Early in the morning on Saturday, March 14, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Congress’ second sweeping legislative package in response to the COVID-19 epidemic, with a bipartisan 363-40 vote. The legislation, The Emergency Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), is the result of swift negotiations between Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Speaker Pelosi. The bill includes not only public health and health sector provisions but also paid leave and other policies intended to help American families in the coming weeks. This latest action comes after President Trump signed an $8.3 billion public health bill into law earlier this month to expand access to care, support local public health departments and fund vaccine research development.
Over the past two years, city councils in three of the four largest cities in Texas — Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas — each have passed ordinances requiring local employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave. In each instance, the new proposed ordinance was met with fierce resistance from local businesses, staffing agencies and professional associations. Those aligned against the ordinances promised that their adoption would be followed swiftly by lawsuits. What’s more, the opposition was supported by none other than Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who took a hardline stance that such ordinances violate the Texas Minimum Wage Act. The purpose of the Minimum Wage Act, Paxton argued, was to set a uniform statewide policy with respect to wage requirements that municipal governments had no right to circumvent. Despite all of this pushback, the city council in each city overwhelmingly voted to adopt the ordinance.
The ordinances in all three cities are similar and contain some of the same key features but each also has its own distinguishing characteristics:
The New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act (NJPSLA) takes effect on October 29, 2018. For information about the law’s provisions, please see our prior blog. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) also released an FAQ regarding the new law, as well as proposed regulations in connection with the law and the required notice that employers must post in the workplace and provide to all New Jersey employees.
The NJDOL released the notice on October 3, 2018. Employers can find a copy of the notice on the NJDOL’s website. A New Jersey employer is required to post the notice in a conspicuous place that is accessible to all employees in each of the employer’s locations. Employers must also (1) provide all employees with the notice by November 29, 2018; (2) provide all subsequently hired employees with the notice at the time of hiring; and (3) provide every employee with the notice upon his or her first request. Employers do not have to obtain signed acknowledgments from employees indicating that they have received the notice, but employers may wish to do so to avoid disputes over whether they have satisfied this requirement.
In May 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy made good on a campaign promise when he signed into law the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act (the “Act”). New Jersey is one of ten states that require employers to provide paid sick leave, joining Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
Before the state passed the Act, more than a dozen New Jersey municipalities had enacted their own paid sick leave laws, creating confusion for employers conducting business throughout New Jersey. The Act now preempts these local laws and bars municipalities from passing their own paid sick leave laws. The preemption aspect of the Act is welcome news for employers because they will only have to comply with the Act, rather than a patchwork of local laws. Here are some important components of the Act that employers should be aware of before its effective date on October 29.
As a reminder, the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (“Paid Safe/Sick Leave Law”) became effective on May 5, 2018. The Paid Safe/Sick Leave Law applies to all employers with five or more employees who work more than 80 hours a year in New York City and requires employers to provide up to 40 hours (5 days) of paid safe and sick leave. Employers with less than five employees must provide unpaid sick and safe leave. In order to notify employees about their rights under the Paid Safe/Sick Leave Law, New York City employers must distribute written notice to their employees on the first day of employment or by June 4, 2018. Employers can find the new Notice of Employee Rights on the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”) website, available here. The DCA also provides the new notice in Spanish, Chinese and 24 other languages.
This Ordinance, which was passed in September 2016, requires employers in Morristown, New Jersey to provide a certain amount of paid sick time per year depending on the size of the employer. Generally, employees who work more than 80 hours a year in Morristown will be covered under this Ordinance. The Morristown Ordinance is the 13th local paid sick leave ordinance enacted within New Jersey, following similar ordinances in the towns and cities of Bloomfield, East Orange, Elizabeth, Irvington, Jersey City, Montclair, Newark, New Brunswick, Passaic, Paterson, Plainfield, and Trenton.