1862 (HB1862) into law. 

What are the details?
The law, effective July 1, 2021, provides protections to employees who are using cannabis oil with a valid written certification issued by a doctor. These restrictions apply only to the medical use of cannabis oil, not medical marijuana. Employers are prohibited from discharging, disciplining, or discriminating against employees who are lawfully using the cannabis oil. 

However, employers can still take adverse action against an employee for any work impairments caused by the use of cannabis oil and prohibit possession of cannabis oil during work hours. The law also states that nothing in this provision requires employers to commit any act in violation of federal law or that would lead to the loss of a federal contract or federal funding. This may mean that federal contractors who must comply with drug-free workplace laws are exempt from this provision. The law also does not require any defense industrial base sector employer or prospective employer to hire or retain any applicant or employee who tests positive for THC in excess of 50 ng/ml for a urine test or 10 pg/mg for a hair test. 

The law can be read here

An article covering the law can be read here. 

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the law and information to make any relevant adjustments to their workplace policies, specifically when dealing with employees who may be using cannabis oil while working. 

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Virginia’s Recreational Cannabis Law Passes 

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Virginia. 

What happened?
On April 4, 2021, Virginia’s House and Senate Committees passed Senate Bill 1406 (SB1406) into law. 

What are the details?
Effective July 1, 2021, the law establishes the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority to legalize, tax and regulate recreational marijuana use. This also results in the expunging of all misdemeanor violations and the Virginia State Police is directed to determine which marijuana-related offenses are automatically expunged from state record by July 1, 2025. 

If a person has successfully had a felony marijuana charge expunged to be permanently erased, employers cannot then require an applicant to answer any question related to any arrest, criminal charge, conviction, or civil offense that has been expunged. Although the law does not stop employers from prohibiting marijuana in the workplace or drug testing. 

The law can be read here

An article covering the law can be read here. 

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the law and information here to make any relevant adjustments to their workplace policies due to the updated cannabis laws. The law firm, Jackson Lewis P.C., recommends that employers should, at minimum, consider how they want to message their expectations to their workforce considering the swirling—and often contradictory—information and messages regarding cannabis use and the workplace. 

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Virginia’s Overtime Wage Act 

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Virginia. 

What happened?
On March 31, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam signed the Virginia Overtime Wage Act (VOWA) into law. 

What are the details?
VOWA (Va. Code § 40.1-29.2) will be made effective July 1, 2021 and will make significant alterations to employer’s wage and hour obligations. The bill will impact how overtime for both hourly and salary non-exempt workers are calculated. 

Hourly employees will now have their overtime rate obtained based on the VOWA’s regular rate calculation. The calculation will be the employee’s hourly rate plus other wages, such as commissions or non-discretionary bonuses paid or allocated during that same workweek, minus any applicable FLSA exclusions and divided by “the total number of hours worked in that workweek”. If the employee worked over 40 hours in the fixed workweek, then the employee must receive 1.5 times the calculated regular rate of pay for all hours worked by the employee over 40 hours. 

An example of the calculation is:

  • Regular Wages: $15 x 50 = $750
  • Wages + Bonus: $750 + $200 = $950
  • Regular Rate: $950/50 = $19/hour
  • Overtime Rate: $19 x 1.5 = $28.50/hour 

For non-exempt employees paid on a salary or other regular basis, their regular rate is defined as one-fortieth of all wages paid for the workweek, include wages, commissions, and non-discretionary bonuses. The employer would then take the employees’ wages earned that workweek, divide it by 40, and then for any hours worked by the employee over 40 in that workweek, pay 1.5 times that calculated regular rate for all overtime hours. 

An example of the calculation is:

  • Regular Rate: $1,200/40 = $30/hour
  • Overtime Rate: $30 x 1.5 = $45
  • Overtime Pay: $45 x 10 = $450 

The Act can be read here

Articles on the Act can also be read here and here. 

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the law to be aware of the necessary requirements and make any changes to their relevant policies including pay and overtime.

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Virginia’s Reasonable Accommodation Law Enacted

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Virginia with more than five employees. 

What happened?
On February 25, 2021, Virginia’s General Assembly passed House Bill 1848 to expand protections given by the Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA). 

What are the details?
Effective July 1, 2021, employers are required to make reasonable accommodation to the known physical and mental impairments of an otherwise qualified person with a disability if necessary to assist that person in performing a particular job. Accommodation must be provided, unless an employer can demonstrate the accommodation would impose an undue hardship. Employers will also be required to update employee handbooks with information that covers an employee’s right to reasonable accommodation for disabilities. 

Employers are required to display the notice poster in a conspicuous location on work premises. The Division of Human Rights of the Department of Law is tasked to develop a notice within 120 days of the effective date.  Employers must directly provide information about this law to new employees and any employee within 10 days of such employee providing notice to the employer that they have a disability. 

Virginia employers also will be prohibited from: 

  • Taking any adverse action against an employee who requests or uses a reasonable accommodation.
  • Denying employment or promotion opportunities to an otherwise qualified applicant or employee because the employer will be required to make reasonable accommodation to the applicant or employee.
  • Requiring an employee to take leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided to the known limitations related to the disability.
  • Failing to engage in a timely, good faith interactive process with an employee who has requested an accommodation to determine if the requested accommodation is reasonable, and if such accommodation is determined not to be reasonable, discuss alternative accommodations that may be provided.

If a Virginia employer wants to deny an accommodation due to an undue hardship, the employer must consider: 

  • Hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business, considering the nature of the employer’s operation, including composition and structure of the employer’s workforce.
  • Size of the facility where employment occurs.
  • Nature and costs of the accommodations needed, taking into account alternative sources of funding or technical assistance.
  • The possibility that the same accommodations may be used by another prospective employee.
  • Safety and health considerations of the person with a disability. 

The Bill can be read here

An article on the Bill can be read here. 

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the Bill and their policies to ensure they are in compliance with providing accommodations to employees that are covered by this law.


 

July 2021 Rhode Island HR Legal Updates

Protections Against Pay Discrimination Enacted in Rhode Island 

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Rhode Island. 

What happened?
On July 6, 2021, Governor Daniel McKee signed Pay Equity legislation (the “Act”) (H 5261A, S 0270A) into law. 

What are the details?
The Act, effective January 1, 2023, provides multiple protections to employees against pay discrimination that are applicable to all employers while also providing employers an avenue to be completely absolved from liability. 

Wage ranges for the position an applicant is applying for and for a currently held position are required to be provided upon request to promote transparency. While in addition, employers may not prevent employees from discussing pay or refuse to interview, hire, promote, or employ applicants for employment or employees and may not retaliate against them because they requested the wage range for a position.

Employers are prohibited from inquiries about or reliance on salary history. Employers cannot rely on the wage history of an applicant both when deciding whether to consider the applicant for employment as well as when determining what amount of wages to pay the applicant upon hire, require that an applicant’s prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria as a condition of employee, or seek the wage history of an applicant. 

The Act also prohibits an employer from paying “wages” to any of its employees at a rate less than the rate it pays to employees of another race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age (40 or older), or country of ancestral origin (“Protected Class”) for the performance of comparable work unless the employer can demonstrate that the wage differential is due to one or more of the below justifications allowed in the Act. The law provides several justifications as well as constraints that will need to be known so that they can be properly utilized. 

An employer can be completely absolved from liability against legal action for wage differentials if it can demonstrate that it conducted a good faith self-evaluation of its pay practices within the previous 2 years and prior to the commencement of the action, as well as if it can show that any unlawful wage differentials revealed by the self-evaluation were eliminated. 

To be eligible for this affirmative defense, the elimination of the wage differentials must occur within 90 days from the completion of the self-evaluation. The expiration date for this defense is June 30, 2026, to avoid all liability even after the expiration, the Act makes clear that employers that have conducted a good faith self-evaluation, eliminated any unlawful wage differentials, and have compensated its employees for any unpaid wages owed under the Act will have a complete affirmative defense to all liability. 

The Act’s legislation can be read here (S0270A) and here (H5261). 

Articles on the Act can be read here and here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review and be aware of the restrictions and requirements introduced with the laws in preparation for when the Act’s laws go into effect on January 1, 2023. Employers will also be required to post a notice containing excerpts and other information about the Act for employees. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training is required to develop the notice and a set of regulations that should further define and explain the requirements of the Act, and in particular the safe harbor provisions. The notice does not currently have a timeframe of being approved.

July 2021 Pennsylvania HR Legal Updates

Salary Threshold for Exemption is Repealed in Pennsylvania 

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Pennsylvania. 

What happened?
On July 9, 2021, Governor Tom Wolf agreed to repeal new exempt executive, administrative and professional (EAP) salary thresholds with HB 336. 

What are the details?
The bill, effective September 7, 2021, repealed the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s (DLI’s) previously enacted rule under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA) that substantially increased the salary threshold needed for an employee to qualify as an exempt EAP employee in an agreed exchange to provide additional funding for schools. The standards will restore to those prior to 2020 and the entire regulatory framework that defines the EAP exemptions that have been in effect since 1977.  

At this time there is no regulatory definition to confirm the definition of an exempt EAP employee, but the PMWA statute continues to provide that bona fide EAP employees remain exempt. 

The bill can be read here

An article on the law can be read here. 

What do employers need to do?
Employers should familiarize themselves with the law and the repeal of the previous rule on EAP employee exemption thresholds to update any applicable workplace policies. 

 

July 2021 Oregon HR Legal Updates

Vaccine Incentives and Hiring Bonuses Temporarily Allowed in Oregon 

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Oregon. 

What happened?
On July 8, 2021, Oregon legislature temporarily amended Oregon’s Equal Pay Act (EPA). 

What are the details?
Oregon’s Equal Pay Act has been temporarily amended to allow employers to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations and to attract new employees as the state begins re-opening from COVID-19. Under the revised statute, when evaluating whether employees who perform work of comparable character are paid equitably, a comparison of employee compensation may exclude vaccine incentives. Similarly, hiring and retention bonuses are excluded from the calculation.

The amendment notes that vaccine incentives are excluded for pay comparison purposes on any claims filed after April 29, 2021. It also excludes hiring and retention bonuses for pay comparison purposes on claims and complaints filed after May 25, 2021. Both amendments are due to expire March 1, 2022. 

The revised statute can be read here

An article on the update can be read here. 

What do employers need to do?
Employers should read the information above and the revised statute to properly process any claims on pay comparison filed after April 29, 2021 and hiring or retention bonuses filed after May 25, 2021. 

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Oregon’s Equal Pay Poster Receives Update 

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Oregon. 

What happened?
On June 21, 2021, the Oregon Bureau of Labor updated their Equal Pay notice. 

What are the details?
Oregon updated its Equal Pay notice to reflect that it is unlawful for an employer to pay an employee less than someone else because of their gender, race, veteran status, disability, age, color, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, or pay history. 

The updated poster can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers in Oregon should update their Equal Pay poster to stay in compliance. The updated poster can be read here

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Oregon Updates Paid Sick Time Notice 

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Oregon. 

What happened?
On June 21, 2021, the Oregon Bureau of Labor updated their Paid Sick Time notice. 

What are the details?
Oregon updated its Paid Sick Time notice poster. The updated notice clarifies that paid sick time covers bereavement, parental leave, and leave to care for a child whose school or place of care is closed for a public health emergency. The poster revision date is June 21, 2021. 

The updated poster can be read here. 

What do employers need to do?
Employers in Oregon should update their Paid Sick Time poster to stay in compliance. The updated poster can be read here

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Temporary Heat Standard Issued by Oregon OSHA 

 Update Applicable to:
All employers in Oregon.  

What happened?
On July 8, 2021, Oregon’s OSHA established emergency heat safety requirements.   

What are the details?
Effective immediately, Oregon’s OSHA adopted workplace heat safety requirements that apply when temperatures in a work area reach or exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Additional rules will also apply when the temperature breaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The state will now apply to incidental exposure (less than 15 minutes of exposed work activity in any 60-minute period), to transportation of employees inside vehicles when they are not otherwise performing work, or where other standards apply (e.g., where heat is generated from a work process). These emergency rules will stay in effect until a permanent rule is completed.  

By August 1, 2021, employers must provide training to all employees who can reasonably be anticipated to be exposed to temperatures at or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the work area. The training must be in a language readily understood, and include the following:  

  • The environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness, as well as the added burden of heat load on the body caused by exertion, clothing, and personal protective equipment. 
  • The procedures for complying with the requirements of this standard, including the employer’s responsibility to provide water, provide daily heat index information, shade, cool-down rests, and access to first aid as well as the employees’ right to exercise their rights under this standard without fear of retaliation. 
  • The concept, importance, and methods of adapting to working in a hot environment. 
  • The importance of employees immediately reporting symptoms or signs of heat illness in themselves, or in co-workers. 
  • The effects of non-job factors (medications, alcohol, obesity, etc.) on tolerance to workplace heat stress. 
  • The different types of heat-related illness, and the common signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.  

Employees exposed to a work area that is at or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit must be provided a shade area and water that meets the below specifications:  

  • Shade Requirements 
  • Be provided by any natural or artificial means that does not expose employees to unsafe or unhealthy conditions and that does not deter or discourage access or use. 
  • Either be open to the air or provide mechanical ventilation for cooling. 
  • At least accommodate the number of employees on recovery or rest periods, so that they can sit in in the shade. 
  • Be located as close as practical to the areas where employees are working. 
  • Shade present during meal periods must be large enough to accommodate the number of employees on the meal period that remain onsite. 
  • Water Requirements 
  • Be readily accessible to employees at all times and at no cost. 
  • Enable each employee to consume 32 ounces per hour. 
  • Be cool (66-77 degrees Fahrenheit) or cold (35-65 degrees Fahrenheit). 
  • Drinking water packaged as a consumer product and electrolyte-replenishing drinks that do not contain caffeine are acceptable substitutes but should not completely replace the required water. 
  • Employers must also ensure that employees have ample opportunity to drink water.  

When the temperature level rises to above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the below rules apply in addition to the previous rules: 

  • Ensure effective communication between an employee and a supervisor is maintained so that an employee can report concerns.  
  • Ensure that employees are observed for alertness and signs and symptoms of heat illness and monitored to determine whether medical attention is necessary. 
  • Provide a cool-down rest period in the shade of 10 minutes for every two hours of work. These preventative cool-down rest periods may be provided concurrently with any other meal or rest period required by policy, rule, or law. 
  • Develop and implement an emergency medical plan and practices to gradually adapt employees to working in the heat. 

An article on the emergency rules can be read here.  

Documents, resources, and further details on the rules can be read here.  

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the rules and their workplace policies on training and outdoor heat exposure to stay in compliance with the new rules. 

 

 

July 2021 New Jersey HR Legal Updates

Larger Penalties for Employee Misclassifications in New Jersey 

Update Applicable to:
All employers who operate and have employees in New Jersey. 

What happened?
On July 8, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed bills A5890/S3920, A5891/S3921, and A5892/S3922 into law. 

What are the details?
With A5890/S3920, effective immediately, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) is authorized to shut down a workplace that is found to have violated the Unemployment Compensation Law (UCL) and levy fines for each day the employer ignores the NJDOL’s order. 

New Jersey businesses can be issued a stop-work order and an indefinite suspension of business operations if they fail to pay UCL contributions. The order would encompass all locations and not a single location and the NJDOL can also assess a civil penalty of $5,000 per day for each day the employer conducts business in violation of the stop-work order. A request for a hearing challenging the stop-work order does not stay the effectiveness of the stop-work order. Businesses that receive a stop-work order must pay its employees for the first 10 days of the order. 

Failure to maintain wage records may trigger a permanent ban on a company’s New Jersey operations and a fine of not less than $1,000 per day until the employer gets into compliance. 

The second law, 5891/S3921, creates the Office of Strategic Enforcement and Compliance, which will investigate claims of employee misclassification and coordinate strategic enforcement efforts both within the NJDOL and across other state agencies. To be considered in substantial good standing with the state, an employer must have no outstanding liabilities for unpaid contributions into the Unemployment Compensation Fund. Businesses with any outstanding liability will receive no business assistance from NJDOL and their status with the NJDOL will be reported to other state agencies. 

The third law, A5892/S3922, effective January 1, 2022, streamlines the process for identifying unlawful employee misclassification, and provides that businesses that misclassify employees commit insurance fraud. An employer that is found to have “purposely” or “knowingly” misclassified its employees violates the New Jersey Insurance Fraud Prevention Act and is subject to fines starting at $5,000 for the first violation, $10,000 for the second violation, and $15,000 for each subsequent violation. An adverse finding under this law will trigger an investigation by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (“NJDOBI”). 

An article on the new bills can be read here. 

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the laws and the information above to continue to stay in compliance in their employee classification and unemployment compensation processes.


July 2021 New Hampshire HR Legal Updates

New Hampshire Passes Voluntary Enrollment Paid Leave Program 

Update Applicable to:
All employers in New Hampshire. 

What happened?
On June 24, 2021, New Hampshire Legislature passed a two-year state budget that included an amendment to 21-I, which enacts the Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan. 

What are the details?
The program, effective July 1, 2021, was signed into the budget on June 25, 2021 and is a completely voluntary plan on the part of individuals and employers. Overage for the program will start January 1, 2023. The law requires that the insurance carrier, or carriers that are awarded the state employee insurance contract, allow all public employers, as well as private employers with more than 50 employees, to opt into the Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan policies. 

Employers who opt in to the program must participate in payroll deductions and provide heightened employment protections, such as continuation of health insurance coverage during leave, as well as protection from discrimination and retaliation from utilizing the leave. The employers who do decide to opt in to the program will be provided tax credits. 

Employees who work for businesses that participate in the voluntary program can utilize the leave for: 

  • The birth of a child or caring for a newborn child for the first year.
  • Newly adopted or fostered children within the first year.
  • Care for an employee’s spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition.
  • Care for a spouse, child, or parent who is in the military.
  • A personal serious health condition that is independent of employment, if the employer does not offer short-term disability insurance. 

Individuals working for employers that do not choose to participate in the program or have equivalent paid leave programs can opt in to the Granite State Paid Family Leave Plan through the individual pool. Employers are responsible for remitting the employee-paid premiums to the state by a payroll deduction. 

The details program can be read here

Articles on the program can be read here and here. 

What do employers need to do?
Employers should read the law on the new program to determine if they will participate and follow guidelines to stay in compliance once the coverage begins January 1, 2023.

 

July 2021 Michigan HR Legal Updates

Michigan Unemployment Compensation Poster Update

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Michigan.

What happened?
On July 2, 2021, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) updated their Unemployment Compensation notice.

What are the details?
The Michigan LEO Department updated their Unemployment Compensation notice poster to reflect that the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency will reinstate the work search requirements for unemployment benefits. To remain eligible for unemployment benefits, claimants must actively seek work and report at least one work search activity for each week they claim benefits. 

The updated poster can be read here. 

What do employers need to do?
Employers should replace the previous Unemployment Compensation poster with the updated poster here to stay in compliance.

 

July 2021 Louisiana HR Legal Updates

Louisiana Employers Required to Provide Pregnancy Accommodations

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Louisiana.

What happened?
On June 17, 2021, Governor John Bel Edwards signed Senate Bill 215 (SB215) into law.

What are the details?
Effective August 1, 2021, employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees who need them due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless it would pose an undue hardship on the employer.

The statute does clarify that employers are not required to create positions (including light duty) that don’t already exist unless the employer does so for other employees who need the accommodations. Also, it is not required for an employer to discharge or “bump” another employee to make accommodations.

The new statute provides examples of possible reasonable accommodations, including:

  • Making facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by an applicant or employee (however, an employer is not required to construct a permanent, dedicated space for expressing milk).
  • Providing more frequent breaks.
  • Providing light duty, if available.
  • Acquiring or modifying equipment devices necessary for performing essential functions.
  • Modifying work schedules.

The new law does not change an employer’s existing obligations to provide a reasonable leave of absence of at least six weeks for a normal pregnancy or childbirth or for a period of time that an employee is disabled on account of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions not to exceed four months.

Employers are also prohibited from refusing to select a pregnant worker for a training program that leads to a promotion as long as the employee can complete the program at least three months prior to her pregnancy leave. An employer is also prohibited from discharging a pregnant worker from employment or to discriminate against her in compensation or in the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

Employers must notify existing employees about the new requirements by December 1, 2021 and new employees must be notified at the commencement of employment. The notification must be posted in a conspicuous area that is accessible to employees.

The bill can be read here.

An article on the bill can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the bill here and information above to update any applicable workplace policies to remain in compliance with the new accommodation law.