Oregon, Colorado Declare Public Health Emergencies Triggering Leave Requirements

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza cases are surging across the United States while COVID-19 continues to spread. Faced with hospital beds filling up and experts warning that this could be one of the most severe respiratory illness seasons in recent years, two states—Oregon and Colorado—have declared public health emergencies that will impact state sick and family leave requirements as workers struggle with the illnesses or to care for sick children.

New York Enacts Law Prohibiting Discipline for Legally Protected Absences

On November 21, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law Senate Bill S1958A, which amends section 215 of the New York Labor Law (NYLL) to enhance protections for employees who take legally protected absences. The law takes effect on February 19, 2023.

State Voting Leave Requirements: A Refresher in Preparation for the 2022 Midterm Elections

Millions of workers across the United States will be headed to the polls on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, for the midterm elections. With control of Congress up for grabs for the final two years of President Joe Biden’s first term, several close Senate races, five states considering ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana, and 36 states holding elections for governor, this midterm election is one of the most highly-anticipated in decades. Early voting numbers in some states already suggest there could be record turnout.

Québec Employers: The Rules for Injured Workers’ Temporary Assignment and Workplace Reintegration Have Changed

On October 6, 2021, the Act to modernize the occupational health and safety regime took effect. As indicated in the act’s title, its purpose was to modernize Québec’s occupational health and safety regime with regard to the prevention and compensation of employment injuries.

European Court of Justice Finds That There Is Not an Automatic Start of the Limitation Periods for Paid Annual Leave Days

Paid annual leave days in Germany have been the subject of several recent decisions by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), with the Luxembourg-based judges regularly opposing previous case law of the Federal Labor Court regarding paid annual leave. The ECJ’s concerns have centered on the forfeiture provisions in Germany’s Federal Paid Leave Act, among other things.

Colorado Gears Up for Sweeping New Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program

Colorado employers may want to begin preparing for the implementation of Colorado’s new state-run Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program. While Colorado voters approved Proposition 118 nearly two years ago, which set the path for implementation of the FAMLI program, employers and employees will not feel its effects until January 1, 2023. However, due to the impact FAMLI will have on the employment leave landscape, employers may want to begin educating themselves and their employees now on its requirements, as compliance will require cooperation across multiple departments.

Governor Newsom Signs COVID-19 Sick Pay, Small Business Relief Bill

California is extending COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (SPSL) through the end of 2022 under a bill signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 29, 2022. Assembly Bill (AB) 152 will also set up a program to provide grants of up to $50,000 to qualified small businesses to cover costs incurred for COVID-19 SPSL.

Job Resignations, Vacation Days, and Redundancy Pay: Employment Law Surprises From Italy, the Netherlands, and Australia

Employment laws in every country have anomalies that can catch employers off-guard because they do not seem to make sense—until you look under the surface. Three examples of this are from Italy, the Netherlands, and Australia, involving rules governing voluntary employment resignations in Italy to vacation leave accruals in the Netherlands to surprising redundancy pay entitlements in Australia. Here is a quick look at some fascinating features of these countries’ laws.

Fourth Circuit Reinstates Employee’s Claim That Social Media App Messages Provided Sufficient Notice of a Medical Absence

On August 15, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held in Roberts v. Gestamp West Virginia, LLC, that an employer’s “usual and customary” notice procedures relating to absences extended beyond the company’s written policies and potentially included social media messages between an employee and manager.

California Governor Marks Labor Day 2022 by Signing FAST Recovery Act Into Law

On September 5, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom marked Labor Day 2022 by signing Assembly Bill (AB) No. 257, the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act (FAST Recovery Act), into law. The new law creates the Fast Food Council within the California Department of Industrial Relations, which is tasked with setting minimum standards for fast-food industry workers related to wages, health and safety conditions, security in the workplace, the time off from work for protected purposes, and protections from discrimination and harassment.

Pennsylvania Federal Judge Tosses Challenge to Employer Jab or Swab Mandate

On August 26, 2022, Chief U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania dismissed a putative class action representing approximately 100 healthcare company employees brought against their employer, Geisinger Clinic. In the suit, the employees challenged their employer’s policy requiring employees to either be vaccinated for COVID-19 or agree to regular testing and quarantining. In dismissing the complaint, the court rejected the employees’ religious discrimination, constitutional, and state law claims, calling the employees’ evidence “a collection of distorted statements and anti-vaccine hocus-pocus.”

Changes to Employee Paid Sick Leave Provisions in the Canada Labour Code

Significant changes are coming to the employee paid sick leave regime under Part III of the Canada Labour Code (CLC) that will affect employers with one hundred or more employees in federally regulated industries such as banking, aviation, telecommunications, and inter-provincial transportation. Currently, these changes are set to become effective on December 1, 2022.

Considerations for Louisiana Employers Post-Dobbs: Employment Discrimination Concerns and Leave of Absence Issues

On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning Roe v. Wade, holding that the U.S. Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion, and returning the authority to regulate abortion to individual states. Louisiana was one of thirteen states that had “trigger laws” that went into effect immediately or by quick state action when Roe was overturned and that either completely banned or severely limited abortions.

Military Leave and USERRA Reemployment Rights: 3 Steps for Reading Orders to Determine Five-Year Cap Exemptions

Employers may be surprised to learn that certain employees with greater than five years of military leave may still have reemployment rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). USERRA has numerous exemptions to the statute’s five-year service limit, and employers may need to consult an employees’ orders and discharge documents (DD-214 or NGB 22) before denying an employee reemployment rights under USERRA.

2022 Changes to Michigan’s Paid Medical Leave: ‘Back to the Future’? Well, Not So Fast!

Earlier today, the Michigan Court of Claims issued a stay of its July 19, 2022, decision in Mothering Justice v. Nessel that had reinstated ballot initiatives that would have drastically changed the state’s paid medical leave and minimum wage laws. The stay is in place until February 19, 2023. This means that the adopted and amended versions of these laws will remain in place for now.

Not Monkeying Around Anymore: Time for Employers to Pay Attention to Monkeypox

The World Health Organization (WHO) director general declared the current outbreak of monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Similarly, San Francisco declared a public health emergency due to the increase in monkeypox cases and the state of New York declared the spread of the virus an “imminent threat to public health.”

2022 Changes to Michigan’s Paid Medical Leave: Back to the Future

On July 19, 2022, the Michigan Court of Claims reinstated Michigan’s original (2018) voter-initiated versions of the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act (IWOWA) and the Earned Sick Time Act (ESTA). This reversion immediately increases Michigan’s minimum wage rate to $12 per hour and significantly expands the paid sick leave employers must provide to eligible employees.