Thursday, September 24, 2020
By Christina Fiorenza

HR Coach HR LawThe world of a business owner is constantly changing as you hire new employees, land new clients, purchase new vehicles, grow your business, and attend trade shows—all the while ensuring that everything you do is within the limits of the laws. Which laws? All of them!

The world of a human resources consultant isn’t much different, except that we are the ones who business owners rely on to ensure they are in compliance with the ever-changing employment laws on the federal, state, and even local levels.

Here are some of the changes and additions to employment laws (as of July 2019) that you and your management team should familiarize yourselves with:

“Ban the Box” – Colorado has just been added to the now-13 states that have “ban the box” laws. These laws prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history in the initial job application and from stating in a job ad that persons with a criminal background cannot apply for the position. Colorado employers with 11 or more employees must comply by September 2019, and those with fewer than 11 employees must comply by September 2021. Do you know if your state has a “ban the box” law? Here are the 13 states that do: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Paid Sick Leave – The Texan cities of Dallas and Austin are among the newest areas to fall under the mandatory paid sick leave laws. Employers with five or more employees must be in compliance by August 1, 2019, and those with fewer than five employees must be in compliance by August 1, 2020. Although the laws differ from state to state, the basic mandate is that employees who work 80+ hours per year are eligible to accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. There are currently seven states with paid sick leave laws: Arizona, California, Connecitcut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

Sexual Harassment Training – Sexual harassment training is required in five states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, and New York.

• California requirements: Employers with five or more employees must provide two hours of training annually to supervisory-level employees and one-plus hours to non-supervisory-level employees. The initial round of training for current employees must be completed by 2020.
• Connecticut requirements: Employers with 50 or more employees must provide two-plus hours of training for supervisory level employees within the first six months of employment.
• Delaware requirements: Employers with 50 or more employees must provide sexual harassment training to all employees every two years.
• Maine requirements: Employers with 15 or more employees must provide sexual harassment training that is developed using the checklist provided by the Maine Department of Labor.
• New York requirements: Employers must provide interactive training to include an explanation of sexual harassment, examples of such behaviors and acts, and procedures for how to report the harassment.

Paid Family Leave – There are currently five states whose employers must provide paid family leave to their employees: California, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington.
"Now is the perfect time to review job descriptions, roles, responsibilities, and current pay practices to ensure that you meet the regulations that will be put in place.
Paid family leave is provided by the employer when employees are away from work for an extended period of time to recover from their own serious health issues, to take care of a seriously ill family member, or to bond with a new baby or newly adopted child. Paid Family Leave is different from the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and disability leave. In California and Rhode Island, paid family leave is funded through employee payroll tax whereas in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, the pay is funded through taxes on both the employee and the employer.

• New York provides up to 10 weeks of leave
• New Jersey currently allows for six weeks of leave, but this could be changing soon
• Rhode Island provides up to four weeks of leave
• California provides up to six weeks of leave
• Washington provides up to 12 weeks of leave

And finally, on the federal level, the new ruling on white-collar exemptions is close, and the word is that employers will have very little time to get in compliance once the decision is made. The new salary threshold for white-collar exemptions will be $35,308 (it’s currently $23,660). Now is the perfect time to review job descriptions, roles, responsibilities, and current pay practices to ensure that you meet the regulations that will be put in place.

Although this article touches on just a few of the employment law changes, there are many, many more, and much more detail for each regulation discussed in this article, by state. Please take the time to review your state laws or contact an HR consultant or firm to ensure that you are in compliance and that you are taking care of your most expensive asset: your employees.    [CD0819]
Christina Fiorenza is the HR Director for the LMG Group. She can be reached at christina@lmcpeople.com.