March 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 March 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 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 March 26, 2021
16VAC25-220, “Final Permanent Standard for Infectious Disease Prevention of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus That Causes COVID-19” requires all employers to:
- Assess their workplaces for hazards and job tasks that can potentially expose employees to the SARS-CoV-2 virus or COVID-19 disease and classify each job task according to the hazards employees are potentially exposed to and ensure compliance with the applicable sections of this standard for very high, high, medium, or lower risk levels of exposure;
- Develop and implement policies and procedures for employees to recognize and report when they are experiencing signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19;
- Discuss with subcontractors and companies that provide contract or temporary employees the importance and requirement to exclude from work employees or other persons (e.g., volunteers) who are known or suspected to be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus;
- Develop and implement policies and procedures for employees known or suspected to be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus to return to work
- For employers who have hazards or job tasks that are classified as “very high,” or “high,” or with at least 11 employees and classified as “medium”, to develop and implement an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan and train all employees regardless of individual employee risk classifications on such Plan;
- Not to discriminate against any employee how exercises any right under this law, uses their own personal protective equipment (as long as it meets the minimum requirements of the law), raises reasonable concerns about infection control to the employer, employer’s agents, other employees, government agencies or the public, or refuses to work due to reasonable fear of illness or death.
The law has many details about classifications, Plan requirements, and training requirements and should be referred to for specific details.
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.
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 April! 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.