Don't Let January 1 Compliance Requirements Give You the Chills
Author: XpertHR Editorial Team
The start of the new year once again brings a flurry of new employment laws, especially at the state and local levels. With more than 140 new compliance requirements across more than 30 states and 30 localities, HR professionals will be challenged to stay on top of these developments and to ensure compliance in time for the new year.
At the federal level, the new year brings changes on the benefits front, including new rules related to health reimbursement accounts and the rescission of the health plan identifier; and changes to Fair Labor Standards Act regulations, including an increase in the minimum annual salary for most exempt employees. And, don't forget, as of January 1 employers must begin using the redesigned Form W-4, which eliminates withholding allowances and is now called the "Employee's Withholding Certificate."
The new year also brings new posting requirements. Be sure to review and update workplace posters at the federal, state and local levels.
To help you warm up to these new laws, we've summarized the key topics they cover and provide a list, by state, of employment law requirements that take effect on or about January 1.
Beginning January 1 (December 31, 2019, in New York) the minimum wage rate will increase in 21 states and in many localities across the US. In California alone, nearly 20 localities will see an increase in the minimum wage. Several cities - including Denver, Colorado; St. Paul, Minnesota; and South San Francisco, California - have minimum wage laws taking effect for the first time.
XpertHR's Minimum Wage Rates by State and Municipality 50-State Chart provides details on current and future minimum wage rates across the US.
Health Care Benefits
New laws affecting health care coverage continue the trend of increasing mandates and expanding required coverage. Individual health insurance mandates similar to the one established by the federal Affordable Care Act take effect in California, Rhode Island and Vermont. Connecticut and New York are expanding coverage in group health plans, while Louisiana will prohibit certain lifetime and annual limits on coverage.
Leaves of Absence
Leave benefits, both paid and unpaid, continue to expand at the state and local level. Employers in Nevada, Washington, and Duluth, Minnesota, have new obligations related to paid leave. At the same time, in New York and Rhode Island benefits will expand under existing paid leave laws.
The Leave Laws by State and Municipality 50-State Chart provides an overview of these and other leave requirements at the federal, state and local levels.
Discrimination and Harassment
Several states are strengthening workplace protections against discrimination and harassment, and these issues should remain top of mind for employers. Illinois, for example, is implementing sweeping changes to existing law to increase these protections, including requiring annual sexual harassment prevention training for employees.
Other Trending Topics
Employers also should take note of a number of other upcoming laws related to data security, noncompete agreements and preemployment screening. New payroll requirements take effect as well, covering withholding, pay statements, deductions and, in the District of Columbia, the use of third-party payroll providers to pay tipped employees.
Federal, State and Local Developments
District of Columbia