Keeping up with compliance requirements under Pennsylvania and federal laws can be challenging enough; however, for Pennsylvania employers that do business in multiple states, the compliance burden can grow exponentially. It is expected that we will see little new federal employment legislation over the next few years. However, the lack of legislative activity in Washington may prompt some state legislatures to place a greater emphasis on employment issues than usual. It already appears that 2018 will yield a bumper crop of new state employment laws across the nation. California, as usual, leads the league in new employment laws with a dozen new state employment laws taking effect on January 1, 2018. Pennsylvania has no new notable employment laws scheduled to take effect; however, as we previously reported, Governor Wolf is aiming to revise overtime regulations under the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act. Several of our neighboring states (New Jersey and West Virginia) have no new employment laws taking effect in 2018 – while New York has a number of new laws on the books. Here is a very quick look at new state employment laws taking effect in 2018 among the states that border Pennsylvania.
Paid Family Leave – This law is perhaps the most likely to trip up unwary Pennsylvania employers. Any employer that employs at least one employee in New York for at least 30 days during the calendar year is covered; however, employees are not eligible for benefits until they have worked 26 consecutive weeks (or 175 days of employment for employees who average fewer than 20 hours per week). Eligible employees will be eligible for 8 weeks of paid family leave in 2018 and this entitlement gradually increases to 12 weeks by 2021. Pay during leave is based on a fraction of the state’s average weekly wage. Employers may purchase coverage or self-insure. Employees may be charged to cover all or part of the premium via payroll deduction.
Workplace Safety (Smoking) – Effective November 22, 2017, employees are now prohibited from vaping in workplaces (and other public places).
Salary History (New York City Ordinance) – Following suit with the City of Philadelphia, the Big Apple now prohibits covered employers from asking applicants about their salary history and from relying on that history unless the information is offered by the applicant voluntarily. Note: Philadelphia’s Ordinance is currently being challenged in federal court and enforcement of the Ordinance has been stayed pending outcome of this litigation.
Salary History – On December 14, 2017, Delaware’s law prohibiting employers from seeking an applicant’s pay history from current or former employers took effect. Delaware is the third state to pass such legislation, joining California and Massachusetts. As noted above, several cities (including Philadelphia) have passed ordinances with similar requirements.
Data Breach Notifications – Delaware was one of several states to update its laws governing notifications in the event of data breaches (i.e. identity theft prevention). The new requirements take effect April 4, 2018.
Data Breach Notifications – Like Delaware, Maryland has updated its law governing notifications in the event of data breaches. The amendments took effect January 1, 2018.
Paid Sick Leave – Maryland’s “Healthy Working Families Act” is scheduled to take effect February 11, 2018; however, recent legislative efforts have been made to delay the effective date until July 2018. Under the law, employees who have completed 106 days of employment and who work at least 12 hours per week are entitled to accrue sick leave at a rate of 1 hour per 30 hours worked – subject to a 40 hour annual cap. For employers with 15 or more employees, the sick leave must be paid. Smaller employers may provide the leave on an unpaid basis. Covered employers are required to maintain records of accrual and usage for at least three years.
Unemployment Insurance – Ohio’s law governing unemployment insurance has been amended effective January 1, 2018 to require employers to submit quarterly wage and contribution reports electronically.
We hope that this quick summary is helpful. If you have questions, please contact any member of our Labor and Employment Law Practice Group.