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What’s New in 2019? A Look at the Ever-Changing Leave and Accommodation Law Landscape

2019 has brought a flurry of new leave and accommodation laws.  In fact, in the first 8 months of 2019, more than 20 new laws in this area have passed.

The states (and US territory) that passed new laws, expanded or otherwise amended existing leave and accommodation laws, or had new laws go into effect this year include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Utah and Washington.

A few notable trends are emerging.

Mandatory PTO

Maine  (effective January 1, 2021), Nevada (effective January 1, 2020) and Bernalillo County, New Mexico (effective July 1, 2020) became the first jurisdictions to mandate that employers provide employees with paid leave that can used for any reason. These laws are a significant departure from the paid sick leave laws that have been adopted in many states and cities across the country that limit the leave to specific reasons.  We expect this broader trend to continue as other jurisdictions are considering similar proposals.

Paid Family and Medical Leave

Efforts to adopt and expand paid family and medical leave across the country continue, as new laws were passed, including in Connecticut and Oregon; benefits were extended in California; Colorado established a task force to implement a family and medical leave insurance program; and the District of Columbia began collecting taxes from private sector employers to fund its paid family leave program.

Other Types of Leave

The number of jurisdictions with laws requiring accommodations for pregnant and breastfeeding employees continues to grow.  We also saw a number of jurisdictions pass laws providing protected leave to employees serving in the state National Guard, civil air patrol and serving as emergency responders. A growing number of jurisdictions are also requiring leave for employees who are the victims of violence or who serve as organ donors.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 248

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About this Author

David Mohl Employee Leave Attorney
Principle

David Mohl is a Principal in the Atlanta, Georgia, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on proactive and preventative advice and counsel, with an emphasis in the area of leave management, focusing on the Americans with Disabilities Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, paid sick leave, and related leave statutes and policies.

Mr. Mohl has a wide range of labor and employment law experience, including disability leave management, wage and hour, discrimination, harassment, employment agreements, restrictive covenants, training, and...

404-525-8200
Tara Burke Employment lawyer Jackson Lewis
Of Counsel

Tara K. Burke is Of Counsel in the Cincinnati, Ohio, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She works with employers to build positive and inclusive workplaces and reduce legal risk through policy development, training, and employment law counseling.  

Ms. Burke provides practical and legal advice to clients on employment law issues including harassment and discrimination prevention, diversity and inclusion, hiring and interviewing, internal investigations, disability accommodation and leave management, reductions in force, individual separations and employee relations issues. Ms. Burke works with clients, including multi-state employers, to identify the trends in workplace law and stay in compliance with the rapidly changing state-by-state legal landscape. Ms. Burke helps clients of all sizes and in all industries, create, revise and implement workplace policies and procedures including employee handbooks. She also routinely conducts workplace training for leadership, human resources, managers and employees on numerous topics including strong management practices that reduce legal risk and build effective teams, preventing sexual harassment by supporting respectful and positive workplaces, achieving winning results through diversity and inclusion, conducting investigations, and employee accommodations and leaves of absence.

Ms. Burke has defended employers in employment-related litigation and administrative proceedings. 

513-322-5027