Category Archives: State Issues

NEW LAW: Cincinnati Passes Salary History Ban

On March 13, 2019, the  city of Cincinnati passed  Ordinance No 0083-2019 that prohibits employers from asking about or relying on the prior salary history of job applicants.

Under the new ordinance, which goes into effect on March 13, 2020 and applies to employers who have 15+ employees in Cincinnati, employers are prohibited from:

  • Inquiring about the salary history of an applicant for employment
  • Screening job applicants based on their current or prior wages, benefits, other compensation, or salary histories, including requiring that an applicant’s prior wages, benefits, other compensation or salary history satisfy minimum or maximum criteria; or
  • Relying on the salary history of an applicant in deciding whether to offer employment to an applicant, or in determining the salary, benefits, or other compensation for such applicant during the hiring process, including the negotiation of an employment contract; or
  • Refusing to hire or otherwise disfavoring, injuring, or retaliating against an applicant for not disclosing his or her salary history to an employer.

Continue reading NEW LAW: Cincinnati Passes Salary History Ban

NEW LAW: Illinois To Incrementally Increase Minimum Wage to $15.00 Per Hour

On February 19, 2019, Illinois Democratic Governor, JB Pritzker, signed the Lifting Up Illinois Working Families Act  (Public Act 101-0001) into law –making New Jersey the latest state to jump on the $15 per hour minimum wage bandwagon.

Under this new law, Illinois’ minimum wage will increase as follows:

  • January 1, 2020 — increases to $9.25 per hour
  • July 1, 2010 — increases to $10.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2021 — increases to $11.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2022 — increases to $12.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2023 — increases to $13.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2024 — increases to $14.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2025 — increases to $15.00 per hour

The minimum wage rate for tipped employees  will also increase as follows:

  • January 1, 2020 — increases to $5.55 per hour
  • July 1, 2020 — increases to $6.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2021 — increases to $6.60 per hour
  • January 1, 2022 — increases to $7.20 per hour
  • January 1, 2023 — increases to $7.80 per hour
  • January 1, 2024 — increases to $8.40 per hour
  • January 1, 2025 — increases to $9.00 per hour

The new law, does, however, provide a small silver lining for small businesses.  The law allows employers with 50 or fewer employees claim a tax credit on the difference between an employee’s wage in the prior year and the increased wage each January 1. That credit, is reduced by 4% each year until it is completely eliminated in 2026 for employers with six or more employees (2027 for employers with five employees or fewer).

It is recommended that all Illinois employers prepare for these increases.

NEW LAW: Suffolk County, New York Bans Salary History Inquiries

New York’s Suffolk County recently passed a county ordinance prohibiting employers from inquiring into an applicant’s salary history as a part of the hiring process.

Under this new law, which goes into effect on June 30, 2019, employers are prohibited from

  • Inquiring about a job applicant’s wage or salary history, including but not limited to, compensation and benefits.
    • “to inquire” means to ask an applicant or former employer orally, or in writing, or otherwise or to conduct a search of publicly available records or reports.
  • Relying on the salary history of an applicant for employment in determining the wage or salary amount for such applicant at any stage in the employment process, including at offer or contract.

By passing this new law, Suffolk County becomes the fourth locality in New York State to enact a salary history ban law (joining New York City, Westchester County, and Albany County).  To date, New York State has NOT enacted a statewide salary history ban law.

It is recommended that employers in Suffolk County verify that all employment application materials are updated to remove any requests for salary history – including job applications and job interview scripts.  In addition, all employees who are involved in the hiring process are trained about the new requirement and informed that they are not allowed to inquire into applicant’s salary history.

NEW LAW: Coming Soon to Westchester County – Sick Leave

Attention employers in Westchester County, New York – Under the Westchester County Earned Sick Leave Law, starting April 10, 2019 you will be required to provide sick leave benefits to employees who work more than 80 hours in a year.

How much sick leave must be provided?

 Starting April 10, 2019, eligible employees of Westchester County employers will start accruing sick leave. Employers with less than 5 employees may provide unpaid sick leave, while employers with 5 or more employees must provide paid sick leave benefits.

Unused sick leave can be carried over from year-to-year, but employers are not required to allow an employee to use more than 40 hours of sick leave in one year. Continue reading NEW LAW: Coming Soon to Westchester County – Sick Leave

California Employers — Are You Providing School Activities Leave?

Did you know that in California, companies may be required to grant leave to employees to attend their children’s school activities.

School is back in full swing after the holidays, which also means parent teacher conferences, school assemblies, and other school-related activities are being scheduled.

With employees requesting time off to attend events at their child’s school, California employers may not be aware of two lesser known statutes (California Labor Code sections 230.7 and 230.8) that give parents (and other parental figures) of school-aged children protected time off to attend their child’s related school activities.

Who is a covered employer and employee?

Labor Code section 230.7 applies to all California employers regardless of size.  While Labor Code section 230.8 only applies to employers employing 25 or more employees at a single location.

What is a “parent”?

A “parent” is defined as a natural parent, guardian, stepparent, foster parent, or grandparent of a child of the age to attend kindergarten or grades 1 through 12 or a licensed child care provider.   It is important to note that this does not apply to adult children.

What types of leave may an employee be entitled to?

Under Labor Code section 230.7, employers are required to provide parents of school-aged children with time off to appear at their child’s school for disciplinary purposes.

Under  Labor Code section 230.8 , parents of covered employers may take up to 40 hours per year of job-protected time off to find, enroll, or reenroll their children in school or with a licensed child care provider, or to participate in activities of the school or child care provider. In order to take the protected time off, reasonable notice must be given to the employer before the scheduled absence.

In addition, any time taken for the reasons described above must not exceed eight (8) hours in any calendar month of the year. The code does not define child related school and care activities; however broad enough to suggest field trips, parent- teacher conferences and school assemblies are included.

Parents may also be entitled to 40 hours of job-protected leave for unscheduled absences for “emergency” situations.  Emergency situations are defined as a situation where a child cannot stay in the care of the school or child care provider for the following circumstances:

  • the school or child care provider has unexpectedly requested that the child be picked up,
  • behavioral or discipline problems,
  • unexpected closure or unavailability of the school or child care provider,
  • natural disasters such as fire, earthquake, or flood.

Taking leave for this purpose does not negate the parent’s obligation to inform employers of their unscheduled absence as soon as practicable.

 Can employers require Documentation?

An employer may request the employee provide documentation from the school or child care provider to prove the employee took time off for the reasons described above on a particular date and time.

How does other employment policies apply?

Employees may use any accrued/unused vacation or PTO for scheduled time off related to enrollment or school and child care organized activities. Employers are not required to offer paid time off independently to accommodate absences under section 230.8.

 

NEW CASE: Major Changes to California’s Reporting Time Pay Requirements

Does your organization require employees to call-in before a scheduled shift to determine if an employee actually needs to report to work that day?  If the answer is yes, then this new California Court of Appeals case imposes new reporting time pay requirements on your organization.

In a recent case (Ward v. Tilly’s Inc.), the California Court of Appeals has held that employers who require employees to call-in prior to a scheduled shift to determine whether the employee is needed that day, is required to pay the employee reporting time pay (at a minimum for 2 hours of work) even if the employee is told that he does not need to work that day.

Background

This case arises from a scheduling policy of a retailer (Tilly’s).  Under the policy, employees were required to call in approximately two hours before the start of a scheduled shift to determine whether they needed to come to work for that shift.  If the employee was told to come into work, the employee was paid for his scheduled shift.  However, if the employee was told not to come into work, the employee received no pay for the day. Continue reading NEW CASE: Major Changes to California’s Reporting Time Pay Requirements

NEW LAW: New Jersey To Incrementally Increase Minimum Wage to $15.00 Per Hour

On February 4, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed A15 into law –making New Jersey the latest state to jump on the $15 per hour minimum wage bandwagon.

Under this new law, New Jersey’s minimum wage will increase as follows:

  • July 1, 2019 — increases to $10.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2020 — increases to $11.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2021 — increases to $12.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2022 — increases to $13.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2023 — increases to $14.00 per hour
  • January 1, 2024 — increases to $15.00 per hour

The minimum wage rate for tipped employees  will also increase as follows:

  • July 1, 2019 — increases to $2.63 per hour
  • January 1, 2020 — increases to $3.13 per hour
  • January 1, 2021 — increases to $4.13 per hour
  • January 1, 2022 — increases to $5.13 per hour
  • January 1, 2023 — increases to $5.13 per hour
  • January 1, 2024 — increases to $5.13 per hour

It is recommended that all New Jersey employers prepare for these increases.

NEW LAW: Prohibits Discrimination Based on Gender Identity or Expression in New York

On January 25, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) into law. This new law amends the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) by adding gender identity and gender expression to the list of protected classes. With this addition, discrimination in the workplace based on an individual’s gender identity or gender expression is now prohibited.

“The term “gender identity or expression” means a person’s actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including, but not limited to, the status of being transgender”.

What does this mean for employers?

  • Employers will have to develop and implement new anti-discrimination policies and anti-harassment policies.
  • Make sure anti-discrimination/anti-harassment training programs address gender identity or expression discrimination.
  • Training managers on detecting such discrimination will be needed.
  • Education/train employees on the forms of harassment and discrimination.
  • Provide reasonable accommodation if needed.

NEW LAW: Predictive Scheduling Coming to Philadelphia

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney recently signed the Fair Workweek Employment Standards Ordinance into law. The new law, which goes into effect on January 1, 2020, will impact employee scheduling if the employer:

  • Is in the retail, hospitality, or food service industries;
  • Has 250 or more employees (including full and part-time); and
  • Has 30 or more locations worldwide in.

Employers must provide newly hired employees a “Good-faith” estimate of their work schedule which includes:

  • The average number of work hours the employee can expect to work each week over a typical 90-day period.
  • The expectation to work any on-call shifts,
  • Days and times the employee can typically expect to work and when they can expect to be off work.
  • A written work schedule through the end of the currently posted work period (provided before the first day of work).

Continue reading NEW LAW: Predictive Scheduling Coming to Philadelphia

NEW CASE: Employee’s Voluntary Use Of Company Vehicle For Commuting Is Not Compensable

In a recent case, (Hernandez v. Pacific Bell Telephone Company) the California Court of Appeal clarified a long-standing law that an employee’s voluntary use of a company vehicle during normal commute is not be considered as “hours worked” for purposes of compensation

Background

The company has issued employees who performed home installations use company vehicles equipped with company tools that employees were required to use for installation jobs.  Prior to 2009, these employees began and ended their work day in the company parking garage, where the employees picked up and returned their company vehicle on a daily basis.  Employees were paid for the time spent travelling from the garage to their first job of the day and the time spent travelling back to the garage after their last job, but they were not paid for the time spent travelling between the garage and their residence.

In 2009, the company started a program where employees were able to voluntarily take the company vehicle home.  This enabled employees who chose to participate in the program to drive from home to the first job of the day and, following the last job of the day, drive back to their residence – bypassing the company parking garage. Continue reading NEW CASE: Employee’s Voluntary Use Of Company Vehicle For Commuting Is Not Compensable