October 2021: New York Department of Labor Revises NY HERO Act Model Protocol

Update Applicable to:
All employers in New York.

What happened?
On September 23, 2021, the New York Department of Labor (DOL) updated their NY HERO Act model plan.

What are the details?
The revised NY HERO Act model plan now attempts to clarify when masks are required and specifically provides for two relevant circumstances:

  • For workplaces where all individuals on premises are fully vaccinated: Masks are recommended but not required.
  • For all other workplaces: Employees must wear appropriate face coverings “in accordance with guidance from the State Department of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as applicable.”

The revised model plan can be read here.

An article on the revised model plan can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the newly revised model plan for the NY HERO Act here and their current NY Hero Act plans to make any applicable updates to stay in compliance.

October 2021: Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Law Extended

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Massachusetts.

What happened?
On September 29, 2021, Governor Baker passed Bill H.4127 into law.

What are the details?
The bill extended Massachusetts’ COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave to now expire on April 1, 2022. It was originally due to expire on September 30, 2021.

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 current policies on COVID-19 leave to make applicable updates with the approval of the extension for the emergency COVID-19 leave.

October 2021: New Florida Requirement on Reporting Independent Contractors

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Florida with independent contractor workers.

What happened?
On June 16, 2021, Governor DeSantis signed SB 1532 into law, which provided updates to state family law.

What are the details?
The law, effective October 1, 2021, implements a new reporting requirement for a service recipient to report to the Florida Department of Revenue’s State Directory of New Hires any newly engaged non-employee to whom the service recipient pays more than $600 in a calendar year for services performed by the individual in the course of the service recipient’s trade or business.

The required information must be submitted within 20 days after the first payment to the independent contractor or on the date the business and independent contractor entered into the contract, whichever is earlier.

The law can be read here.

An article on the law can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the law and their current employee reporting procedures to make any applicable changes to stay in compliance with the new requirement of reporting their independent contractors.

October 2021: California Passes Bill Ending Sub-Minimum Wage for People with Disabilities

Update Applicable to:
Employers in the state of California.

What happened?
On September 27, 2021, Governor Newsom signed the Senate Bill 639 (SB 639) to begin phasing out a sub-minimum wage program for those with mental and/or physical disabilities.

What are the details?
Effective, January 1, 2022, the law begins the requirement to develop a plan to phase out the program that allowed employers in the state of California to pay employees with physical and/or mental disabilities less than minimum wage per Section 1191.5 of the Labor Code relating to employment.

With the signing of the bill, the program will be phased out by January 1, 2025 or once the phaseout plan has been released, whichever is later. Starting on the effective date, the bill would prohibit new special licenses from being issued and would permit a license to only be renewed for existing license holders who meet requisite benchmarks. The benchmarks will be provided in the phaseout plan.

The bill can be read here.

Articles on the bill can be read here and here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the bill, their payroll processes, and any special contracts to make updates to the applicable policies and processes to stay in compliance with the new law. Vensure will notify clients when the phaseout plan has been released.

October 2021: California DWC Announces Extension of Emergency Regulations

Update Applicable to:
All employers in California.

What happened?
On September 30, 2021, the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) announced an extension to emergency regulations 36.7 and 46.2 was approved by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL).

What are the details?
The emergency regulations extend the effective period of the emergency regulations 36.7 and 46.2 to January 11, 2022.

These emergency regulations help injured workers and employers continue to move their workers’ compensation claims toward a resolution and avoid additional and undue delay by addressing how medical-legal evaluations may proceed during this emergency period and providing alternative means for service of required forms related to medical-legal evaluations and reports.

The regulations can be read here.

A news release on the emergency regulations can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the emergency regulations and their worker’s compensation and other applicable policies to update and stay in compliance with the extension of the emergency regulations.

October 2021: New California Legislation Regarding Wage Theft Passed

Update Applicable to:
All employers in California.

What happened?
On September 27, 2021, Governor Newsom signed AB 1003 into law.

What are the details?
The law, effective January 1, 2022, enacts protections for employees (including independent contractors) regarding the intentional theft of wages in an amount greater than $950 from one employee, or $2,350 from a combined two or more employees in a 12-month period. The new legislation allows wages, tips, or other compensation that are the subject of a prosecution to be recovered as restitution.

The law can be read here.

An article on the bill can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should read the law and review their payroll policies to make any applicable changes to ensure that they are in compliance with the new law once it becomes active.

October 2021: California Expands Cal/OSHA’s Scope of Enforcement

Update Applicable to:
All employers in California.

What happened?
On September 27, 2021, Governor Newsom signed SB 606 into law.

What are the details?
The law, effective January 1, 2022, authorizes Cal/OSHA to issue citations for egregious violations of an occupational safety or health standard, order, special order, or regulation for each willful violation determined by Cal/OSHA. Additionally, they can count each employee affected by the violation as a separate violation for purposes of the issuance of fines and penalties. This would mean that the maximum penalty would be per violation, per employee.

A violation is deemed egregious under the bill if one or more of the following is true:

  • The employer, intentionally through voluntary action or inaction, made no reasonable effort to eliminate the known violation.
  • The violations resulted in worker fatalities, a worksite catastrophe, or a large number of injuries or illnesses.
  • The violations resulted in persistently high rates of worker injuries or illnesses.
  • The employer has an extensive history of prior violations of this section of the labor code.
  • The employer has intentionally disregarded their health and safety responsibilities.
  • The employer’s conduct, taken as a whole, amounts to clear bad faith in the performance of their duties to provide occupational safety to their employees.
  • The employer has committed a large number of violations to undermine the effectiveness of any safety and health program that might be in place.

The law has also introduced enterprise-wide violations, the law creates a presumption that an employer has committed an “enterprise-wide” violation, or a violation at multiple worksites if Cal/OSHA finds that either:

  • The employer has a written policy or procedure that violates section 25910 of the Health and Safety Code, any standard, rule, order or regulation; or
  • Cal/OSHA has evidence of a pattern or practice of the same violation or multiple violations committed by that employer involving more than one of the employer’s worksites.

There is no requirement that Cal/OSHA investigates other sites or observes violations in order to issue citations. This means that employers can be cited for worksites that have not been inspected, based entirely on a written policy at one of the employer’s worksites.

The law can be read here.

Articles on the law can be read here and here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the new law here and update their applicable policies and procedures in accordance with Cal/OSHA standards to stay in compliance with the new law.

September 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
Maryland Amends Flexible Leave Act to Include Bereavement LeaveOctober 1, 2021
Nevada Enacts Kin Care Leave LawOctober 1, 2021
Montana Revises Independent Contractor CertificationsOctober 1, 2021
Connecticut Strengthens Lactation Accommodation RequirementsOctober 1, 2021
Nevada Bans Salary History Inquiries, Requires Pay Range DisclosureOctober 1, 2021
Florida Requires New Hire Reporting of Independent ContractorsOctober 1, 2021
Connecticut Amends Sexual Harassment Prevention Training RequirementsOctober 1, 2021
District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act Employee Eligibility Requirements Temporarily AmendedOctober 1, 2021
Maryland Amends Mini-WARN Act RequirementsOctober 1, 2021
Connecticut Amends Equal Pay Law, Requires Pay Range DisclosureOctober 1, 2021
Nevada Bans Use of Noncompete Agreements for Hourly EmployeesOctober 1, 2021
Connecticut Tightens Smoking LawOctober 1, 2021
Connecticut Limits Age Information on Employment ApplicationsOctober 1, 2021
Maryland Implements Whistleblower Awards ProgramOctober 1, 2021
Montana Establishes Child Labor Exemption for Student EmployeesOctober 1, 2021
Washington Amends Quarterly Unemployment Reporting and Penalty ProvisionsOctober 1, 2021
Maryland Permits Employers to File for Peace Orders Against Workplace Acts of ViolenceOctober 1, 2021
Bernalillo County, New Mexico, Earned Paid Time Off Accrual and Use Cap IncreasesOctober 1, 2021
District of Columbia Temporarily Expands Paid Family Leave Qualifying Reasons and DurationOctober 1, 2021
Maine Amends Family and Medical Leave LawOctober 18, 2021
Maine Prohibits Direct Deposit FeesOctober 18, 2021
Maine Amends Emergency Responder Leave LawOctober 18, 2021
Maine Prohibits Discrimination Against Domestic Violence VictimsOctober 18, 2021
Maine Adopts Ban the Box LawOctober 18, 2021
Maine Amends Wage Overpayment LimitationsOctober 18, 2021
Maine Adds Protected Classes, Amends Disability RequirementsOctober 18, 2021
____________________________________________________________________________________________________

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 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
FloridaMinimum WageANTICIPATED
Rhode IslandMinimum WageANTICIPATED
Rhode IslandPay EquityANTICIPATED
MaineRegulation of EmploymentANTICIPATED
ColoradoMinimum WageANTICIPATED
September 2021
IndianaMinimum Wage LawMANDATORY
MissouriVictims of Domestic and Sexual Violence Leave Time AllowedMANDATORY
MontanaDiscriminationMANDATORY
MontanaNo SmokingMANDATORY
GeorgiaWorkers’ Compensation Panel of PhysiciansMANDATORY
NevadaDaily Overtime BulletinMANDATORY
August 2021
MassachusettsWage and Hour LawsMANDATORY
MassachusettsPaid Family and Medical LeaveMANDATORY

September 2021 Virginia HR Legal Updates

Virginia Issues Third Iteration of Emergency COVID-19 Regulations

Update Applicable to:

All employers in Virginia.

What happened?

On August 26, 2021, the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board adopted revised amendments to the Final Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19 (the Final Permanent Standard).

What are the details?

The amended Final Permanent Standard became effective on September 8, 2021 and contains several notable changes with some detailed below. The full list can be found in the Final Permanent Standard.

Higher-risk workplaces have been re-defined with the new Final Permanent Standard. The standard defines higher-risk workplaces to include those employers with employees who are not fully vaccinated; employees whose workplace is in a location with substantial or high community transmission, regardless of vaccination status; and otherwise at-risk employees in workplaces where there is heightened risk due to factors, such as where employees who are not fully vaccinated or are otherwise at-risk:

  • are working close to one another.
  • often have prolonged closeness to coworkers or potential frequent contact with members of the public.
  • work in enclosed indoor spaces with inadequate ventilation where other coworkers or members of the public are present.
  • may be exposed to the virus through respiratory droplets or aerosols in the air.
  • engage in a common practice of sharing employer-provided transportation and communal housing or living quarters.

Vaccinations for employees is not required in the Final Permanent Standard, but additional requirements are imposed on employees who have not been fully vaccinated.  When verifying an employee’s vaccination status, the Final Permanent Standard permits an employer to rely on an employee’s representation of being fully vaccinated, without providing proof of vaccination. That said, an employer is not precluded from requiring proof of vaccination.

Subject to certain exceptions, employers must provide and require unvaccinated employees, fully vaccinated employees in areas of substantial or high community transmission, and otherwise at-risk employees (because of a prior transplant or other medical condition) to wear face coverings or surgical masks while indoors, unless their work task requires a respirator or other personal protective equipment.

There has also been a change to the requirements for employers to implement an infectious disease preparedness and response plan. Any health care or health care support employer as well as any employers with higher-risk workplaces with 11 or more employees must have an infectious disease preparedness and response plan. When counting the employees, the employer may exclude fully vaccinated employees.

The Final Permanent Standard can be read here.

An article on the Final Permanent Standard can be read here.

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the Final Permanent Standard and all of the updated changes and requirements to apply any updates to their applicable policies and procedures to stay in compliance with Virginia’s COVID-19 prevention.

September 2021 New York HR Legal Updates

NYC Council Requires Human Service Contractors to Enter Labor Peace Agreements

Update Applicable to:

All employers in New York City (NYC) that contract or subcontract with NYC agencies.

What happened?

On August 18, 2021, an amendment to the administrative code of New York City to require labor peace agreements as a condition to city contracts.

What are the details?

The amended law, effective August 8, 2021, requires human services contractors and certain subcontractors to enter into labor peace agreements with labor organizations seeking to represent their employees rendering services under city human services contracts.

Covered employers must now submit certifications to NYC agencies along with their bid for a service contract or request for a renewal, which must be updated annually.  In addition, covered employers must now submit an attestation within 90 days of entering into a city service contract confirming the status of the labor peace agreement.

The amended law can be read here.

An article on the amended law can be read here.

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the law here and their policies and processes for contracts/subcontracts with the city to stay in compliance with the new requirements.