Washington’s Equal Pay and Opportunities Act has been amended to require employers with 15 or more employees to disclose the wage scale or salary range in job postings, along with a general description of “all of the benefits or other compensation to be offered to the hired applicant.”
Maine Now Requires Unused Vacation Payment At Termination
On April 7, 2022 Maine Governor Janet Mills signed into law “An Act Regarding the Treatment of Vacation Time upon the Cessation of Employment” This act amend existing law to require employers with more 10+ employees to pay “[a]ll unused paid vacation accrued pursuant to the employer’s vacation policy on and after January 1, 2023” at the time of termination.
This Act appears to conflict with Maine’s Earned Paid Leave law. It also remains unclear whether payment of leave other than what’s designed as vacation pay (such as sick leave, PTO, etc,) are covered under the Act. And, The new law doesn’t address whether employers can put yearly caps on carryover of unused paid leave. And, it appears employees must pay employee vacation pay even if they were discharged for misconduct.
Maine now joins California, Colorado, and Massachusetts in requiring the payment of unused, but accrued vacation time at the time of separation.
CO Public Health Leave Extended
Since the Federal government extended its declaration of emergency (for an additional 90 days from April 16th), employers are reminded that the CO Public health emergency (PHE) leave is likewise extended. Note that PHE is a one-time use leave, meaning that if an employee already took such PHE leave, it is no longer available and the employee must use other available leave or take any additional unpaid COVID leave.
Federal “Ban the Box” Law
The Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act (“FCA”), or “Ban the Box” law, was effective on December 20, 2021. It makes it unlawful for certain federal employers and contractors to require a job applicant to disclose his or her criminal background on a job application or during an interview prior to a conditional job offer of employment. The FCA applies to federal agencies (including certain offices within the executive, legislative, and judicial branches) and federal civilian and defense contractors.
CT FMLA Regs Released
The Connecticut Department of Labor issued its final proposed amended CT FMLA regulations for the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act that was enacted in 2019. Changes:
- Leave goes from 16 weeks in a 24-month period to 12 weeks during any 12-month period;
- Now applies to employers with one or more employee. Previously, CT FMLA applied to employers with 75 or more employees;
- “Family members” now includes siblings, parents-in-law, grandparents, and grandchildren, as well as any other “individual related to the employee by blood or affinity whose close association the employee shows to be the equivalent of those family relationships”.
- Eligible employees are may take up to two additional weeks of leave during the applicable 12-month period if the employee has a serious health condition while the employee is pregnant and that serious health condition results in a period of incapacity, in addition to the 12 weeks to which employees are otherwise entitled. And, if an eligible pregnant employee requires more than two weeks of leave for a serious health condition during the pregnancy, the amount of available leave for other qualifying reasons would be reduced accordingly.
OSHA Seeks to Reduce Employee Threshold for Reporting
OSHA has published a proposed rule to return to an Obama-era requirement for high-hazard employers with at least 100 employees being required to e-submit their OSHA Form 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and OSHA Form 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report) to OSHA. The current employee threshold is employers with 250+ employees.
EEOC Chair Reveals Agenda
EEOC Commissioner Andrea Lucas said that she hopes curtailing religious discrimination becomes a hallmark of her time on the commission and that claims of disability bias based on workers’ mental health are poised to spike.
Joint Effort By Federal Agencies
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) are joining forces to combat employer retaliation. The agencies plan to coordinate their efforts in various ways including referring cases to each other to better enforce anti-retaliation efforts. Employers in the agricultural, garment manufacturing, meat packing, hospitality, casino and care facility industries should also note that their workers’ claims may be subject to close scrutiny by the agencies.
Written by: Gordon M. Berger, Partner