e-Alerts

e-Alert – HRK Monthly RoundUp: HR, Benefits, and Payroll News

Alabama

Alabama enacted the state’s first pay equity law on June 10, 2019, which requires all employers of any size to comply with this law. The Clarke-Figures Equal Pay Act (CFEPA) is nearly identical to the federal Equal Pay Act (EPA), but also includes race as a protected classification along with gender. This new act prohibits retaliation based on an applicant’s failure or refusal to provide wage history. The CFEPA takes effect on September 1, 2019. Major provisions include equal pay for equal work that requires the same skills, effort, education, experience, responsibility, and performance. The only four exceptions to this law include a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures an employee’s earnings by quantity or quality of production, or a differential based on any factor besides gender or race.

The law also places limitations on the employer’s ability to inquire about an applicant’s wage history. An employer cannot refuse to interview, hire, promote, or employ an applicant, or retaliate against an applicant who chooses not to provide his or her wage history. Another significant change includes the recordkeeping requirement, which states employers must comply with the requirements under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Click here for more information.

Arizona

Arizona recently amended the definition of “small employer” under the Mini-COBRA law. The statute defines “small employer” as an employer with at least one employee but no more than 20 eligible employees during the preceding calendar year for the purpose of continuation of coverage after a qualifying event. Employers that have exactly 20 employees are no longer considered a small employer under this amendment. Click here for more information.

Colorado

Colorado is requiring all applicable employers to notify their patrons about their sharing of gratuities policy beginning on August 2, 2019. Employers cannot implement a tip-pooling system without notifying their patrons in writing. The acceptable forms of communication under this law include a notice that is in the menu, a table tent, or a notice on the receipt. Employers may also post a sign in a conspicuous location that informs their customers of this law.

Effective January 1, 2021, Colorado has enacted an Equal Pay for Equal Work Act. This law prohibits employers from paying employees different wages who perform similar work based solely on the employee’s gender. Another requirement of the law bans employers from seeking the salary or wage rate history of job applicants. There are new responsibilities that employers must meet under this law, which relate to posting job openings and recordkeeping requirements for tracking their employees’ work history and compensation.

Colorado recently joined several other states in the ban-the-box movement, which prohibits employers from asking applicants about their criminal history on the employment application. The act takes effect beginning September 1, 2019 for employers with 10 or more employees, and then on September 1, 2021, for all employers. The Colorado Chance to Compete Act (CCCA) prohibits employers from adding statements to job postings or employment applications that state individuals with a criminal history may not apply. The law also prohibits employers from requiring a disclosure or inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on the application or at the job interview. The act states that an employer “may obtain the publicly available criminal background report of an applicant any time.” Click here for more information.

Connecticut

Connecticut has developed a Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, which is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature. The law would expand coverage to employers with as few as one employee and will cover employees who have worked at their employer for as little as 12 weeks, with no minimum hours requirement. Benefits will be given to employees who take leave for reasons that are covered under the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CTFMLA). The bill provides up to 12 weeks of paid leave in a 12-month period for an employee to care for themselves or family members, including spouse, parents, in-laws, children, siblings, grandparents, or grandchildren. Employees who are incapacitated by pregnancy will be eligible for an additional two weeks of paid leave, with a maximum of 14 weeks. Employees will fund the leave by contributing .5% of their income under a mandatory payroll tax beginning January 2021. Click
here to read more.

Connecticut recently revised their enforcement guidance regarding pregnancy accommodation. The act makes it unlawful for an employer to refuse a reasonable accommodation for an employee due to pregnancy. The updated Guidance for employer obligations includes an addition to the list of possible accommodations and addresses medical certifications for leave. The following reasonable accommodations have been added: breaks for the bathroom, water or rest, eating and drinking while working, assistive equipment, modified dress code, time off for prenatal and postnatal appointments, and workstation relocation for additional room for movement or to be closer to the bathroom. According to this amendment, employers must provide accommodations for fertility treatments, including unpaid leave or a flexible work schedule. Employees must notify the employer as soon as possible if the need for leave is foreseeable. Other parts of the act are addressed under this Guidance, including medical certification, employee confidentiality, fitness for duty, interactive process, and clarifying the reasonable leave of absence. Click here for more information.

Maine

Beginning January 1, 2020, Maine employers can ask for an applicant’s social security number only for preemployment screening purposes or substance abuse testing. This new law has been implemented to protect personal information from identity theft. However, employers can ask for an employee’s social security number after they have been hired.

Beginning January 1, 2021, Maine employers with 10 or more employees must provide paid time off for any reason. Employees who are exempt from the Earned Leave Act include seasonal employees, agricultural labor, certain commission-only employees, direct sellers, and certain employees with booth rental agreements. Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement in effect on January 1, 2021, do not apply until the agreement expires. Paid time must accrue at the rate of one hour for every 40 hours worked at their base rate of pay, unless an employer chooses a higher annual limit. Further guidance from the state labor department is forthcoming regarding if frontloading time is permissible and whether carryover of unused time is required. Employers may impose a 120-day waiting period before the employee may use paid time off. Reasonable notice is required for an emergency, illness, or sudden necessity. The Maine Department of Labor has yet to adopt regulations to implement and enforce the law, so employers should monitor the department’s website for guidance and regulations. Further details are provided here.

Maryland

Beginning October 1, 2019, Maryland employers must provide employees with up to 60 days of leave for organ donation or 30 days of leave for bone marrow donation. Eligible employees must have worked for 12 months and at least 1,250 hours within the last 12 months to qualify for the leave. Employees who request organ or bone marrow donation leave must provide justifying documentation indicating they are donors and that the donation is medically necessary.

Missouri

Beginning October 31, 2019, Kansas City, Missouri, employers with six or more employees are prohibited from inquiring about a job applicant’s salary history. Salary history inquiries include communicating with the applicant, inquiring of current or former employers, or conducting a search of public records. The ordinance also prohibits employers from using past wage information to determine whether to offer an applicant a position. Anti-retaliation provisions prevent employers from refusing to hire, retaliating against, or rejecting an applicant based on their salary history. Applicants can voluntarily provide such salary history information; however, employers may only discuss their salary expectations with the applicant. The only exceptions include current employees for transfer or promotions, former employees within five years of separation, and salary determined pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.

New Hampshire

Beginning July 14, 2019, New Hampshire has amended child labor laws regarding hours of work. Under state law, youth under the age of 18 are not permitted to work at night for more than eight hours in any 24-hour period, or more than 48 hours during the week. Night work of more than two nights each week, is considered any time between the hours of 8:00 pm and 6:00 am. The amendment also clarifies that any youth under the age of 18 who works more than two nights in a week past 8:00 pm or before 6:00 am cannot work more than eight hours in any shift within that week.

New York

Beginning May 10, 2020, New York City employers are prohibited from requiring job applicants to complete preemployment marijuana drug testing. Exceptions to this ordinance include law enforcement, construction, commercial driving, childcare, health care and care of “vulnerable persons,” and positions that impact the health and safety of employees or the general public. Additional exceptions apply to specific federal contracts and required drug testing for transportation, safety, and security industries.

Beginning October 30, 2019, employers in Westchester County, New York, must provide up to 40 hours of paid leave to employees who are victims of domestic violence or human trafficking. Employees can take leave in full-day or partial-day increments to attend court or move to a safe location. All employees must be notified of this new leave program upon hire or by January 28, 2020, whichever is later. Retaliation is prohibited against employees who use this new leave program, but the law allows employers to request justifying documentation to support the leave.

Oklahoma

The state of Oklahoma has amended their smoking laws to include all marijuana products. Oklahoma now bans smoking or vaping of all marijuana products as well in public areas and workplaces.

Oregon

All Oregon employers must provide reasonable accommodations to nursing mothers beginning September 29, 2019. The law has been amended and no longer applies only to employers with 25 or more employees. Employers must now provide rest periods for lactation each time the employee has a need; the prior law required one break in the middle of the employee’s shift. While the law does not specify how long each lactation rest period must be, employers with 10 or less employees do not have to accommodate these break times if they cause an undue hardship on their business operations.

Texas

Texas has amended its jury duty leave law to broaden employee protections to include service on a jury or grand jury. The law has been amended to include that employers are prohibited from discharging, threatening to discharge, intimidating, or coercing an employee because of their juror service in any US court. Any employee who faces such retaliation is entitled to return to their prior job before being summoned to jury duty, if the employee provides practicable notice of when they intend to return.

 

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This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this content, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.

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