Blog 2024-06-19 State Law Updates

Get ready for changes! As of July 1, 2024, a new wave of state laws are set to go into effect across the country. These updates impact everything from worker protections and minimum wage to important regulations for businesses. Whether you’re an employer, employee, or simply a resident staying informed, this article will guide you through the key state law changes taking effect on July 1st.

Need a clickable index and quick reference? Click here for a handy downloadable version of these updates:

DOWNLOAD: State Law Updates


FEDERAL UPDATES

 

Federal — Overtime Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) finalized a new overtime rule in April 2024 that increases the minimum salary level for overtime eligibility for certain white-collar workers. 

This new rule means more employees will be entitled to overtime pay. Check out our article for a complete rundown.

Here are the key changes:

  • Increased Salary Thresholds:
    • Effective July 1, 2024: Most salaried workers earning less than $844 per week ($43,888 annually) will be eligible for overtime pay.
    • Effective January 1, 2025: The threshold increases to $1,128 per week ($58,656 annually).
  • Automatic Updates: Starting in 2027, the salary thresholds will automatically adjust every three years to reflect wage changes.
  • Highly Compensated Employees: The minimum salary requirement for exemption from overtime for highly compensated employees also increased.
    • Effective July 1, 2024: $132,964 annually from $107,432.
    • Effective January 1, 2025: $151,164 annually.

The salary threshold is a significant change that could impact millions of workers. The Department of Labor’s website provides more details.

Here’s what employers need to do to comply:

  1. Identify Affected Employees: Review current employee classifications to determine who might be impacted by the increased salary threshold.
  2. Decision for Each Employee: Once you’ve identified potentially affected employees, you have two main options for each one:
    1. Increase Salary: Raise their salary to meet the new minimum threshold for exemption from overtime.
    2. Reclassify as Non-Exempt: Reclassify them as non-exempt employees, meaning they’ll be eligible for overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. If you need help determining how to classify employees, please visit the DOL website and contact your HR and Payroll Specialist.
  3. Timekeeping and Overtime Policies: If you reclassify employees as non-exempt, ensure you have:
    1. Timekeeping Mechanisms: A system to accurately track all hours worked.
    2. Overtime Policy: A clear policy on how overtime is authorized, tracked, and compensated.
  4. Stay Informed: Some states have overtime laws with different thresholds. Comply with both federal and state regulations.

Several suits have been filed to block the DOL’s new overtime rule. Nextep will continue to monitor and address this matter accordingly.


Federal — PWFA

The EEOC has issued a final rule for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), effective June 18, 2024. This rule has important implications for employers. Check out our article for a complete rundown.

Key changes:

Employers Must Provide Reasonable Accommodations:

  • The PWFA requires employers with 15 or more employees to offer reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers with limitations due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
  • Accommodations could include adjustments like extra bathroom breaks, a chair to sit on, or flexible work hours to attend doctor appointments.
  • Exception: undue hardship. Employers don’t have to provide accommodation if it causes undue hardship, meaning significant difficulty or expense for the business.

Focus on Open Communication

  • The PWFA emphasizes communication between employers and employees. Employers should engage in an interactive process to explore potential accommodations when an employee expresses limitations due to pregnancy.

 

What Do Employers Need To Do?

  • Engage in Interactive Process: Work with the employee in good faith to identify an adequate accommodation. This process should be timely, and the temporary nature of pregnancy-related limitations should be considered.
  • Examples of Reasonable Accommodations: These can include but are not limited to adjusted schedules, modified breaks, ergonomic equipment, or a temporary change in job duties
  • Update Handbook Policy: We highly recommend that employers update their handbook policies to reflect the PWFA
    • Clarity and Transparency: A clear policy communicates your commitment to complying with the PWFA and informs employees of their rights to request reasonable accommodations 
    • Reference the PWFA: Explicitly mention the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to differentiate it from disability accommodations under the ADA. 
    • Reasonable Accommodation Process: Outline the steps for requesting an accommodation, including the interactive process with the employer
    • Examples of Accommodations: Provide non-exhaustive examples of potential accommodations, like flexible scheduling or modified duties
    • Confidentiality: Emphasize that medical information related to the request will be kept confidential.

For more information, refer to the EEOC’s resources on the PWFA.


Federal — OSHA Updates Hazard Communication Standard

Effective July 19, 2024, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its Hazard Communication (HazCom) Standard to improve the amount and quality of information on labels and safety data sheets (SDSs). 

The final rule aims to better inform employees about the chemicals they work with and improve workplace safety. Here’s a summary of the updates:

  • Alignment with GHS: The revised standard primarily aligns with the seventh revision of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), which promotes international consistency in hazard communication.
  • Enhanced Label Information: Labels on small containers will now be more comprehensive and readable, ensuring workers can quickly identify crucial hazard information.
  • Improved Safety Data Sheets (SDS): Changes ensure trade secrets no longer prevent essential hazard information from reaching workers and first responders on SDSs.
  • Compliance Deadlines: The updated standard goes into effect on July 19, 2024, with extended compliance dates for certain aspects.

Employers must update any alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program and provide additional employee training for newly identified chemical hazards. Employers must also update labels and SDSs as needed. These requirements apply to substances and mixtures and have distinct compliance deadlines.

The phased set of deadlines for compliance with the final rule are as follows:

Date Requirement Regulated Entity
1/1/2026 Update labels and SDSs for substances Chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors
7/20/2026 Update workplace labels, hazard communication program, and training as necessary for substances Employers
7/19/2027 Update labels and SDSs for mixtures Chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors
1/19/2028 Update workplace labels, hazard communication program, and training as necessary for mixtures Employers
5/20/2024 May comply with the revised HazCom standard, the current standard, or both Chemical manufacturers, importers, and distributors

 

Despite the grace periods for complying with the revised rule, employers should initiate compliance efforts as soon as possible, given the complexity of the new requirements, particularly regarding chemical labeling. 

An employer may need to reassess and update its HazCom program, so it should designate and train individuals knowledgeable about the chemicals it uses (and manufactures and distributes, if applicable) on the changes introduced by the revised standard. Depending on its business, an employer may need to reanalyze its chemical classifications, labels, SDSs, written HazCom program, and training offerings. 

However, because the final rule contains limited revisions of the hazard classification rules, OSHA does not anticipate that most employers will need to complete these steps.

Find more details on the OSHA website.


Federal — OSHA Walkaround Rule

The new OSHA walkaround rule, which took effect on May 31, 2024, introduces some changes for employers regarding who can accompany inspectors during a workplace safety inspection. 

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Employee Representative Designation: Employees now have the right to designate a third-party representative, not necessarily someone employed by your company, to accompany the OSHA inspector during the walkaround portion of the inspection. This third-party rep could be a union representative, a safety professional, or someone else advocating for worker rights.
  • Limited Control for Employers: Previously, employers had more control over who could participate in the walkaround. Now, the designation of the employee representative is primarily up to the employees.
  • Potential Impact: The broader range of walkaround representatives may raise concerns for some employers, such as competitors gaining access to confidential information or representatives who might disrupt the inspection process.

Employers will likely need to update their policies for the 2024 OSHA walkaround rule. 

This broader designation suitable for employees means your policy should reflect the following:

  • Employee Designation Process: Outline how employees can choose their walkaround representative, including allowing them to pick someone from outside the company.
  • Third-Party Representative Qualifications (optional): You can set reasonable qualifications for third-party representatives, though OSHA cannot restrict their participation based solely on employer preference. Consider requiring relevant safety training or experience.

Here are some resources that can help you navigate the new rule:


STATE UPDATES

 

California — Workplace Violence Prevention Plans

Effective 07/01/2024

Effective July 1, 2024, California requires covered employers to establish, implement, and maintain an effective workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP) as part of their injury and Illness Prevention Plans (IIPPs). 

Here’s a breakdown of key information California employers need to know for the Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP):

Who needs a WVPP?

Almost all California employers. There’s an exception for employers with fewer than ten employees at a location without public access; otherwise, the requirement is very broad.

What’s the deadline?

The deadline for a written WVPP, training programs, and other requirements was July 1, 2024. So, California employers should have a compliant WVPP by now.

What are the requirements of the Workplace Violence Prevention Policy?

Here are the main things a WVPP needs to cover:

  • Establishing a WVPP team: This team is responsible for implementing and maintaining the plan.
  • Identifying workplace violence hazards: The plan should assess the specific workplace violence risks.
  • Developing prevention measures: Include procedures for responding to threats, violence reporting protocols, and ways to ensure a safe work environment.
  • Providing training to employees: Employees need training on the WVPP, identifying and reporting violence, and what to do in dangerous situations.
  • Maintaining a violent incident log: You need to record all incidents of workplace violence, even if they don’t result in injuries.
  • Post Employee Notice: Employers can post the notice in a conspicuous place.
  • You can incorporate the WVPP information into a standalone document or integrate it into your existing Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP).

Exemptions:

The following entities are exempt from the requirements to have a WVPP and a violent incident log, to complete associated training, and to maintain relevant records:

  • Healthcare facilities, which are already covered by Cal/OSHA’s violence prevention in Health Care Standard;
  • Facilities operated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation;
  • Employers that are law enforcement agencies that comply with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards (POST) Program and IIP requirements;
  • Employees who are teleworking;
  • Places of employment where fewer than ten employees are working at the palace at any given time, not accessible to the public, and comply with the requirement to develop and maintain an IIP.

Resources to help you review your handbook policy:

  1. Workplace Violence Policy: A clear definition of workplace violence, following the guidelines set by Cal/OSHA. This policy should encompass various forms of violence, including threats, verbal abuse, physical assaults, and intimidation.
  2. Reporting Procedures: Detail a straightforward process for employees to report incidents of workplace violence. These procedures should include multiple reporting options, such as reporting to supervisors, HR, or anonymously. Emphasize that retaliation against employees for reporting is strictly prohibited.
  3. Employee Rights and Responsibilities: Outline employee rights regarding a safe workplace free from violence. Additionally, include their responsibilities in maintaining a respectful and non-violent work environment.
  4. Prevention Measures: Describe the company’s measures to prevent workplace violence. These measures could involve workplace security measures, procedures for handling disgruntled customers or clients, and conflict resolution protocols.
  5. Training: Mention the mandatory workplace violence prevention training provided to all employees. Briefly explain the training content and its importance in recognizing and preventing violence.
  6. Post-Incident Response: Explain the company’s procedures for responding to and investigating workplace violence incidents. This procedure should include steps to ensure employee safety, preserve evidence, and support victims.
  7. Confidentiality: Reassure employees that reports of violence will be treated confidentially, within legal limitations.

Additional resources about the WVPP


Colorado — Job Application Fairness Act (JAFA)

Effective 07/01/2024

Colorado’s Job Application Fairness Act (JAFA) restricts employers from asking about an applicant’s age during the initial hiring process. This law takes effect on July 1, 2024. Below is a breakdown of what JAFA means for employers:

  • Restrictions on Age-Related Information: Employers cannot request the applicant’s age, date of birth, or dates of attendance/graduation from educational institutions in the initial application.
  • Limited Exceptions: Employers can still request age verification if it’s a legal requirement (e.g., for jobs with minimum age restrictions) or a safety concern.
  • Verification of Additional Materials: Employers can request documents like transcripts or certifications during the initial application. However, they must inform applicants that they can redact any information revealing their age.

What do employers need to do?

  1. Update application forms and hiring practices. Remove age-related information requests or prompts that ask for this information (age, date of birth, or details about educational background that reveals their age- date of attendance or graduation);
  2. Allow redacting age information
  3. Focus on qualifications and not age

JAFA aims to prevent age discrimination in the hiring process and ensure qualified candidates are considered based on their skills and experience, not their age.

For more information, refer to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment website on JAFA or the official legislative bill document.


Colorado — Definition of Race in Antidiscrimination Statute to Include Hair Length

Effective 06/03/2024

The state has amended HB 24-1451, referencing the CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair)

This bill amends the state’s anti-discrimination laws to include hair length associated with race as a protected characteristic. Employers cannot make decisions about hiring, promotion, or other workplace matters based on a person’s hairstyle if it relates to their race.

Here’s what employers should likely do with their handbooks:

  • Review their anti-discrimination policies to ensure they include hair styles associated with race.
  • Update any dress code policies that might restrict certain hairstyles.
  • Train managers and supervisors on the new law and how to avoid discrimination based on hair length.

Further resources:


Colorado — Protections for Living Organ Donation

Effective 06/03/2024

Colorado HB24-1132 aims to support living organ donors by offering tax credits and preventing employer retaliation. Here’s what it means for employers:

  • Prohibition on Retaliation: The bill restricts employers from taking adverse actions against employees who are living organ donors. Adverse actions include demotions or any other disciplinary measures. This protection applies for 30 days before the donation and 90 days after.
  • Exceptions: Employers can avoid violating the bill if they can demonstrate with clear and convincing evidence that the action taken against the employee was unrelated to the donation and was justified for other reasons.

In essence, HB24-1132 discourages employers from penalizing employees who choose to become living organ donors.

To ensure compliance, employers should review their existing leave policies and anti-retaliation provisions to explicitly include protections for living organ donors.

For further information, you can refer to the bill here.


District of Columbia — Wage History Protection: Pay Transparency

Effective 06/30/2024

The DC pay transparency law, which takes effect on June 30, 2024, imposes new requirements on employers in Washington, D.C. 

Here’s a breakdown of what it means for employers:

  • Salary Range Disclosure: Employers must include the minimum and maximum projected salary or hourly wage in all job postings and advertisements. This disclosure should be the good faith range they expect to pay for the position.
  • Benefits Upfront: Employers must disclose the availability of healthcare benefits to applicants before the first interview.
  • No Wage History Inquiries: Employers may not ask about an applicant’s wage history during the hiring process. This prohibition prevents them from basing salary offers on past earnings, potentially leading to fairer pay.
  • Workplace Notice: Employers are required to post a notice in a conspicuous location at their workplace informing employees of their rights under this law. Nextep is monitoring the D.C. Site for its employer notice.

Additionally, employers may need to update their job application forms and screening procedures to remove any questions that solicit wage history information.

These rules apply to all private employers in D.C., regardless of their size.


Florida — Loosened Child Labor Working Hour Restrictions

Effective 07/01/2024

Florida recently loosened child labor restrictions for 16 and 17-year-olds. The new law, which takes effect on July 1, 2024, allows for more flexibility in working hours under certain conditions. Here’s a summary of the key changes:

  • Longer workweeks: With parental or guardian permission, 16 and 17-year-olds can now work more than 30 hours per week during the school year.
  • More hours per day: These teens have more leeway on daily work hours. They can work over 8 hours on school holidays, Sundays, and after 11 p.m. if they don’t have school the next day.
  • Seven-day workweeks: Previously, 16 and 17-year-olds could work up to six days in a row. Now, they can work seven days a week as long as the total hours comply with the weekly limits.

Some safeguards are still in place. For instance, teens working more than eight hours daily must take 30-minute breaks.

What do employers need to know?

  • Federal laws still apply: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets minimum age requirements and limitations on working hours for minors working during school hours. You’ll still need to comply with these federal restrictions.
  • Focus on safety: Even without mandated restrictions, prioritize safety for all young workers. Ensure the work environment is safe and appropriate for their age.
  • Make sure to have proof of age for minor employees
  • Working over 30 hours: Written consent is required from both a parent and the school superintendent if a 16 or 17-year-old wants to work more than 30 hours per week while school is in session.

Idaho — Immunity for Employers Permitting Firearms on Premises

Effective 07/01/2024

Effective July 1, 2024, Idaho extends civil immunity to employers that adopt a policy that allows or does not prohibit the lawful carrying of a firearm on an employee’s person on the business premises.

Previously, Idaho only granted such immunity to employers adopting a policy that permits employees to store firearms in their personal vehicles on the employer’s premises.

Employers in Idaho are not required to update their policies to comply with the 2024 civil immunity law for firearms. The law protects employers who either allow or don’t prohibit employees from storing firearms in their vehicles or carrying them. 

  • Employers can keep existing policies that prohibit firearms entirely.
  • Employers can optionally create a new policy allowing firearms under certain conditions (e.g., concealed carry permits required).
  • Employers can do nothing and remain silent on the issue (best tailored to your specific business needs)

However, employers need to consider their options carefully:

  • Safety: Maintaining a firearm-free workplace might be a priority for some employers, especially in high-risk environments.
  • Legal Considerations: Even with the immunity law, employers could still face other legal issues if there’s a shooting, such as failing to provide a safe workplace.

Here’s what employers might want to do:

  • Consult an employment lawyer to understand the law’s implications and potential risks.
  • Review existing policies or create a new firearms policy that outlines clear expectations.
  • Communicate the policy clearly to all employees.

Even if employers don’t update their policy, they should be aware of the new law and its potential impact on their workplace.


Illinois — Freelance Worker Protection Act

Effective 07/01/2024

Illinois has strong protections for freelance workers thanks to the Freelance Worker Protection Act (FWPA), which takes effect on July 1, 2024. Here’s a summary of the key protections:

  • Written Contracts: When a freelance job is worth $500 or more, the agreement between the freelancer and the hiring entity must be in writing [Illinois Freelance Worker Protection Act]. This written agreement helps ensure clarity about the terms of the work.
  • Prompt Payment: Freelancers must be paid within 30 days of completing the work or delivering the product [Illinois Freelance Worker Protection Act]. If payment is late, the freelancer is entitled to double the amount of underpayment, plus attorneys’ fees and court costs.
  • Anti-Retaliation: The FWPA prohibits hiring entities from taking any action against a freelancer for exercising their rights under the law. Retaliation includes threats, intimidation, or being denied future work opportunities.

Here are some recommendations for employers to comply with the FWPA:

  • Develop standard freelance contracts that meet the FWPA requirements.
  • Ensure timely payments to freelancers as per the contract.
  • Maintain a professional and respectful relationship with freelancers.

Illinois — Chicago Paid Leave and Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance

Effective 07/01/2024

As of July 1, 2024, Chicago has a new ordinance requiring employers to provide two types of paid leave to eligible employees: Paid Leave and Paid Sick Leave

Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

  • Eligibility: Employees who work at least 80 hours for a Chicago employer within any 120 days are covered.
  • Leave Amounts:
    • Paid Leave: Up to 40 hours per 12-month period, usable for any reason.
    • Paid Sick Leave: Up to 40 hours per 12-month period for reasons like illness, family member care, domestic violence, and public health emergencies.
  • Accrual:
    • Paid Leave & Paid Sick Leave: 1 hour for every 35 hours worked (up to the annual maximum).
  • Carryover:
    • Paid Leave: Up to 16 hours if not front-loaded by the employer.
    • Paid Sick Leave: Up to 80 hours.
  • Payout:
    • Paid Leave is required for large employers (101+ employees). Medium employers (51-100) must pay it out after July 1, 2025.
    • Paid Sick Leave: No payout required.
  • Posting
    • Every employer must post a notice advising the covered employee in a conspicuous place at each facility in the City of Chicago.

What Do Employers Need to Do?

Chicago employers must update their policies to comply with the Paid Leave and Paid Sick Leave ordinance changes implemented on July 1, 2024. Here’s why:

  • New Leave Categories: The ordinance introduces a new “Paid Leave” category alongside the existing “Paid Sick Leave.” Employers must ensure their policies reflect these two separate leave options and their respective uses.
  • Accrual and Carryover Rules: How employees earn and carry over leave has changed. Policies must reflect the new accrual rate (1 hour per 35 worked) and the updated carryover limits (16 hours for Paid Leave, 80 hours for Paid Sick Leave).
  • Payout Requirements: Large employers (101+ employees) now need a system for paying out unused Paid Leave upon termination. Medium employers must follow suit by July 1, 2025. Policies should address this new requirement.
  • Employee Notification: Employers must provide an annual notice to employees explaining their minimum wage, Fair Workweek rights (if applicable), and details about Paid Leave and Paid Sick Leave.
  • Annual Notice: The Paid Leave and Paid Sick Leave Notice must be sent annually to each covered employee with a paycheck issued within 30 days of July 1st. The annual notice may be provided by paper or electronic means through the employer’s internal communication channels.

Additional Resources


Illinois: Chicago Updated Workplace Notices and Guidance

Effective 07/01/2024

The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Office of Labor Standards (COLS) recently updated its website regarding minimum wage obligations, paid leave, paid sick and safe leave, new fair workweek thresholds, and updated required labor notices. 

The compliance deadline for these obligations is July 1, 2024. Employers should carefully review these new rules and ensure new notices are posted, provided with employees’ first paychecks, and sent to employees by the July deadline.

Fair Work Week Thresholds and Notice – Effective July 1, 2024

By now, covered employers in Chicago will be familiar with the Fair Work Week ordinance and its predictive scheduling requirements. In sum, covered employers must post schedules 14 days before the start of the work schedule. Employer-initiated changes to the schedule that do not fall within an exception will trigger an obligation to provide predictable pay to covered employees.

New Thresholds

Effective the ordinance covers July 1, 2024, employees working for covered employers if they make no more than a yearly salary of $61,149.35 or $31.85 per hour. When the Fair Work Week ordinance was enacted in 2020, the thresholds were $50,000 per year or $26.00 per hour, and the thresholds have changed yearly, effective July 1. Most recently, from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024, the thresholds were $59,151.50 per year, or $30.80 per hour. Given this recent increase, covered employers should review their payroll and scheduling policies and procedures to ensure continued compliance for all covered employees.

As of July 1, 2024, Chicago’s minimum wage ordinance applies to employees working for covered employers who meet either of the following thresholds:

  • Earn less than or equal to $31.85 per hour
  • Earn less than or equal to $61,149.35 per year

It’s important to note that the ordinance only applies to businesses in specific covered industries and those with a minimum number of employees. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Covered industries: Building services, healthcare, hotel, manufacturing, restaurant, retail, or warehouse services
  • Employer size: At least 100 employees

Notice and Posting Requirements

The updated Fair Work Week Notice must be issued to covered employees with the first paycheck and annually with the first paycheck on or following July 1.

Employers must post the notice provided by BACP through their usual methods of communication for such notices, whether by paper posting or by electronic dissemination through their internal communication channels. When posting a paper notice, the notice must be printed on and scaled to fill a sheet of paper measuring 11 inches by 17 inches.

All notices must be posted in English and any language(s) spoken by facility employees who are not proficient in English and in which the BACP has provided non-English language notices.

Wage Theft Notice — Posting Requirements

For employers that maintain a business facility within the geographic boundaries of the City of Chicago, the updated notice must be displayed in a conspicuous place at each facility in Chicago. If the employer does not maintain a physical business facility, electronic notice via email or intranet satisfies this requirement.

Additional Updated Labor Notices

BACP also updated the notices related to the prohibition on human trafficking, directing employees to additional resources and informing them of the location for filing a complaint.

As with the other notices, for employers that maintain a business facility within the geographic boundaries of the City of Chicago, the updated notice must be displayed in a conspicuous place at each facility in Chicago. If the employer does not maintain a physical business facility, electronic dissemination of the notice through the employer’s internal communication channels satisfies this requirement.


Indiana — Veterans’ Benefits and Services Posting Requirement

Effective 07/01/2024

New Poster Requirement: Effective July 1, 2024, Indiana employers with more than 50 full-time employees (or their equivalent) must display a poster outlining veterans’ benefits and services. 

This requirement is a step towards informing veterans of the support available to them.

The legislation does not currently define what would be considered a full-time equivalent for counting 50 or more employees. It does not explicitly state if the 50 or more employees are counted based solely on those working in Indiana or totality. Absent guidance, conservatively, employers may wish to post the required notice if they have 50 or more employees regardless of full-time or part-time status and whether all 50 or more are Indiana workers. 

Employers should continue to monitor the DOL website for the poster.


Indiana — New Hire Reporting

Effective 07/01/2024

Indiana requires all employers to report newly hired and rehired employees to the state New Hire Reporting Center. Indiana has new hire reporting requirements that employers must follow. Here’s a summary:

Effective July 1, 2024, a newly hired employee is redefined as an employee who: 

  • Has not previously been employed by the employer or
  • Was previously employed by the employer but has been separated from that prior employment for at least 60 consecutive days.

Who must report?

  • All new employees who live or work in Indiana, regardless of how long they work (even for one day).
  • Re-hires or re-called employees who return to work within 60 days of being laid off, furloughed, etc.

When to report: 

  • Report within 20 days of the new hire date. There are specific rules for electronic submissions.

How to report?

Resources for more information:

NOTE: Nextep does handle all new hire reporting on our client’s behalf


Maine — Retirement Savings Program Reminder 

Effective 07/01/2024

The Maine Retirement Savings Program, starting in 2024, requires employers to offer a retirement savings option to most employees. 

The Maine Retirement Savings Program (the Program) provides eligible employees with a retirement savings plan when their employer does not sponsor one. Employers covered by the Program must facilitate optional employee contributions, through payroll deductions, to individual retirement accounts (IRAs) run by the state. 

Here’s a breakdown of what it means for employers:

Phased Implementation:

  • Employers with 15 or more employees had to register by April 30, 2024.
  • Employers with 5 to 14 employees need to register by June 30, 2024.
  • Employers with fewer than 5 employees are not required to participate but can offer the program voluntarily.

Program Details:

  • The program uses a state-managed IRA through the Maine Retirement Savings Program (MERIT).
  • Employers will need to register with MERIT and may need to automatically enroll employees who don’t opt-out.
  • Employers won’t be required to contribute themselves but will need to facilitate employee payroll deductions.
  • Employers that become covered employers after December 31, 2024, must register with the Program within 12 months of becoming covered employers.

Employer Coverage:

An employer is required to offer the Program to eligible employees if it is a covered employer, which is defined as an employer that:

  • Has been engaged in business in the state (for-profit or not-for-profit) during both the current and preceding calendar year and
  • Has not offered a specified tax-favored retirement plan (e.g., § 401(k) plan, § 403(b) plan) to its employees at any time during the current or two previous calendar years.

Suppose an employer does not maintain a specified tax-favored retirement plan for a portion of a calendar year as of the law’s effective date (i.e., June 23, 2021) but does adopt such a plan for the remainder of that calendar year. In that case, the employer is not covered by the Program for the remainder of the year.

Resources:


Maryland — Amended Clean Indoor Air Act

Effective 07/01/2024

Effective July 1, 2024, Maryland amends the Clean Indoor Air Act to prohibit vaping in indoor places of employment.

Vaping is defined as the use of an electronic smoking device or any device through which the user inhales an aerosol containing tobacco, cannabis, or hemp.

The amendment also requires employers to post signs that state “No Smoking or Vaping” in each indoor area open to the public and each public entrance to an indoor area where smoking or vaping is prohibited.

The Maryland ban on vaping in indoor businesses applies to all workplaces, meaning any place where employees work. These places include offices, retail stores, restaurants, bars, and more.

There are currently no specific exemptions for different types of businesses.

The ban applies to any indoor space where you would typically expect to interact with employees or other customers.

Resources:


Minnesota — Amended and Prohibited Gender Identity Discrimination

Effective 07/01/2024

The Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and amends the definition of sexual orientation effective July 1, 2024.

Gender identity means a person’s inherent sense of being a man, woman, or neither. It may or may not correspond to a person’s assigned gender at birth or to their primary or secondary sexual characteristics and is not necessarily visible to others.

Sexual orientation is defined as to whom someone is- or is perceived as being- emotionally, physically, or sexually attracted based on gender identity. A person may be attracted to men, women, both, neither, or to people who are genderqueer, androgynous, or have other gender identities.

The MHRA includes an exception from its prohibition of sexual orientation discrimination for positions in religious or fraternal organizations for which sexual orientation is a bona fide occupational qualification for the position.

What can employers do to comply?

  1. Non-Discrimination Policy: Ensure your policy explicitly prohibits discrimination based on gender identity.
  2. Respect Identity: Address employees by their preferred name and pronouns.
  3. Inclusive Workplace: Provide gender-inclusive restrooms and facilities.
  4. Training: Educate managers and staff on gender identity and respectful workplace conduct.

Minnesota — Oral Fluid Drug Testing Allowed

Effective 08/01/2024

Minnesota now will allow oral fluid (saliva) testing for drugs, cannabis, and alcohol as part of pre-employment or other authorized drug testing programs. The law takes effect on August 1, 2024.

Here’s a summary of the key points:

  • Employers can choose oral fluid testing: This is an alternative to the traditional certified laboratory method.
  • Faster results: Oral fluid tests provide results on-site, potentially speeding up the hiring process.
  • Employee rights: If an oral fluid test is positive, inconclusive, or invalid, the employee can request a confirmatory test at a laboratory at the employer’s expense within 48 hours.

Employers in Minnesota will likely need to update their drug testing policies to accommodate the new oral fluid testing option. 

What do employers need to do?

  1. Policy requirements still apply: Employers must have a written policy for drug testing, regardless of the method used.
  2. Depending on your needs, oral fluid testing may be acceptable alongside (or instead of) lab testing.
  3. Outline the procedures for oral fluid testing, following the legal requirements.
  4. Explain the employee’s right to request a confirmatory lab test at no cost if the initial oral test is positive, inconclusive, or invalid.

Minnesota: Continuation of Benefits Related to Pregnancy and Parenting

Effective 08/01/2024

Minnesota has updated the continuation of benefits related to pregnancy and parenting, effective August 1, 2024. 

What does this mean for employers?

  • Maintaining Coverage During Leave: Employers must continue health insurance coverage (and other benefits offered through group plans) for employees on pregnancy or parental leave. This continuation applies as if the employee were still working.
  • Cost Sharing Stays the Same: Employees remain responsible for their usual share of benefit costs during leave. Employers cannot shift the total cost to the employee.
  • Prenatal Appointments Don’t Count Against Leave: Time taken for prenatal doctor appointments can no longer be deducted from an employee’s 12-week leave entitlement.

What should employers do?

  1. Employers want to review their current leave policies to reflect this update regarding maintaining health insurance coverage during pregnancy-related disability leave.
  2. Continuation of Health Insurance Coverage: State that the employer will maintain coverage under any group health plan for the employee and their dependents while on leave for pregnancy-related disability.
  3. Clarify that the employee will be responsible for continuing to pay their share of the premium cost for health insurance coverage during the leave.

Here is a general guideline:

Pregnancy Leave and Health Insurance

By Minnesota law, employees on leave for pregnancy-related disability can continue coverage under the employer’s group health plan for themselves and their dependents. However, the employee is responsible for paying their share of the premium cost during the leave period.

Additional Resources:

Note: It’s important to note that Minnesota’s paid family and medical leave law, which would provide for partially paid leave for pregnancy and other reasons, doesn’t go into effect until January 1, 2026.


Minnesota —Bars Non-Solicitation Clauses for Service Providers

Effective 07/01/2024

Effective with contracts and agreements entered on or after July 1, 2024, Minnesota service providers (i.e., employers that provide employees for contracted services to customers) are barred from contractually prohibiting customers from soliciting or hiring their employees. 

When a provision in a current contract violates the law, a service provider must notify employees of the law and of the restrictive covenant in the contract that violates the law.

Here’s what it means for employers:

  • Limited Control Over Hiring Service Provider’s Employees: You can no longer restrict a service provider’s employees from being directly solicited or hired by your company. This change means greater freedom for those workers to leave the service provider and work for you directly.
  • Review Existing Contracts: Existing agreements with service providers may contain unenforceable non-solicitation clauses. These contracts should be reviewed to identify and potentially remove such provisions.
  • Exemption: The law exempts certain employees who provide professional business consulting for computer software development from coverage.

“Service provider” means an employer that provides or manages employees for contracted customer service.

An “employee” is any individual who performs services for a service provider, including independent contractors. The law does not apply to workers providing professional business consulting for computer software development and related services who seek employment through a service provider with the knowledge and intention of being considered for a permanent employment position with the customer later.


Minnesota — Wage Detail Reporting for Paid Family and Medical Leave

Effective 07/01/2024

Minnesota employers have new wage detail reporting requirements starting in 2024 under the state’s Paid Leave Law (PLL). Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

  • Beginning July 1, 2024, Minnesota employers must submit quarterly wage detail reports to the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). [MN unemployment insurance wage detail report]
  • What’s reported: The reports will include each covered employee’s name, total wages paid, and total hours worked during the previous quarter. (even if no wages were paid for the quarter)
  • Who reports: Employers with employees in covered employment are required to submit reports. (i.e., all Minnesota employers with employees located in the state)
  • When to report: Reports are due electronically on or before the last day of the month following the end of the calendar quarter. The first report, covering July 1st to September 30th,2024, is due October 31.
  • Existing UI filers: Employers who already file wage reports for unemployment insurance purposes don’t need to submit a separate report for the Paid Leave program. The existing UI report will suffice for both.
  • Initial reports informational: The initial reports (until the program launches in 2026) are for informational purposes only. No premiums are due yet.

Resources:


Minnesota — Amended Earned Sick and Safe Time Act

The May 24, 2024, amendments to Minnesota’s Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) law brought about several significant changes for employers and employees. Here’s a breakdown of the key updates:

  • Employee Eligibility:
    • Previously, only employees who worked for an employer for at least 80 hours in a year qualified for ESST.
    • An employee becomes eligible immediately upon employment if the employer anticipates that they will work at least 80 hours within a year in Minnesota.
    • Some additional categories of workers are also exempt from ESST, such as certain farmworkers and government officials.
  • Leave Accrual and Use:
    • The amendments clarified aspects of how employees accrue and use ESST.
    • Employers must now allow employees to use all accrued sick and safe time for qualified reasons, such as illness, injury, or family needs.
  • Minimum Increment of Leave Use:
    • Before the amendments, employers might have been required to use ESST in increments as small as a minute, depending on their payroll system.
    • Now, the law clarifies that ESST can be used in the same increment of time an employee is paid for, with a minimum of 15 minutes and a maximum of four hours.
  • Eliminated ESST details on earnings statements:
    • Previously, employers had to include the available and used ESST balance on employee earnings statements for each pay period.
  • New method for providing ESST information:
    • This requirement was removed. Now, employers must provide information about an employee’s ESST in writing or electronically at the end of each pay period. This information should include:
      • Total number of ESST hours available for use
      • Total number of ESST hours used during the pay period

The amendments allow employers to choose a “reasonable system” for providing this information rather than requiring that it be stated on the earnings statement. That system could be the earnings statement or an electronic system where employees can access the information. Suppose an employer chooses to provide the information by electronic means. In that case, it must provide employees access to an employer-owned computer during regular work hours to review and print the information.

  • Payment for Leave:
    • The amendments increased potential penalties for employers who don’t comply with the ESST law. These penalties can include paying the missed ESST time plus an additional, equal amount as liquidated damages.

What do employers need to do?

  1. Review and update policy: Now, eligibility starts immediately upon hire if they’re expected to work at least 80 hours within a year. Your policy needs to reflect this change.
  2. Your policy should detail your accrual system and ensure employees can use all accrued time for qualified reasons.
  3. Your policy must align with the employee’s pay schedule, with a 15-minute minimum and a 4-hour maximum. Update your policy accordingly.
  4. The definition of “base rate” for ESST payments was established. You must review your policy and ensure ESST is paid out at the new, defined base rate.
  5. There’s no specific change, but your existing recordkeeping practices should be sufficient to track ESST accruals and usage according to the amended law.
  6. While ESST details are no longer required on earnings statements, you need a new system to provide employees with written or electronic information about their ESST balance at the end of each pay period.

We still recommend a review, even if your existing PTO policy offers more generous paid leave than the minimum ESST requirements. The amendments may have changed how certain aspects (like documentation requirements) apply to ESST use within your PTO system.

Additional resources:


New Jersey — Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Act

Effective 07/01/2024

The New Jersey Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights will take effect on July 1, 2024, significantly impacting how employers must handle domestic workers. Here’s a breakdown of what this means for employers:

  • Increased Coverage: Previously, domestic workers were exempt from some state labor laws. They’re covered under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) and the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (NJWHL). This change means employers cannot discriminate against domestic workers and must adhere to minimum wage and overtime rules.
  • Minimum Wage and Overtime: Employers must pay domestic workers the current New Jersey minimum wage, which is gradually increasing until it reaches the same rate as other workers in the state. Domestic workers are entitled to overtime pay for hours worked above a certain weekly threshold.
  • Paid Sick Leave: Domestic workers can accrue paid sick leave, allowing them to take time off for illness without losing pay.
  • Notice Periods for Termination: Employers must now provide written notice before terminating a domestic worker, with a minimum of two weeks for live-in workers and four weeks for others.
  • Recordkeeping: Employers are responsible for maintaining accurate records of domestic workers’ hours worked, wages paid, and sick leave accrued.
  • Protections from Discrimination and Harassment: Domestic workers are now protected from discrimination and harassment based on factors like race, religion, gender, or national origin.
What employers need to do to comply:
  1. Understand who a domestic worker is: The law applies to anyone working in a residence who provides childcare, eldercare, housekeeping, cooking, or companionship.
  2. Minimum wage and overtime: Domestic workers must be paid the current New Jersey minimum wage and overtime for hours exceeding 40 in a workweek
  3. Day of rest: Live-in domestic workers must receive an unpaid day of rest after working six consecutive days.
  4. Workplace safety: The law extends protections of the state’s workplace safety regulations to domestic workers.
  5. Potential benefits: Domestic workers may be eligible for unemployment insurance, short-term disability benefits, and family leave insurance.
  6. Paid sick leave: Employers must provide earned sick leave, allowing domestic workers to take time off for illness without penalty.

New Mexico — Launch of Voluntary Work and Save Program

Effective 07/01/2024

Beginning July 1, 2024, eligible employers may participate in the New Mexico Work and Save Program, a voluntary state-run payroll deduction IRA savings program.

  • No-Cost Retirement Benefit Option: Employers can provide a retirement savings option for their employees without financially contributing to the program themselves
  • Compliance with State Law: Once the program launches in July 2024, all private and non-profit employers in the state will be required to notify their employees about the Work and Save option, even if they don’t choose to offer it as a company benefit.
  • Voluntary Participation: The program is voluntary for both employers and employees. You can choose not to offer it, and employees can choose not to participate.
  • Automatic Enrollment Option: The program allows for automatic enrollment with the option for employees to opt-out, which can increase participation rates.

Employer Coverage

An employer who is engaged in a business, industry, profession, trade, nonprofit, or other enterprise in the state is eligible to participate in the program.

Employee Eligibility

Employees at least 18 and work for an eligible employer, full-time or part-time, are eligible to participate in the program. Independent contractors, sole proprietors, and self-employed individuals are also eligible. 

Employee Enrollment

Eligible employers may voluntarily choose to participate in the Program and may automatically enroll eligible employees so long as the employee can opt out of enrollment at any time. The default investment option is a Roth IRA with a default contribution rate to be established by forthcoming Board rules. Employees can choose a different investment from other available options or contribute at a lower or higher rate, subject to the IRC Roth IRA dollar limits.

Withholding and Remittance of Contributions

A participating employer will be responsible for withholding contributions from a participating employee’s pay and depositing them directly into one or more investment funds. Employers are not permitted to make their own or matching contributions.

Deposits into the Program fund must occur as soon as possible but not later than the 15th of the month following the month in which the contributions were withheld.

Resources:


New York — New York City Requires Worker Bill of Rights Notice

Effective 07/01/2024

Effective July 1, 2024, New York City employers must provide a copy of the city’s Workers’ Bill of Rights to all existing and new employees upon hire. 

The notice must also be posted conspicuously at the employer’s place of business in an area accessible to employees. If the employer regularly uses online means or a mobile application to communicate with its employees, the information must be made available through those methods. 

The information must be provided in English and any language spoken as a primary language by at least five percent of an employer’s workforce if the notice is available in that language.

View Workers’ Bill of Rights in English

Employers in New York City must provide their employees with the multilingual “Know Your Rights at Work” poster, which refers them to this Workers’ Bill of Rights webpage.


New York — Required Paid Lactation Breaks

Effective 06/19/2024

Effective June 19, 2024, the New York lactation and breastfeeding break law is amended to require that employers:

  • Provide employees with at least 30 minutes of paid break time to express breast milk for their nursing child each time they have a reasonable need to do so for up to three years following the birth of a child.
  • Allow employees to use existing paid break time or mealtime for time in excess of 30 minutes for the same purposes.
  • The amendment uses gender-neutral language, acknowledging that not all nursing parents identify as women.

Current law requires employers to provide unpaid, “reasonable” lactation/breastfeeding breaks, which the New York State Department of Labor interprets as usually at least 20 minutes once every three hours.

Here are some additional points for employers to consider:

  • Develop a Policy (if not already): While a policy was required in 2023, review and update it to reflect the paid break requirement.
  • Find a Lactation Space: Employers are still responsible for providing a clean, private, non-bathroom space for lactation as required by the previous law.
  • Accommodate Needs: The frequency of breaks may vary by individual. Be prepared to work with employees to ensure they can pump as often as needed.

Oregon — Reduced Redundancies in Family and Medical Leave Laws

Effective 07/01/2024

Employers covered by the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) (those with 25 or more employees in Oregon) should be aware of the following significant changes to the law.

Forward-Looking Leave Year Required

Employers must use a forward-looking leave year to determine the amount of OFLA leave an employee can take within a given one-year period. The forward-looking leave year is a consecutive 52-week period, beginning on the Sunday immediately preceding the date leave begins. Employers that don’t currently use a forward-looking leave year calculation will have to transition to one as of July 1.

Many Covered Reasons for Leave Eliminated

OFLA’s covered reasons for leave will be significantly reduced to limit overlap with Paid Leave Oregon (PLO). OFLA will no longer cover the following reasons for leave:

  • To care for an infant or newly adopted or foster child
  • To care for a family member with a serious health condition (except for caring for a sick or injured child at home)
  • To recover from, or seek treatment for, the employee’s own serious health condition

Rescinding Previously Designated OFLA Leaves

Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) requires employers to take certain steps regarding rescinding approvals for OFLA leaves that are currently covered under the law but won’t be as of July 1, 2024. Employers can use the model notice provided by the Oregon Employment Department for these communications. See the platform for more information or the recently updated BOLI page for the changes.

OFLA and PLO Won’t Run Concurrently

OFLA and PLO will no longer run concurrently. This split means that any leave taken under one law will be in addition to those taken under the other. You can use either program for qualifying events, but not both for the same event.

PLO and Use of Accrued Paid Leave

Employees on PLO leave will be entitled to use any accrued paid leave in conjunction with PLO benefits up to the amount that would result in complete wage replacement. Employers will also have the option of allowing the use of accrued paid leave in an amount that would result in the employee getting more than full wage replacement. Additionally, if multiple types of accrued leave are available to an employee, the employer can determine the order in which the different kinds of accrued leave are used.

What Do Employers Need to Do?

Employee Notifications (by June 1st):

  • Inform employees with existing OFLA leave approved beyond July 1st that OFLA won’t cover their absence.
  • Advise them of their right to apply for benefits under Paid Leave Oregon (PLO) or your equivalent plan (if applicable).

Policy Updates:

  • Review and update your leave policies to reflect the reduced coverage under OFLA.
  • Ensure clear guidelines on how employees can access and utilize PLO benefits.
  • Include provisions allowing employees to supplement PLO with accrued paid leave (vacation, sick time) for complete wage replacement.

Leave Tracking:

  • Develop a system to track employee leave usage, differentiating between PLO and the remaining OFLA-covered reasons (childcare, bereavement, pregnancy disability).

Communication and Training:

  • Communicate the changes to OFLA and PLO to all employees. You can use informational flyers, emails, or even hold training sessions.
  • Train supervisors and HR personnel on the updated leave administration procedures under PLO and the limited situations where OFLA may still apply.

Additional Resources:


South Dakota — Cannabis in the Workplace Regulated

Effective 07/01/2024

South Dakota’s new law (Senate Bill 12), effective July 1, 2024, regarding cannabis in the workplace clarifies some key points for employers:

  • No cannabis use at work: Employers can still prohibit employees from using, possessing, or being under the influence of cannabis while working, regardless of medical marijuana status.
  • Discrimination limitations: Employers cannot discriminate against qualified medical marijuana patients solely based on a positive drug test unless the position is considered “safety-sensitive.”

Safety-sensitive positions are not explicitly defined in the law, but employers likely have more leeway to take disciplinary action against medical marijuana users in these roles if they test positive. This leeway could include jobs with a high risk of accidents or injuries or those requiring operating heavy machinery.

Federal vs. State Law: It’s important to remember that marijuana remains illegal federally. So, employers with federal contracts or those in federally regulated industries may still need to follow stricter policies regardless of state law.

Here’s what employers in South Dakota can do:

  • Review and update drug-free workplace policies: Clearly outline expectations regarding cannabis use and impairment at work.
  • Focus on impairment, not just testing: A positive test result may not always indicate current impairment. Consider implementing impairment-detection protocols alongside drug testing.
  • Consult with your Nextep HR Department: Ensure compliance with state and federal regulations, particularly regarding safety-sensitive positions.

Overall, the new law creates some protections for medical marijuana patients, but employers still have significant control over cannabis use in the workplace, especially for safety-sensitive positions.


Tennessee — Hours Worked Aligned With FLSA

Effective 07/01/2024

As of July 1, 2024, Tennessee’s definition of “work” under its wage and hour law aligns with the way the U.S. Supreme Court interprets the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). 

This change in definition means certain pre- and post-shift activities, along with de minimis time, are excluded from compensable work hours.

Therefore, Tennessee adopted the federal definition of “work” under the FLSA for its wage and hour laws. Here’s a breakdown of what it means:

  • Covered Employees: The FLSA applies to most private sector employees, with some exceptions. This coverage remains unchanged in Tennessee.
  • Hours Worked: Tennessee now defines “work” under its wage and hour law to have the same meaning as interpreted by the Supreme Court under the FLSA. This definition could potentially affect how employers determine compensable working time for certain activities, such as:
    • Certain pre-shift or post-shift activities
    • De minimis tasks (brief, occasional, and unimportant duties). However, some gray areas can exist when determining what constitutes de minimis.
  • Overtime Calculation: This change could affect how employers calculate overtime pay. Under the FLSA, non-exempt employees must be paid overtime (at least 1.5 times their hourly rate) for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Now, Tennessee employers need to classify all compensable work hours when calculating overtime accurately.

Recommendations for Employers:

  1. Review FLSA Regulations: Familiarize yourself with the FLSA’s definitions and interpretations of “hours worked” established by the DOL and court rulings. The DOL website offers guidance on this topic:
  2. Update Policies: You might need to update your employee handbook, timesheet policies, and other internal documents to reflect the new alignment with FLSA standards.

By understanding these implications and taking appropriate steps, Tennessee employers can ensure they comply with the law and avoid potential legal issues related to employee pay.


Vermont — Payroll Contribution for Child Care

Effective 07/01/2024

The Vermont Child Care Contribution Law, established by Act 76 of 2023, requires employers to contribute to funding the state’s child care system. Here’s what it means for employers:

  • Payroll Tax: Starting July 1st, employers must pay a 0.44% tax on all employee wages earned in Vermont. This tax applies to wages subject to Vermont income tax withholding.
  • Remitting Payment: Remittance and Reporting: Employers must remit the CCC tax payments to the Vermont Department of Taxes as they handle Vermont Income Tax Withholding. This remittance includes quarterly reporting on the WHT-436 form.
  • Employee Withholding (optional): Employers can withhold a portion of the CCC from employee paychecks. The maximum amount they can withhold is 25% of the total contribution (0.11% of wages). They must report the withheld portion on the employee’s W-2 if they choose to withhold.

Additional Resources:


Virginia — Veterans’ Benefits and Services Poster

Effective 07/01/2024

Effective July 1, 2024, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry—in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Services—will create a workplace poster with the following information about benefits and services available to veterans: 

  • Department of Veterans Services programs, contact information, and website address;
  • Substance abuse and mental health treatment services;
  • Educational, workforce, and training resources;
  • Tax benefits;
  • Eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits under state or federal law;
  • Legal services, and
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Crisis Line.

How to Get the Poster

While a public download link isn’t available yet, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry is responsible for creating and distributing the posters. Employers can request a copy directly from them. You can follow the DOL site for updates on posters.

Additional Resources


Virginia — Notice of Right to Dispute Workers’ Compensation Claim

Effective 07/01/2024

Effective July 1, 2024, if a covered employer or the employer’s insurer denies a covered employee’s request for workers’ compensation benefits, the employer or the insurer must include in its letter denying benefits a notice that the employee has a right to dispute the claim denial through the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC).

Information Notice must include:

“EMPLOYEE RIGHT TO DISPUTE DENIAL OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS.

IF YOU DISAGREE WITH THIS DENIAL, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO DISPUTE THE DECISION BY FILING A REQUEST FOR A HEARING WITH THE VIRGINIA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO DISPUTE THE DECISION AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE. THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION IS A STATE AGENCY RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING FINAL DECISIONS ON DISPUTED WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIMS. HOWEVER, SUCH CLAIM MAY BE LOST IF YOU DO NOT FILE IT WITHIN THE TIME LIMIT PROVIDED BY LAW, WHICH IS TYPICALLY TWO YEARS AFTER THE INJURY.”

The notice must also include the address, telephone number, and website through which the employee may contact the WCC.


Washington — Captive Audience Meetings Limited

Effective 06/06/2024

Effective June 6, 2024, Washington law prohibits employers from threatening, disciplining, discharging, or otherwise penalizing or taking adverse action against an employee who refuses to attend an employer-sponsored meeting or listen to employer communications that have the primary purpose of conveying the employer’s opinions concerning religious or political matters. 

Get a more complete rundown of this regulation in our article on nextep.com.

The law defines political matters as those relating to labor organizations, including the decision to join or support a union.

Here’s what employers in Washington State need to do to comply with the captive audience protections:

  • Don’t compel attendance at meetings on religion or politics: This includes anti-union messages, as the choice to join a union is considered a political matter. Workers have the right to skip such meetings without repercussions.
  • Be informed about the law: The specific legislation is called the Employee Free Choice Act (SB 5778).
  • These restrictions apply during work hours. Employers can hold meetings on these topics outside work hours, but attendance must be voluntary.

Here’s what to consider including in the policy update:

  • Employee Meeting Attendance: Clarify that attendance at meetings discussing political or religious matters, including those related to unionization, is voluntary during work hours.
  • Employee Rights: Mention employees’ right to choose not to attend such meetings without any negative consequences, such as threats, discipline, or job loss.

Washington — Choice of Law in Noncompete Agreements Prohibited

Effective 06/06/2024

As a reminder, Washington’s non-compete law impacts employers’ use of choice of law provisions in non-compete agreements with their employees. 

Effective June 6, 2024, in Washington state, a non-compete is void and unenforceable if it allows or requires the application of choice of law. Here’s the key takeaway:

Choice of Law Clauses in Non-Compete Agreements are Unenforceable: Previously, employers might include a clause specifying another state’s law to govern the non-compete agreement. This previous method is no longer valid.

Therefore, Washington law will apply to all non-compete agreements with Washington service providers, regardless of any choice of law provision included in the agreement.

For employers:

  • Review existing non-compete agreements with Washington employees and remove any clauses specifying a law other than Washington to govern the agreement.
  • Those containing a choice of law provision for another state might need to be revised to comply with the new law.

Remember, this information is not a substitute for legal advice. Always consult with a qualified attorney regarding your specific situation.


Washington — Workers’ Compensation Law Regarding Temporary Total Disability Amended

Effective 06/06/2024

Effective June 6, 2024, Washington’s workers’ compensation law is amended to allow employees to receive temporary total disability benefits for the day of an injury and the three days following the injury if they cannot work for seven consecutive calendar days from the date of injury. 

The law previously required a 14-day disability period.

Additional updates regarding this development are forthcoming. Stay up to date via the Washington Department of Labor website.


West Virginia — Amendment to Firearms in Parking Lot Law

Effective 06/06/2024

Effective June 6, 2024, West Virginia amends the Business Liability Protection Act to add limitations on employers’ liability related to employees’ possession of firearms in company parking lots, including an anti-retaliation provision.

 

Here is a breakdown: 

  • Under the amended law, an employer cannot remove a customer, employee, or invitee because the person stored a firearm inside a motor vehicle in a parking lot. 
  • Employers also may not terminate an employee or take other adverse employment action against an employee for storing a firearm inside a motor vehicle in the employer’s parking lot, except in cases of threats of unlawful action.

Additionally, the law previously prohibited an employer from violating an employee’s, customer’s, or invitee’s privacy rights by inquiring, verbally or in writing, about the presence or absence of a firearm locked inside or locked to a motor vehicle in the employer’s parking lot. The amendments repeal this prohibition. 


The information in this publication is not legal advice. If this information differs from that of the state’s Department of Labor (DOL) advisement, the DOL’s info prevails.

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