With a new year comes new state laws with compliance challenges that could disrupt business as usual.
In addition to the minimum wage hikes that we recently reported on, there are other rules in effect, or about to go into effect, that could either impact you or your partner businesses in the following ways:
Payroll costs: Some employers will have new expenses as a result, and CFOs will need to factor them into their budgets and forecasts.
Decreased productivity: New employee leave laws on the books may lead to an improvement in employee morale and reduced turnover. However, productivity could drop off because there are fewer people at work. Staffing levels will need to be adjusted accordingly.
Compliance updates: Employers will need to update their policies and procedures, and in some cases may have to create new leave tracking systems.
Illinois Paid Leave for All Workers (PLAW) Act
Effective January 1, 2024, this state law declares full- and part-time employees who work in the Prairie State – but not most independent contractors – eligible to earn up to a minimum of 40 hours of paid leave in a 12-month period (or a prorated number of hours for proportionally smaller periods of time). This leave can be used for any purpose and employees are not required to disclose the reason.
Employers have the option to frontload the time at the beginning of the benefit period – e.g., work anniversary, calendar year, fiscal year – and must continue using that period unless they give adequate notice of a change. Also, employers can make employees wait 90 days before allowing them to take PLAW leave.
There’s also the option to use an accrual method. Employees must be allowed to accrue one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year.
A heads up for Payroll:
- Employees can take leave in increments of as little as one hour. Employers can require seven days’ notice for planned, foreseeable leave.
- Unused leave can be carried over to the next 12-month period, up to a maximum of 80 hours. Employers can limit the total use of PLAW leave in a year to 40 hours.
Note that certain types of employers and employees are exempt from PLAW and that the Illinois Department of Labor is still finalizing related proposed rules.
To get the 2024 state labor law poster for your workplace, which includes the essentials of PLAW, click here.
Big state law changes in California
Employers in the Golden State are pivoting like crazy because of new requirements that include:
Paid Sick Leave Law: As of Jan. 1, most California employees now earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year. Employers have the option to frontload or accrue the leave. Unused leave can be carried over to the next year, with a maximum of 80 hours.
Reproductive loss leave: Effective Jan. 1, employers with five or more employees must provide up to five days of unpaid time off for a reproductive loss event, including miscarriage, failed surrogacy, stillbirth, unsuccessful artificial insemination or embryo transfer, or failed adoption. An employee is eligible to take the leave if they’ve worked for the employer for at least 30 days and if they would’ve been a parent had the loss not occurred. It’s unclear whether employers will be permitted to request documentation from employees supporting the need for leave.
Workplace Violence Law: With a few exceptions, California employers must have a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan in place by July 1, 2024. If your safety manager isn’t already working on it, the plan must identify who is responsible for implementing the plan and include procedures for identifying, evaluating and correcting workplace violence hazards, in addition to a response plan for reports of workplace violence. Employers are also required to maintain workplace violence incident logs, conduct annual training on your workplace violence prevention program, and perform periodic reviews of the plan.
To get the new California labor law poster for your workplace, which includes updated info on the Paid Sick Leave Law, discrimination and harassment state law and mandatory workplace safety and health protections, click here.
New state laws in New York
The statute of limitations on discrimination complaints under the New York State Human Rights Law will soon be extended. Effective February 15, 2024, a claim of discrimination can be made within three years from the date of the alleged illegal practice. Compare that to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which covers incidents no more than 300 days old.
And companies in the Empire State will need to give their contracts a once-over. On May 20, 2024, an amendment to state law goes into effect which provides wage and job protections for freelance workers hired for at least $800 as independent contractors.
The law requires companies that engage freelancers covered under the state law to enter into written agreements, which must include:
- the name and mailing address of both payer and payee
- an itemization of services to be provided
- the value of the services
- the rate and method of compensation
- the date on which payment must be made, and
- the date by which a contractor must submit a list of all services rendered in order to meet payment processing deadlines.