Stay on Top of Legislative Changes

DMEC Legislative UpdatesCompliance with rapidly changing state and federal laws is a challenge for employers across the country. For more than 20 years, DMEC has been monitoring and reporting on decisions and developments that impact absence, disability, and return to work programs.

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Archives

Intermittent Leave Limits in FMLA Medical Certification Trumps the ADA Duty to Accommodate

July 2, 2019A Minnesota federal court decision upheld an employer’s termination for excessive absenteeism of an employee with an intermittent leave certification.

Oregon Enacts Living Donor Leave Law

June 28, 2019Earlier this month, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 796 into law, providing protected leave under the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) for employees who miss work in connection with donating a body part, organ, or tissue.

Paid Sick Leave on Track in Dallas and San Antonio

June 28, 2019By Aug. 1, 2019, most employers with employees working at least 80 hours a year in Dallas or San Antonio should be prepared to comply with paid sick leave ordinances.

New Maine Law Requires Time Off From Work for Appointments at VA Medical Facilities

June 26, 2019For the second time this month, Maine is adjusting its leave laws. Employers in Maine will soon be required to provide veterans with time away from work to attend scheduled appointments at Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities.

New Nevada Laws Provide Additional Benefits for Employees

June 19, 2019Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed a law requiring private employers with 50 or more employees in Nevada to provide 0.01923 hours of paid leave for each hour an employee works.

Nevada Enacts Paid “Any Reason” Leave Law

June 13, 2019While Maine may have been the first state to pass a paid “any reason” leave law, Nevada was a close second. On June 12, Nevada Governor, Steve Sisolak, signed a bill requiring private sector employers with at least 50 employees to allow employees to accrue paid leave which may be used for any reason.

June 2019: New State & Local Posting Requirements

June 3, 2019Review the new state and local posting requirements for California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, and Washington

Paid Leave Law in Maine Signed By Governor

May 28, 2019The Maine legislature recently passed an act authorizing earned employee leave. If Governor Mills, who has been vocal in her support of the bill, signs the bill into law, it would take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

Westchester County Adopts Safe Time Law

May 22, 2019On May 3, 2019, Westchester County Executive George Latimer formally signed into law the County’s Safe Time Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Law (Safe Time Law).

Governor Sununu Vetoes New Hampshire Legislature’s Paid Family Medical Leave Plan

May 21, 2019The New Hampshire Paid Family Medical Leave law has been left behind in the dust after Republican Governor Chris Sununu vetoed the bill.

Connecticut Appellate Court Holds That Regular, Reliable Attendance Can Be An Essential Function

May 17, 2019A recent Connecticut Appellate Court case provides helpful reminders that regular, reliable attendance can be an essential function of many jobs; and eliminating an essential job function is not a reasonable accommodation.

Amended Minneapolis Sick and Safe Leave Law Upheld on Appeal

May 9, 2019The Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance can be enforced against businesses not physically located in the city but who have employees who work at least eight (80) hours in a year within the geographic boundaries of the city, according to a state appellate court decision last week.

May 2019: New State & Local Posting Requirements

May 3, 2019Review the new state and local posting requirements for California, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, and New York.

Connecticut Issues Guidance on Pregnancy Accommodation

May 1, 2019On Apr. 23, 2019, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights & Opportunities (CHRO) issued a Best Practices Bluepaper as guidance for employers with three or more employees facing accommodation requests from employees for pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions.

Dallas Joins the Fray – Will Paid Sick Leave Prevail in Texas?

April 30, 2019Over the next several months, the fate of local paid sick leave laws may well be decided by the Texas legislature.

Pittsburgh Issues Guidance on Pregnancy Accommodation

April 29, 2019The Pittsburgh pregnancy accommodation ordinance has been in effect since Mar. 15, 2019.

6th Circuit Rules a Plaintiff With PTSD Is Not Disabled Under the ADA

April 19, 2019The 6th Circuit’s ruling in Tinsley v. Caterpillar Fin. Servs., Corp., No. 18-5303 (6th Cir. Mar. 20, 2019) is a good reminder that not all impairments rise to the level of a “disability” within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Kentucky Adopts Pregnant Workers Act

April 15, 2019Governor Bevin signed Senate Bill 18, the Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act. The Act amends the Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA) and applies to employers with 15 or more employees within the state in each of twenty (20) or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, as well as any agent of the employer.

Michigan Supreme Court to Consider Request for Advisory Opinion on Paid Medical Leave Law

April 5, 2019The Michigan Supreme Court will wade into the clash involving the constitutionality of the state’s Paid Medical Leave Act, at least to decide whether to consider the substance of that clash.

April 2019: New State & Local Posting Requirements

April 2, 2019Review the new state and local posting requirements for Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Virginia.

The 4th Circuit Reaffirms Regular, Reliable Attendance Is Essential Function of Most Jobs

April 1, 2019The 4th Circuit has reaffirmed its position that regular and reliable attendance is an essential function of most jobs.

The FMLA, ADA and Overseas Employees

March 20, 2019In the global economy, it is not unusual for U.S. multinational companies to have employees working overseas. Overseas employment arrangements require employers to navigate a variety of complex legal issues – some of them leave related.

What Employers Can Do to Prepare For Westchester County’s Earned Sick Leave Law

March 18, 2019Companies should begin preparing now for the new Westchester County Earned Sick Leave Law, which becomes effective on Apr. 10, 2019.

Pittsburgh Now Requires Pregnancy Accommodations for Employees and Partners

March 12, 2019In major news for employers in Pittsburgh, the City Council unanimously passed a new ordinance greatly expanding protections for pregnant employees and imposing several new requirements on private employers, much like those under the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and related EEOC guidance.

March 2019: New State & Local Posting Requirements

March 4, 2019Review the new state and local posting requirements for Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, and Virginia.

Broad Workers’ Compensation Release Agreement Bars Disability Discrimination Claims

March 4, 2019The District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana dismissed an employee’s disability discrimination claims based on a broad release in her workers’ compensation settlement agreement with the employer.

Unsettled Waters at the Accommodation of Last Resort

February 20, 2019In 2019, we are poised to learn where the 4th Circuit stands on reassignment as an accommodation — an issue that has split the Circuits.

Dispute Over Content of Voicemails Requires Jury Trial on FMLA Claims

February 13, 2019An employee seeking the protection of FMLA leave must give adequate and timely notice of the need for leave.

Federal Court of Appeals Will Decide Whether or Not Morbid Obesity Is an Impairment

January 12, 2019We know that the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) substantially altered the landscape for review of claims asserting a disability. But, are employees still required to show some sort of disorder or impairment to state a claim?

Appellate Courts Agree: Regular Attendance Is Essential Function of Most Jobs

January 4, 2019Recent decisions from the 2nd, 5th, and 8th Circuit Courts of Appeals exemplify the growing consensus among courts that even employees with a disability are generally required to comply with company attendance policies.

January 2019: New State & Local Posting Requirements

January 4, 2019Review the new state and local posting requirements for Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Rhode Island, and Washington.

California State Disability Insurance Increases

January 2, 2019It’s a new year, and California SDI benefits will be increasing. The SDI withholding rate continues to be 1.0% of wages. But, the taxable wage limit will increase from $114,967 to $118,371.

EEOC Revises Wellness Plan Regulations

December 21, 2018On Dec. 20, the EEOC revised wellness plan regulations by removing the section that permitted incentives. In doing so, the EEOC left employers back in the quandary they were in before. Neither the law, nor the remaining regulations, expressly prohibit (or permit) incentives.

Michigan’s Amended Paid Medical Leave Law

December 19, 2018The Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act requires employers in Michigan to provide their employees with accrued paid medical leave to use for their own or their family members’ medical needs and for purposes related to domestic violence and sexual assault. The new law will become effective in March 2019.

Michigan Governor Signs Sick Leave Amendment

December 18, 2018On Dec. 13, Michigan GOP Governor Rick Snyder signed into law the bill amending the recently enacted Paid Sick Leave (PSL) law, putting the finishing touch on a two-step political strategy to have the legislature craft a PSL bill rather than have voters consider a bill crafted by PSL advocates.

December 2018: New State & Local Posting Requirements

December 7, 2018Review the new state and local posting requirements for Alaska, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Nevada.

Austin Sick Time Ordinance Preempted

November 26, 2018The Austin Earned Sick Time Ordinance is unconstitutional because it is preempted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act (TMWA), the Texas Court of Appeals, Third District, ruled on Friday.

Tenth Circuit Rules No Adverse Employment Action and No Failure-to-Accommodate Claim

November 20, 2018The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) includes within its definition of “discriminate,” an employer’s failure to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified individual with a disability. But, is a failure to accommodate standing alone — absent an adverse employment action — enough to establish an ADA failure-to-accommodate claim?

California Expands Upon Lactation Accommodation Requirements

November 3, 2018California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1976, expanding California employer obligations respective to employee lactation accommodation.

November 2018: New State & Local Posting Requirements

November 3, 2018Review the new state and local posting requirements for California, Delaware, Florida, New Mexico, New Jersey, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, and Virginia.

Expanded Paid Leave Benefits Coming to California Employees

October 31, 2018Currently California employees who wish to receive pay during leave for a qualifying exigency would need to use their own accrued vacation or paid time off hours. However, beginning Jan. 1, 2021, an employee can apply for wage replacement benefits from the State of California Paid Family Leave insurance program during such a leave.

A Dozen Paid Sick Leave Laws Disappear

October 29, 2018The Garden State passed the New Jersey Earned Sick Leave Law last May; it went into effect on Oct. 28, 2018. A provision of that law nullifies the thirteen municipal PSL laws that had been passed in the state, for a net reduction of twelve PSL laws.

Paid Sick Leave on its Way to Albany County

October 26, 2018Albany County (NY) will likely become the fourth county in the nation to adopt a paid sick leave law. The only question is when it will be adopted. The Law Committee of the County Legislature held a public hearing earlier this week on an amended proposed Albany County Paid Sick Leave Act.

FMLA Leave for Chronic Health Conditions

October 9, 2018When an employee takes medical leave, treatment by a healthcare provider is often assumed, and the frequency of doctor’s visits is rarely scrutinized. The Pennsylvania federal court’s recent decision in Watkins v. Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh alerts us that this is not always a wise approach.

Another Court Decides That Extended Leave is Not Reasonable

October 5, 2018In Easter v. Arkansas Children’s Hospital, an employee was unable to work after exhausting her FMLA leave but she had an appointment to be evaluated by a specialist less than a month later. The employer denied the additional leave and terminated her employment. The Court held there was no violation of the ADA.

Westchester County Enacts Sick Leave Law

October 2, 2018On Oct. 1 Westchester County, New York enacted an Earned Sick Leave law, becoming the third county nationwide to do so. Montgomery County, Maryland, and Cook County, Illinois also have enacted paid sick leave laws. The Westchester County law is effective in 180 days.

Department of Labor Issues Updated FMLA Forms

September 11, 2018On Sept. 4, 2018, the Department of Labor issued new FMLA notices and certification forms. The change was procedural in nature; no substantive changes were made to the forms.

FMLA Eligibility and Remote Workers

September 10, 2018With the increasing trend of telecommuting employees, it is not uncommon for a company to have small numbers of employees working from remote locations in various states. It is important that employers understand how FMLA eligibility is determined for remote workers.

Michigan Lawmakers Adopt Paid Sick Leave Initiative

September 7, 2018On Sept. 5, Michigan lawmakers adopted the paid sick leave initiative that otherwise would have been presented to voters in November. The GOP-controlled Senate and House adopted the initiative by wide margins.

September 2018: New State & Local Posting Requirements

September 5, 2018Review the new state and local posting requirements for Louisiana, New York City, San Fransisco, Tennessee, and Texas.

Railroad Insurance Act Preempts Massachusetts Paid Sick Leave Law

August 22, 2018The Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA) preempts the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law (MESTL) in its entirety as it applies to interstate rail carriers, according to a recent decision by a Massachusetts federal district court.

More Paid Sick Leave Turbulence in Texas

August 21, 2018The Texas Legislature convenes in January 2019. It is widely anticipated that the legislature will consider a bill to prohibit political subdivisions from enacting a leave law. If enacted, such a law would likely negate both the Austin and San Antonio ordinances.

August 2018: New State & Local Posting Requirements

August 16, 2018Review the new state and local posting requirements for California, Louisiana, Maryland, New York City, South Carolina, and Vermont.

July 2018: New State & Local Posting Requirements

July 6, 2018Review the new state and local posting requirements for California and Illinois.

Paid Sick Leave Turbulence in Texas

June 15, 2018Austin passed its PSL ordinance in February, the first PSL law in the South. Last month, PSL advocates in San Antonio submitted signatures to support their effort to have voters decide in November whether to enact a PSL ordinance.

June 2018: New State & Local Posting Requirements

June 11, 2018Review the new state and local posting requirements for California, Georgia, Kentucky, and Nevada.

Duluth Passes Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

June 1, 2018On May 29, The Duluth (MN) City Council passed an Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, requiring employers to allow employees to accrue an hour of leave for every 50 hours worked. The ordinance is effective in January 2020.

Court Confirms Minneapolis Sick Leave Ordinance Not Enforceable

May 23, 2018Last week, a court upheld the Minneapolis paid sick leave ordinance, but ruled that it is only enforceable against employers within the city’s limits.

May 2018: New State & Local Posting Requirements

May 9, 2018Review the new state and local posting requirements for Delaware, Hawaii, Kansas, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming.

New Jersey Adds Paid Sick Leave, Cancels Thirteen Municipal PSL Ordinances 

May 4, 2018On May 2, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy made the Garden State the tenth in the nation to enact a paid sick leave (PSL) law and also canceled 13 municipal PSL laws within the state.

IRS Issues Guidance FAQs Regarding the Paid Family Leave Federal Tax Credit

April 23, 2018This week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued FAQ guidance regarding the employer tax credit for paid family and medical leave. As a reminder, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the Act) provides a tax credit to employers that voluntarily offer paid family and/or medical leave to employees.

Preparing for Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave

April 19, 2018By the end of this year, employers with employees in the state of Washington must be ready to comply with last summer’s newly-enacted paid family and medical leave law. Since the law’s passage, Washington has been busy fine-tuning the program and providing updates.

Paid Sick Leave Update: 1st Quarter 2018

April 6, 2018The vast and complex patchwork of paid sick leave (PSL) laws expanded in the first quarter of 2018 with the addition of a state law in Maryland and a local law in Austin, Texas. The patchwork now has more than 40 laws: nine state laws, the District of Columbia, two county laws, and about 31 municipal laws.

March/April 2018: New State & Local Posting Requirements

April 5, 2018Review the new state and local posting requirements for Missouri, Rhode Island, and Wyoming.

New Jersey May Become Paid Sick Leave State Number Ten

March 12, 2018With a new Democratic Governor who supports a paid sick leave law (PSL) and solid Democratic majorities in both legislative chambers, New Jersey is poised to become the tenth state to enact a paid sick leave law.

New Guidance for the New York Paid Family Leave Payroll Deduction

March 12, 2018The ever-moving target that is the New York Paid Family Leave law has shifted yet again. New York State regulators confirmed that employers do not need to cap the weekly employee payroll deduction for PFL at .126% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage.

A Paid Sick Leave Revival in Westchester County, NY

March 10, 2018The Westchester County Board of Legislators is considering a paid sick leave (PSL) bill that is substantially similar to the bill introduced but not passed last year. The proposed Earned Sick Leave Law has the typical PSL architecture.

Paid Leave Can Contribute to an Employer’s Bottom Line

February 23, 2018Rarely do human resources professionals and employment lawyers contribute to an employer’s bottom line. But the new federal tax credit for employer-provided paid family and medical leave offers a unique opportunity to do just that and help reduce your company’s tax liability.

Austin Plants Paid Sick Leave Flag in the South

February 16, 2018On Feb. 16, the Austin City Council passed a paid sick leave ordinance, the first jurisdiction in the South to ever do so. It is effective Oct. 1, 2018 for employers with more than five employees. For smaller employers, it is effective Oct. 1, 2020.

New York Paid Family Leave – One Month Check Up

February 14, 2018The New York Paid Family Leave law has been in effect for over a month, yet reports indicate that many New York employers are not prepared for the operation requirements of the law. The basics of the law shouldn’t be news to employers with employees in New York.

Airline Group Challenges Washington Paid Sick Leave Act’s Application to Flight Crew

February 13, 2018The Washington State Paid Sick Leave Act as applied to pilots and flight attendants is unconstitutional and preempted by the federal Airline Deregulation Act, according to a complaint filed last week in federal court by the Air Transport Association of America.

Changes to ERISA’s Disability Claims Regulations Coming Apr. 1

February 9, 2018New handling regulations for ERISA disability claims will go into effect on Apr. 1, 2018, the Department of Labor has announced. The agency confirmed that the regulations are final, without changes.

Maryland Healthy Working Families Act: A PSL-4Step Analysis

February 8, 2018The Maryland General Assembly last month overrode Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of the Healthy Working Families Act (HWFA).

February 2018: New State & Local Posting Requirements

February 6, 2018Review the new state and local posting requirements for Hawaii, Michigan, Vermont, and West Virginia

Supreme Court Asked to Review Decision Rejecting EEOC’s Inflexible Leave Policy

January 23, 2018A petition for certiorari was filed last week in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., the Seventh Circuit decision rejecting the EEOC’s position that an “inflexible” or “maximum” leave policy violates the ADA.