State & Local Employment Law Developments: Q3 2022

The trend of increasing workplace regulations by state and local governments continued throughout the third quarter of 2022. Although it is not possible to discuss all state and local laws, this update provides an overview of recent and upcoming legislative developments to help you and your organization stay in compliance. (Please note that developments related to issues such as minimum wage rates and COVID-19 are not included.)

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Update: Michigan Court Stays Decision to Reinstitute Higher Minimum Wage and More Generous Paid Sick Time Laws

Recently, we issued an alert explaining that, on July 19, 2022, the Michigan Court of Claims ruled that the “adopt-and-amend” strategy the Michigan Legislature used in 2019 to enact more business-friendly minimum wage and paid sick time laws was unconstitutional. The court also reinstituted the prior versions of these laws which meant Michigan employers were immediately subject to the more generous Earned Sick Time Act and the higher $12 per hour minimum wage for most employees.

However, on July 29, 2022, the same court issued a stay of its ruling through February 19, 2023 to allow employers and the relevant state agencies time to comply with and enforce the original, reinstituted laws. Accordingly, as of the writing of this alert, employers have until February 19, 2023 to comply with the Earned Sick Time Act (which requires more paid sick time than the now-stricken Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act) and provide at least a $12 per hour minimum wage for non-tipped employees, unless an appellate court or the Michigan Legislature acts before February 19.

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Michigan Court Reinstitutes Higher Minimum Wage and More Generous Paid Sick Time Laws, Effective Immediately

On July 19, 2022, the Michigan Court of Claims ruled that the “adopt-and-amend” strategy the Michigan Legislature used in 2019 to enact minimum wage and paid sick time laws was unconstitutional. Those laws were regarded as more favorable to businesses, but they amended and substantially differed from the voter-initiated laws the Legislature adopted earlier in the same legislative session. For example, the amended laws reduced the increase of the minimum wage from $12 to $10.10 per hour, lowered the required amount of paid sick time from 72 to 40 hours, exempted employers with fewer than 50 employees, and exempted certain employees, such as executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees. Part-time employees who worked an average of fewer than 25 hours per week were also exempted from the paid sick leave law. The laws are known as the Earned Sick Time Act (ESTA), which the Legislature amended and renamed the Michigan Paid Medical Leave Act (MPMLA), and the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act (IWOWA), which was amended under the same name.

According to the court, the Michigan Legislature has only three options in response to a proposed law initiated by voters: (a) adopt the initiative as presented, (b) reject the petition, or (c) propose an alternative law. The Michigan constitution does not permit the tactic used by the Legislature to amend the voter-initiated laws which, in the court’s review, “effectively thwarted the intent of the People.” As a result, the laws that have governed Michigan employers since 2019 have been “voided,” and the original voter-initiated laws are effective immediately.

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State & Local Employment Law Developments: Q2 2022

Alabama

Leave Benefits for Adoption: Alabama’s Adoption Promotion Act (the Act) takes effect on July 1, 2022 and requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave for the birth or adoption of a child. The Act also mandates that employers who provide paid leave benefits and additional leave considerations for the birth of a child provide similar benefits for adoption.

Marketplace Contractors: Effective July 1, 2022, marketplace contractors are not considered employees under workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance laws (if certain conditions are met). Marketplace contractors are persons/entities who enter into agreements with marketplace platforms to be connected with third parties seeking services — such as drivers for Uber and Lyft.

Arizona

Expansion of Employer Definition under Sexual Harassment Discrimination: Arizona enacted a change to the sexual harassment provisions of existing employment discrimination law, so that the law applies to any employers or their agents who commit sexual harassment or retaliate against someone for reporting it.

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State & Local Employment Law Developments: Q1 2022

The first quarter of 2022 continued the trend of increasing regulation of the workplace by state and local governments. Although it is not possible to discuss all state and local laws, this update provides an overview of recent and upcoming legislative developments to help you and your organization stay in compliance. (Please note that developments related to issues such as minimum wage rates and COVID-19 are not included.)

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State & Local Employment Law Developments: Q4 2021

The fourth quarter of 2021 continued the trend of increasing regulation of the workplace by state and local governments. Although it is not possible to discuss all state and local laws, this post provides an overview of recent and upcoming legislative developments to help you and your organization stay in compliance. (Please note that developments related to issues such as minimum wage rates and COVID-19 are not included.)

Continue reading “State & Local Employment Law Developments: Q4 2021”