Jul 9, 2015

By Marina Blickley

With an increased focus at federal, state, and local level on “fair” employment practices, compliance continues to be an ongoing process for businesses countrywide. Below is a quick overview of developments that companies should be keeping an eye on:

Paid Sick (and Safe) Leave is now required in many states and localities. California and Massachusett’s laws went into effect on July 1, 2015. Similar to D.C.’s Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act, California’s new law provides for minimum accrual requirements for paid leave for covered reasons such as an employee’s own sickness, a family member’s sickness, or for absences related to seeking assistance for domestic abuse. Similarly, Massachusett’s sick leave law requires all employees be provided sick leave and employers with 11 or more employees to provide paid sick leave to employees. Other laws are set to take effect shortly. For example, Montgomery County, Maryland recently passed a paid sick and safe leave act that will go into effect October 1, 2016.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and many states and localities have paid sick leave laws that must be consulted to ensure your company is in compliance. In addition, many of these laws have specific notification and posting requirements which may require updating employee posters.

Minimum wage increases in D.C. and Maryland took effect July 1. The new minimums are $10.50 in D.C. and $8.25 in Maryland.

– Last month the Department of Labor issued regulations that, once effective, will raise the minimum salary requirement for white-collar exemptions from overtime (e.g., executive, administrative, professional) to $921 per week or $47,892 annually and raise the minimum annual salary for highly compensated employees to $122,148.  The current salary requirements (i.e., $455 weekly/$23,660 annually and $100,000 annually) had not been adjusted since 2004.  Under the new regulations these thresholds will increase automatically on an annual basis.

Although the regulations are not yet in effect, companies should begin to analyze which employees may properly be classified as exempt moving forward in light of the significant increase in the salary thresholds. It is estimated that an additional 4.5 million workers will be eligible for overtime pay under the revised salary thresholds.

– The regulations proposed in late May under the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order are in the middle of the notice and comment period.  In part, the proposed regulations cover mandatory reporting of various labor and employment law “violations” for government contractors and require notices to workers of pay practices including summaries of hours and overtime worked for non-exempt employees, notices to exempt employees, and notices to independent contractors for each assignment.

Centre’s summary of these regulations is available here – https://test-centre-law.pantheon.io/department-of-labor-federal-acquisition-regulatory-council-issue-proposed-guidance-to-federal-agencies-and-rule-implementing-president-obamas-fair-pay-safe-workplaces-executive-order/

More to come!

For more information please contact one of Centre’s labor and employment attorneys – David Warner or Marina Blickley.

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