State and Local Update

John GarnerCompliance, Legislative Updates, Resources

One of the most difficult things for human resource professionals to do is to keep up with changing State and local laws related to leaves and discrimination.  Below is a brief summary of some new laws of interest.

California

California’s paid sick leave law that went into effect on July 1, 2015, requires employers to provide a minimum of 24 hours or three days of paid sick leave.  An opinion letter from the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement says this means 24 hours or three days, whichever is more.  This means that employees regularly working more than 8 hours per day should be entitled to take three days of paid sick leave and employees regularly working less than 8 hours per day should be entitled to take 24 hours of paid sick leave.

Montgomery County, Maryland

Effective October 1, 2016, employers doing business in Montgomery County, Maryland must provide employees paid sick and safe leave.  For employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in effect on October 1, 2016, the law will become applicable after the expiration of the CBA.

Employers with at least five employees must provide each employee with paid sick leave at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours worked in Montgomery County, up to 32 hours in a calendar year.  Employees who regularly work 8 hours or less per week are not eligible for paid sick leave.

Montgomery County joins a growing list of other States and local governments that require paid sick leave.  California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Oregon all require paid sick leave, as does Washington, D.C.  The cities of Emeryville, Oakland and San Francisco in California require paid sick leave.  New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle and Tacoma all require paid sick leave.  In New Jersey, the cities of Bloomfield, East Orange, Irvington, Jersey City, Montclair, Newark, Passaic, Paterson and Trenton all require paid sick leave.

North Dakota

Effective August 1, 2015, North Dakota requires employers to provide workplace accommodations to pregnant employees.  The law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees’ limitations related to pregnancy, unless doing so would create an undue hardship for the employer.  The law also prohibits employers from requiring a pregnant employee to take leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided.

Oregon

Effective January 1, 2016, a new law authorizes the use of accrued sick leave or personal business leave by employees who are victims of domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault or stalking.  The new law applies to any employer that employs at least six individuals.  Employers can limit the amount of leave if the employee’s absence would create an undue hardship.  The new law also specifically allows employees to use vacation for these purposes.

Also effective January 1, 2016, employees taking leave under the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) are entitled to continue group health benefits.  OFLA applies to more employers and employees than the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which already requires employers to allow employees to continue group health benefits.

Rhode Island

Effective June 25, 2015, Rhode Island requires employers to provide workplace accommodations to pregnant employees.  The law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees’ limitations related to pregnancy, unless doing so would create an undue hardship for the employer.  The law also prohibits employers from requiring a pregnant employee to take leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided.

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