Summertime is vacation time. And vacation time means headaches for employers who engage in vacation float. Vacation “float” is the practice of advancing vacation to employees before they actually accrue it under an employer’s vacation policy. So the question becomes, if you allow an employee to take vacation time the employee hasn’t actually earned, how do you get the value of that time back if the employee leaves before “repaying” it?
Congress adopted the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”) to provide job security for employees who must miss work due to their own serious health condition, the birth of their children, to care for family members suffering from a serious health condition or for reasons related to their family members’ military service. One of the most vexing issues for employers trying to comply with the FMLA is “intermittent” or “reduced-schedule” leave.
This time of year usually marks the sports netherworld between the Super Bowl and the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, which is better known as March Madness. This lull provides employers with an excellent opportunity to contemplate the issues that March Madness creates in their workplace. We explore some of those issues below.
Continue Reading Does March Madness = Workplace Madness? Some Thoughts on the Legality of NCAA Bracket Pools, the Tournament’s Effect on the Workplace, and of course, a Rendition of One Shining Moment (UPDATED)
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.
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.
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.
The trend toward local regulation of employment laws continues in California with three new local wage and hour enactments.
On June 7, 2016, San Diego voters passed a ballot initiative containing two provisions for hourly workers. First, San Diego’s new minimum wage will be $10.50 per hour once the ballot results are confirmed, which is expected to be in mid-July. Second, San Diego will have its own paid sick leave policy of five days (40 hours) – which is in excess of the state law that allows employers to limit use of accrued paid sick leave to three days (24 hours).
Like the state law, San Diego’s paid sick leave will accrue at one hour for every 30 hours worked and cannot be used until after 90 days of employment. Also like the state law, San Diego’s sick leave initiative allows accrued leave to be front loaded or accrued, and it must be carried over year to year.
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.
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.
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.
The New York Times reported yesterday that it received a draft executive order marked “pre-decisional and deliberative,” which contemplates granting a minimum of 56 hours of paid sick leave per year to employees of federal contractors and subcontractors. The impact of such an order, were it to become legally binding, would be significant, affecting hundreds of thousands of workers across the U.S.
The California paid sick leave law provided a significant boon to employees not included under employers’ sick leave or paid time off policies, but it often created more questions than answers for companies. How do we calculate one hour of paid sick leave for salaried employees? How should we record accrued sick leave on wage statements if we offer unlimited paid time off to everyone? What does the word “year” mean for a law that references “calendar year” but started on July 1st? If we provide PTO to everyone does this law affect us at all?
The law came without any interpretive regulations, and employers have had to monitor the State’s Frequently Asked Questions website for the closest thing to sanctioned guidance.
Fortunately, employers just received clarity on some of the most common questions via amendments signed into law by Governor Brown on July 13, 2015. The Legislature amended the Act in several respects. Continue Reading California Sick Leave Amendments Offer (Some) Needed Clarity for Employers