Update on State and Local Laws

One of the most difficult tasks for people involved in managing benefits and leaves for multi-state organizations is keeping up with all the rapidly changing State and local laws. This blog posting summarizes some of the latest developments.


  • AB 1509, effective January 1, 2016, makes it unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee for being a family member of an employee who has engaged in certain protected activities.
  • SB 579, effective January 1, 2016, amends the State’s kin care and school visitation leave laws. The bill requires employers to permit employees to use available sick leave to attend to the illness of a child, parent, spouse or domestic partner. The bill also expands the reasons for which an employee can take job-protected time off to include time taken to find, enroll or re-enroll a child in a school or with a licensed child care provider or to address a childcare provider or school emergency. The bill also allows a step-parent, foster parent or person who stands in loco parentis to a child to take school visitation leave.
  • SB 327, effective October 5, 2015, clarified California law regarding the validity of meal period waivers for health care employees.
  • AB 1506, effective October 2, 2015, gives an employer 33 days to cure a violation of the requirement that an employer provide its employees with the inclusive dates of the pay period and the employer’s legal name and address before an employee may bring a civil action.

District of Columbia                                                          

  • Effective January 1, 2016, employers with 20 or more employees working in the District of Columbia are required to offer commuter benefits.

Jersey City, New Jersey

  • Jersey City has expanded its paid sick leave law to require employers with fewer than 10 employees to provide employees with up to 24 hours of paid sick leave and up to 16 hours of unpaid sick leave per year.


  • Effective October 15, 2015, victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking may take reasonable and necessary leave from employment.

New Brunswick, New Jersey

  • Effective January 6, 2016, the City of New Brunswick requires employers to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to employees. This law is similar to other local laws in New Jersey, but has some differences.

New York

  • Effective October 21, 2015, the State of New York prohibits employment discrimination based on familial status and provides that employers must provide reasonable accommodations for employees with pregnancy-related conditions, unless doing so would cause an undue hardship.

New York City

  • Effective January 1, 2016, New York City requires covered employers to offer certain qualified transportation fringe benefits to full-time employees.


  • Oregon has issued regulations clarifying some provisions of its new sick leave law that is effective January 1, 2016.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • A court has struck down Pittsburgh’s new paid sick leave ordinance. It remains to be seen if the City will appeal.

Seattle, Washington

  • Seattle has amended its paid sick leave law to make noncompliant employers subject to higher civil penalties and lawsuits from employees.

About John Garner

John Garner has over thirty five years of experience in employee benefits. He specializes in compliance, health care reform, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). He helps clients with life, health, and disability benefits, cost containment, flexible benefits, and claim consulting.

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