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:

Chicago: Effective July 1, 2017, the City of Chicago will require employer to provide paid sick leave to employees.

Delaware: Delaware has enacted a law making it an unlawful practice for an employer to fail to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment because of the individual’s family responsibilities.

Hawaii: Hawaii has increased penalties for workers’ compensation, disability insurance and prevailing wage violations.

Michigan: The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Michigan’s health claims tax is not preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Michigan has also amended State law to provide protections for National Guard members who work outside of the State where they mobilize.

Missouri: Missouri has enacted a court attendance leave law that prohibits employers from discharging or disciplining any witness, victim or member of a victim’s immediate family for honoring a subpoena to testify in a criminal proceeding, attending a criminal proceeding or for participating in the preparation of a criminal proceeding. The law also prohibits requiring the use of vacation or sick time for these activities.

New York: The New York State Division of Human Rights has issued new regulations clarifying that the State’s Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination against an individual because of the individual’s known relationship or association with members of a protected class.

San Diego: In late July, the San Diego City Council ratified a minimum wage and sick pay ordinance approved by voters in June. Effective July 11, the ordinance obligates businesses to provide sick pay benefits to employees. The City Council has already amended the ordinance to allow employers to front load an annual sick pay allotment and place a cap on accruals. Employers with employees in San Diego will need to update their pay practices and sick pay policies immediately.

The ordinance requires employers to accrue sick pay at the rate of one hour for every hour worked, with a limit of 40 hours per year that employees can use. As amended, employers can front load no less than 40 hours of sick leave at the beginning of each benefit year and employers can cap accruals at 80 hours.

The amended ordinance also has the following clarification: “An Employer who provides greater paid time off, either through a contract, collective bargaining agreement, employment benefit plan, or other agreement, than that required by this Division, is deemed to be in compliance even if the Employer utilizes an alternative methodology for calculation of, payment of, and use of Earned Sick Leave or other paid time off that can be used as Earned Sick Leave.”

The ordinance requires employers to display a poster and provide employees with notice of their rights. Information about the ordinance and links to the notice in five languages can be found here.

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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