State and Local Law Update

One of the most difficult things for human resource and absence management professionals to do is to keep up with changing State and local laws.

Below is a brief summary of some new laws of interest:

Berkeley, California: The Berkeley City Council has passed a paid sick leave ordinance that will be effective October 1, 2017. Two competing ballot measures regarding paid sick leave will also appear on the November ballot. The ordinance applies to any employee who, in a calendar week, performs at least two hours of work within Berkeley’s geographic boundaries. Different standards apply to businesses with fewer than 25 employees. Eligible employees will accrue one paid hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

California: Governor Brown has signed a bill (SB 1128) that makes the Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program permanent. The program requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees in the Bay Area to offer commuter benefits.

Cook County, Illinois: The Cook County Board of Commissioners has approved an ordinance that will require employers in the county to provide employees with up to five days of paid sick leave each year, effective July 1, 2017. Employers doing business in Cook County must provide employees who have worked at least 80 hours in a 120-day period with paid sick leave of up to 40 hours in a 12-month period.

Minneapolis, Minnesota: Minneapolis has amended its paid sick leave law to bring it more in line with St. Paul’s requirements regarding frontloading, payment of employees when on leave, tracking accrual of available paid sick time and recording required information. The most significant change permits employers in Minneapolis to frontload paid sick time. Employers that decide to frontload must provide employees with at least 48 hours of leave during the first year following the initial 90 days of employment and at least 80 hours of leave each year after that.

Morristown, New Jersey: Morristown has joined 12 other municipalities in New Jersey in having a paid sick leave law. Employees of private-sector firms who work at least 80 hours during a calendar year in Morristown will be entitled to paid sick leave. The ordinance was effective October 4, 2016 for non-union employees and will be effective upon the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement for union employees.

Like most other New Jersey ordinances, this one requires employers with at least 10 employees to provide 40 hours of paid sick leave during a calendar year. Employers with fewer than 10 employees must provide 24 hours of paid sick leave during a calendar year. It is not clear whether the employee count is based only on employees in Morristown or all employees. Employees in the child care, home health care and food service industries must receive 40 hours of paid sick leave during a calendar year, regardless of the number of employees an employer has.

San Francisco, California: San Francisco has amended its Paid Parental Leave Ordinance, which goes into effect on January 1, 2017. The amendments respond to changes the California legislature made to the state’s Paid Family Leave benefits. Among other things, the amendments change the rules regarding lookback periods for employees whose hours fluctuate. If an employee takes a leave, that period must be excluded from the lookback analysis.

St. Paul, Minnesota: St. Paul has enacted a paid sick leave law, which will be effective for employers with 24 or more employees on July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018 for smaller employers. Covered employers must allow employees who work in St. Paul to accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours each year.

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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