Employers covered by the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Law must now post the revised Workers’ Compensation Bill of Rights summary. Released by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, the summary includes new compensation benefit amounts increased by enacted H.B 818. Starting July 1, 2016, an employer must pay a weekly benefit equal to two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage but not more than $575 per week for a work injury that is temporarily total. When the injury is partial in character and temporary in quality, the employer must pay a weekly benefit equal to two-thirds of the difference between the average weekly wage before the injury and the average weekly wage the employee is able to earn thereafter, but not more than $383 per week. For a surviving spouse with no other dependent, the total compensation is not more $230,000.
Last May, OSHA issued a final rule amending its Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses regulation (29 CFR 1904). The final rule requires certain employers to electronically report injury and illness data to OSHA and to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation. The anti-retaliation provisions of the final rule were originally scheduled to go into effect Aug. 10, 2016. However, OSHA has decided to delay enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions until Nov. 1, 2016 to provide additional outreach to the regulated community.
In just a few days, Minnesotans earning minimum wage will see an increase in their pay. Employers covered by the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act will have to pay their minimum wage rate employees new rates starting August 1, 2016. Employers with an annual gross volume of sales made or business done of $500,000 must pay at least $9.50 per hour. Employers with an annual gross volume of sales made or business done of less than $500,000 must pay at least $7.75 per hour. There is also a 90 day training wage for 20 year olds or younger of $7.75 per hour. Finally, employers with J-1 Visa employees must pay $7.75 per hour. Indexed annual increases begin January 1, 2018.
The State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has recently released the new Wisconsin Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave Act posting. As previously shared in our blog, Wisconsin employers with 50 or more employees must provide employees with up to six weeks of leave in a 12-month period to undergo a bone marrow or organ donation procedure and recovery. Under the law, employees may only take the leave if they have been employed by the same employer for more than 52 weeks and for at least 1,000 hours. Employees are responsible for scheduling the procedure so it does not disrupt the employer’s operations, and must provide an advance notice.
Virginia has made two important posting changes that require employers to post the revised Virginia All-On-One Labor Law Poster. The changes affect the Virginia Occupational Safety & Health (VOSH) posting and the State-mandated federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) posting.
Virginia has adopted work-related injury and illness reporting regulations that mirror federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. In 2015, federal OSHA amended its reporting requirements. OSHA retained the requirement that employers report work-related fatalities to OSHA within eight hours of the incident, but changed the regulation to require employers to report all work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and losses of an eye to OSHA within 24 hours of the incident. Consequently, Virginia enacted a new law revising the State’s reporting requirements so that they are identical to the revised federal OSHA reporting requirements.
Starting January 1, 2017, Connecticut employers will be prohibited from asking about an applicant’s prior arrests, criminal charges or convictions on an initial employment application. An employer is defined as “any person engaged in business who has one or more employees, including the state or any political subdivision of the state.” Under the enacted H.B. 5237, a covered employer cannot deny employment to an applicant who has had a prior arrest, criminal charge or conviction that has been erased from the records. Furthermore, employers cannot discharge or discriminate in any manner against an employee because he or she had a prior arrest, criminal charge or conviction that has been erased from the records. If an employee or applicant feels his or her rights were violated under the new law, the employee or applicant can file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner.
Pregnant employees in West Virginia may find it easier to perform their jobs. West Virginia has enacted the Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act (PWFA) prohibiting discrimination in employment based on pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. The law also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for limitations related to pregnancy and childbirth.
Although not defined in the law, common reasonable accommodations include:
- more frequent or longer break periods
- more frequent restroom, food, and water breaks
- acquisition or modification of equipment or seating
- limitations on lifting
- temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position
- job restructuring
- light duty
- assistance with manual labor
- modified work schedules
- time off for medical appointments
West Virginia law makes it unlawful to deny employment opportunities to a job applicant or employee because the individual requires reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy or childbirth, to require an applicant or employee to accept a particular accommodation, or to require an employee to take a leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided. The law does require an applicant or employee to provide the employer with written documentation from a health care provider that specifies the applicant’s or employee’s limitations and suggesting what accommodations would address those limitations.
Employers in the City of Los Angeles had more than a year to prepare for the City’s minimum wage hike that went into effect at the beginning of this month, but relatively little time to prepare for the mandatory paid sick leave benefits that also began to accrue to their employees since the beginning of this month. In June, the City amended its Minimum Wage Ordinance to require employers with 26 or more employees who work two or more hours during a particular week in the City of Los Angeles to begin providing paid sick leave benefits to employees effective July 1, 2016. Employers with 25 or fewer employees have until July 1, 2017 to begin providing paid sick benefits.
During Utah’s 2016 legislative session, a bill modifying the Workers’ Compensation Act to address volunteers was passed. The enacted bill (S. 76), which became effective May 10th, provides that volunteers are not employees for purposes of workers’ compensation, unless the nongovernment entity chooses to cover the volunteer with workers’ compensation coverage. A volunteer is defined as “an individual who donates service without pay of other compensation except expenses actually and reasonable incurred as approved by the supervising nongovernment entity.”
Recently, the Chicago City Council passed the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, effective next year on July 1, 2017. Covered employees, which are employees who work at least 80 hours for an employer within any 120-day period, can accrue hours of paid sick leave throughout each calendar year, and such hours can be utilized for themselves or definitive family members. Employee rights under this ordinance must be posted by the employer in a conspicuous place at each facility within the city limits.