Inspiring HR is excited to introduce a new feature as a service to our subscribers: Monthly State Law Updates! 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 online on our website www.inspiringhr.com.
Employers are encouraged to work with their Inspiring HR Consultant before making policy changes to capture the full requirements of these laws.
Revised Form W-4 – effective January 2020
Employers received both a big visual change and a new approach with the release of the newest form W-4.
It’s the first major redesign in over 30 years, but with the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which eliminated personal and dependent exemptions, and increased both the standard deduction and child tax credit, the form needed to be updated.
The new version includes a five-step process to help employees determine withholding by including areas to address multiple jobs and two-earner families, as well as aligning the number of dependents with the amount of the federal tax credit.
Any employee hired on or after January 1, 2020 must complete the new form. Employees hired before January 1 will not be required to fill in the new form unless they want to make changes to their existing withholding.
Employers and employees with questions about the form can review resources on the IRS website.
Revised Form I-9 – Released January 31, 2020
All employers should begin using this updated form as of Jan. 31, 2020.
However, the notice provides employers additional time to make necessary updates and adjust their business processes. Employers may continue using the prior version of the form (Rev. 07/17/2017 N) until April 30, 2020 if needed. After that date, they can only use the new form with the 10/21/2019 version date. The version date is located in the lower left corner of the form.
Some of the notable upcoming State Changes in this issue are as follows:
Prevention of Harassment Training – effective January 2020
The amended IHRA requires the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) to produce a model training program for the prevention of sexual harassment. The model program will be available online to employers and the public. Every employer with employees working in Illinois must use the model program or establish a program that “equals or exceeds” the statutory standards for the IDHR’s program.
Those standards require, at a minimum, an explanation of sexual harassment, examples of unlawful conduct, a summary of relevant federal and state statutes, and a summary of employer responsibilities. Employers must provide this training to all employees at least once a year.
The new training requirements do not apply to state employers that are subject to the sexual harassment training requirements in the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act.
Pennsylvania – Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA Fair Workweek Act
On April 1, 2020, all Philadelphia employers in the retail, fast food or hospitality industry that have 250 or more employees and 30 or more locations worldwide, will be required to provide advance notice to all employees as follows:
- Provide all new employees with a written estimate of their work schedule, which includes the average number of hours the employee is expected to work each week;
- Provide all employees at least ten (10) days (will increase to 14 days 1/1/2021) advance notice of their work schedule;
- Notify any employee of any schedule changes as far in advance as possible prior to the change in schedule;
- Consider employee work schedule requests, including any requests not be scheduled for specific times and/or locations.
Employees are defined as all full time, part time, temporary and seasonal employees.
Employers are permitted to make changes to any schedule within 24 hours of the original schedule. Any schedule changes made after the first 24 hours will be subject to “predictability pay,” which is determined by the employee’s hourly rate of pay. The predictability pay must be provided to any employee who’s scheduled is changed. Employees must be provided a “right to rest” between shifts; therefore, employees may refuse the additional scheduled shift if there is less than nine (9) hours of rest between shifts. If the employee chooses to accept the additional shift, they are entitled to an additional $40 hours of pay.
Employers will be required to provide a notice of the law to all employees and will be subject to record retention requirements. The notice has not been released yet.
New Jersey Crown Act – Law Against Discrimination
The New Jersey, “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair” (CROWN) Act became effective on December 19, 2019.
The CROWN Act expands the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) law, which protects employees and potential employees from discrimination due to race, including traits historically associated with race, such as hair texture, hair type and protective hairstyles. The CROWN Act prohibits employers from enforcing an appearance policy that restricts or forbids an employee’s hairstyle that may be associated with race, such as twists, braids, cornrows, Afros, locks, Bantu knots and fades.
New Jersey employers are encouraged to review the Division on Civil Rights “Guidance on Race Discrimination Based on Hairstyle,” for guidance on the CROWN Act applies to their business. Employers are also advised to review their Grooming and/or Appearance Policies, if any, to determine if the policy language in is violation of the new law protections.
New York Minimum Wage and Exempt Salary Threshold Increases
Effective December 31, 2019, New York minimum wage and exempt salary thresholds increased. All employers are required to comply with the new minimum wage and exempt salary requirements as defined below:
|Exempt Salary Minimum Threshold
|Nassau, Suffolk & Westchester County
|The remainder of NY
Employers are encouraged to review their employees’ pay rates and exempt positions to determine if the work they are doing meet the minimum wage requirements and duties test that exempt them from overtime. Employee pay rates and/or salaries may need to be adjusted across the board. If an employee doesn’t meet the exempt duties test, he/she must be changed from non-exempt and start earning overtime pay as noted above.
This post does not constitute legal advice and there are subtle variations in employment law as it pertains to these topics, depending on where your business operates. It is strongly suggested that you seek HR consultation or legal counsel before making decisions about policies.