The backstitch HR law blog is a monthly series where we provide the latest updates on upcoming and recently in-effect legislation. However, every new year, many laws come into effect in multiple states. Here are short snippets of State, Federal, and Global changes in HR and employment law, so your organization can be prepared for changes in the coming year.
After months of litigation since its announcement, OSHA will finally begin enforcing its Emergency Temporary Standard for the COVID-19 vaccination on January 10. Employers of 100 or more must guarantee employees have been vaccinated for COVID-19, or subject unvaccinated employees to weekly testing. However, OSHA will also not issue citations for noncompliance until February 9.
The Center for Disease Control has also updated it's recommended quarantine protocol for COVID-19 exposure. For those who are either unvaccinated, 6 months out from their second mRNA vaccine or 2 months from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the CDC recommends a 5 day quarantine period followed by mask usage for the next 5 days.
On January 1, the minimum wage in Arizona will increase from $12.15/hour to $12.80/hour.
In California, the minimum wage for employers of 26 or more will increase to $15/hour from $14/hour. For employers of 25 or fewer, it will increase to $14/hour from $13/hour. This goes into effect on January 1.
Colorado's minimum wage will increase on January 1 from $12/hour to $12.56/hour.
Delaware's minimum wage will incrementally increase every year from $9.25/hour in 2021 to $15/hour by 2025. On January 1, the minimum wage will be $10.50/hour.
Beginning January 1, Illinois SB0672 prohibits noncompete clauses for employees making under $75,000 a year. It also prohibits nonsolicitation clauses to those making above $45,000 a year. It notes that a noncompete is void if an employee is terminated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is similarly illegal for those covered by a collective bargaining agreement. However, management professionals in the construction industry are exempt.
The minimum wage in Illinois is also progressively increasing, from $8.25/hour in 2019 to $15/hour by 2025. The minimum wage will increase from $11/hour to $12/hour on January 1.
On January 1, the minimum wage in Maine will increase from $12.15/hour to $12.75/hour.
Maryland is among the states with an incremental minimum wage increase. It has been increasing annually by $.75/hour for employers of 15 or more, and $.60/hour for employers of 14 or fewer. Eventually, it will reach $14/hour for employers of 15 or more and $13.40/hour for employers of 14 or fewer in 2024. On January 1, the minimum wage will reach $12.50/hour and $12.20/hour, respectively. Workers under 18 are also required to make at least 85% of the state minimum wage.
The minimum wage in Massachusetts will incrementally increase from $11/hour in 2018 to $15/hour by 2023. On January 1, it will be $14.25/hour.
Michigan's minimum wage is increasing from $9.65/hour to $9.87/hour.
On January 1, Minnesota expands pregnancy accommodations. Lactating employees must be granted paid break time at work to express milk. Employers of 15 or more employees are also required to provide pregnancy accommodations, including frequent breaks, seatings and limits on lifting more than 20 lbs.
The minimum wage in Minnesota will increase on January 1 from $10.08/hour to $10.33/hour for employers with $500,000 and over in annual gross revenue and from $8.21/hour to $8.42/hour for employers with lower than $500,000 in annual gross revenue. $8.42 is also the minimum wage for employees under 18, as well as trainees under 20 for the first 90 days of employment.
Missouri also has an annual increase in its minimum wage. On January 1, the minimum wage will be $11.15/hour, up from $10.30/hour. It will eventually reach $12/hour in 2023.
On January 1, recreational marijuana is legalized in Montana. While employers cannot discriminate against marijuana usage off duty, they are still able to limit usage at work.
Montana's minimum wage will increase from $8.75/hour to $9.20/hour on January 1.
Beginning January 1, misclassifying employees as independent contractors to evade insurance premiums is now considered a violation of the New Jersey Insurance Fraud Prevention Act. Fines include $5,000 for the first violation, $10,000 for the second and $15,000 for any subsequent violations.
New Jersey also has multiple minimum wages, with all eventually increasing to $15/hour. Large companies with 6 or more employees must pay $13/hour on January 1, and the minimum wage will eventually reach $15/hour by 2024. Small companies with 5 or fewer employees have until 2026 to reach $15/hour, and their minimum wage will be $11.90/hour on January 1. Finally, employers in agriculture have a deadline of 2027, and their employees will have a minimum wage of $11.05 on January 1.
On January 1, the minimum wage in New Mexico will increase from $11.50/hour to $10.50/hour.
Senate Bill S4394A significantly expands whistleblower protections. Previously, it only protected employees who whistleblew an act that was a "substantial and specific danger to the public health or safety." On January 26, it now protects all employees who reasonably believe their workplace violated the law.
On December 27, private sector employees in New York City must have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. They will then have 45 days to show proof of a second dose for those that require two doses.
In New York City, Westchester, and Long Island, the minimum wage will be $15/hour on December 31. However, it will be $13.20/hour for the rest of the state.
The minimum wage in Ohio will increase from $8.80/hour to $9.30/hour on January 1.
The state expanded the Oregon Family Leave Act. On January 1, employees at companies with 25 or more are still qualified for leave if they are terminated, but rehired with 180 days. Credit for days in service must also be restored within 180 days. During a public health crisis, eligibility is within 30 days rather than 180.
Oregon has also implemented the CROWN act. Beginning January 1, the Oregon Fair Employment Practices Law adds Protective Hairstyles to its prohibited forms of discrimination. These include "hair color or manner of wearing hair that includes, but is not limited to, braids, regardless of whether the braids are created with extensions or styled with adornments, locs, and twists." It also adds hairstyles to its definition of race.
Oregon is yet another state that has begun limiting noncompete clauses. Senate Bill 169 will impose a maximum enforceability period of 12 months, down from 18 months for all noncompetes beginning on January 1. It also adds an exception where employees must make at least $100,533 instead of the Census Bureau's data.
SB 569 prohibits employers from requiring a driver's license as a condition of employment if driving is not a job function. Should a driver's license be unavailable, the employer should utilize any other form of identification acceptable by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Rhode Island is increasing its temporary caregiver leave from 4 weeks to 5 weeks on January 1.
Also on January 1, the minimum wage will increase to $12.25/hour to $11.50/hour in Rhode Island.
South Dakota's minimum wage is increasing from $9.45/hour to $9.95/hour on January 1.
The minimum wage for Vermont is increasing to $12.55/hour from $11.75/hour on January 1.
On January 1, Virginia's minimum wage will increase from $9.50/hour to $11/hour.
Washington is increasing its minimum wage to $14.49/hour from $13.69/hour.