The past year, the past decade, has proven to be monumental in updates and changes to employment and labor law. Most recently, improvements in pay equity, the #MeToo movement, modifications to EEO law, and long-awaited implementations to sick and medical leave laws have created positive changes for employees and employers alike.
What do we now have to look for and anticipate in the upcoming year? Here is a short list of what the start of this new decade hold for us as employers in this rapidly changing employment world (particularly at the Federal level, and for those employers on the West coast):
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Final Overtime Ruling – Effective January 1, 2020, the new salary threshold for exempt employees has been raised from $455 a week to $684 a week (or $35,568 annually).
- Tip Sharing Rules – Again on the docket, towards the end of 2019, the DOL announced a new, proposed rule that would make it easier for employees to engage in “tip pooling”, a practice in which employees who receive minimum wage and customarily receive tips share those tips with “back of house” employees (e.g., cooks, dishwashers, etc.) who are not usually tipped.
- California Assembly Bill 5 – Effective January 1, 2020, this new law will require companies to reclassify some of their independent contractors as employees. To maintain current classifications, independent contractors must meet a new set of established criteria. Additionally, certain professions are commonly exempt from this change, including physicians, lawyers, real estate agents, and engineers. This change will require employers to provide paid time off, overtime compensation, health benefits, etc.
- Oregon’s Employer Accommodation for Pregnancy Act – Oregon’s Fair Employment Practices Act will be expanded on January 1, 2020 to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees who are employed at organizations with 6 or more employees. Reasonable accommodations may include changes to schedules, equipment, working assignments, etc. While already prohibited from pregnancy discrimination, employers are additionally prohibited from denying employment opportunities or taking adverse employment actions, failing or refusing to make reasonable accommodations, requiring an applicant or employee to accept an unnecessary accommodation, or requiring an employee to take family or any other leave if a reasonable accommodation can be made.
- Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave – Starting January 1, 2020, employees in Washington will be entitled to take up to 18 weeks of paid family and medical leave each year. Washington state is the fifth state in the U.S. to implement such legislation.
HRCentral will keep our clients and colleagues updated on final rulings to pending legislation that will directly affect their organizations and employees. Please contact us with any questions regarding these updates, or to make any necessary updates to your employment policies and documentation.
2018 has been a whirlwind year for employers. Countless regulations and laws affecting the employment and labor sectors were implemented which impacted organizations ranging in size and industry. Equal pay laws have gone into effect in states across the country, predictive scheduling has been implemented in countless larger cities, and paid sick leave laws are increasing in popularity in cities and states alike.
Much like its predecessor, 2019 is slated to have a number of impactful changes as well. Below are a few of the things to keep an eye out for, ideally to be able to proactively prepare for the change before it hits:
Minimum Wage Increases – As is the case at the start of nearly every year, many states will start the new year out with an increase in the minimum wage rate for employees. In 2019, twenty states will increase their minimum wage at the start of the year, with many others releasing increases at staggered time frames throughout the course of the year.
Strengthened Harassment Policies – In light of the highly publicized “Me Too” movement throughout the past year, it is no surprise that many states are tightening their policies on workplace harassment. For example, California has been ahead of the game in mandating anti-harassment training for supervisors every two years at organizations with more than 50 employees. This is changing in the North Bay area to affect employers with more than five employees.
Predictive Scheduling – Increasing in popularity, many additional cities are following the trend that Oregon has set with predictive scheduling. While the laws differ in specifics from location to location, a standard set of rules will apply to all policies: schedules must be posted in advance, typically 7 to 14 days ahead of the first scheduled shift; extra pay is provided to the employee if a scheduled shift is altered after it is posted; unless an employee volunteers to do so, there must be adequate rest periods given between shifts; and, employers must retain records relating to schedules for a set period of time.
Tipping Legislation – While many states have implemented similar legislation, at the federal level, significant legislative development has taken place over the past year that affects tipped employees. More specifically, a bill known simply as “The Act” has amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to prohibit an employer from keeping tips that have been received by their employees for any reason.
If any of the afore mentioned changes will impact your organization, contact HRCentral to see how we can assist you in updating policies and implementing these practices within your organization in a seamless and efficient way.
Like many state and federal employment and labor law updates, the majority of these regulations will result in updates to state and federal labor law posters. HRCentral provides this service to our clients and colleagues, so feel free to contact us to get a combined state and federal labor law poster ordered for your organization’s locations today!
HRCentral wishes you and your families a very Happy New Year!