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.

The Latest in Multi-Jurisdictional Paid Sick Leave Compliance

Variations in paid sick leave requirements can cause major compliance issues for employers, particularly as the requirements can vary not only state-to-state but from locality to locality within a state. In fact, respondents to Ogletree Deakins’ recent survey report, Strategies and Benchmarks for the Workplace: Ogletree’s Survey of Key Decision-Makers, ranked leaves of absence, including paid sick leave and state leave laws, as the number one most challenging multijurisdictional compliance issue.

Connecticut Update: Recreational Marijuana, Captive Audience Meetings, and Leave Notices Requirements Take Effect July 1, 2022

The Connecticut legislature has been busy in 2021 and 2022. Approximately twelve months ago, it passed legislation effectively legalizing recreational marijuana under Connecticut state law. Very recently, it amended Connecticut’s employee free speech statute to, among other things, prohibit employers from convening what organized labor often refers to as “captive audience meetings” with employees to address unionization efforts. Also, effective January 1, 2022, many employees became eligible for Connecticut Paid Family and Medical Leave benefits, and the legislature amended the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CTFMLA) to apply to almost all private sector Connecticut employers.

New Mexico’s Paid Sick Leave Law Becomes Effective on July 1, 2022

Beginning on July 1, 2022, New Mexico’s Healthy Workplaces Act (HWA) requires private employers with even one employee working in New Mexico to provide paid sick leave (PSL) to eligible employees. The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions (DWS) recently published HWA guidance, in the form of answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), and regulations to provide guidance and clarity on various issues as the effective date approaches, including the definition of “covered employees”; rules for accrual, use, and carryover of paid sick leave; frontloading; and employee documentation and employer notification requirements.

Updates to Illinois’s Bereavement Leave and Employee Sick Leave Laws

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker recently signed into law two bills addressing employee leave. The Family Bereavement Leave Act (FBLA) provides eligible employees with unpaid time off to grieve the death of a family member covered by the act, and it provides employees with time off due to certain pregnancy- or adoption-related events.

Excusing False Positive Drug Test Caused by CBD Use May Be a Reasonable Accommodation, Says U.S. District Court in Louisiana

A federal district court in Louisiana, in Huber v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Florida, Inc., recently denied an employer’s motion for summary judgment in an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law (LEDL) case, finding, among other things, that accounting for and excusing a false positive drug test resulting from extended cannabidiol (CBD) use may be a reasonable accommodation.

Ontario Appellate Court Ruling Leaves Employers Waiting for Determination on Interpretation of COVID-19 Leave Provisions

Employers in Ontario have been waiting for clarification on the interpretation of COVID-19 leave provisions throughout much of the pandemic. Employers had hoped that the Court of Appeal’s decision in Taylor v Hanley Hospitality Inc. would provide clarity on the implications of Employment Standards Act, 2000 infectious disease emergency leave (IDEL) on an employee’s employment status.

A Primer on Oregon’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program

In 2019, the Oregon Legislative Assembly passed the Paid Family Medical Leave Act, which established a paid family and medical leave insurance (PFMLI) program for Oregon employees. On April 27, 2022, the Oregon Employment Department (OED) filed proposed administrative rules with the Oregon Office of the Secretary of State to detail the specifics of the program.

Cal/OSHA Updates COVID-19 ETS FAQs and Issues Fact Sheet for California Employers

On May 7, 2022, the day after the latest revision to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) went into effect, Cal/OSHA issued updated answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) and a fact sheet. The FAQs continue to evolve and change with each revision and readoption of the ETS. The FAQs now reflect the updated definitions, processes, and changes to the quarantine requirements for close contacts.

Maryland’s ‘Time to Care Act’—Frequently Asked Questions About Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits for Maryland Workers

Starting in 2025, Maryland workers may have an easier time making ends meet when they take otherwise unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Thanks to Maryland’s newly enacted Time to Care Act of 2022 (TTCA), Maryland workers will be able to apply for paid leave benefits from a state fund beginning on January 1, 2025.

Federal Court: Employee’s Self-Serving Testimony and Discovery Responses Did Not Satisfy Burden of Proof on Summary Judgment

In Buckmaster v. The National Railroad Passenger Corp. d/b/a Amtrak, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland addressed whether an employee had offered any evidence of discrimination or retaliation beyond his own speculative beliefs and personal disagreement with his employer’s legitimate business reason for terminating his employment.