January 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 January 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 January 1, 2021
California Family Rights Act expanded to:
- Cover all employers with 5 or more employees, and not just employers with 50 or more employees.
- Allow each parent to take full leave, if both parents are employed by the same employer.
- All eligible employees to take time off due to a “qualifying exigency related to the covered active duty or call to covered active duty of the individual’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent in the Armed Forces of the United States.”
- Allow for leave to bond with a new child of the employee or to care for themselves or their child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse or domestic partner.
SB973 requires employer with 100 or more employees who are required to file an annual EEO-1 report to submit an annual report to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Information required to be reported will be the same information included on an EEO-1 report and additional information. Details will be provided by the DFEH. The law takes effect on January 1, 2021, but the first report is not due until March 1, 2021 for the prior calendar year.
AB 2017 clarifies existing Kin Care law (CA Labor Code §233) that the designation of a sick day as a kin care day “is at the sole discretion of the employee.”
AB 2991 expands job-protected leave under CA Labor Code §230 (to seek relief, such as a restraining order) and under CA Labor Code §230.1 (to seek medical attention for injuries, obtain psychological counseling and the like), currently available victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking, to all victims of any crime that constitutes a misdemeanor or felony in California.
AB 685 requires employers to notify all workers who were on the premises at the same worksite as a person who was infected with COVID-19 or who was subject to a COVI-19 related quarantine order. Written notice must be provided within one business day. The notice must also contain information regarding COVID-19 benefits and options provided by the employer, and the disinfection and safety plan that the employer intends to implement and complete, consistent with federal CDC guidelines.
The law is in effect from January 1, 2021 to January 1, 2023.
Employers must also notify local public health agencies of all workplace outbreaks, defined as three or more laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID 19 in a two-week period, among employees who live in different households.
AB1963 now includes human resources employees of employers with five or more employees and employ minors, who have responsibilities for taking in and/or investigating discrimination, retaliation and harassment claims, as “mandatory reporters” under the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Law.
Frontline supervisors of such employers whose duties involve direct contact with and supervision over minors are also now included in the list of “mandatory reporters” of sexual abuse of minors.
Equal Pay for Equal Work Act prohibits:
- Different pay based on sex (including gender identity) of the worker;
- Seeking salary history of a job candidate or requiring disclosure of a job candidate’s wage rate as a condition of employment;
- Discrimination or retaliation against an employee for asserting rights under the Act;
- Discriminating, retaliating or disciplining an employee for inquiring about, disclosing or discussing the employee’s own wage rate, or interfering with an employee’s inquiring about, disclosing or discussing the employee’s own wage rate.
Employers must maintain a record of job descriptions and wage rate history for each employee while employed and for 2 years after.
Healthy Families and Workplaces (SB 20-205) requires employers with 16 or more employees 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, 2021, 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.
Employers are required to start collecting payroll deductions for paid family and medical leave benefits. The current rate is 0.5% of the employee’s wages in each paycheck. Employers may apply to opt out of the program if they have a private program that is comparable to the CT Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance plan and the majority of the employer’s employees have agreed to the plan. An employer seeking to opt-out must obtain approval from the CT Paid Leave Authority.
Sunday and holiday premium pay rate decreases to 1.2 times the employee’s regular hourly rate of pay.
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; and for the employee’s own serious medical condition.
Employers with at least 10 employees who work more than 120 hours in a calendar year are required to allow employees to earn up to 40 hours of paid leave time annually, at a rate of 1 hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked. Employees being accruing paid leave upon commencement of employment, and are allowed to use accrued paid leave after 120 days of employment. During the leave, the employee must be paid the same base rate they were receiving prior to the leave and receive the same benefits provided to employees taking other types of paid leave.
This does not apply to seasonal employees or employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement.
Employees may begin using accrued sick time.
Paid Family Leave benefits will increase to 12 weeks and 67% of the employee’s average weekly wages, up to the maximum benefit of 67% of the New York State average weekly wage.
OH – Columbus
Pursuant to the Wage Theft Prevention and Enforcement ordinance, any entity that “requests, bids for, applies for, or receives from the City or is party to, with the City, a financial incentive agreement, City contract for goods or services, a building permit, a commercial license, a business permit, or a vendor registration” must disclose any “adverse determination” occurring in the past three (3) years in connection with any action described above, and if already party to a bid, contract, agreement, permit, license or registration described above, must make such disclosures during the term of the bid, contract, agreement, permit, license or registration described above. The entity must also disclose detailed information about the engagement of any independent contractor so that the Wage Theft Enforcement Commission can determine whether such independent contractor was properly classified as an independent contractor. Any entity required to make disclosures that fails to do so risks termination of any existing bid, contract, agreement, permit, license or registration described above and/or disbarment from any future bid, contract, agreement, permit, license or registration described above and termination of any tax abatement or other financial incentive that may have been associated with such bid, contract, agreement, permit, license or registration.
For purposes of the ordinance, “adverse determination” means “a determination that a covered entity has committed wage theft, or payroll fraud, or has been found to have violated an obligation under section 377.04, 377.05, 377.06, 377.07, 377.08, 377.09 or 377.10 of the city code.” It does not include a settlement agreement entered into prior to any final determination made by a court or governmental agency.
PA – Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Fair Workweek ordinance requires notice of work schedules to employees 14 days in advance of their scheduled work (change from 10 days’ advance notice).
Effective March 15, 2021
PA – Pittsburgh
Paid Sick Days’ Act requires employers with 14 or fewer employees to allow full-time and part-time employees who work in Pittsburgh 35 or more hours in a year to accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 35 hours worked, up to a maximum of 24 hours in a year. Employees must be allowed to carryover up to 24 hours of accrued paid sick leave from one calendar year to the next. Employers are not required to pay out any accrued, but unused, paid sick leave upon terminating an employee or upon the employee’s resignation. The Paid Sick Days’ Act does not apply to seasonal employees who are notified in writing upon hire that they will work no more than 16 weeks during the calendar year.
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.
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
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 February! 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.