September 2019 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 September 2019 onward.
As I’ve mentioned, 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.
Effective September 1, 2019
Employers permitted to pay wages to a payroll card account, after providing notice to the employee of: (a) the adoption of a payroll card account and (b) the fees associated with such an account, providing to the employee a form to allow the employee to opt out of the payroll card account method of payment, and obtaining from the employee information required by the payroll card account issuer.
Jury service protections expanded from just prohibiting termination of employment based on jury service, to prohibiting an employer from discharging, threatening to discharge, intimidating or coercing any permanent employee based on jury service, attendance or scheduled attendance for jury service. Also provides for reinstatement if an employee discharged, threatened with discharge, intimidates or coerced in violation of this law.
Effective September 6, 2019
Nebraska Fair Employment Practices Act amended to prohibit discrimination against employees for communicating about their wages, benefits or other compensation.
Effective September 17, 2019
Employer may establish a valid tip-pooling arrangement as long as it only includes service employees and does not violate the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
Effective September 19, 2019
Employers are required to allow an employee time away from work to attend scheduled appointments at the Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities.
An employer is prohibited from discharging or disciplining any employee who does not report to work as scheduled or is absent during the employee’s work hours because the employee was responding to a search and rescue operation requested by a law enforcement agency, provided the employee is certified by the Maine Association for Search and Rescue and the employee responded as soon as reasonably possible after being released from the search and rescue operation.
An Act to Protect Pregnant Workers, L.D. 666, requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with pregnancy-related conditions, including but not limited to providing more frequent or longer breaks, temporary modification in work schedule, seating or equipment, temporary relief from lifting requirements, temporary transfer to less strenuous or hazardous work, and provisions for lactation, unless to do so would cause undue hardship to the employer
Effective September 30, 2019
Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Notice to all employees and eligible self-employed individuals.
Effective October 1, 2019
Employers must start collecting the employee’s share of the contribution rate for paid medical leave and family leave, if any. For employers with an average of 25 covered individuals or more, the total amount of the contribution is 0.75% on the first $132,900 of an employee’s annual gross wages, of which 0.62% is for medical leave and 0.13% is for family leave. Employers with an average of 25 or more covered individuals are required to contribute 60% of the 0.62% contribution for medical leave, and may require the remaining 40% to be paid by the employee through payroll deductions; and may seek up to 100% of the 0.13% contribution for family leave to be paid by the employee through payroll deductions. Employers with an average of less than 25 covered individuals have a contribution rate of 0.378%, of which 0.248% is for medical leave and 0.13% is for family leave, and may collect 100% of the contribution rate for medical leave, and for family leave if the employee so elects, through payroll deductions. All deductions should be made on a post-tax basis, until the Internal Revenue Service decides otherwise.
An employee who has been employed for at least 12 months and worked at least 1250 hours during the prior 12-month period is entitled to job-protected leave of up to 60 business days in any 12-month period to serve as an organ donor, or up to 30 business days in any 12-month period to serve as a bone marrow donor.
Effective October 30, 2019
New York – Westchester County
Employees who work in the County on a full-time basis for more than 90 days in a calendar year and are victims of domestic violence or human trafficking are eligible for up to 40 hours of paid leave to attend or testify in criminal or civil court proceedings related to domestic violence or human trafficking or move to a safe location. Employers must provide employees with a copy of the law and written notice of how it applies to them within 90 days of the law’s effective date or at the time of hire, whichever is later.
Effective October 31, 2019
Employers are required to submit quarterly reports for purposes of Paid Family & Medical Leave for Q3 of 2019.
Effective November 1, 2019
Unclaimed wage reporting date changed from May 1, 2019.
Employers with 25-99 employees who do not currently provide a qualified savings plan to their employees and who do not offer a private market savings vehicle, must enroll their employees into Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program, including making appropriate paycheck deductions.
Effective December 1, 2019
Texas – San Antonio
Ordinance requires employers with more than 5 employees to provide earned paid sick leave to employees who work more 80 hours or more in the City of San Antonio, TX (including through a temp agency), accrued at a rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked, with an annual cap of 64 hours (for employers with more than 15 employees), or 48 hours (for employers with 15 or fewer employees). Earned paid sick leave accrues from an employee’s first day of employment, but employers may prohibit use of earned paid sick leave until after 60 days of employment have been completed.
Effective January 1, 2020
Sunday and holiday premium pay rate decreases to 1.3 times the employee’s regular hourly rate of pay.
Minnesota – Duluth
Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance requires employers with 5 or more employees to provide earned paid sick leave, accrued at a rate of 1 hour for every 50 hours worked, with maximum annual accrual of 64 hours and maximum annual use of earned paid sick leave of 40 hours. Earned paid sick leave accrues from an employee’s first day of employment, but employers may prohibit use of earned paid sick leave until after 90 days of employment have been completed.
An employer with 50 or more employee in Nevada is required to allow an employee to accrue at least 0.01923 hours of paid leave for each hour worked for any use. An employee may begin using the accrued time on the 90th calendar day of employment.
An employer may: (1) limit the use of the paid leave to 40 hours per benefit year; (2) limit the amount of paid leave that an employee may carry over to another benefit year to a maximum of 40 hours per benefit year; and (3) set a minimum increment that an employee may use the accrued leave at any one time, not to exceed 4 hours.
Paid Family Leave benefits rate increases to 60% of the employee’s average weekly wage, up to the 60% of the NYS average weekly wage.
Employers with 6 or more employees are required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees and job applicants who have limitations related to pregnancy, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship. Reasonable accommodation include, but are not limited to: (a) acquisition or modification of equipment or devices; (b) more frequent or longer break periods or periodic rest; (c) assistance with manual labor; or modification of work schedules or job assignments. Notices must be provided to existing employees by January 1, 2020 and within 10 days after the employee has informed the employer of a pregnancy; and to new hires, upon hire.
A retail, hospitality or food service business which employs 250 or more employees and has 30 or more locations worldwide regardless of where those employees perform work, including but not limited to chain establishments or franchises associated with a franchisor or network of franchises that employ more than 250 employees in aggregate must provide its employees with the following:
- At the time of hire, a written good faith estimate of the employee’s work schedule, including average no. of weekly work hours in a typical 90 day period, whether any on-call shifts are requires;
- On or before the commencement of employment, a written work schedule that runs through the last date of the currently posted schedule.
- Opportunity to make requests and changes to proposed work schedule at or before the commencement of employment.
- Posted notice of the employees’ work schedules, 10 days ahead of the first day of the applicable work schedule (increases to 14 days’ advance notice effective January 1, 2020).
- Posted notice of any changes to the work schedule as promptly as possible and prior to the change taking effect.
- Pay half-pay for any decrease in work hours resulting from a change made more than 24 hours after the deadline for providing notice of the work schedule; and one hour of pay for any increase or neutral change made more than 24 hours after the deadline for providing notice of the work schedule.
- 9 hours break between shifts, which the employee can voluntarily waive, in which case, the employees must be paid $40 for each shift for which the employee waives the rest period.
- Offer work shifts to existing employees, before offering to new employees or using a staffing agency.
- Post available shifts for existing employees for at least 72 hours.
Paid sick leave total annual accrual increases to 40 hours per year, from 32 hours per year.
Employers are required to provide a written statement, by a paystub or online accounting, that shows the name and address of the employer, the number of hours worked, the rate of pay, the gross amount earned by the employee and the amount and purpose of any deductions made.
Eligible employees must have access to paid family and medical leave benefits either through WA Paid Family & Medical Leave (or through an employer-funded program). Benefits include up to 12 weeks per year of leave if the employee:
- Welcomes a child into their family.
- Experiences a serious illness or injury.
- Needs to care for a seriously ill or injured relative.
- Needs time to prepare for a family member’s pre- and post- deployment activities, as well as time for childcare issues related to a family member’s military deployment.
If the employee faces multiple events in a year, then the employee may be eligible to receive up to 16 weeks of paid leave. If the employee faces a serious health condition during pregnancy that results in incapacity, then the employee may be eligible to receive up to 18 weeks of paid leave.
Washington – Seattle
Employers with 20 or more employees worldwide are required to offer employees who work at least 10 hours per week a pretax payroll deduction based on the allowable amount set by the Internal Revenue Services, for transit options other than a single occupancy vehicle. Employers may subsidize all or part of a transit pass for eligible employees. Employers must offer an eligible employee the pre-tax payroll deduction within 60 days of the employee’s employment start date and, if the employee elects it, must provide the deduction within 30 days after election. Enforcement will not begin until January 1, 2021.
Tipped employee payroll must be prepared by a third party payroll processer.
Effective January 28, 2020
New York – Westchester County
Employers must provide employees working in Westchester County with notice of leave for covered purposes relating to the employee’s being a victim of domestic violence or human trafficking. If an employee’s start date is after January 28, 2020, the notice must be provided on the employee’s first day of employment. The law entitles employees who have worked more than 90 days in a calendar year to use up to 40 hours of paid leave per year for covered purposes relating to the employee being a victim of domestic violence or human trafficking.
Effective January 31, 2020
Employers are required to submit quarterly reports for purposes of Paid Family & Medical Leave for Q4 of 2019. (Future quarterly reporting deadlines will not be included in this summary.)
Effective February 29, 2020
Employers with 20 or more employees must give their employees a pre-tax transportation fringe benefit (except for those employees in a current collective bargaining agreement), which allows employees to deduct commuter highway vehicle and transit benefits, consistent with the provisions and limits of I.R.C. § 132(f)(1) at the maximum benefit levels allowable under federal law, from their gross pay.
Effective July 1, 2020
The maximum duration of Paid Family Leave benefits increases from 6 weeks to 8 weeks.
Illinois – Chicago
Any employer who (a) employs, (i) globally, 100 or more employees, or in the case of not-for-profit corporations, 250 or more employees, (ii) 50 of whom are Covered Employees; and (b) is primarily engaged in a Covered Industry must provide, with limited exceptions:
(a) An initial, good faith estimate in writing, prior to or at the start of employment, of the Covered Employee’s projected days and hours of work for the first 90 days of employment. The estimate must include the average number of weekly work hours, whether there are any on-call shifts, the days of the week and times or shifts the Covered Employee can expect to work or those that the Covered Employee will not be scheduled to work. A Covered Employee may request a change in the projected days and hours of work, and the Employer must notify the Covered Employee of its decision about the request within 3 days of the request.
(b) For existing Covered Employees, a written notice of work hours, no later than 10 days (from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2022) or 14 days (after July 1, 2022) before the first day of any new schedule, including the shifts and on-call status of all current Covered Employees at that worksite. If the schedule is changed after these deadlines, unless the Covered Employee affected by the change and the Employer mutually agree to the change, the Employer, in addition to pay for actual working time, will be subject to payment of: (i)1 hour of Predictability Pay for each shift where the Employer: (A) adds hours of work, (B) changes the date or time of a work shift with no loss of hours, or (C) with more than 24 hours’ notice, cancels or subtract hours from a regular or on-call shift; and (ii) no less than 50% of the Covered Employee’s regular rate of pay for any scheduled hours the Covered Employee does not work because the Employer, with less than 24 ours’ notice, subtracts hours from a regular or on-call shift or cancels a regular or on-call shift, including while the Covered Employee is working on a shift.
Employer will also be subject to a fine of anywhere from $300 to $500 for each offense. For definitions and additional provisions not described here, with respect to no retaliation, notice and postings, and the like see the ordinance at: https://chicago.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3964374&GUID=52BA6EC6-9561-4581-87E2-51C8F279DE2D&Options=Advanced&Search=&FullText=1
Maximum amount of Family Leave Insurance benefits increases from 6 weeks to 12 weeks for any FLI leave that commences after July 1, 2020
Predictive Scheduling law requires notice of schedules 14 days in advance (change from notice 7 days in advance).
To learn more, stay tuned for me – Andrew Ngo, Senior Corporate Counsel – to give my next update in October! Visit www.reflexisinc.com for more information on how Reflexis can help you increase compliance rates and stay on top of new labor laws and regulations.