The trend of increasing workplace regulations by state and local governments continued throughout the first quarter of 2023. 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 are not included.)
In wake of recent legislation aimed at increasing employee rights and safeguards, the Pennsylvania legislature has promulgated new wage and hour regulations restricting employers and providing greater protections for employees. The new wage and hour regulations are effective on August 5, 2022. The new regulations impact two categories of employees: (1) tipped employees; and (2) salaried employees with a fluctuating workweek schedule.
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.
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.
In the midst of changing mask requirements and many people believing that the pandemic is now “over,” the City of Philadelphia has enacted a new COVID-19 sick leave law. On March 9, 2022, Mayor Kenney signed into law an amended version of the 2021 Public Health Emergency Leave Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) requiring covered employers to provide paid sick leave for employees who test positive for COVID-19. This law will stay in effect until December 31, 2023.
On November 17, 2020, Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine issued two new orders in response to rising levels of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. These orders (1) place certain restrictions on individuals traveling into Pennsylvania, and (2) provide increased and more detailed requirements related to the use of face coverings in the Commonwealth.
The travel order requires that all travelers entering Pennsylvania from other countries and states, whether a returning resident or a visitor, must have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to entering the Commonwealth. If the traveler cannot obtain a negative COVID-19 test, he or she must quarantine for 14 days upon his or her arrival in Pennsylvania or until he or she obtains a negative COVID-19 test result, whichever is earlier. The travel order takes effect on November 20, 2020. Importantly, this order does not apply to individuals who are travelling to or from Pennsylvania for work or medical reasons.
On September 17, 2020, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed the Public Health Emergency Leave (PHEL) bill. The PHEL amends Chapter 9-4100 of the Philadelphia Code to create additional sick leave protections for Philadelphia employees during a public health emergency — specifically COVID-19.