Last year was a relatively quiet one when it came to key pieces of employment law (for the full summary of what happened, see the foot of this article).
But what’s on the agenda at the state and federal level that HR professionals will need to be aware of?
Here’s our round-up of what you need to be looking out for in 2024 from an employment law perspective.
Laws due to become effective from in 2024:
In the US, Illinois has become the third state to pass a mandatory paid time off law called the “Paid Leave for All Workers Act”, which grants employees a minimum of 40 hours of paid time off per year for any reason.
Only Nevada and Maine provide similarly sweeping mandatory paid leave.
This new law, which would be effective from 1 January 2024, will have a major impact on the landscape of paid leave in Illinois.
SB 723: Broadening re-hiring rights for laid-off employees
Current law requires employers to offer re-employment to qualified former employees as positions become available, so long as the former employees were: (1) employed for at least six months in the year preceding January 1, 2020; and (2) were laid-off for a reason related to the pandemic. SB 723 broadens the pool of covered employees by amending the first prong, applying it to any employee who was ever employed for at least six months, within any timeframe, and laid off on or after March 4, 2020.
AB 518: Paid Family Leave benefits:
AB 518 broadens the definition of a “family member” so that employees will be eligible for wage replacement benefit payments when they take time off work to care for a seriously ill “designated person.” To become effective from 1st July 2024.
SB 848: Leave for reproductive loss
SB 848 entitles employees to five days of leave for loss related to reproduction or adoption. The bill makes it unlawful for an employer to refuse an employee’s request for up to five days of leave following a reproductive loss event including but not limited to: miscarriage, unsuccessful assisted reproduction like IVF, or failed adoption.
SB 699 and AB 1076: Non-compete agreements
SB 699 (signed into law on September 1, 2023), effective January 1, 2024. This prohibits employers from entering into or enforcing non-compete agreements of any kind regardless of the employee’s work location or when and where the agreement was entered into. If forced to sign a non-compete agreements, employees can seek injunctive relief or damages.
SB 700: Protection for prior marijuana use
This bill makes it unlawful for an employer to request information about an applicant’s prior cannabis use. SB 700 also specifies that the law against discrimination based on marijuana use applies to information an employer may obtain about prior cannabis use from a person’s criminal history, unless otherwise permitted by law.
SB 553: Workplace violence protection
California became the first state in the country to require employers to develop, implement and maintain an “effective” workplace violence prevention plan, train employees, and create and maintain extensive records regarding workplace violence, beginning July 1, 2024.
SB: 616: Paid Sick Leave Expansion
SB 616 amends the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 to increase the amount of paid sick time employees can receive each year from three to five days (or 40 hours) for full-time employees. The law also increases the accrual threshold from six days (or 48 hours) to 10 days (or 80 hours).
Key employment law events in 2023:
Federal PUMP Act:
The 2023 federal omnibus spending act also included the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (“PUMP” Act). This law expanded the existing lactation accommodations for nursing mothers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The city of Chicago widened the definition of harassment and introduced new requirements for annual training and written anti-harassment policies containing prescribed information.
New York State updated its model sexual harassment policy, which employers must adopt or exceed.
Both the US and EU began preparing a voluntary code of conduct for AI.
In New York City (effective from July of this year) it became unlawful for an employer or an employment agency to use automated employment decision tools (AEDT) to screen candidates for recruitment or promotion unless a bias audit has been conducted first.
Other notable piece of legislation:
- California’s Pay Data Reporting bill required private employers with 100 or more employees to submit a pay data report to the California Civil Rights Department annually, beginning May 10, 2023.
- Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, employers with 15 or more employees – and at least one employee in California — must include the pay scale for a position in any job posting. Employers must also provide an employee with the pay scale for the employee’s current position upon the employee’s request.
- Effective September 17, 2023, new legislation required that virtually every job, promotion or internal transfer opportunity that is advertised by a New York business must include the compensation or a “range of compensation” for such job, promotion or transfer opportunity.
- Washington State’s Equal Pay and Opportunities Act required employers with 15 or more employees to “disclose in each posting for each job opening the wage scale or salary range.”
- Rhode Island’s Pay Equity Act was amended to impose new pay transparency requirements. Upon request, employers must “provide an applicant for employment the wage range for the position for which the applicant is applying.”
- Illinois renamed its Child Bereavement Leave Act the “Family Bereavement Leave Act” and expanded its scope to require employers with 50 or more employees to give their workers up to two (2) weeks of unpaid bereavement leave for more family members.
- Effective January 1, 2023, the Illinois Human Rights Act was amended via the Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act (the “CROWN Act”) to provide that the IHRA’s definition of “race” include traits associated with race, and lists certain hairstyles, such as braids, locs and twists, as an example.
- Effective January 1, 2023, amendments to the One Day Rest in Seven Act required that employers give non-exempt employees 24 hours of rest in each consecutive seven-day period (as opposed to the prior rule of a day of rest in each calendar week).
- Effective April 10, 2023, Amendment to New Jersey’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), including timing of required advance notice before the employment action is taken increasing from 60 days to 90 days.