INFINITI HR is happy to provide Monthly State Labor Law Updates as a service to our subscribers. These briefs provide a general description and are not meant to be all-inclusive of compliance requirements. This list is not inclusive of all legislative changes for employers across the U.S. Changes may have been addressed in previous updates, which can be accessed from our blog.
Employers are encouraged to work with their Inspiring HR Consultant before making policy changes to capture the full requirements of these laws.
Some of the notable recent and upcoming state changes in this issue are as follows:
CO Protected Categories Expanded – Effective 8/7/2023
Colorado has added marital status to its list of protected classes. Employers cannot take any adverse employment actions against employees based on their marital status once the law takes effect.
CO Reasons for Paid Sick Leave Expanded – Effective 8/7/2023
Qualified reasons for use of paid sick leave are expanding to include:
- To grieve, attend funeral services or a memorial, or address financial and legal matters arising after the death of a family member.
- To care for a family member whose school/daycare is closed due to inclement weather, loss of power, loss of heating, loss of water, or other unexpected event.
- To evacuate their home due to inclement weather, loss of power, loss of heating, loss of water, or other unexpected event.
CO Restrictions on the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA’s) – Effective 8/7/2023
NDAs will be void if they limit the ability of an employee or prospective employee to discuss alleged discriminatory or unfair employment practices, with limited exceptions.
CO Record Keeping Requirements of HR Files – Effective 8/7/2023
New guidelines exist for specific employment “records.” A “personnel or employment record” under these guidelines has been defined to include:
- requests for an accommodation, such as for a disability or pregnancy;
- employee complaints of discriminatory or unfair employment practices;
- employment application forms; and
- other records related to hiring, training, promotion, demotion, transfer, layoff, termination, rates of pay or other terms of compensation, and selection for training or apprenticeship.
Employers are required to preserve these personnel or employment records for at least five years after the record was created, or in the case of charges of discrimination or complaints, five years after their resolution.
MD Legalization of Recreational Marijuana – Effective 7/1/2023
Personal use amounts of marijuana are legal in Maryland. Employers should review their pre- and post-employment drug testing policies to ensure compliance with conflicting state and federal regulations.
MD Increase in Non-Compete Ban Minimum Compensation – Effective 10/1/2023
Effective October 1, 2023, the compensation minimum for the non-complete ban increases to 150% of the state minimum wage, so these agreements will be prohibited for employees who make less than $19.88/hour. On January 1, 2024, the minimum will increase to $22.50/hour.
MD State Minimum Wage Updates – Effective 1/1/2024
The minimum wage in Maryland increases to $15.00/hour on January 1, 2024, for employers of all sizes. The current tiered approach, which allows a lower minimum wage for employers with 15 or fewer employees, is eliminated as of January. Montgomery and Howard Counties require a higher minimum wage; employers in those counties should review the current rates to ensure compliance.
MD Implementation of Paid Family & Medical Leave Program Delayed – Effective 10/1/ 2024
While no employer action is needed at this time, implementation of a state funded paid family leave program is delayed one year. In October 2024, employers and employees will see an additional 0.6% tax on earnings, and in January 2026, employees will be eligible for paid leave through the state program.
MN Minimum Wage Rates – Effective 7/1/2023
Employers with 100 or less employees:
- Must increase their employees’ minimum wage rate to no less than $14.50 per hour.
St. Paul, MN
Employers with 101 – 10,000 employees:
- Must increase their employees’ minimum wage rate to no less than $15.00 per hour.
Employers with 6 – 100 employees:
- Must increase their employees’ minimum wage rate to no less than $13.00
Employers with less than 6 employees:
Must increase their employees’ minimum wage rate to no less than $11.50
MN Pregnancy and Lactation Accommodations – Effective 7/1/2023
Under current state and federal law, Minnesota employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, including lactation (expressing breast milk). On July 1, 2023, Minnesota expands these accommodations and protections for pregnant and nursing employees.
Additional Accommodations and Protections
- Employees are entitled to breaks to express breast milk for as long as needed and are no longer restricted to taking lactation breaks for only the first 12 months from the birth of the child.
- Employers may not limit breaks and must provide as many breaks as needed.
- Employers may not require breaks to run concurrently with other assigned breaks.
- Employers must provide a space to express breast milk that is in close proximity to the employee’s work area that is clean, private and secure.
- Employers must provide employees with a notice of their rights under the law. The notice must be provided to all existing employees, to all new employees upon hire, and anytime an employee asks about or requests parental leave.
Bloomington, MN Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) – Effective 7/1/2023
On July 1, 2023, all Minnesota employers with employees working in Bloomington will be required to provide Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) to all employees. Employees must be provided with one hour of ESST for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours (six workdays) per year. The ESST plan may be set up as an accrual or may be provided as a lump sum on the first day of the designated plan year.
In addition, employers are required to provide a notice of the law to all existing employees and to all new employees upon hire. The notice must also be displayed in the workplace for all employees to access.
MN Bans “Captive Audience” Meetings – Effective 8/1/2023
Beginning August 1, 2023, Minnesota employers will be prohibited from requiring employees to attend employer sponsored meetings or communications related to religious and/or political matters. Political matters are defined as those relating to religious or political parties and community, fraternal, or labor organization.
Employers are prohibited from disciplining, penalizing, threatening, terminating and/or enacting any other adverse employment action against an employee for the following:
- Refusing to attend or participate in an employer sponsored meeting or communication in regard to employer’s opinion of religious and political matters; or
- Reporting a violation or suspected violation of the law.
MN Legalizes Recreational Marijuana Use – Effective 8/1/2023
Minnesota has legalized recreational marijuana use for all individuals 21 years of age and older. Beginning August 1, 2023, all Minnesota employers are prohibited from discriminating against, terminating or refusing to hire an individual who uses marijuana on their personal time, outside of work.
In addition, employers may no longer require or request pre-employment marijuana drug testing unless the individual is in a safety-sensitive position or a position where impairment would threaten the health or safety of any person. Employers may continue to test under reasonable suspicion, especially post- accident.
Employers are not required to permit or accommodate the use, possession, impairment, transfer, or sale of marijuana while the employee is working, is on company property and/or is operating Company equipment, machinery, and/or vehicles.
MN Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) – Effective 1/1/2024
On January 1, 2024, all Minnesota employers will be required to provide Earned Sick and Safe Time (ESST) to all employees. Employees must be provided with one hour of ESST for every 30 hours worked, up to 48 hours (six workdays) per year. The ESST plan may be set up as an accrual or may be provided as a lump sum on the first day of the designated plan year.
In addition, employers are required to provide a notice of the law to all existing employees and to all new employees upon hire. The notice will be available on the state website in the coming months.
ESST ordinances already exist in the cities of Bloomington, Duluth, Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. When the MN ESST law goes into effect on 1/1/2024, employers must follow the most protective law that applies to their employees. This could mean an employer has multiple ESST plans based on the work location of each employee.
MN Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFML) – Effective 1/1/2026
Minnesota Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) will become effective on January 1, 2026. PMFL will provide partial wage replacement to employees who need to take time off of work for certain qualifying medical reasons, for safety concerns and issues, as well as certain military related events.
- Starting in mid-2024, employers will be required to register through the state for Paid Family and Medical Leave. Employers will be required to submit a wage summary for all employees.
- Starting in late 2025, employers must notify all employees about the program. The state will provide recommended language for this notification as it gets closer to the effective date.
- Starting January 1, 2026, PFML employer and employee deductions will begin, and employees will be eligible for PFML wage replacement benefits.
NV Amends Paying Final Wages for Laid Off Employees – Effective 7/1/2023
Nevada now requires employers that place employees on a temporary “nonworking status” (temporary layoff), to immediately pay an employee’s wages.
This does not apply to:
- employees that have been placed on suspension pending an investigation relating to employment,
- suspension arising from a disciplinary action relating to employment,
- placed in an “on-call” arrangement for available work, or
- when the employee has been approved to take a leave of absence.
As with terminated employees, the 3-day window to pay and associated penalties for failure to pay on time will apply.
For the purpose of this change, “wages” are defined as:
- The amount which an employer agrees to pay an employee for the time the employee has worked, computed in proportion to time;
- Commissions owed the employee; and
- Any other amounts due to a covered/separating employee, but excludes any bonus or arrangement to share profits.
NV Adds Sexual Assault to Covered Reasons for Protected Leave – Effective 1/1/2024
Existing Nevada Protected Leave laws have been expanded to include sexual assault as a covered reason for victims or their family members to be eligible to take up to the 160 hours of leave.
The amendment also adds sexual assault to reasons that allow victims or their family members to seek reasonable accommodations from their employers. Reasonable accommodations would relate to the sexual assault, including a transfer or reassignment, modified schedule, new phone number, etc.
UT Amends Employer Protective Order Statute – Effective 7/1/2023
HB 324 allows employers to petition for and obtain workplace violence protective orders / restraining order against an individual who has engaged in or threatened potential workplace violence.
An employer will be immune from civil liability for (1) seeking a workplace violence protective order if the employer acts in good faith in seeking the order; or (2) for failing to seek a workplace violence protective order.
Interested in other current employment trends? Click the link to view the recent blog: It’s Time to Lighten Your HR Load or check back for more on human resources, payroll, insurance, and benefits.
This article does not constitute legal advice, and there are subtle variations in employment law as it pertains to this topic, depending on where your business operates. It is strongly suggested that you seek consultation or legal counsel before making policy decisions.