State & Local Employment Law Developments: Q4 2020

On January 1, a number of new and revised state and local workplace regulations went into effect, including requirements related to the legalization of recreational marijuana. This update reviews these new requirements to help you and your organization stay in compliance.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

Colorado Adopts New Paid Sick Leave Requirements for Employers

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently signed the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, which will soon require Colorado employers to provide workers with up to six paid sick days per year. In addition, the new law immediately broadens the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, requiring Colorado employers to provide two weeks of paid sick leave to employees affected by COVID-19, regardless of the number of employees they have.

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Congress Considers Expansive Coronavirus Package, Including Paid Leave and Free Testing

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.

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Uncertainty Remains for Texas Paid Sick Leave Ordinances

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:

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New Jersey Department of Labor Releases Required New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Poster and Proposed Paid Sick Leave Regulations

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.

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New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Law Becomes Effective on October 29, 2018

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.

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