Today we continue with our Year in Review segment, which looks at the key labor & employment law developments from 2016 in New York, the DC Metro Area, Massachusetts, and California, while offering our thoughts about 2017.  Today we turn to the DC Metro Area.  In addition, please join us in NYC on April 6, 2017 for Mintz Levin’s Third Annual Employment Law Summit as we address some of the key labor & employment issues impacting employers in 2017.  Register here

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The District of Columbia, Maryland (including Montgomery County) witnessed an active 2016 with respect to new and amended workplace laws that impose additional responsibilities on employers, and expand employee rights and avenues of enforcement.  Employers should be aware of these new requirements and take immediate action to comply with them.  We highlight below the most significant updates in both D.C. and Maryland; there were no changes or additions of significance in Virginia.

Continue Reading 2016 DC Metro Area Employment Law Year In Review

The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board is out with proposed regulations providing guidance to employers, insurance carriers and employees regarding their rights and responsibilities under New York’s new Paid Family Leave law, which is scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2018.  Comments on the proposed rules will be accepted for 45 days – until April 8th (although we note that’s a Saturday).  For our earlier post on the enactment of the Paid Family Leave Act, see here.

Continue Reading New York Paid Family Leave Proposed Regulations Filed

The growing prevalence of the Zika virus in the United States has already presented a number of hurdles for employers striving to create a safe and healthy workplace environment for their employees.  These concerns are more immediate than ever.  The recent and continuing outbreak in Florida and the emergence of state-to-state transmission within the U.S. reinforce the need for employers to stay informed of best practices for minimizing workplace health risks without overstepping critical legal boundaries between employer and employee.

Continue Reading Addressing Zika’s Continued Threat to the Workplace

Earlier this month Governor Cuomo signed into law New York’s Paid Family Leave Act, which, when fully implemented, will provide virtually all employees in the state up to 12 weeks of paid family leave.  Under the law, employees will be entitled to paid leave to (1) care for a family member (including a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, spouse or domestic partner) with a serious health condition, (2) bond with the employee’s newborn or newly placed adoptive or foster child during the first 12 months following birth or placement, or (3) address any qualifying exigency relating to a spouse, domestic partner, child or parent who is serving on active military duty. Notably, the law relies on employee payroll deductions to fund the paid family leave benefit, but does not require any similar contribution from employers.

The law also provides job protections, entitling an employee who returns from leave to be restored to the same or a comparable position. Additionally, employers must maintain existing health benefits for employees while they are on family leave.  While these protections track closely with the family leave provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, New York’s law covers a broader group of employees than the FMLA, albeit only for family leave. It does not provide an employee paid leave to care for his or her own medical condition.

  Continue Reading New York State Enacts Nation’s Most Generous Paid Family Leave Law Effective January 1, 2018

The Zika virus has been the topic of much discussion and anxiety for many weeks.  The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now issued travel warnings for more than two dozen countries in the Caribbean, Central America and South America and cases have been reported in at least 13 states and Washington, D.C.  This anxiety has, not surprisingly, crept into workplaces, including those with employees that travel to the affected areas.  This post addresses some of the employment issues raised by the Zika virus.

Continue Reading Zika Virus: Appropriate Workplace Responses

New York City just finished off a strong year on the employment law front.  The City Council passed laws that banned the box and all but eliminated credit checks.  It also passed a law requiring employers to offer their employees pre-tax transit benefits and instituted a paired testing discrimination investigation program.  The Department of Consumer Affairs continued to provide guidance on the paid sick leave law, while the Commission on Human Rights welcomed a new commissioner and implemented new initiatives designed to enhance the Commission’s enforcement efforts.  It also released enforcement guidance on the ban the box and credit check laws.  We cover the flurry of year-end activity in this three-part series.  In our first installment, we looked at the Commission’s enforcement guidance on gender identity and expression.  In our second installment, we covered the ban on caregiver status discrimination.  In our final installment, we cover the City’s creation of an Office of Labor Standards and expected changes to the paid sick leave act rules. 

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New York City has established an Office of Labor Standards that will enforce the City’s paid sick leave and transit benefits laws, and create and promote programs on worker education, safety and protection.  The Council Speaker said the new Office would help workers better understand their rights and assist employers in complying with the law.  The move comes as New York City prepares to amend its rules clarifying, and establishing requirements to implement, the paid sick leave law.

Continue Reading New York City Establishes Office of Labor Standards; Will Enforce Paid Sick Leave Law (NYC Finale Part 3)

Massachusetts employers need to take heed that the safe harbor provision in the Earned Sick Time law ends on December 31, 2015.  By the start of the New Year, Massachusetts employers will need to strictly comply with the Sick Time Law or it will not be a very happy New Year.

Continue Reading One Particular (Safe) Harbor: Safe Harbor for Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law Ends on December 31, 2015.