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Summer 2019 Compliance Requirements Heat Up

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team

With the arrival of summer come thoughts of time off and travel, lazy days at the beach and ice cream cones on a hot day - July, in fact, is National Ice Cream Month! For HR professionals the season also calls to mind summer workplace issues such as summer dress codes, flexible schedules, seasonal hires and - you guessed it - new midyear employment law requirements. Here's the scoop on the latest employment law changes taking effect on or around July 1.

The states and localities once again took the lead, implementing more than 60 new compliance requirements across more than two dozen states, covering topics such as gender-neutral restrooms, e-cigarettes, discrimination and harassment, minimum wage, leaves of absence and recruiting and hiring. Delaware, the District of Columbia, Kentucky, Minnesota and Westchester County, New York, have new posting or notice requirements as well.

Below are key employment and labor law requirements that become effective midyear.

Key Topics

Minimum Wage

Many of the new requirements that take effect at midyear are minimum wage increases. Beginning July 1 the minimum wage rate will increase in over 18 localities across the US, including the District of Columbia. In several of these localities, the increases are based on employer size. In California alone, over 10 localities will see the minimum wage increase this summer. At the state level, New Jersey and Oregon will see increases to the minimum wage, while Virginia is repealing several exemptions from its minimum wage law for certain types of workers.

The Minimum Wage Rates by State and Municipality 50-State Chart provides further details on current and future minimum wage rates for states and localities.

Leaves of Absence

Employers in New Jersey, New York and the District of Columbia have new obligations related to paid leave. In the District of Columbia, employers are required to begin contributing to paid family leave benefits, while in New Jersey the state's family leave act now applies to smaller employers. New Jersey is also eliminating the one-week waiting period for employees to collect paid family leave benefits under the state's family leave insurance law. And although Massachusetts delayed the start of its paid family and medical leave program, the law's retaliation provisions take effect July 1.

Employers in Westchester County, New York, should be aware of new notice requirements for paid sick leave.

The Paid Family Leave Requirements by State and Municipality and Paid Sick Leave by State and Municipality 50-State Charts provide an overview of these requirements at the state and local levels.

Discrimination and Harassment

Discrimination and harassment remain key issues that employers should continue to keep top of mind. For example, New Mexico has a new law regulating gender-neutral single-user restrooms. The District of Columbia has a number of sexual harassment prevention requirements coming into effect for covered employers of tipped employees, while Delaware employers have to comply with new notice requirements explaining sexual harassment protections.

In addition to minimum wage, leaves of absence and discrimination and harassment, employers should be on the lookout for midyear changes at the state and local level on topics such as pregnancy and lactation accommodations, data security breaches, nondisclosure agreements, criminal and salary history inquiries and the use of background checks in hiring.

Federal, State and Local Developments