As 2016 draws to a close, our final state law round-up will provide information about minimum wage increases taking effect in 2017, some recent developments on the local sick leave law front, information about sick leave laws going into effect in January 2017, and other employment laws going into effect in January 2017. Employers with employees in California should also check out our prior blog post on the upcoming changes there.
2017 State and Local Minimum Wage Rates
With the federal minimum wage still at $7.25, more and more states, cities and counties are taking it upon themselves to raise the minimum wage. Earlier this month, voters in Maine, Colorado, Arizona and Washington voted to raise the minimum wage in those states. You can find the 2017 state and local minimum wage rates in this chart. The clock is ticking, so make sure your ducks are in order before January 1!
Sick Leave Laws
As we previously reported, voters in Arizona passed Proposition 206, which both raised the minimum wage and requires employers to provide paid sick leave for employees in Arizona. The Arizona law is similar in most respects to laws in other jurisdictions, except for the fact that while it caps the amount of sick leave an employee can accrue in a year, it allows employees to rollover all unused sick leave to the next year and does not put a cap on an employee’s overall sick leave bank. Although Arizona’s minimum wage increase becomes effective January 1, the state’s new paid sick time requirements don’t kick in until July 1, 2017.
Voters in Washington state also passed a paid sick leave law. The Washington law, set to go into effect on January 1, 2018, does not contain a lot of details (administrative regulations are expected), but provides that employees may accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, and may rollover up to 40 hours of unused sick leave to the next year. Notably, the Washington law does not preempt local paid sick leave laws, so employers with employees in Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma will have to ensure their sick leave policies account for the local laws where those laws are more broad/employee-friendly than the state law.
Also, a reminder that Vermont, Santa Monica, California, and Spokane, Washington have paid sick leave laws that go into effect January 1, 2017 (although employers in Vermont of 1-5 employees have until January 1, 2018). Morristown, New Jersey’s paid sick leave law goes into effect on January 11, 2017. Finally, federal contractors must begin providing paid sick leave for employees working on or in connection with covered federal contracts entered into or amended on or after January 1, 2017.
As the new year approaches, it is a good time for employers with employees in any of the jurisdictions with paid sick leave laws to make sure they are in compliance. As the patchwork of laws increases, an increasing number of multi-state employers are considering universal paid sick leave policies to ease the administrative burdens of compliance. Employers considering such policies should tread carefully and seek legal counsel to ensure their policies comply with all of the nuances of the various laws, including but not limited to the accrual, carryover, usage and notice provisions of the laws.
Other New Laws for the New Year
San Francisco’s paid family leave law goes into effect on January 1, 2017 for employers of 50 or more employees. In addition, covered employers must begin complying with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new reporting rule. The rule requires covered employers (those with 250 or more employees, or 20-249 employees in certain industries) to electronically submit the injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA Injury and Illness forms. Some of this data will be posted to the OSHA website. Covered employers must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by July 1, 2017.