Category Archives: Texas

NEW POSTER — Texas Updates Two Workplace Posters

For the first time since 2013, Texas has published two new workplace posters.  One for public employers (the Notice to Employees (Hazard Communications Act)  poster) and one for employers who participate in the Texas workers’ compensation system (the Employer Notification – Ombudsman Program poster).

For public employers, the Texas Department of State Health Services has updated its Notice to Employees (Hazard Communications Act)  poster, which updates the contact information for the agency.

For employers who participate in the Texas workers’ compensation system, the Texas Office of Injured Employee Counsel as updated its Employer Notification – Ombudsman Program poster in both English and Spanish.  The changes include the following:

  • Posting is revised and reformatted
  • Font size increased
  • Footer information updated
  • The posting is now written into the physical law, which is uncommon. Usually, the law simply states there is a posting required, but does not actually include the posting details.

Each posting is effective on Sept. 1, 2018.

Austin Local Paid Sick Leave Law Enjoined

Earlier this year, Austin became the first city in Texas to pass a local paid sick leave law (Austin Takes Lead as First City in Texas to Require Paid Sick Leave).  This law requires employers to give employees one hour of earned sick time for every 30 hours worked.   The paid sick leave law was to take effect on October 1, 2018.

Shortly after the law was passed, a lawsuit was filed to enjoin (i.e. prevent from going into effect) the new paid sick leave law.  On August 17, 2018, a Texas court granted the injunction.

What does this mean for employers in Austin?

The granting of the injunction means that the Austin paid sick leave law will NOT go into effect on October 1, 2018.  The law could go into effect at a later date.  We will keep an eye on this and update employers on any developments.

What does this mean for employers in San Antonio?

As we reported earlier this week (NEW LAW – San Antonio Passes Local Paid Sick Leave Ordinance), San Antonio also recently passed a local paid sick leave law.  While the injunction on the Austin law does not have any impact on the San Antonio law, the granting of the injunction may inspire similar legal action in San Antonio.

NEW LAW – San Antonio Passes Local Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

On August 16, 2018, the San Antonio (Texas) City Council passed a new local paid sick leave ordinance.  The new law will go into effect in stages –

  • Large employers (more than 5 employees): Effective August 1, 2019
  • Small employers (5 or fewer employees): Effective August 1, 2021

Who is covered by the new San Antonio paid sick leave ordinance?

The new paid sick leave ordinance affects all employers who do business in the city of San Antonio.

What employees are eligible for paid sick leave?

All employees who perform “at least 80 hours of work for pay within the City of San Antonio, Texas in a year” are eligible for paid sick leave benefits.

How much paid sick leave must be provided?

Starting August 1, 2019 for larger employers (August 1, 2021 for small employers), eligible employees of San Antonio employers will start accruing paid sick leave. Continue reading NEW LAW – San Antonio Passes Local Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Austin Takes Lead as First City in Texas to Require Paid Sick Leave

On February 16, 2018, the city of Austin, Texas enacted a mandatory sick leave law which will apply to all private employers. While it’s passage came with promises by members of the Texas State Legislature to push through legislation that will undo this law and prevent other municipalities from enacting their own sick leave laws, until such promises come to fruition, Austin employers should be prepared to comply with Austin’s new sick leave requirements.

Effective Date

For employers with more than 5 employees, the sick leave law will go into effect on October 1, 2018.  For smaller employers with 5 employees or less, the law will not take effect until October 1, 2020.

Note: All private employers will eventually be required to comply with the new law, regardless of employee count.

Employees Who Qualify for Sick Leave

All employees who work at least 80 hours in Austin during a calendar year will be entitled to sick leave.  In calculating an employee’s work hours for purposes of the sick leave law, an employees work performed through a temporary or employment agency will be counted.

The law specifically excludes independent contractors and unpaid interns.

Requirements for Accrual and Carryover

Employees will accrue sick leave as follows:

  • 1 hour of sick time will accrue for every 30 hours worked in the City.
  • Sick time begins accruing when the employment commences or when the sick leave law takes effect, whichever is later. Employees may begin using sick time as soon as it accrues.
  • Accrual may be capped based on the size of the employer, with large employers (those with more than 15 employees) permitted to cap accrual at 64 hours of leave time per year, and smaller employers (those with 15 employees or less) permitted to cap accrual at 48 hours per year.

Continue reading Austin Takes Lead as First City in Texas to Require Paid Sick Leave

2018 MINIMUM WAGE CHECK-UP

With various cities and counties having enacted local minimum wages and 18 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York*, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington) are increasing their own minimum wages on January 1st (December 31st for New York), employers should take time to verify that they are meeting the minimum wage requirements of their state/city/county.

The below chart sets forth the minimum wage effective January 1, 2018.

employer PAYS $1.50/hr towards medical benefits$11.91

Federal $7.25
State City/County  Amount?
Alabama  $7.25
Alaska*  $9.84
Arizona* — all cities/counties except …  $10.50
Flagstaff* $11.00
Arkansas  $8.50
California* — all cities/counties except …                                  small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $11.00
Berkeley  $13.75
Cupertino* $13.50
El Cerrito*  $13.60
Emeryville                                           small employer (55 or less) $14.00
large employer (56 or more) $15.20
Los Altos* $13.50
Los Angeles                                         small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Malibu                                                  small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Milpitas* $12.00
Mountain View* $15.00
Oakland $12.86
Palo Alto* $13.50
Pasadena                                             small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Richmond*                                             employer does NOT pay $1.50/hr towards medical benefits $13.41
employer PAYS $1.50/hr towards medical benefits $11.91
Sacramento*                                      small employer (100 or less) $10.50
large employer (101 or more) $11.00
San Diego $11.50
San Francisco $14.00
San Jose* $13.50
San Leandro $13.00
San Mateo*                                                 For-profit organizations $13.50
Non-profit organizations $12.00
Santa Clara* $13.00
Santa Monica                                       small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Sunnyvale* $15.00
Los Angeles County                            small employer (25 or less)

unincorporated areas                            large employer (26 or more)

$10.50

$12.00

Colorado* $10.20
Connecticut $10.10
Delaware $8.25
Florida* $8.25
Georgia $7.25
Hawaii* $10.10
Idaho $7.25
Illinois — all cities/counties except … $8.25
Chicago $11.00
Cook County

(except for the Village of Barrington)

$10.00
Indiana $7.25
Iowa $7.25
Kansas $7.25
Kentucky $7.25
Louisiana $7.25
Maine* — all cities/counties except … $10.00
Portland $10.68
Maryland — all cities/counties except … $9.25
Montgomery County $11.50
Prince George’s County $11.50
Massachusetts $11.00
Michigan* $9.25
Minnesota* — all cities/counties except … “small employers” (employers with an annual sales volume of less than $500,000) $7.87
“large employers” (employers with an annual sales volume of $500,000+) $9.65
Minneapolis                                         large employer (101 or more) $10.00
Mississippi $7.25
Missouri $7.85
Montana* $8.30
Nebraska $9.00
Nevada $8.25
New Hampshire $7.25
New Jersey* $8.60
New Mexico — all cities/counties except … $7.50
Albuquerque*                                             employer provides benefits $7.95
employer does NOT provide benefits $8.95
Las Cruces* $9.45
Santa Fe $11.09
Bernalillo County*unincorporated areas                                             employer provides benefits $7.85
employer does NOT provide benefits $8.85
Santa Fe County unincorporated areas $11.09
New York**  “Upstate” employers (excluding fast food employees) $10.40
“Downstate” employers (excluding fast food employees) $11.00
“Small” NYC employers (excluding fast food employees $12.00
Fast food employees outside NYC $11.75
“Large” NYC employers (excluding fast food employees) $13.00
Fast food employees inside NYC $13.50
North Carolina $7.25
North Dakota $7.25
Ohio* $8.30
Oklahoma $7.25
Oregon — all cities/counties except … $10.25
Portland $11.25
Nonurban Counties 

(Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klmath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa Wheeler counties)

$10.00
Pennsylvania $7.25
Rhode Island* $10.10
South Carolina $7.25
South Dakota* $8.85
Tennessee $7.25
Texas $7.25
Utah $7.25
Vermont* $10.50
Virginia $7.25
Washington* — all cities/counties except … $11.50
City of SeaTac* (hospitality and transportation workers) $15.64
Seattle* $14.00
small employer who does not pay towards medical benefits

(500 or less)

small employer who does pay towards medical benefits

(500 or less)

$11.50
large employer who does not pay towards medical benefits

(501 or more)

$15.00
large employer who does pay towards medical benefits

(501 or more)

$15.45
Tacoma* $12.00
Washington DC $12.50
West Virginia $8.75
Wisconsin $7.25
Wyoming $7.25
 * = increase in minimum wage effective January 1, 2018

** = increase in minimum wage effective December 31, 2017

 

Caveat: Please be advised that this information is being provided as a courtesy and that ePlace Solutions, Inc. does not track local laws and ordinances and will not update this information with changes in local laws and ordinances.

 

 

Employment Laws to Keep In Mind In The Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, employers in impacted areas in Texas are working to try to get their businesses back up and running as quickly as possible.  When engaging in these efforts, employers need to remember that there are certain legal protections for employees when faced by this type of natural disaster.

  • Wage and Hour Requirements
    • Exempt Employees: If the business closed for less than a full workweek and your exempt employees performed any work during that workweek, then under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are required to paid their exempt employees for the days that the business is closed (i.e. for the entire workweek).

      If, however, the business remains open and an exempt employee does not come into work, then the exempt employee does not have to be paid for the day.  Instead, it is treated as an absence for personal reasons.  But, if the exempt employee arrives late or leaves early, then he must be paid for the full day of work.

      Finally, if the exempt employee works from home in lieu of coming into work, then he must be paid for the entire workweek.

    • Non-Exempt Employees: Under the FLSA, employers are not required to pay non-exempt employees who do not report to work as the result of a natural disaster.

      The only exceptions to this rule are (1) if employees are paid under a fluctuating workweek or (2) if there is a collective bargaining agreement in place that requires payment under these circumstances.

      Finally, if a non-exempt employee works from home in lieu of coming into work, then he must be paid for all hours worked.

 

  • Emergency Evacuation Discrimination law
    • Under Texas Labor Code Chapter 22, employers are prohibited from discharging or in any other manner discriminating against an employee who leaves the employee’s place of employment to participate in a general public evacuation ordered under an emergency evacuation order.

      Under this law, a disaster is the occurrence or imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property that results from a natural or man-made cause, including fire, flood, earthquake, wind, storm, wave action, oil spill or other water contamination, volcanic activity, epidemic, air contamination, blight, drought, infestation, explosion, riot, hostile military or paramilitary action, or other public calamity requiring emergency action, or an energy emergency.

      Employers who violate this provision are liable for any loss of wages or employer-provided benefits and must reinstate the employee to the same or equivalent position.

NEW LAW: Leave Rights for Texas Foster Parents Effective September 1, 2017

Earlier this year, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 88 into law.  This bill adds section 21.0595 to the Texas Labor Code, which goes into effect on September 1, 2017.

Under this new law, Texas employers who have a leave policy which allows an employee to take personal leave to care for or otherwise assist a sick biological or adopted child must extend the same leave benefits to foster parents.

It is recommended that Texas employers review their leave policies to make sure they do not specifically exclude foster children or list only biological or adopted children as covered.

NOTE:  This law does not require any Texas employer provide employees with personal leave to care for or otherwise assist a sick biological, adopted, or foster child.  The law just makes it clear that to the extent employers provide that type of leave, it must be extended to foster parents.

Employer Dos and Don’ts for Elections

In a previous article (Does Your State Require Voting Leave?), we broke down which states require employers to provide employees with time off to vote. In addition to these voting leave laws, many states have other laws in place that regulate what employers can, and more importantly, what an employer cannot do with respect to an election.

Below is a summary of the applicable laws for each state:

Alabama Employers may not:

·         Use coercion (e.g. Threatening to discharge an employee; reducing an employee’s compensation or benefits; punitively changing an employee’s schedule or job description; reducing compensation) to influence an employee’s vote in an election and

·         Seek to examine an employee’s ballot.

Alaska Employer may not threaten to inflict damage, harm, or loss to induce an employee to vote or refrain from voting in an election.
Arizona Employers may not

·         Coerce employees to support (or not) a referendum or recall;

·         Include with employees’ paychecks any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; or

·         Display any notice within 90 days before an election that attempts to influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace.

Arkansas Employers may not use threats or efforts to intimidate individuals with respect to whether and how they choose to vote.
California Employers may not

·         Prevent an employee from participating in politics;

·         Direct the political activities or affiliations of an employee; or

·         Threaten to discharge an employee for engaging or refusing to engage in certain political activity.

Colorado Employers may not

·         Threaten to discharge employees because of their political party affiliation;

·         Create or enforce a policy to prevent an employee from participating in politics; or

·         Discharge an employee for voting in an election or advocating for a particular candidate or political viewpoint while off duty.

Connecticut Employers may not discipline or discharge employees for exercising their First Amendment rights.
Delaware Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Florida Employers may not

·         Discharge or threaten to discharge employees for how they voted in an election.

·         Use coercion to get an employee to register to vote or support a certain candidate.

Georgia Employers may not

·         Coerce employees to support (or not) a recall;

·         Use threats or efforts to intimidate individuals with respect to whether and how they choose to vote.

Hawaii Employers may not use coercion (e.g. Threatening to discharge an employee; reducing an employee’s compensation or benefits; punitively changing an employee’s schedule or job description; reducing compensation) to influence an employee’s vote in an election.
Idaho Employers may not use coercion (e.g. Threatening to discharge an employee; reducing an employee’s compensation or benefits; punitively changing an employee’s schedule or job description; reducing compensation) to influence an employee’s vote in an election.
Illinois Employers may not

·         Use coercion (e.g. Threatening to discharge an employee; reducing an employee’s compensation or benefits; punitively changing an employee’s schedule or job description; reducing compensation) to influence an employee’s vote in an election

·         Keep records relating to employees’ off-duty political activities, unless the employee gives authorization and/or provides those records to the employer

·         Punish an employee for his off-duty use of “lawful products” (which could include comments made on social media).

Indiana Employers may not

·         Coerce employees to support (or not) a referendum or recall;

·         Include with employees’ paychecks any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; or

·         Attempt to influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace.

Iowa Employers may not use coercion to get an employee to register to vote, to support a certain candidate, or to sign a petition.
Kansas Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Kentucky Employers may not

·         Use coercion (e.g. Threatening to discharge an employee; reducing an employee’s compensation or benefits; punitively changing an employee’s schedule or job description; reducing compensation) to influence an employee’s vote in an election

·         Distribute any materials stating that employees are expected to vote for a particular candidate; or

·         Attempt to induce employees to vote a certain way in a state election.

Louisiana Employers may not

·         Threaten to discharge employees or otherwise intimidate employees because of their political party affiliation;

·         Allow an employee’s political contributions to affect his employment (including compensation)

Employers with 20+ employees may not

·         Prevent employees from participating in politics;

·         Control employees’ political activities or affiliations; or

·         Threaten to discharge employees if they support certain political parties or activities

 

Maine No laws relating to politics in the workplace
Maryland Employers may not

·         Influence employees’ voting activity through intimidation or bribery;

·         Include with employees’ paychecks any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; or

·         Display any notice within 90 days before an election that attempts to influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace

Massachusetts Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Michigan Employers may not

·         Use coercion (e.g. Threatening to discharge an employee; reducing an employee’s compensation or benefits; punitively changing an employee’s schedule or job description; reducing compensation) to influence an employee’s vote in an election

·         Keep records relating to employees’ off-duty political activities, unless the employee gives authorization and/or provides those records to the employer or the records pertain to activities that took place at work

Minnesota Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Mississippi Employers may not interfere with the political rights of employees.
Missouri Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his or her political activity or

·         Prevent employees from engaging in political activities.

Montana Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Nebraska Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity or

·         Close the business as a result of election results.

Nevada Employers may not

·         Prohibit employees from engaging in politics or serving in public office

·         Punish an employee for his off-duty use of “lawful products” (which could include comments made on social media).

New Hampshire Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
New Jersey Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity;

·         Include with employees’ paychecks any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees;

·         Display any notice within 90 days before an election that attempts to influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace; or

·         Require employees to attend employer-sponsored political meetings.

New Mexico Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
New York Employers may not punish an employee for his off-duty political activities.
North Carolina Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity;

·         Punish an employee for his off-duty use of “lawful products” (which could include comments made on social media).

North Dakota Employers may not punish an employee for his off-duty political activities.
Ohio Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity; or

·         Attempt to influence an employee’s political beliefs.

Oklahoma Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Oregon Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Pennsylvania Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity;

·         Include with employees’ paychecks any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; or

·         Display any notice within 90 days before an election that attempts to influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace.

Rhode Island Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity;

·         Include with employees’ paychecks any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; or

·         Display any notice within 90 days before an election that attempts to influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace.

South Carolina Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
South Dakota Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity;

·         Include with employees’ paychecks any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; or

·         Display any notice within 90 days before an election that attempts to influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace.

Tennessee Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity;

·         Distribute materials intended to coerce employees to vote in a certain way

Texas Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Utah Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity;

·         Include with employees’ paychecks any statements to influence the political opinions or actions of employees; or

·         Display any notice within 90 days before an election that attempts to influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace.

Vermont Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
Virginia Employers may not

·         Require employees to donate money to political action committees as a condition of employment; or

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.

Washington Employers may not

·         Interfere with an employee’s efforts to support or oppose a political effort

·         Use payroll contributions or salary increases for the purposes of funding political activities; or

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.

Washington DC Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.
West Virginia Employers may not

·         Require employees to donate money to political action committees as a condition of employment; or

·         Influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace.

Wisconsin Employers may not

·         Coerce any employee with respect to his political activity; or

·         Influence employees to support (or not) a particular candidate by stating that if a candidate succeeds, there will be consequences in the workplace.

Wyoming Employers may not coerce any employee with respect to his political activity.

 

Does Your State Require Voting Leave?

With the 2016 Election under three weeks away (Tuesday, November 8, 2016), employers should anticipate that employees will request time off to vote. Depending on the state, an employer may be required to provide voting leave to an employee.

The below table shows which states provide voting leave and which states do not.

No Voting Leave Provided Unpaid Voting Leave Paid Voting Leave
·         Connecticut ·         Alabama ·         Alaska
·         Delaware ·         Arkansas ·         Arizona
·         Florida ·         Georgia ·         California
·         Idaho ·         Kentucky ·         Colorado
·         Indiana ·         Massachusetts ·         Hawaii
·         Louisiana ·         Mississippi ·         Illinois
·         Maine ·         New Mexico ·         Iowa
·         Michigan ·         North Dakota ·         Kansas
·         Montana ·         Ohio ·         Maryland
·         New Hampshire ·         Wisconsin ·         Minnesota
·         New Jersey   ·         Missouri
·         North Carolina   ·         Nebraska
·         Oregon   ·         Nevada
·         Pennsylvania   ·         New York
·         Rhode Island   ·         Oklahoma
·         South Carolina   ·         South Dakota
·         Vermont   ·         Tennessee
·         Virginia   ·         Texas
·         Washington   ·         Utah
·         Washington DC   ·         West Virginia
    ·         Wyoming

In states where voting leave is required, state law dictates the conditions under which voting leave must be provided, if at all. The laws also set forth the amount of time that an employee must receive for this type of leave. As demonstrated above, depending on the state, the leave may be paid or unpaid.

It is recommended that all employers check the voting leave laws in their states prior to election day and provide training to managerial employees on compliance with this law.

DOL Partnership regarding worker misclassification — 34 States and Counting

Thirty-five states have agreed to “team up” with the US Department of Labor to investigate worker misclassification. Is your state one of them?

In 2015, Department of Labor launched an initiative to combat the misclassification of employees as independent contractors. As a part of this initiative, the Department of Labor sought to partner with the state agencies and agree to share information and conduct joint investigations regarding independent contractor misclassification. To date, 35 states have entered into a memorandum of understanding regarding worker misclassification issues.

These states are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

What does this mean for employers in these states?

Employers in the above-listed states should expect collaborative efforts between their state agencies and the Department of Labor during a investigation into potential employee misclassification as the state and the Department of Labor will share information. This could lead to simultaneous, multi-agency investigations into worker classification. It is recommended that companies have qualified legal counsel review any existing independent contractor arrangements. In addition, before entering into an independent contractor relationship, speak with an HR Professional or qualified legal counsel to verify that the worker truly is an independent contractor.