Changes to Iowa unemployment benefits coming July 1

June 20, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Tara Z. Hall

Several changes related to unemployment benefits in Iowa are set to take effect July 1. The changes are seen as beneficial to employers.

Unemployment and incarceration

An amendment to the Iowa Employment Security Act (IESA) adds a new subsection to the Iowa Code that provides that an employee will be disqualified from receiving benefits if he misses work because of incarceration unless the following four factors are satisfied: read more…

Iowa workers’ comp changes coming July 1

June 15, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Tara Hall and Rebecca Duffy

Changes to Iowa’s workers’ compensation law—changes seen as mostly beneficial to employers—are set to take effect July 1.

The employer-friendly changes to the state’s workers’ comp law include a new provision classifying shoulder injuries as scheduled-member injuries rather than body-as-a-whole injuries, which force an industrial disability analysis. Another change limits compensation for body-as-a-whole injuries to functional disability when the employee returns to work or is offered work at the same or higher pay than he earned at the time of the injury. Another employer-friendly provision places burdens regarding an offer of suitable work on both the employer and the employee.

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Paid sick leave laws for Chicago-area workers take effect July 1

June 05, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Steven L. Brenneman

Most employers in Chicago and Cook County will be required to offer paid sick leave beginning July 1. The city of Chicago passed a sick leave ordinance last summer, and Cook County (where Chicago is located) passed a nearly identical law in October. The ordinances apply to all businesses that are located in the city or county or are subject to city licensing requirements (except for employers in the construction industry).

The laws require employers, regardless of size, to provide all employees who work at least 80 hours in a 120-day period with one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours of leave per year. Employees are allowed to carry half of their unused accrued paid sick leave (up to 20 hours) to the next year. In addition, employers that are subject to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) must allow FMLA-eligible employees to carry over up to 40 additional hours of accrued paid sick leave to use exclusively for FMLA-qualifying purposes.

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CBO says revised AHCA not much of an improvement over prior version

May 25, 2017 0 COMMENTS

The saga of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Republican plan to repeal and replace key portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has been a long and winding one so far.

To recap: The original version of the AHCA was introduced in early March. After receiving lukewarm support and a discouraging report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which concluded that it would leave an additional 24 million Americans uninsured by 2026 as compared with the current ACA, it was pulled from the House floor shortly before a scheduled vote on March 24.

Republican lawmakers regrouped, and on May 4, a modified version of the AHCA squeaked through the House by the slimmest of margins. The vote took place before the CBO had a chance to review the new version of the bill.

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$15 minimum wage clears Baltimore City Council

March 21, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Kevin C. McCormick

On March 20, the Baltimore City Council voted 11-3 to approve a bill that would raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. If ultimately enacted, the minimum wage would be the highest in Maryland.

Under the proposed legislation, the minimum wage for employees working in the city would rise to $15 an hour by 2022. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees would have until 2026 to reach that threshold. There are exceptions for employees younger than 21 and workers who participate in training programs through the Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Employment Development.

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Missouri governor signs new right-to-work law

February 06, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Bob Kaiser, Daniel O’Toole, and Jeremy Brenner

As anticipated, the Missouri Legislature has once again passed a right-to-work law. However, unlike the two prior right-to-work measures passed by the legislature but vetoed by former Governor Jay Nixon, the version passed on February 2 was signed into law by newly elected Governor Eric Greitens on February 6. Missouri has now become the 28th right-to-work state.

Law’s key provisions

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New Illinois law bans noncompetition agreements for low-wage workers

December 21, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Steven L. Brenneman

The Illinois Freedom to Work Act, which will ban noncompetition agreements for low-wage private-sector employees, goes into effect on January 1.

The law defines a “low-wage employee” as an employee who earns the greater of the applicable federal, state, or local minimum wage or $13 per hour. Therefore, the law initially will apply to noncompetition agreements with employees earning $13 per hour or less.

The law defines “covenant not to compete” broadly to mean an agreement between an employer and a low-wage employee that restricts the employee from performing: read more…

California Equal Pay Act expansion takes effect January 1

December 19, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Cathleen S. Yonahara
Freeland Cooper & Foreman LLP

California’s equal pay law will provide protections for race and ethnicity as well as gender as of January 1, 2017.

Since 1949, California law has prohibited gender-based wage discrimination, and in 2015, that protection was expanded to require equal pay for men and women who perform “substantially similar” work for an employer regardless of their location and to place the burden of proof on the employer to demonstrate that any pay gap is due to nondiscriminatory factors.

Effective January 1, the law also will protect employees from disparities in pay based on ethnicity. The new prohibitions on wage differentials based on ethnicity track the prohibitions on wage differentials based on gender. The employer bears the burden of proving that a wage differential is based on: read more…

California’s minimum wage going up on January 1

December 12, 2016 0 COMMENTS

The minimum wage in California will rise to $10.50 an hour on January 1 for most employers thanks to a measure signed into law in April. Future incremental increases will put the state’s minimum wage at $15 an hour by January 2022 for employers with 26 or more employees. Smaller employers will have more time to reach the eventual $15 level.

The current minimum wage in California is $10 an hour. Under the new law, employers with 26 or more employees will see the minimum wage go to $10.50 on January 1, 2017.

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Changes coming to Delaware’s discrimination law

December 07, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Lauren E.M. Russell

Changes that will expand the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act (DDEA) to include discrimination based on family responsibilities and reproductive health decisions are set to take effect on December 30.

Under the revised law, it will be unlawful for a covered Delaware employer to discriminate against employees because of their family responsibilities. “Family responsibilities” are defined as “the obligations of an employee to care for any family member who would qualify as a covered family member under the Family and Medical Leave Act [FMLA].”

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