Inspiring HR is happy to provide Monthly State 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. Other changes may have been addressed in previous updates, which can be accessed online on our website https://inspiringhr.com/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:
Tempe & Tucson CROWN ACT Passage – In Effect
In 2021 the cities of Tucson and Tempe each expanded their Anti-Discrimination ordinances to include “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act,” aka The CROWN Act, which aims to eliminate discrimination against persons of African, Jewish, Latinx, or Native American descent.
The individual Acts added the prohibition of discrimination in employment (such as hiring, discipline, promotion and discharge), and other opportunities on the basis of hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles that are commonly associated with race
For the purpose of these Acts, “protective hairstyle” typically includes such hairstyles as braids, locs, twists, tight coils or curls, cornrows, bantu knots, afros, and headwraps.
Employers are encouraged to audit their various documents, such as applications and websites, and internal policies, such as dress codes, to remove or update verbiage that adversely impacts groups or hairstyles identified in the Act, and update or remove verbiage accordingly from written communications and handbooks.
Managers should be trained on covered hairstyles, and set expectations that they not discipline, discriminate or retaliate against, or otherwise deny opportunities to, employees for wearing protective hairstyles that are commonly associated with race. Bona fide concerns with safety should be reviewed with your HR and Compliance Managers.
Tucson Minimum Wage Act for Non-Exempt Employees – Effective April 1, 2022:
Under the Act, the City’s minimum hourly wage increased to $13.00.
The Act applies to all employees, whether full-time, part-time, or temporary, who perform at least five hours of work within Tucson’s geographic boundaries. This includes employees who work from home within the city boundaries regardless of the corporate office location.
Employers may take a tip credit of no more than $3.00 for “tipped employees,” whose definition essentially matches that found under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
All employers, except the State of Arizona, the United States, and tribal entities, are covered by the Act.
Tucson – Expanded Definition of Work Hours
Act also defines work hours to expressly include:
- Time that an employer requires the employee to undergo a security screening immediately prior to or following a work shift;
- to be on the employer’s premises;
- to be at a prescribed work site;
- or to be logged in and actively attentive to an employer-provided computer program, phone application, or similar device.
Tucson – Employee or Independent Contractor?
While independent contractors are not considered employees, under the Act an individual is assumed to be an employee unless the employer can establish that:
- the individual is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work;
- the individual performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
- the individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed for the hiring entity.
Tucson – Method of Payment
The Act prohibits employers from requiring employees “to receive minimum wage payments using a pay card, reloadable debit card, or similar method that requires the employee to possess a valid social security number.”
Tucson – Scheduling Pay
Under the Act, “large” employers, defined as those that averaged at least 26 employees (full-time, part-time, or temporary) during the last quarter of the previous year, must pay at least three hours of minimum wage compensation when:
- an employee is scheduled to work at least three hours; the employee timely reports for duty; the employee is able to work the entire shift; and the employer engages the employee for fewer than three hours; or
- an employee is scheduled to work at least three hours and the employer cancels the employee’s shift with less than twenty-four (24) hours’ notice.
Tucson – Prohibited Pay Deductions
Except as required by law or court order, the Act prohibits employers from making deductions from employee pay “if doing so will result in the employee receiving less than the minimum wage, including but not limited to amounts deducted for employer-provided meals and damaged, lost, or spoiled goods.”
San Francisco PSL updates and FFWO amendment – In Effect
Th city of San Francisco has updated its Paid Sick Leave Ordinance to include Covid 19-related reasons for leave to include (but are not limited to): quarantine/isolation, absences due to vaccines, work, school or place of care closures. Medical certification requirements are also temporarily limited to absences of more than 5 days (normally this would occur for absences after more than 3 days) and, if Covid-related and employee is not under medical care, written employee attestation must be accepted.
The city’s Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance, which allows covered employees (working for an employer of 20+ employees regardless of location and meeting service requirements) to request a flexible or predicative schedule to care for a child under the age of 18, a family member with a serious health condition or a parent over the age of 65 will expand in July 2022 to include care for any family member over the age of 65.
Minimum wage increase in Howard County, MD – Effective April 1, 2022
Employees located in Howard County; MD have received a minimum wage increase to $14.00 per hour. Howard joins Montgomery County, MD (currently at $15 per hour) in setting wages above the state minimum of $12.50 per hour for employers with 15+ employees, and $12.20 for employers with fewer than 14 employees.
COVID prevention standard revoked – Effective March 23, 2022
The Virginia Permanent COVID Prevention Standard has been revoked so employers are no longer required to comply with the Standard.
In place of the Standard, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) is proposing a one-page guidance document to help employers continue to provide a safe, healthy workplace and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. You can review the draft guidance on the DOLI website.
Employers are still encouraged to follow the CDC’s guidance to reduce COVID-19 transmission.
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 decisions about policies.