Local Employment Laws You Should Be Watching

2019 Brings Over 80 New Compliance Deadlines Across 27 Locales in 11 States, According to New XpertHR Report

New Providence, NJ/Los Angeles, CA (May 9, 2019) – Cities and counties are leading the way by enacting various laws to protect employees and enhance their workplace rights, says a new XpertHR report on the latest local law trends. This year brings over 80 new compliance deadlines across 27 locales in 11 states. Examples of  local employment updates employers should be watching include:

  • It is illegal for a San Francisco employer with five or more employees to make criminal inquiries, or require disclosure of conviction history, until a conditional job offer has been made under the city’s “ban the box” law.
  • Employees need to work only 40 hours in a year in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to qualify for paid sick leave, while employees in Tacoma, Washington, must work more than 80 hours in a year to receive paid sick leave.
  • A New York City ordinance prohibits an employer from searching publicly available records to seek information about an applicant’s salary history. 
  • The state minimum wage in Georgia is $5.15 per hour, yet the minimum wage in San Diego, California, is $12.00 per hour.

Keeping up with the patchwork of local employment laws can be especially difficult for multi-jurisdictional employers who need to manage the unique interplay of the laws in various locations. Employers with staff based in various locations not only need to keep up with the various minimum wage requirements, but they also need to comply with an array of other local laws. 

One trend, paid sick leave, is extremely complex, as many jurisdictions have different coverage, eligibility, documentation and notice requirements. Paid sick leave laws protect employees who cannot work because of illness. Private employers in many localities are required (or soon will be required) to provide some form of paid sick leave to eligible employees.

Another growing trend is “ban the box” laws, which make it illegal to include criminal history questions on initial job applications. A host of cities and counties have “ban the box” measures that go beyond most state laws. In fact, many localities have banned the box in some form or fashion as of April 1, 2019, including Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Austin, Kansas City, New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, New York City, and Detroit, among others.

“The primary goal behind these ‘ban the box’ measures is to prevent qualified, rehabilitated job applicants with a criminal history from being automatically excluded from consideration without the chance for an interview,” says Jessica Webb-Ayer, JD, Legal Editor, XpertHR.

Removing Salary History Questions From Job Applications

Having knowledge about past salaries when making hiring decisions may perpetuate previous gender pay discrimination. If employers are restricted from asking salary history questions, applicants who may have been underpaid in the past for discriminatory reasons will not have their compensation history used against them. While none of the salary history inquiry laws have the same restrictions, they all do prohibit employers from seeking salary history information from a job applicant before a job offer has been made.  

“While local laws have been coming fast and furious over the last few years, a number of states have enacted preemption laws that prohibit local governments from enacting regulations that are greater than or inconsistent with state or federal law,” says Webb-Ayer. “More than a dozen states have enacted laws that prohibit localities from adopting regulations that expand on state or federal requirements. However, existing local laws are often grandfathered in.”

To help employers keep up with local employment laws, the free guide “Six Local Law Trends Keeping HR on Their Toes” is available for download at XpertHR.

About XpertHR

XpertHR helps build successful workforces by providing practical tools, expert resources and agile HR solutions at the federal, state and municipal level to help businesses stay a step ahead.

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