Events and Trends in Employment Legislation

New legislation, new rules and new decisions will have major effects on employers.
New legislation, new rules and new decisions will have major effects on employers.

I wanted to make you aware of some of the things that are going on in employment legislation around the country. This list is by no means the only things that are going on but they are ones I found interesting.

Federal level activities

First up, are the changes in the Fair Labor Standards Act. The USDOL has finished the first take on the first revision since 2004. They have submitted the first draft to the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review. According to attorney Doug Haas this review will be done in about 30 days. At that time the first draft will be published in the Federal Register for public comment. After another 30 days they will then start the process of revising the rules based on public comment, and that process can take as long as 90 days before the final rules are published. Typically there is a date established for implementation, so the likelihood we will see any required action will be January 1, 2016. However, the conjecture is that the base salary for someone to be an exempt employee will be increased from $23,660 to over $40,000 is strong. If you currently have any employees classified as exempt that are making under $40,000 you need to begin work now to prepare for making them nonexempt employees.
Second, a Federal judge has ruled that using LinkedIn to conduct background checks is not covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. According to Ogletree Deakins attorney Maria Greco Danaher, the judge basically said that LinkedIn does not meet the standard for coverage under the FCRA and employers do not have to be held to the same standards in its use as do employers using a consumer reporting agency. However, Danaher does say the judge left the door open for the lawsuit to be refiled that might alter the definition of “background check”. So employers are safe to use LinkedIn for the time being.

State level activities

There are several state level employment law activities that caught my eye. The first of these is reported by attorney Daniel Schwartz of Shipman and Goodwin out of the State of Connecticut. Apparently the General Assembly is working on a piece of legislation that will require all businesses to be able to predict the future with absolute certainty and, if wrong in that prediction, pay a penalty. The bill would require businesses to publish 21 days in advance what everyone’s work schedule would be and if they end up being different than that then the business must pay a “predictability tax.” I don’t know about you but that sounds like pretty flaky legislation and if I had a business in Connecticut I would be contacting my legislator.
A couple of other date sensitive items. On July 1, 2015 California has a mandatory paid sick leave law that goes into effect. According to attorney Kelly Scott “…all employees working in California for 30 or more days within a year from the commencement of employment are entitled to paid sick leave, which means that temporary and part-time employees may be eligible. Sick leave must either (i) accrue at the rate of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked, or (ii) total at least three days or 24 hours and be provided in full at the beginning of the year.” This should help bolster California’s population, maybe not its employer base however.
The other time sensitive item is also tied to July 1, 2015. In Chicago the minimum wage goes up to, yep you guessed it, $10 per hour. I bet you thought it was going to be $15 per hour, well not yet.
So there you have this legislative update. Stay aware.

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