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July 2022: Minimum Wage Rate Increases

Effective July 1, 2022, minimum wage rate increases will go into effect for a number of states, cities, and municipalities. These increases will be applicable to employers who have employees performing work in the affected areas. To view the new minimum wage requirements, click here.

To help manage this challenge, we are providing you with a rates-only update that details scheduled state and local level wage increases that will occur on July 1, 2022 (as well as additional increases taking place after July, but before January) so employers can determine the minimum amount they must pay non-exempt and tipped employees.

Tips to Make Your Company Accessible to Employees with Disabilities

A recent study shows that nearly one in eight U.S. citizens have some form of disability. Like anyone else living in the U.S., these individuals are afforded the right to work and should be given extensive opportunities to do so. The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has enabled more people with disabilities to join the workforce than ever before.

Making an effort to hire workers with disabilities can have a major impact on your organization. In fact, organizations that incorporate candidates with disabilities have experienced 28% higher revenue and 2-times higher net incomes, according to an Accenture white paper.

The key to adding workers with disabilities is accessibility. While this may seem pricey, it really isn’t. Studies show that 56% of accommodations have no associated costs; 37% have a one-time cost of $500 or less; and 4% result in ongoing expenses on an annual basis.

Here are a few tips to make your workplace more accessible for employees with disabilities.

Recruiting

If you are committed to hiring more people with disabilities, it is imperative that you make your intentions known.

To begin, conduct targeted outreach to community partners in an effort to attract qualified candidates with disabilities. You can get assistance by reaching out to vocational rehabilitation facilities, employment networks, American Job Centers, and Centers for Independent Living.

If you are creating job postings online, be sure to make your posts accessible for the hearing and visually disabled.

Interviewing

Before extending a job offer to an individual with a disability, you must plan to provide a designated interviewing area that is accessible for all candidates. You cannot ask someone what disabilities they have during an interview, so it should be common practice to have a meeting place that is accessible to everyone.

However, if someone does inform you about a disability, such as mobility impairments, hearing loss, or weakened eyesight, you should accommodate them accordingly.

It is also important that you inform applicants about the interview process to give them time to request accommodations if needed.

Onboarding

When anyone accepts a job offer from your organization, they should expect a properly planned onboarding process.

The objective of your onboarding should not change with employees who have a disability. However, you can tailor it to them by including disability-specific information, like accommodation procedures, and making orientation materials accessible for their disability.

Your onboarding process sets the standard for what an employee’s tenure could be with your company. Only 12% of employees said their organization does a great job of onboarding new employees.

Growth Opportunities

No worker wants to be stuck in the same position for their entire career, and there’s no exception for workers with disabilities.

According to a study conducted by Cornell University and the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), employers with internship programs for people with disabilities were 4.5-times more likely to hire a person with a disability compared to an organization without a program.

Furthermore, tailoring mentorship and professional development programs to your employees with disabilities gives you the opportunity to learn from them—how can you better assist them, what are their strengths, and how can you prepare them for success?

Work with a PEO

Seeking the help of a professional employer organization (PEO) can have an incredible impact on your business. As experts in human resources, PEOs, like VensureHR, can provide you with resources that will make the recruiting process seamless.

Whether you need a recruiting guide, interview form template, or an onboarding checklist, Vensure can kick start your initiative to recruit more employees with disabilities.

May 2022: Planning Ahead and Posting Updates

(This section provides you with an overview of labor law postings for this month. Note: many of these are included in the federal/state labor law poster.)

Federal or StateUpdated PostingMandatory or Recommended
 TBD 
FederalFair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – Overtime Exemptions, Overtime, Joint EmploymentANTICIPATED
FederalMinimum WageANTICIPATED
FederalFamily Medical Leave ActANTICIPATED
 ANTICIPATED 
CaliforniaJob Health and SafetyANTICIPATED
CaliforniaOSHAANTICIPATED
IllinoisYou Have the Right to be Free from Job Discrimination and Sexual HarassmentANTICIPATED
IllinoisEqual PayANTICIPATED
New JerseyWage TheftANTICIPATED
New JerseyEmployee MisclassificationANTICIPATED
New JerseySafe ActANTICIPATED
New YorkSexual HarassmentANTICIPATED
New YorkDiscriminationANTICIPATED
New YorkFair EmploymentANTICIPATED
New YorkElectronic MonitoringANTICIPATED
Rhode IslandPay EquityANTICIPATED
Rhode IslandDiscriminationANTICIPATED
Puerto RicoMinimum WageANTICIPATED
New HampshirePaid Family LeaveANTICIPATED
ConnecticutPaid Family Medical LeaveANTICIPATED
LouisianaEarned Income CreditANTICIPATED
New MexicoHealthy Workplaces ActANTICIPATED
May 2022
New JerseyPayment of WagesMANDATORY
 April 2022 
Howard County, MarylandMinimum Wage and Overtime LawMANDATORY
Tucson, ArizonaMinimum Wage ActMANDATORY

May 2022: Maine Governor Signs Amendment into Law for Hair Discrimination

Update Applicable to:
All employers in the state of Maine

What happened?
On April 20, 2022, Governor Mills signed an amendment into law which will prohibit discrimination in employment based on hair texture or hairstyle.

What are the details?
Effective July 19, 2022, race discrimination in employment will include discrimination on the basis of traits associated with race, including hair texture, Afro hairstyles, and “protective hairstyles,” such as braids, twists, and locs.

For more information, please see the links below:

S.P. 237 – L.D. 598

Article

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and educate their managers to ensure they do not discriminate employees not only with race, but with hair texture and/or hairstyle.

May 2022: Chicago City Council Pass Amendments to Sexual Harassment Laws

Update Applicable to:
All employers in the city of Chicago, Illinois

What happened?
On April 27, 2022, the Chicago City Council passed an amendment to the city’s sexual harassment laws that expands the definition of sexual harassment, increases training requirements for employees and managers, adds a new requirement for employers to establish a written policy on sexual harassment, and applies stricter penalties for violations.

What are the details?
Effective July 1, 2022, all employers must have a written policy on sexual harassment including: 

  1. A statement that sexual harassment is illegal in Chicago
  2. The definition of sexual harassment (as defined by the ordinance) 
  3. A requirement that all employees participate in sexual harassment prevention training annually
  4. Examples of prohibited conduct that constitute sexual harassment 
  5. Details on reporting and legal services 
  6. A statement that retaliation for reporting sexual harassment is illegal in Chicago

The training requirement states that “employees shall participate in a minimum of one hour of sexual harassment prevention training annually.” Managers and supervisors have a heightened requirement to participate in “a minimum of two hours of sexual harassment prevention training annually.”

In addition to sexual harassment prevention training, “all employees must participate in one hour of bystander training annually.” Bystander intervention training teaches strategies on how onlookers can involve themselves both directly and indirectly into harassment incidents to help those being targeted. 

The Commission on Human Rights, which monitors and enforces the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance, provides guidance on their website for training, policy, and notice requirements that employers must have prepared by July 1, 2022. 

Fines for violations of the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance have increased significantly, ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 per violation, paid to the city. Other penalties include damages and attorney’s fees paid to the complaining party. The city may also enjoin employers to take specific actions to eliminate discriminatory practices. Finally, a finding of sexual harassment or other discrimination may affect the continued licensure of a business in the city of Chicago.

For more information, please see the links below:

Illinois Human Rights Act

Chicago Commission on Human Relations Guidance

Sexual Harassment in Employment

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What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above, make changes to their sexual harassment policies, and provide additional training to their employees to be in compliance with the amended law.

May 2022: Hawaii’s Minimum Wage to Raise in October 2022

Update Applicable to:
All employers in the state of Hawaii

What happened?
On May 4, 2022, House Bill 2510 (HB 2510) passed both chambers and was sent to Governor Ige, which if signed, will increase the minimum wage for the state of Hawaii starting October 1, 2022.

What are the details?
Currently, Hawaii’s minimum wage rates are:

  • $10.10 – standard
  • $9.35 – tipped employees

Under the legislation, the first increase would be on October 1, 2022. The scheduled increases to the standard rate follow a somewhat odd schedule. Most states schedule yearly increases, often $1 at a time. But the Hawaii minimum wage schedule, if the law is enacted, would be as follows:

  • $12 – Oct. 1, 2022
  • $14 – Jan. 1, 2024
  • $16 – Jan. 1, 2026
  • $18 – Jan. 1, 2028

Meanwhile, the law would also increase the tip credit. It is currently $0.75. The change to the tip credit would be on a different schedule than the standard minimum wage increases in Hawaii, skipping 2026 altogether:

  • $1.00 – Oct. 1, 2022
  • $1.25 – Jan. 1, 2024
  • $1.50 – Jan. 1, 2028

For more information, please see the links below:

House Bill 2510 (HB 2510)

Legislation

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What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above, lookout for the passage of the new law, and prepare to make changes to their minimum wage to be in compliance with the law once signed by the governor.

May 2022: West Hollywood City Council Approves Amendments to Minimum Wage Ordinance

Update Applicable to:
All employers in the city of West Hollywood, California

What happened??
On November 23, 2021, we notified you that the city council of West Hollywood passed Ordinance No. 21-1168 that implements an increase in the minimum wage and new leave requirements for employees in the city that went into effect on January 1, 2022 for hotel employers and on July 1, 2022 for all other employers. This is an update to that communication.

What are the details?
On May 16, 2022, West Hollywood’s city council approved amendments to Ordinance No. 21-1168.

The following amendments were implemented:

  • Previously, the calculation of the number of employees for purposes of coverage of the Ordinance was based on the calculation of employees from 2019. In the amendment, the number shall be determined by the number of employees employed per quarter during the most recent calendar year. For new employers, an initial determination of size shall be based upon the actual number of hires at the time of opening.
  • In the original Ordinance, employers were required to provide a cash payment once every 30 days for accrued compensated time over the maximum accrual. The amendment eliminates the cash payout requirement.
  • In the original Ordinance, employers could only seek one-year waivers for the minimum wage requirements of the Ordinance. The amendment extends the one-year waiver for financial hardship to comply with the paid leave portions of the Ordinance.

The city also published administrative regulations to assist in the implementation of the ordinance. The regulations provide guidance in areas such as:

  • Calculation of number of employees
  • Methods for distribution of compensated and uncompensated leave
  • Guidance for application of waivers for certain employers
  • Required notices

For more information, please see the links below:

Ordinance No. 21-1168

Administrative Regulations

Article

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and make adjustments to their minimum wage and leave policies to be in compliance with the law before it goes into effect.

4 Unique Perks to Add to Your Benefits Package

Employees are looking for greater benefits packages and work perks more than ever before. One study found that 80% of employees want perks and benefits more than they want a raise.

Of course, many companies offer a variety of health insurance plans and paid time off (PTO), but it goes deeper than that for employees. The unique perks that employees are searching for go outside the realm of traditional benefits. The working population is craving a better work/life balance, and thus, they are seeking the help of their employers.

Here are some non-traditional perks and benefits to consider offering your employees.

Wellness Programs

While the title ‘Wellness Program’ seems pretty broad, it isn’t. That’s because there is no one way to build a program like such.

For example, one company could host monthly competitions to see who can get the most steps in and award the winner a small prize; another company could bring in a mental health professional twice per month for employees to speak with.

Employers could even go as far as to provide reimbursement for gym memberships.

Whatever the make-up of a wellness program is, it’s a great perk that could have a positive effect on your employees. Approximately 83% of employers said they believed their company’s wellness program had a great impact on workers’ health and 84% believed their programs had a positive impact on productivity and performance.

Childcare Assistance

No one should ever have to choose between their career and their family. Unfortunately, with the high cost of childcare, many workers have made career changes or quit their jobs altogether. This is especially true for women.

A study shows that 57% of white women and 62% of women of color said they were unlikely to think about leaving their companies when they felt their life circumstances were respected and valued by their companies.

Let’s look at childcare costs in the state of Arizona:

  • Infant care will cost about $786 per month.
  • The cost of childcare for a 4-year-old is only slightly better at $625 per month.
  • Families with one infant can spend approximately 20% of their income on care.
  • Families with one infant and a 4-year-old, on average, could spend more than the cost of their monthly rent on care.

Needless to say, childcare assistance from an employer will be helpful to an employee and beneficial to your retention efforts. If you aren’t able to put together an assistance program, consider offering your employees some form of paid leave. Approximately 35% of all employees said paid leave was their most sought-after benefit.

Financial Literacy Training

There are more Millennials working today than employees of any other generation. However, only 24% of working Millennials understand basic financial literacy.

We can’t just call out Millennials, though. A survey shows that 44% of Americans don’t have enough cash to cover a $400 emergency and 58% of Americans have less than $1,000 saved.

Having a lack of financial knowledge can be incredibly stressful and may lead to a loss in productivity. That is why it’s important for an employer to provide employees with basic educational materials that will help them understand finances.

You may even want to start by providing employees with a guide to 401(k).

Pet Insurance

Everyone knows someone with a pet that they love. In fact, approximately two-thirds of U.S. households (about 85 million families) have at least one pet.

Unfortunately, less than three million pets are insured.

Fortunately, working with a professional employer organization (PEO) like Vensure Employer Services will give you access to affordable pet insurance from companies like Nationwide Insurance. The pet protection that Vensure offers pays 90% of the veterinarian invoice for all medical expenses after a $250 annual deductible. Vensure does more than offer great benefits packages, they’ll also supply you with a library of free resources to help your business functions flow smoothly. To learn about  more benefits and perks to offer your employees, check out the Choosing an HR Provider Checklist, Work From Home Policy Template, and  Employee Burnout Handbook.

May 2022: Delaware Governor Signs Healthy Delaware Families Act into Law

Update Applicable to:

All employers with 10–24 employees and 25 or more employees in the state of Delaware

What happened?
In our previous communication here, we informed you that the “Healthy Delaware Families Act” will become law once signed by the governor. This is an update to that law.

What are the details?
On May 10, 2022, Governor Carney signed Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), also known as the “Healthy Delaware Families Act,” into law.

  • Employers with 10 to 24 employees in Delaware must:
    • Contribute to the program and provide parental leave.
  • Employers with 25 employees or more also must:
    • provide family caregiving and medical leave.
      • Exemption: The law includes an exemption for employers that are closed for at least 30 consecutive days during the year.

The related Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program will be funded by employer and employee contributions. While the law will take effect on July 1, 2022, contributions will begin on January 1, 2025, and employees will be able to utilize the job-protected paid leave beginning on January 1, 2026.

The new law provides benefits to replace up to 80% of a covered individual’s average weekly wage and job-protected leave for the following reasons:

  • To care for a child during the first year after the child’s birth, adoption, or placement of the child through foster care;
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition;
  • Because the covered individual has a serious health condition that results in the covered individual being unable to perform the functions of the covered individual’s position; or
  • Because the covered individual has a qualifying exigency, as defined under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

The maximum amount of leave benefits a covered individual may take is 12 weeks per year for parental leave and an aggregate of six weeks in any 24-month period for other qualifying reasons, for a cumulative total of up to 12 weeks of benefits per year.

Any employee primarily reporting for work in Delaware who has worked for one year for their employer and at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months is eligible to utilize the benefits and leave provided by the new law.

Employees who take leave are entitled to continued employee health benefits during leave and to reinstatement to the position previously held by the employee, or an equivalent position, following leave.

Employers that violate the law, including by not providing required leave or engaging in retaliation for taking leave, may be subject to damages. Damages may include lost wages, actual damages caused by leave denied, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees, and reinstatement.

For more information, please see the links below:

Senate Bill 1 (SB 1)

Vensure Legal Update (4/25/2022)

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What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and prepare to make changes to their paid leave policies to be in compliance with the new law by preparing to pay contributions by January 1, 2025, and providing employees the newly job-protected paid leave by January 1, 2026.

May 2022: New York City Council Passes Amendment to Pay Transparency Law

Update Applicable to:
All employers with four or more employees in New York City.

What happened?
In our previous communication, we informed you about the proposed amendment to the New York City Pay Transparency Law that was passed on December 15, 2021. This is an update to that law.

What are the details?
After the New York City Committee on Civil and Human Rights (Committee) hearing on April 5, 2022, it became clear that the Committee would not adopt the initially proposed amendment of the NYC pay transparency law, which requires that NYC employers with four or more employees include the salary range of the position in job postings. However, the Committee proposed a second amendment that was passed by the NYC Council on April 28, 2022.

The new amendment postpones the effective date to November 1, 2022, and also clarifies for employers that both hourly wage and salaried jobs are subject to the statute.

The amendment also eliminates the broad private right of action available under the original law. Under the revised version, only current employees may bring an action against their employer for non-compliance. Based on the change, applicants likely cannot file a private right of action for violations. However, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) will still have the authority to enforce violations applicable to applicants.

Further, under the amended law, first-time violators will not be subject to any monetary penalties, so long as they correct the violation within 30 days, presumably by updating the relevant job advertisement.

However, the amended version incorporates guidance from the CCHR regarding the applicability of the law to remote job positions. Specifically, the amended law provides that the salary disclosure requirement does not apply to positions that “cannot” or “will not” be performed, at least in part, in New York City. Stated differently, if any part of an advertised job can theoretically be performed in New York City, then the salary range for the position must be disclosed in the advertisement.

For more information, please see the links below:

NYC Pay Transparency

Original NYC Salary Transparency Factsheet

Vensure Legal Update (4/5/2022)

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What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and should take advantage of the extended time to adjust their job advertisement policies.