Paid family leave. A new law in New Jersey will expand the state’s paid family leave program in a number of ways, including doubling the number of weeks for family leave insurance and temporary disability insurance; raising the weekly benefit; increasing the amount of intermittent leave; allowing leave to care for additional family members; barring discrimination and retaliation against employees who take family leave; and permitting leave related to domestic and sexual violence.
Employer CHIP notice. Employers sponsoring group health plans in states that provide premium assistance under Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) must furnish employees with an annual, written notice informing them of potential opportunities for premium assistance available in the states in which they reside. The sample notice requirement is available at https://www.dol.gov/sites/default/files/ebsa/laws-and-regulations/laws/chipra/model-notice.doc
Minimum wages. A new law in Illinois will increase the state’s minimum wage rate from $8.25 per hour to $9.25 per hour on January 1, 2020; to $10.00 per hour on July 1, 2020; to $11.00 per hour on January 1, 2021; to $12.00 per hour on January 1, 2022; to $13.00 per hour on January 1, 2023; to $14.00 per hour on January 1, 2024; and to $15.00 per hour on and after January 1, 2025. The hourly minimum wage for individuals under age 18 (who have not worked more than 650 hours for the employer) also will rise but at a slower pace. Tipped workers receive 60 percent of the minimum wage and the rest in tips or are supplemented by their employer; accordingly, the tipped wage will increase to $9.00 per hour by 2025. Tax credits to help small businesses and non-profit organizations offset the increased wages are included as well.
Daylight-saving time. This year, daylight-saving time begins on Sunday, March 10 at 2:00 a.m., when clocks will be set forward one hour. Shift workers who are on duty at that time will likely work one hour less, and paying them for a full shift may raise questions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). An additional hour of pay provided to an employee who works less than a full shift does not need to be included in calculating the worker’s regular rate of pay when considering any overtime for that week. At the same time, the extra hour of pay may not be credited toward any overtime pay that may be due.
Workplace violence. The fatal shooting of five Henry Pratt workers (including an HR manager and an HR intern) in Aurora, Illinois, is a sad reminder that it may be time for employers to review their workplace violence prevention programs. Relevant resources — including expert guidance, checklists, policies, and tips — are available on Poplar’s LiveHR help platform. Our thoughts go out to all those affected.