September 2019 HR Updates

on September 4, 2019

Every month we cover timely federal and state legislative and regulatory employment updates. Check out what you need to know and gain compliance tips to help you stay on top of HR the right way. Click on the federal topics or state names below to catch up on the latest news.

Federal Updates

State Updates

FEDERAL Updates

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Proposes Overtime Calculation Changes

Who: Employers with exempt employees

When: To Be Determined

What:

The DOL has sent a proposal to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to update the overtime calculation for fluctuating workweeks. The intent is to cover more employees and provide employers with more flexibility.

The new rule will increase the Fair Labor Standard’s Act white-collar exemptions from $23,660 to $35,508. Employees must earn at least $679 per week (or $35,508 annually) before employers can deny them overtime pay.

Some state regulations place this salary marker at a higher value than the DOL’s proposed $35,508. Employers operating in those states will need to comply with the state.

How:

  • Continue to monitor for finalized language and approval from the OMB.
  • Review your state’s regulations for the current threshold for overtime exemptions and determine which regulation you will have to follow.
  • Review the salary of all your exempt employees and determine if the salary will be above the threshold.
  • Determine how your organization will handle employee reclassification from exempt to non-exempt and the potential impact it will have on your labor costs and workplace culture.

Additional Resource

DOL Notice of Proposal

 

DOL Seeking Comment on Proposed Changes to Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Forms

Who: All employers

When: October 4, 2019, for comments

What:

The DOL is seeking input on its proposed changes to the federal FMLA forms by October 4, 2019. To make the forms easier to read, the DOL is looking to:

  • Reduce the number of questions requiring a written response by using statements with checkboxes.
  • Improve the medical certification forms to determine if the condition is covered by the FMLA.
  • Reduce the demand on healthcare providers for follow-up information.
  • Add details about leave conditions to employees.
  • Clarify what’s needed and what qualifies as part of the exigency certification form (FMLA leave related to military deployment).
  • Change the military caregiver leave forms.

How:

Review the proposed changes and determine how this will impact your business and whether to submit a comment on behalf of your organization.

Additional Resources

Federal Register

DOL’s Comment Submission and Proposed Forms Revisions which include proposed revisions to WH-380-E, WH-380-F, WH-381, WH-382, WH-384, WH-385, WH-385-V

 

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Releases Revised W-4 Form and Tax Withholding Estimator

Who: All employers

When: January 1, 2020, but expect a second W-4 Form draft later in 2019

What:

To help employees fill out the new Form W-4, the IRS released a new Tax Withholding Estimator that reflects the 2017 tax reform legislation. The calculator allows employees to include more information to determine their tax withholding amount, including spousal earnings, cafeteria plan reductions (for things like Health Savings Accounts, dependent care accounts, health insurance, etc.), student loan interest deductions, alimony payments, non-payroll IRA deductions. It also considers tax credits like child and dependent care tax or education tax credits.

The Revised W-4 Form has eliminated “Allowance” from its title to align with the new rule that employees can’t claim withholding allowances. Employees who are claiming an exemption must now write the word “exempt” on line 4(c) and only complete personal information (Step 1) and signature (Step 5). “Head of Household” has been added to line 1(c). Steps 2, 3, and 4 are optional for completion.

How:

Although a final 2020 W-4 Form is forthcoming, you should begin programming your payroll systems for the next changes.

Additional Resources

Draft 2020 W-4 Form

Tax Withholding Estimator

Three Steps to Use the New Tax Withholding Estimator

 

DOL Updates Model Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Notice

Who: Employers providing group health coverage

When: Effective Immediately

What:

The DOL has updated the model notice that employers may use to inform eligible employees about Medicaid and CHIP. Employers are required to provide this notice before the plan year starts.

How:

Plan to and then inform your employees about this notice before the start of the next health insurance year.

Additional Resources

CHIPRA Notice English

CHIPRA Notice Spanish

 

Veterans Employment and Training Services (VETS) Filing Portal Open, Deadline Upcoming

Who: Federal contractors and subcontractors with a government contract of $150,000+ during 2018.

When: September 30, 2019

What:
The VETS-4212 portal is open and accepting 2018 data. Contractors and subcontractors working with the federal government must disclose their affirmative action efforts to employ veterans. These reports should be submitted by mail, email, or online using the following information:

How:

  • Review your employee data and fill out the VETS-4212 data.
  • Submit your information using one of the following methods:
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Mail to: VETS-4212 Service Center, C/O Department of Labor National Contact Center (DOL-NCC) 7425 Boston Blvd. Springfield, VA 22153
  • VETS-4212 Portal

Additional Resources

VETS 4212 Downloadable Form

VETS-4212 Federal Contractor Reporting

 

DOL Includes Special Education Part of FMLA

Who: All employers

When: Effective Immediately

What:

According to a recent opinion letter, the DOL Wage and Hour Division stated that a parent is entitled to take intermittent leave to attend school meetings about a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). The DOL stated that because IEP meetings discuss a child’s care, and often include healthcare professionals in addition to teachers and parents, this falls within the definition of “caring for” a family member.

How:

  • Continue to be cautious when you deny any requests for FMLA leave; remember that caring for a family member may not only be direct, physical care, but could also include psychological care.
  • Review this new guidance and train your managers and other direct supervisors on the opinion letter information and how to incorporate this information from the DOL.

Additional Resource

DOL FMLA2019-2-A Opinion Letter

WH-380-F Form

 

I-9 Expired August 31, 2019, Minor Revisions Expected But Unconfirmed

Who: All employers using I-9 to verify employment eligibility

When: Effective Immediately

What:

Although the current I-9 form has expired, employers should keep using the current form until the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) finalizes a new form or extends the expiration date of the current form.

USCIS is expected to extend the form with some minor revisions. The potential revisions include:

  • Employers may elect anyone as an authorized representative to complete Section 2.
  • When filling out the identity-documents column, “N/A” will no longer be necessary.
  • List C documents will not include a worker’s Employment Authorization Document; this is filed under List A documents.

How:

  • Keep using the current I-9 Form until USCIS decides what to do with the form.
  • Continue to monitor for updates.

Additional Resource

USCIS I-9 Information

USCIS

 

Arbitration Agreements May Be Revised Post-wage Claims

Who: Employers using arbitration agreements

When: Effectively Immediately

What:

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) answered some questions regarding mandatory arbitration agreements. Specifically, the NLRB stated:

  • Employers may inform employees that by not signing a mandatory arbitration agreement, the organization may take adverse action against them.
  • Employers may not take adverse action if employees engage in a coordinated activity by filing a class or collective action.
  • Employers may create or revise mandatory arbitration agreements in response to a collective action taken by employees.

These statements are a clarification to a 2018 Supreme Court decision that found employers are free to make employment conditional on an employee’s entry into an arbitration agreement.

How:

  • If you’re considering rolling out an arbitration agreement, conduct the same type of analysis as before this decision.
  • Continue to be cautious when you are adopting a new class-action waiver or arbitration agreement.
  • Carve out any pending class litigation.

Additional Resource

NLRB News Release

OSHA Updates Whistleblowers Protection Program Website

Who: All employers

When: Effective Immediately

What:

The updated website, www.whistleblowers.gov, now includes a video about the more than 20 covered industries and information about the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers.

Although OSHA is responsible protecting employees from retaliation from engaging in protected activities and reporting violations for health and safety, they also cover airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws.

How:

Be aware not just of the new website and take the time to review your anti-retaliation program.

STATE Updates

Connecticut Will Gradually Increase Minimum Wage to $15/Hour

Who: Connecticut employers

When: Beginning October 1, 2019

What:

Over the next 5 years, Connecticut will gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2023. It is currently $10.10. The schedule will go as follows:

  • $11 on October 1, 2019
  • $12 on September 1, 2020
  • $13 on August 1, 2021
  • $14 on July 1, 2022
  • $15 on June 1, 2023

Following the scheduled increases, the minimum wage will grow according to federal economic indicators that the Department of Labor facilitates.

This increase will impact an estimated 130,000 workers this year and more than 500,000 by 2024, estimates the Connecticut Department of Labor and Connecticut Voices for Children.

How:

  • Check back for the updated poster.
  • Assess the employees who will be impacted by the change in wage and be sure to inform them of the changes.
  • Contact your payroll software and confirm they’re prepared for the change on October 1, 2019.

Additional Resource

The Office of Governor Ned Lamont Press Release

HB 5004

 

Connecticut Expands Sexual Harassment and Training Changes

Who: Connecticut employers

When: October 1, 2019

What:

The “Time’s Up Act,” expands sexual harassment prevention laws by requiring additional training for employees and new notice and posting requirements.

Notice Requirements: Within 3 months of hire, employers, with 3 or more employees, must distribute the illegality of sexual harassment poster to employees, either through email, providing it on the company website, or by sending the employee the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) web page in writing (by email or text). If the illegality of sexual harassment poster notice is sent via email the subject line should state “Sexual Harassment Policy” in the subject line or use similar words. Any violations to this requirement will receive up to a $1,000 fine.

The requirement to post the illegality of sexual harassment on-site remains the same.

Training Requirements: The new requirements state that employers with 3 or more employees must provide a two-hour training to all current employees (non-supervisory and supervisor). For current employees, this training must be provided by October 1, 2020, and for new employees hired on or before October 1, 2019, they must receive the training within 6 months of hire.

The supervisor training requirements have now expanded to include employers with less than 3 employees. Current supervisors must receive training by October 1, 2020. New supervisors, who were promoted or hired on or after October 1, 2019, must be trained within 6 months of assuming the position.Employers who trained supervisors after October 1, 2018 do not have to be trained a second time. Supplemental training must occur every 10 years. Failure to comply will result in a fine of up to $1,000. CHRO will be developing an online sexual harassment video for employers.

Employee Consent Required for Corrective Action: During a sexual harassment claim’s “immediate corrective action,” employers can’t change employment conditions of the employee who filed, unless the employee agrees to the change in writing. Corrective action is defined as employee relocation, assigning the employee to a different work schedule, or other major changes to the employee’s terms and condition of employment. The exception to this is if the CHRO finds the corrective action is reasonable and unharmful to the employee.

Harassment, Retaliation, and Discrimination Claim Deadline Extended: Starting October 1, 2019, the filing deadline will increase to 300 days from the adverse action date, aligning CHRO with the federal standard.

Expanded Remedies: The list of potential damages has expanded to include attorneys’ fees that aren’t reliant on the damages request or awarded to the client. CHRO has the authority to bring a civil action in the state’s Superior Court rather than an administrative hearing. If the Superior Court finds the employer has committed a discriminatory practice, the Court can award punitive damages to the winning plaintiff.

How:

  • Review your current sexual harassment policy and be sure it is up to date. Develop a policy if you don’t have one in place.
  • Determine how to communicate with your employees in writing to follow the poster requirements. Circulate the poster beginning October 1, 2019.
  • Assess which supervisors and employees will need to be trained and determine if you prefer to wait for the CHRO training or will use another compliant training. KPA is developing a Connecticut compliant training to meet this requirement.
  • Keep sexual harassment training records in case of an audit.

Additional Resources

Illegality of Sexual Harassment Poster

Times Up Act

 

Delaware Minimum Wage Increases to $9.25/Hour in October

Who: Delaware employers

When: October 1, 2019

What:

Beginning October 1, 2019, the state’s minimum wage will increase from $8.75 to $9.25. This wage increase follows the first change made on January 1, 2019.

How:

  • Be sure to inform your employees about the wage increase taking effect on October 1, 2019.
  • Contact your payroll vendor to ensure they’re ready for the wage increase and wages will be accurately reflected starting in October.

Additional Resources
Labor Law Poster English

Labor Law Poster Spanish

 

Illinois Bans Salary History Questions

Who: Illinois employers

When: September 29, 2019

What:

At the end of September, Illinois employers will be prohibited from:

  • Requesting or requiring wage or salary history as a condition of being interviewed or hired for a job.
  • Requesting or requiring salary history as an employment condition.
  • Screening job candidates based on their current or previous salary meeting a maximum or minimum level.
  • Asking for the salary history from a job candidate’s current or former employer, unless the candidate is from within the employer’s organization or if the salary history is public record.

The new law also protects employees from having to sign a contract or waiver that would keep them from disclosing information about their salary to others. However, the law does allow employers to ban human resource representatives, supervisors, or anyone else with access to employee salary information from disclosing this information.

The law doesn’t keep employers from asking about salary expectations for the job. Additionally, it isn’t a violation if a candidate voluntarily discloses salary history.

How:

  • Review and update your job applications, other hiring forms, and hiring practices to eliminate salary history questions.
  • Inform the other hiring managers within your organization to incorporate these changes into their hiring practice.
  • Ensure there is a question either on the application or during the interview process that asks salary expectations.
  • Audit your organization’s pay structure to identify any pay discrepancies.

Additional Resource

HB0834

 

Maryland Updates Data Breach Notification Requirements

Who: Maryland employers with computerized personal information data

When: October 1, 2019

What:

The Maryland Personal Information Protection Act will expand to include any Maryland-based companies that maintain computerized data of personal information.

If a business experiences a data breach, but doesn’t own or isn’t a licensee of the affected data, this business can’t charge a fee to the data owner for notifying the impacted individuals.

The law also prohibits owners or licensees of computerized data from using the impacted data for any reason other than notifying individuals about the breach, protecting or securing personal information, or notifying national information security organization about new or expanded breaches.

How:

Review and update your cyber security policies and procedures with your information technology team.

Additional Resource

HB1154: Maryland Personal Information Protection Act Modifications

 

Maryland Adopts Additional Civil Penalties for Equal Pay Violations

Who: Maryland employers

When: October 1, 2019

What:

Employers who have committed multiple violations of the state’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act will face additional penalties on top of damages and attorneys’ fees. In addition to the damages owed by the employer who has committed 2 or more violations in the last 3 years, the employer may face a civil penalty equal to 10% of the damages owed. Employers will not be able to:

  • Violate any provision of the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act.
  • Interfere with the Commissioner of Labor Licensing and Regulation or other authorized representative.
  • Discriminate against or terminate an employee for filing a complaint, bringing an action, testifying, or any future testifying.

How:

Assess your policies and procedures that are related to pay equality and ensure their compliance with the state requirements.

Additional Resource

HB 790

 

Maryland Revises Non-compete Laws for Low-wage Workers

Who: Maryland employers with low-wage workers

When: October 1, 2019

What:

Employers won’t be able to enter into non-compete agreements with employees who make equal to or less than $15 per hour or $31,200 per year. This law also extends to agreements where a Maryland employee may have agreed in a different state.

How:

Review your employees and employment agreements to determine who might be covered by the new restrictions.

Additional Resource

SB 328

 

Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Contributions

Who: Massachusetts employers

When: October 1, 2019

What:

Employer deductions under the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave will begin October 1, 2019, and will be based on the date of paid wages, instead of the date of the services connected to those wages.

How:

Contact your payroll vendor to ensure that paychecks scheduled for October 1, 2019, or after complying with this new language.

Additional Resource

Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave

 

Kansas City, Missouri Bans Salary History Questions

Who: Kansas City employers with 6+ employees

When: October 31, 2019

What:

The city ordinance will ban employers from:

  • Screening job candidates based on their current or prior salaries, including meeting a maximum or minimum number.
  • Using salary history information to make a hiring decision or to determine the job’s salary or other compensation.
  • Disqualifying or retaliating against a candidate for refusing to provide their salary history.

There are exceptions:

  • Employers and candidates may discuss expectations for salary, benefits, or other compensation.
  • If the candidate, unprompted, voluntarily disclose their salary history, the employer and candidate may discuss it. There won’t be a penalty for this kind of voluntary disclosure.
  • The ban doesn’t include internal candidates, transfers, or promotions, as well as former employees who apply for a rehire within 5 years of their last employment date, and all employees whose salary was determined by a collective bargaining agreement.

How:

  • Review and update your job applications, other hiring forms, and hiring practices to eliminate salary history questions.
  • Inform and train the other hiring managers within your organization to incorporate these changes into their hiring practice.
  • Update any hiring policies to reflect the new law’s changes.

Additional Resource

Kansas City Ordinance

 

Consumer Privacy Law Takes Effect for Online Businesses Gathering Nevada Resident Information

Who: Businesses with websites or other online services that collect Nevada consumers’ personal information.

When: October 1, 2019

What:
Starting October 2019, Nevada will require commercial websites and other online services that collect personal information to include a consumer right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information. Even if businesses don’t sell personal information, this law could have an impact on any future sales.

Exempted from this law will be motor vehicle manufacturers and servicers, service providers, and operators subject to HIPAA and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA).

Personal information includes first name, last name, social security number, contact information (address, email, phone numbers, etc.). The term “sale” is narrowly defined as “the exchange of covered information for monetary consideration by the operator to a person for the person to license or sell the covered information to additional persons.”

The law will require that businesses verify consumers opt-out requests and have 60 days to respond to requests, unless a 30-day extension is reasonable, and the consumer provided with an extension notice. Business must have an email address, toll-free number, or a website, for Nevada consumers to submit their verified requests to opt-out.

How:

  • If your business has an online presence that collects Nevada consumer information, review and update your data collection and privacy information forms, policies, and notices to reflect the new law.
  • Determine how you want consumers to submit their opt-out requests and implement the new service by October 1, 2019.
  • Determine how you will respond to and process all opt-out requests within 60 days, even if you don’t sell personal information in the case of possible future sales.
  • Review any relative internal policies and procedures to be sure they reflect the new law.

Additional Resource

SB 220

 

New Jersey Enacts Sweeping Wage Theft Law

Who: New Jersey employers

When: Effective Immediately

What:

The New Jersey Wage Theft Act (WTA) expands the language and increases employer penalties for failing to pay wages, benefits, and overtime to employees. Among the many changes is the immediate need to provide current and new employees with a wage rights statement, which will be produced by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

The other changes include:

  • Employers can’t retaliate against employees who complain about a wage violation.
  • If an employer takes adverse action against an employee within 90 days of a filed complaint, the law assumes that the action was taken as retaliation against the employee and could result in the reinstatement of a discharged employee.
  • Express permission for employees to sue employers for any WTA violations and expanded employer liability that could include covering attorneys’ fees, liquidated damages of up to 200% of the wages recovered, in addition to the recovered wages.
  • Employers’ access to good faith defense is only available for first offenses the employer admits to and pays the employer within 30 days.
  • Penalties have increased. First-time violations may see fines of $500-$1,000, and/or imprisonment between 10-100 days. Second violations could be fined between $1,000-$2,000 and/or imprisonment between 10-100 days. Each week of a continuing violation counts as a separate offense. Third and additional violations could be fined between $2,000-$10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 18 months.

How:

  • Continue monitoring for the New Jersey Department of Labor’s wage rights statement to distribute immediately to employees and new hires.
  • Review and update your payroll, timekeeping, and wage and hour classification policies and procedures to identify risks and minimize any possible delays in payment.Be sure to update and maintain your records based on this assessment.

Additional Resources

New Jersey Wage Theft Act

New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development

 

Reminder: New York Mandated Sexual Harassment Training Deadline Looming

Who: New York state employers

When: October 9, 2019

What:

Employers have until October 9, 2019, to provide all employees with annual, interactive sexual harassment prevention training.

The New York Department of Labor and Division of Human Rights developed a training module for employers to use although other training models must meet the state’s requirements.Employers who use the state’s training module must provide an interactive portion to the module, e.g., questions to the employees or question and answer session.

How:

If you haven’t already trained your employees, download the training modules from the state government page or another compliant source. Be sure to include an interactive portion. (KPA’s sexual harassment trainings are New York state compliant.)

Additional Resource

New York State Sexual Harassment Information and Trainings

 

New York Passes Equal Pay Law

Who: New York employers

When: October 8, 2019

What:

Effective at the beginning of October, the new law puts a stop to wage differences based on protected class (e.g., age, race, sexual orientation, disability, etc.), protects against gender-based pay inequality by requiring equal pay for largely similar work. Pay differences are okay when they are based on a seniority system that assesses quantity or quality like experience, geography, or education. This type of pay difference must be job-related and meets a job need.

How:

  • Review your hiring practices and pay scales to ensure there is no risk for discrimination.
  • Educate and inform other hiring managers to change their hiring practices and be aware of the new law’s protections.

Additional Resource

Equal Pay Act S5248A and A8093A

 

New York Passes Anti-discrimination and Anti-harassment Laws

Who: New York employers

When:

  • Effective Immediately: Sexual harassment policy notice and training
  • October 11, 2019: The rest of the law requirements, detailed below

What:

Effective immediately, New York State Human Rights Law is aligning with New York City Human Rights Law. At each sexual harassment prevention training (given on an annual basis), employers must distribute a written notice about the organization’s sexual harassment prevention policy and the presented information to new hires and current employees. The notice is required in English and the employee’s primary language if that language is provided in the state-made templates.The state is preparing non-English version of its model anti-harassment policy that employers may use to meet this requirement.

Effective October 11, 2019, there are 7 major provisions:

  • Expansion of employer/supervisor liability for any reasonable workplace harassment based on any protected characteristic.
  • Elimination of the Faragher/Ellerth Defense, which means that employers can’t legally use the defense that an employee failed to report the harassment.
  • Employees do not need to find similar or comparable cases to prove that the employee was treated differently.
  • Protection expands all forms of harassment to domestic workers and contractors. Previously these groups were only protected from sexual harassment.
  • There may be punitive damages authorized for all Human Rights Law discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims.
  • Nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements now include all discrimination and harassment claims.
  • Banned arbitration agreements have expanded from sexual harassment claims to all discrimination claims.

How:

  • Review your harassment and discrimination policies and procedures to ensure that your language complies with the upcoming changes.
  • Provide the sexual harassment training notice to all new hires immediately.
  • Review your employee’s sexual harassment training status and ensure immediate compliance and notification, particularly as it relates to the October 9, 2019 sexual harassment training mandate.

Additional Resource

S6577

 

New York: Protecting Religious Attire, Facial Hair, Clothing in the Workplace

Who: New York employers

When: October 8, 2019

What:

Employers will be prohibited from any discriminatory actions against any applicant or current employees for wearing clothing or facial hair that’s tied to an employee’s religion. This prohibition extends to hiring, retention, and promotion practices. The employer would have to demonstrate undue hardship to the business if it cannot make reasonable accommodation for an employee’s religious practices.

How:

  • Review and update your dress code and grooming policies to reflect this expanded protection.
  • Review your procedures for accommodating religious employee requests, including religious attire or facial hair.
  • Inform and train managers, supervisors, and HR on the new law.

Additional Resources

S04037

A04204

 

New York Data Breach Law Will Effect Any Online Businesses Gathering New York Resident Information

Who: New York employers and businesses collecting New York residents’ private information

When: October 23, 2019

What:

New York’s cybersecurity law has expanded:

  • 3 new types of protected information: credit card or debit card numbers (regardless of a PIN or password), biometric information, username or email address used with a password or security question and answer.
  • The expansion of the word “breach” to include unauthorized access to private information.
  • Organizations that conduct business in New York, or own or license private information of a New York resident.
  • Breach notices must include the phone numbers and websites for New York and federal agencies overseeing cyber security breaches.
  • Organizations can discuss notifying impacted people but should document the considerations. Employers must keep this documentation for 5 years and, if impacting more than 500 New York residents, provide it to the New York Attorney General.

How:

  • If your business has an online presence that collects consumer information, review and update your data collection and privacy information forms, policies, and notices to reflect the new law.
  • Review your data security policies and plans to be sure they reflect the new law.

Additional Resource

Section 899-aa

 

Westchester County, NY Adopts Safe Leave Time Law

Who: Employers located in Westchester County, NY

When: October 30, 2019

What:

The Safe Leave Time Law (SLTL) mandates employers provide employees, who have worked at least 90 days in a calendar year, with 40 hours of paid leave for reasons related to domestic violence and human trafficking. This time is in addition to the sick leave provided by the Earned Sick Leave Law (ESLL).

Employers should note that SLTL reflects ESLL where it states that paid safe leave will be provided at an employee’s request, whether it’s made orally, in writing, electronically or any other means acceptable to the employer. It also states that employees making a request should make a good faith effort to give advanced notice and try not to disrupt business operations.

Employer Notice Requirements: Employers must provide employees with a written copy of the Safe Leave Time Law and a notice of how the law applies to the employee at the start of employment or the law’s effective date, whichever date is later. Employers must display a copy of the law and a poster in English, Spanish, and any other language in order to be accessible to all employees.

Documentation: The SLTL doesn’t provide a timeline for employers to wait before requesting “reasonable documentation” for the paid leave. It only notes that employers may request documentation and employees may provide one of the following: a court appearance ticket or subpoena, a policy report copy, an attorney’s affidavit who was involved in the court proceeding, or an affidavit from an authorized representative at a reputable organization that provides assistance to victims of domestic abuse and/or human trafficking.

Retaliation: Employers may not interfere or ban an employee from exercising their rights to use SLTL, count paid safe leave as an absence that contributes to an adverse employment action, or retaliate or discriminate against an employee for requesting or using paid safe leave, filing a complaint, or informing other employees about their SLTL rights.

How:

  • Review and revise your existing sick and save leave policies and procedures to reflect the new requirements.
  • Review your attendance, anti-retaliation, conduct, and discipline policies to ensure compliance with the SLTL.
  • Continue to monitor the Board of Legislators’ and County Executive’s website for an employee notice and poster.
  • Inform your HR colleagues, managers, and business leaders about the new requirements.

Additional Resource

Safe Leave Time Law

 

Oklahoma Clarifies Medical Marijuana Employer Rights

Who: Oklahoma employers

When: Effective Immediately

What:

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Use and Patient Protection Act, or “Unity Bill,” amended the current state law with a dispensary license system and to clarify employer accommodations. When hiring for safety-sensitive positions, employers are permitted to take medical marijuana use into account and may decline to employ the individual.

A safety-sensitive job isn’t limited to but may include: hazardous materials work; operating a motor vehicle, equipment, machinery, or power tools; repairing or monitoring any equipment, machinery, or manufacturing process; operating or maintaining any infrastructure including electric, gas, water utilities, power, or distribution; working with volatile, flammable, combustible materials, dispensing pharmaceuticals; preparing/handling food; carrying a firearm; direct patient/childcare.

How:

  • Review your current drug policy and edit it to align with the “Unity Bill” language.
  • Align your job positions with the safety-sensitive list and update the appropriate job descriptions. Ensure the description makes the safety-sensitive nature of the job clear.
  • Inform leadership and managers of the changes and how this will impact their employee training, hiring, and supervision.
  • Inform employees about the legislation, the subsequent changes to your business’s policies, and how this affects them. State what the expectations are for employees based on the new rules.

Additional Resource

HB 2612

 

Oregon’s Workplace Fairness Act Changes Discrimination and Harassment Claims

Who: Oregon employers

When: Conflicting dates but September 29, 2019, for certain provisions and generally October 1, 2020, for the rest

What:

The Workplace Fairness Act applies not only to sexual harassment but covers forms of discrimination and harassment based on all protected classes within Oregon law.

Beginning September 29, 2019, the statute of limitations for claims of discrimination and harassment based on an employee’s protected class expands from 1 year to 5 years.

Beginning October 1, 2020, the statute of limitations for claims of unlawful employment practices based on non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements expands from 1 year to 5 years.

The Act mandates that all employers adopt written policies and provide a copy of the written policy to every employee at the time of hire. The policy should be generally available in the workplace. The policy must include the following information:

  • The reporting process for a prohibited act.
  • Who should receive the report of the behavior and an alternate contact to that individual. These individuals should have copies of the business’s written policy and distribute them at the time of disclosure.
  • The statute of limitations for an employee to file an action about sexual harassment, sexual assault, prohibited discrimination, or violations of the law’s prohibitions on specific terms of employment agreements.
  • A statement that employers are prohibited from requiring or coercing an employee to enter a non-disclosure or non-disparagement agreement. Employees have 7 days to revoke this kind of agreement.
  • A statement saying employers and employees should document any incident involving prohibitive behavior.

How:

  • Review and update your discrimination and harassment policies and procedures, ensuring the identification of primary and secondary contacts who will receive complaints.
  • Update employment agreements to be compliant with the Act.
  • Review employee retention policies based on the 5-year statute of limitations.

Additional Resources

SB 726

 

Oregon Expands Lactation Accommodations

Who: Oregon employers, although employers with fewer than 10 employees may exempt themselves from undue hardship

When: Conflicting dates between September 29, 2019, and October 1, 2019

What:

Prior Oregon law asserted that lactating mothers should follow a break schedule for every 4 hours worked. The amended law will allow this schedule to vary within reason. The employee should provide notice, but failure to notify a supervisor isn’t grounds for discipline. Employers must still provide a reasonable location for employees to express milk privately.

How:

  • Review and update your pregnancy policies, procedures, and accommodations and ensure all managers are trained on the changes.
  • Review examples of reasonable accommodations that you may need to include more frequent or longer breaks, time off to recover from childbirth, acquiring or modifying equipment, proper seating, etc.

Additional Resource

HB 2593

 

Emily Hartman

Emily Hartman

Emily is the Client Content Specialist. She’s using the skills she learned in Washington, D.C. to breakdown technical information into news you can use.

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Emily HartmanSeptember 2019 HR Updates

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