State and Local Law Update

One of the most difficult things for human resource and Workers’ Compensation professionals to do is to keep up with changing State and local laws. Below is a brief summary of some new laws of interest:

Colorado: S.B. 217 Establishes new requirements concerning the reduction of Workers’ Compensation payments in cases that involve an admission of safety rule violations. Any reduction in benefits must include a statement from the employer listing the specific facts on which the reduction is based. Parties may request an expedited hearing if an application is filed within 45 days.

Connecticut: S.B. 262 expands the reasons an eligible employee can take leave under the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act. Eligible employees can now take leave due to a qualifying exigency (as defined by Federal regulations under the Family and Medical Leave Act). The law went into effect on June 7, 2016.

Georgia: H.B. 818 makes a number of changes to the State’s Workers’ Compensation law. The law is effective July 1, 2016.

Kansas: H.B. 2617 amends the State’s Workers’ Compensation law to allow claims to be filed electronically and to broaden an exception to the open records exemptions. Regulations will be issued by the Director of Workers’ Compensation. The law is effective July 1, 2016.

Minneapolis: Minneapolis became the first city in the Midwest to mandate paid sick leave. The requirements will be effective July 1, 2017. The ordinance applies to employers with six or more employees anywhere and with at least one employee in Minneapolis and gives new employers a 12-month grace period until 2022. Employers with up to five employees must allow covered employees’ unpaid use of accrued sick time.

Ohio: H.B. 523 allows seriously ill patients to use and purchase medical marijuana. The law does not require an employer to permit or accommodate an employee’s use, possession or distribution of medical marijuana. The law does not prohibit an employer from taking any adverse employment action an employer may take under current law and does not permit a person to sue an employer for taking adverse employment action related to medical marijuana. The law does not prohibit an employer from establishing and enforcing a drug-testing policy, drug-free workplace policy or zero-tolerance drug policy.

San Francisco: Proposition E was approved by the voters to amend San Francisco’s paid sick leave ordinance. The proposition amends the ordinance to make it more compatible with California’s paid sick leave requirements. The amendments go into effect on January 1, 2017.

Tennessee: S.B. 2582 amends the State’s Workers’ Compensation law to change notice deadlines. The law decreases the time in which an employee must give notice of a work-related accident from 30 days after the accident to 15 days. The law goes is effective July 1, 2016.

Vermont: H.B. 805 clarifies the provisions of Vermont law governing leaves of absence for military drill, training or other temporary duty. The provisions now clearly apply to members of the National Guard of other states as well as Vermont. The law is effective July 1, 2016.

H.B. 171 amends State law to prohibit using electronic cigarettes in all places in which smoking tobacco cigarettes is banned. The law is effective July 1, 2016.

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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