A new Senate bill proposes removing the restriction on married co-workers’ ability to take time off to care for newborn or adopted children, parents, or military family members under the FMLA. The FMLA provides job protected, unpaid leave for employees for certain purposes, such as the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a sick family member. Employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave during a one-year period. Currently however, there is statutory language that only allows spouses to take a total of 12 combined weeks of leave.
The fluctuating workweek half-time overtime option has been available for many years under federal law as a way for employers to reduce their overtime costs for employees who work different hours each week. The option requires that the employee be paid a fixed minimum amount weekly regardless of the number of hours worked. Then, if that number of worked exceeds 40, the employer may pay overtime on a half-time of the regular rate of pay basis (determined each week overtime is worked).
NY passed a new law this year that applies to employees that are victims of domestic violence. This law requires employers to provide victims reasonable time off from work to seek medical attention for himself or herself for the injuries caused by domestic violence, to receive services from a domestic violence shelter or program or a rape crisis center, to obtain psychological counseling, to participate in safety planning or other activities to increase the victim’s safety in the future, to receive legal services, assist in the prosecution of the perpetrator, or to appear in court in rela
Observers noted a sharp divide among the United States Supreme Court Justices during oral argument of three cases before them on October 8, 2019. At issue before the Court was whether the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of “sex” in federal Title VII includes protection from discrimination for the LGBTQ community.
The federal government has announced the new salary requirements for employees to be exempt from overtime pay under federal law. The new salary threshold is $35,568 annually or $684 weekly.
Historically, gig workers (think Uber drivers, InstaCart, Doordash) have been classified as independent contractors, allowing companies to avoid having to pay benefits or minimum wage and overtime. This may change sooner than you think. Just last week, California got one step closer to making it harder for companies to classify these individuals as independent contractors. While the bill still must be signed into law, experts believe that this is inevitable. New York Gov.
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, employers who agree with employees who work a fluctuating number of hours each week to pay them a base salary regardless of the number of hours worked, are then able to pay those employees half-time for their overtime hours. This somewhat unknown, and not often used, structure generally saves employers money and gives employees the certainty of the salary during weeks working less than 40 hours.
The New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) Superintendent revealed the new Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) benefit and employee contribution rates on Friday August 30. By law, those on PFL will receive up to 60% of the New York State average weekly wage (which the DFS set at $1,401.17 for 2020), for the up-to-10 weeks of PFL taken during the year. Accordingly, most employees who take PFL in 2020 will receive $840.70 per week, up about $100 from 2019, and it will be interesting to see if more employees seek to take it.
On June 25, we wrote about new anti-harassment legislation that we expected Governor Cuomo to sign into law. On August 12, he did, in fact, sign that legislation and expanded the definition of what is considered legally actionable harassment in the workplace. The traditional standard that harassment must be “severe and pervasive” will no longer apply. Now, a complainant must show that the conduct in question rises above the level of “petty slights and trivial inconveniences.”
Additional changes are:
Continuing with its’ busy employment legislation season, New York has amended the Human Rights Law to prohibit discrimination based on religious attire, clothing and facial hair. The law becomes effective on October 8, 2019. The law already prohibited employers from treating applicants or employees differently because of their religion, but the amendment makes clear that the definition of religion includes bias against any employee’s religious clothing, facial hair or attire.
Please e-mail your U.S. Senators and urge them to support the Employment Verification Amendment!
The Senate is currently considering its immigration reform proposal, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744). SHRM and our strategic affiliate, the American Council on International Personnel (ACIP), are actively engaged on behalf of the HR profession in advocating for changes to the bill. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) have introduced an amendment (SA 1634), supported by SHRM and ACIP that would strengthen the employment verification system, along with streamlining its efficiency, while importantly reducing the risk of identity theft. Read Senator Portman’s press release regarding SA 1634 HERE. SHRM and ACIP have worked with Sens. Portman and Tester to develop the proposed amendment language.
Specifically, the Portman -Tester amendment would make the following changes to the current employment verification process:
SHRM and ACIP support the Portman -Tester amendment and we believe this new approach to identity authentication is critical to the creation of a 21st century verification system that eliminates paper-based recordkeeping and moves toward a fully electronic, secure system to better authenticate identity and verify employment eligibility.
As the Senate considers comprehensive immigration reform this is an opportunity for employers and HR professionals to have their voice heard in helping to shape effective workplace policy.
The Senate is considering amendments to S. 744 TODAY AND TOMORROW (June 26 and 27). It is critically important that both employers and HR professionals express support for the Portman -Tester amendment.
Contact Your Senators in Support of the Portman-Tester Amendment TODAY:
Write your Senators using SHRM’s HRVoice program, follow these steps:
1. Log onto the SHRM Advocacy Action Center by clicking HERE
2. Personalize your message with your own story
3. Include your home mailing address.
Should you have any questions regarding S. 744 and the Portman -Tester amendment, you may contact Mike Aitken, vice president, Government Affairs at SHRM at Mike.Aitken@shrm.org or Rebecca Peters, Director and Counsel for Legislative Affairs at ACIP at Rebecca_peters@acip.com.