The backstitch HR law blog is a monthly series where we provide the latest updates on upcoming and recently in-effect legislation. On January 1, many States ring in the New Year with a flurry of new laws. Here are short snippets of some key changes.
The minimum wage in Alaska is increasing from $10.34/hour to $10.85/hour on January 1.
On January 1, Arizona's minimum wage is increasing from $10.34 to $10.85.
The California Privacy Rights Act adds new data controls to employers. Previously, the California Consumer Privacy Act exempts professional and employment data, something that is now regulated by CPRA. Employers must notify employees, contractors and applicants what categories of personal information it has, and its usage. People are also able to request their information be restricted or deleted. However, exemptions are in place for personal information regarding a worker's role, emergency contacts and benefits. It also established the California Privacy Protection Agency to enforce compliance.
The California Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery (FAST Recovery) Act establishes a Fast Food Council within the Department of Industrial Relations. This Council will contain 1 representative from the Department, 2 representatives each of fast food franchisors, franchisees and employees, 2 advocates of fast food employees and 1 appointee from the Office of Business and Economic Development. The Council is able to set industry wide minimum wage and increases, as well as work standards. It also prevents retaliation against employees for whistleblowing, testifying and refusing to perform work that can reasonably be viewed as unlawful. This goes into effect on January 1.
As with other states, California is enacting pay transparency. SB 1162 requires that employers of 15 or more must provide pay scales for any job posting, beginning January 1. Any employee may also request the pay scale of their current position. However, employers may not seek the salary history of an applicant.
AB 1041 expands the California Family Rights Act to allow for leave for care of "designated persons." This is any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship. The employee is able to define their designated person at the time of request, but an employer can restrict an employee to a single designated person for each 12 month period. This goes into effect on January 1.
Similarly AB 1949 also amends the California Family Rights Act to make it unlawful for an employer to refuse 5 days of bereavement leave for family members. Unlike the prior bill, this only applies to family members consisting of a "spouse or a child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in-law" as opposed to the more general "designated person." The 5 days do not have to be consecutive, but must be used with 3 months of the death. This also goes into effect on January 1.
Beginning January 1, SB 1044 will make it unlawful for employers to punish employees who refuse to report to or to leave a workplace under an emergency condition. This includes both disasters caused by nature or criminal acts as well as emergency evacuation orders. Employers also are unable to prevent employees from accessing mobile devices for emergency assistance, safety information or communications.
On January 1, AB 2693 will loosen COVID notification guidelines. Employers are no longer required to report COVID outbreaks to Cal/OSHA. It also gives them the option of notifying workers with a public posting as opposed to individual written notice.
AB 2068 states that Cal/OSHA notices that are posted in the workplace must be in both English, as well as the 7 most used other languages in California as defined by the the US Census Bureau. Regardless of Census data, Punjabi must also be one of the languages. This goes into effect on January 1.
California previously had a tiered minimum wage. Small employers of 25 or fewer were $14/hour, while large employers of 26 or more had $15/hour. On January 1, the state minimum wage is consolidated to $15.50/hour regardless of company size.
Beginning January 1, Colorado employers must begin payroll deductions for the Colorado Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI). Employers and employees contribute an equal 50/50 on a .9% payroll tax to contribute to FAMLI.
Minimum wage is also increasing in Colorado from $12.56/hour to $13.65/hour.
In line with other States, Connecticut is enacting a Clean Slate Law that prevents employers from inquiring about criminal history during an initial job application with some exceptions. Those with exceptions must provide notice on the applications. This goes into effect on January 1.
On January 1, the minimum wage in Delaware will increase from $10.50/hour to $11.75/hour.
On January 1, Illinois is joining other states with their CROWN Act, which Create[s] a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair. It modifies the Illinois Human Rights Act to ban hairstyle discrimination for employment, housing, financial transactions and public accommodations.
Illinois will also enact a Family Bereavement Leave Act. SB 3120 entitles employees to 10 work days of unpaid bereavement leave for the funeral, arrangement making or grieving of a covered family member. It further expands allowed leave for miscarriage, unsuccessful reproductive technology procedures, failed adoption, failed surrogacy, diagnosis that negatively impacts pregnancy and fertility or a stillbirth. It also redefines Covered Family Members to include children, stepchildren, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, in laws, grandchildren, grandparents or stepparent. This goes into effect on January 1.
Also on January 1, SB 3146 modifies the One Day Rest in Seven Act to be counted as a consecutive seven day period as opposed to a "calendar week." Domestic workers are allowed at least 24 consecutive hours of rest every consecutive seven day period. Employees who work over 7 and a half continuous hours are also entitled to an extra 20 minute meal period for each 4 and a half continuous hours worked. The employer will also provide a conspicuous place to place a notice that summarizes these requirements. If an employee does not report to a physical workplace, the employer will instead provide an email or a website with this information.
The minimum wage in Illinois increased from $12/hour to $13/hour.
Maine increases its minimum wage to $13.80/hour from $12.75/hour on January 1.
Maryland's minimum wage is increased from $12.50/hour to $13.25/hour on January 1.
The minimum wage in Massachusetts is increasing on January 1 from $14.25/hour to $15/hour.
Michigan's Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act of 2018 increases the minimum wage annually until 2030. On January 1, the minimum wage is $10.10/hour.
Minnesota has a tiered minimum wage. Large employers where gross revenue exceeds $500,000 must provide a minimum wage of $10.59/hour, while small employers provide a minimum wage of $8.63/hour.
The minimum wage in Missouri increased linearly every year to $12/hour by 2023.
Montana's minimum wage is annually adjusted for inflation. On January 1, it increases to $9.95/hour from $9.20/hour.
In the 2022 election, Nebraska voters approved Measure 433, which increases minimum wage to $15/hour by 2026. On January 1, 2023, the minimum wage is $10.50/hour.
New Jersey also has both a scheduled minimum increase plan and a tiered wage. On January 1, large employers of 6 or more must pay $14.13/hour while small employers pay $12.93/hour.
New Mexico's Minimum Wage Act is increasing the minimum wage to $12/hour on January 1.
New York's Paid Family Leave is expanding to include leave for siblings, such as biological, adopted, step siblings and half siblings, starting January 1.
New York City is requiring that any automated hiring tool must be subjected to a bias audit beginning January 1. However, enforcement of the law is currently delayed until April 15.
The minimum wage in New York is also increasing annually. It was raised from $13.20/hour to $14.20/hour on January 1.
Ohio's minimum wage is adjusted annually for inflation. The current increase is from $9.30/hour to $10.10/hour.
On January 1, SB 588 expands sick leave to include employees working via a referral system run by a labor organizer, a collective bargaining agreement or multi employer-employee trust. They were previously exempt.
Oregon SB 1513 prevents manufacturing companies from retaliating against employees who refuse to work mandatory overtime shifts unless there was 5 days of advance notice for the overtime shift. It goes into effect on January 1.
SB 1586 expands its noncompete ban to include former employees, not just current employees. This goes into effect on January 1.
Rhode Island SB 270 is a comprehensive pay equity and wage transparency law going into effect on January 1. Employers may not pay a different wage based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age or country of ancestral origin. However, exemptions exist for seniority systems, merit systems, earnings by quantity or quality of production (eg commission), geographic location that affects cost of living although no location within Rhode Island is sufficiently different, reasonable shift differential, education and training, work related travel or a bona fide external factor. Employers may also not inquire on the wage history of a job applicant, nor utilize wage history to determine the pay for an applicant. Employers may utilize a self evaluation of their pay practices. Furthermore, upon request, an applicant or current employee must be given a wage range for their prospective or current role.
Temporary caregiver benefits has been incrementally increasing in Rhode Island. On January 1, leave has been expanded to 6 weeks.
Rhode Island's minimum wage is increasing on January 1 from $12.25/hour to $13/hour.
On January 1, the minimum wage in South Dakota is increasing to $10.80/hour from $9.95/hour.
The Tennessee Lawful Employment Act requires that on January 1, employers with 35 or more full time equivalent employees must use the Federal E-Verify process for new employees. Previously, the limit was 50 or more employees.
Vermont's minimum wage is increasing from $12.55/hour to $13.18/hour.
The minimum wage in Virginia will increase in annual increments to $15/hour by 2026, pending approval. It will be $12/hour on January 1.
The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries makes cost of living adjustments to the minimum wage every year. On January 1, it will increase to $15.74/hour.