April 2021 Employment Law and Regulations Update
Welcome back to the Reflexis Employment Law and Regulations Update! In this month’s article, we’ve included notable changes in United States regulations from April 2021 onward.
This list of new laws and regulations is not exhaustive, nor is it intended as legal advice. Reflexis strongly recommends you consult with your legal counsel regarding any substantive employment law and regulation changes that may affect your organization.
Readers should check for any newer developments on COVID-19 regulations at state and local levels.
Effective April 1, 2021
The American Rescue Plan Act requires employers to subsidize COBRA premiums for any employee who was involuntarily terminated such that the employee would have been eligible for COBRA coverage as of March 1, 2020. The COBRA subsidy covers 100% of the COBRA premium that the employee would have paid and 2% administrative fee, if there is one, during the April 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021 period.
Model notices for employers to send to qualified beneficiaries are anticipated to be available from the US Department of Labor starting April 10, 2021 and notices must be sent by May 30, 2021.
Effective April 30, 2021
US Department of Labor Final Rule permits, among other things, tip-pooling with “back-of-house” employees, if all employees are paid full minimum wage, and no tip credit is taken. The Final Rule prohibits employers from sharing in the tips, including any managers or supervisors, mandates that all tips be distributed with the employee’s regular pay for the same weeks that tips are received, and allows employers to apply the tip credit for non-tipped duties performed “either contemporaneously with or for a reasonable time immediately before or after performing tipped duties.”
Effective July 1, 2021
Eligible employees may receive Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits to bond with a new child, address needs relating to a family member who is a covered service member of the armed forces, for the employee’s own serious medical condition, and to care for a family member with a serious medical condition.
Virginia Human Rights Act amended to make discrimination on the basis of disability an unlawful discriminatory practice; requiring reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities; and requiring notices to employees of such rights.
Effective July 4, 2021
New York – New York City
Fair Workweek Law amended by Int. No. 1415-A and 1396-A to:
- Prohibit fast food employers from terminating or reducing by 15% or more the regular schedule or weekly work hours of any employee who has completed a probationary period of up to 30 days without “Just Cause” “Just Cause” or for a “Bona Fide Economic Reason.”
- In the case of a Just Cause termination or reduction, institute progressive discipline except where the employee has engaged in egregious failure by the employee to perform their duties, or for egregious misconduct.
- Conduct terminations or reductions due to a Bona Fide Economic Reason, based on reverse seniority, with most recent hires being affected first, and to reinstate or restore employment to those affected by a Bona Fide Economic Reason based on seniority, with most recent hired being reinstated or restored last.
For purposes of these amendments, “Bona Fide Economic Reason” means a full or partial closing of operations or technological or organizational changes to the business in response to the reduction in volume of production, sales, or profit; and “Just Cause” means the fast food employee’s failure to satisfactorily perform job duties or misconduct that is demonstrably and materially harmful to the fast food employer’s legitimate business interests.
Aggrieved employees may bring an action in court or, after January 1, 2022, may commence arbitration, for up to 2 years after the alleged violation of the Fair Workweek law. Remedies for a violation include reinstatement or restoration of hours, payment to the City for employee’s costs of arbitration; payment of employee’s reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs; payment of employee’s back pay, compensatory damages and any other equitable relief.
Effective October 1, 2021
New Mexico – Bernalillo County
Maximum accruals of paid time off under the Employee Wellness Act increase to 44 hours per year for employers with greater than 10 employees. (Maximum accrual for employers with 2 to 10 employees remains the same at 28 hours per year).
Effective January 1, 2022
[Applies to employers of all sizes as of this date; not just employers with 16 or more employees] Healthy Families and Workplaces (SB 20-205) requires employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees, accrued at one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 48 hours each year. Employees can begin accruing and using accrued time from the first day of employment or from January 1, 2022, whichever is later.
Paid sick leave can be used for the following:
- The employee has a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; needs a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment related to such illness, injury, or condition; or needs to obtain preventive medical care;
- The employee needs to care for a family member who has a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition; needs a medical diagnosis, care, or treatment related to such illness, injury, or condition; or needs to obtain preventive medical care;
- The employee or family member has been the victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or harassment and needs to be absent from work for purposes related to such crime; or
- A public official has ordered the closure of the school or place of care of the employee’s child or of the employee’s place of business due to a public health emergency, necessitating the employee’s absence from work.
Retaliation is prohibited against any employee who exercises rights under this law.
Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave (CPFML) benefits become available for approved applicants.
Sunday and holiday premium pay rate decreases to 1.1 times the employee’s regular hourly rate of pay.
Payroll contributions begin for Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance, unless the employer offers an equivalent plan approved by the State of Oregon Employment Department.
Employers are required to withhold 0.58% of employee wages for the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Program, with benefits becoming available in 2025, to be remitted to the WA Employment Security Department.
To learn more, stay tuned for the update in May! Visit www.reflexisinc.com for more information on how Reflexis (now a Zebra Technologies company) can help you increase compliance rates and stay on top of new labor laws and regulations.