Upcoming Labor Law Updates You Must Know About
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As the year 2020 comes to an end, employers must be mindful of various Labor Law requirements that must be implemented the end of 2020 or beginning of 2021. Here is a list of important updates you must know about and take proper action and implement if applicable to your business.
1. Florida Minimum Wage Rate for 2021. The New Rate Becomes Effective Jan. 1, 2021
On Nov. 3, 2020, voters in Florida approved a constitutional amendment that will raise the state minimum wage rate each year until it reaches $15 per hour in 2026. Beginning in 2027, the state minimum wage rate will be adjusted annually by Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity.
The amendment did not change the tip credit Florida allows employers to deduct from their tipped employees. Since this credit will remain at $3.02, projected minimum wage rates for tipped employees are also included in the table below.
|Effective Date||New Minimum Wage Rate||Tipped Employee Wage|
|Jan. 1, 2021||$8.65 per hour||$5.63 per hour|
|Sept. 30, 2021||$10 per hour||$6.98 per hour|
|Sept. 30, 2022||$11 per hour||$7.98 per hour|
|Sept. 30, 2023||$12 per hour||$8.98 per hour|
|Sept. 30, 2024||$13 per hour||$9.98 per hour|
|Sept. 30, 2025||$14 per hour||$10.98 per hour|
|Sept. 30, 2026||$15 per hour||$11.98 per hour|
|Sept. 30, 2027||TBA||TBA|
Next Steps for Employers
Employers in Florida will need to adjust their payroll procedures to accommodate two minimum wage increases in 2021, the first on January 1, the second on September 30.
Employers can also use this information to plan for annual minimum wage increases through 2026.
Florida allows employers to pay their tipped employees a minimum wage rate of at least $5.63 per hour.
A tipped employee is an employee who engages in an occupation where he or she customarily and regularly receives more than $30 per month in tips. Employers are required to subsidize a tipped employee’s minimum wage rate if the employee’s tips and gratuities are insufficient to allow the employee to receive wages that are at least equal to the state’s minimum wage rate.
Employers must display the 2021 minimum wage poster in a location where employees can easily see it. The Florida 2021 minimum wage poster is available in English, Spanish and Creole.
Minimum Wage in other states
Aside from Florida, nearly half of all states in the U.S. have announced new minimum wage rates for 2021, most with an effective date of January 1, 2021. While the federal minimum wage is still $7.25 per hour, many states have set their own minimum wage where employers must pay their staff at the higher state minimum rate.
Here’s a list of all states that will be adapting a new minimum wage on or before January 1, 2021:
- Alaska: $10.34 (effective January 1, 2021)
- Arizona: $12.15 (effective January 1, 2021)
- Arkansas: $11 (effective January 1, 2021 for 4+ employees)
- California: $14 or $13 (depending on employer size, effective January 1, 2021 — see chart)
- Colorado: $12.32 (effective January 1, 2021)
- Connecticut: $13 (effective August 1, 2021)
- Florida: $8.65, then $10 (effective January 1, 2021 then September 30, 2021)
- Illinois: $11 (effective January 1, 2021 for 4+ employees)
- Maine: $12.15 (effective January 1, 2021)
- Maryland: $11.75 (effective January 1, 2021)
- Massachusetts: $13.50 (effective January 1, 2021)
- Michigan: $9.87 (effective January 1, 2021)
- Minnesota: $10.80 or $8.21 (effective January 1, 2021, see chart)
- Missouri: $10.30 (effective January 1, 2021)
- Montana: $8.75 or $4 (effective January 1, 2021, see chart)
- Nevada: $9.75 or $8.75 (effective July 1, 2021, see chart)
- New Jersey: $12 (effective January 1, 2021 for 6+ employees, see chart)
- New Mexico: $10.50 (effective January 1, 2021)
- New York: $15 – $8.35 (effective December 31, 2020, depending on employer’s size, industry and geographic location (see chart)
- Ohio: $8.80 or $7.25 (effective January 1, 2021, see chart)
- Oregon: $12.75 (effective July 1, 2021)
- South Dakota: $9.45 (effective January 1, 2021)
- Vermont: $11.75 (effective January 1, 2021)
- Washington: $13.69 (effective January 1, 2021)
What should employers do about the new 2021 minimum wage rates?
Employers that have employees working in any states where minimum wages are increasing should review their employees’ pay rates and make any required adjustments. Companies should also update their minimum wage poster notices as necessary to ensure compliance with local wage regulations.
2. Reminder: Florida’s E-Verify Law Becomes Effective Jan. 1, 2021. Public Contractors Will Need to Register With and Use E-Verify
Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, all public employers, contractors and subcontractors in Florida will need to register with and use the E-Verify System to certify the work authorization of all newly hired employees. Public employers, contractors and subcontractors will not be allowed to enter into a contract unless each party to the contract registers with and uses the E-Verify system.
Contractors must require subcontractors to provide an affidavit stating that they do not employ, contract with or subcontract with unauthorized aliens. A copy of his affidavit must be maintained for the duration of the contract.
Private employers are already required under federal law to verify employment eligibility for new hires with the I-9 Form. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, private employers in Florida will also be required by state law to verify employment eligibility after an offer of employment has been accepted. Private employers will not be required to retroactively verify work authorization for continuing employees hired before Jan. 1, 2021. However, employment verification for continuing employees will be necessary upon contract renewal or extension.
Private employers can verify employment eligibility by using the E-Verify System or by requiring individuals to provide the information required by Form I-9. Private employers are required to keep a copy of the documentation required for employment verification for at least three years from the initial date of employment.
Failure to comply with employment verification requirements may result in the revocation of state licenses for the noncomplying business.
Click here for more information.
3. The Department of Labor (DOL) Amends Employee Tip Regulations. New Requirements Become Effective 60 Days After Their Publication in the Federal Register (publication still pending)
On Dec. 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a final rule to amend employee tip regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The final rule will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register.
The FLSA allows employers to collect all the tips employees receive into a common employee tip pool, then redistribute these tips among employees in an equitable manner.
The Final Rule
This new final rule prohibits employers from keeping their employees’ tips and specifically prohibits managers and supervisors from keeping any portion of employee tips, including tips from a tip pool.
In addition, the rule limits an employer’s ability to implement mandatory tip pools that include non-tipped employees and incorporates a new recordkeeping requirement for employers that do not take a tip credit but collect employees’ tips to operate a mandatory tip pool.
Finally, the new rule also incorporates new civil monetary penalties, codifies recent DOL guidance on how to compensate a tipped employee who performs non-tipped duties at work and harmonizes FLSA requirements with Executive Order 13658 (Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors).
Impact on Employers
Employers with tipped employees should become familiar with these new regulations and adjust their timekeeping, tip pooling and payroll practices to comply with this rule by its effective date.
4. Guidance on FLSA, FMLA, EPPA and SCA Notices
On Dec. 29, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued Field Assistance Bulletin 2020-7, which addresses when the DOL will consider electronic posting by employers (by email, or an internet or intranet website) sufficient to provide employees with required notice of their statutory rights under a variety of federal labor laws.
The Bulletin was issued in response to employer questions about the use of electronic means to post notices under the following laws, as more employees work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA);
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA);
- The Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA); and
- The Service Contract Act (SCA).
The Bulletin summarizes the current statutory and regulatory posting requirements, and explains how electronic means of satisfying these requirements can be achieved under the new guidance.
5. Stimulus Bill With Temporary Special Rules for FSAs Signed Into Law. Employers Can Provide Employees Additional Time to Use FSA Funds
On Dec. 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 into law. The Act provides temporary special rules for health and dependent care flexible spending accounts (FSAs) that give employees additional time to use these funds.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees may be more likely to have unused amounts in health or dependent care FSAs. For plan years ending in 2020 and 2021, the Act allows employers to:
- Permit employees to carry over unused amounts remaining in these FSAs to the next plan year.
- Extend the grace period to 12 months after the end of such plan year.
- Permit employees who cease plan participation during 2020 or 2021 to continue to receive reimbursements from unused amounts through the end of the plan year in which their participation ended.
The Act also allows employees to elect to prospectively modify the amount of their FSA contributions for plan years ending in 2021, even if they have not experienced a change in status. However, the applicable dollar limitations will continue to apply. Employers can retroactively adopt plan amendments incorporating these provisions, if specific requirements are met.
6. DOL to Accept Telemedicine as In-person Visit for FMLA Purposes. New Directive Aligns Enforcement Practices with COVID-19 Guidance
On Dec. 29, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published Field Assistance Bulletin 2020-8 to provide enforcement guidance regarding the use of telemedicine when establishing a serious health condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
FMLA job protections are available to eligible employees who need to take time off work due to their own serious health condition or the serious health condition of a spouse, child or parent.
A serious health condition must involve either inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider. “Treatment” includes in-person medical examinations and evaluations by a health care provider and excludes phone calls, letters, emails or text messages.
However, as part of its response to the COVID-19 public emergency, the DOL issued FAQ #12, allowing for telemedicine to be considered as in-person visits under the FMLA if certain criteria are met.
Telemedicine as In-person Visit
The DOL will consider a telemedicine visit with a health care provider as an in-person visit if the telemedicine visit:
- Includes an examination, evaluation or treatment by a health care provider;
- Is permitted and accepted by state licensing authorities; and
- Is generally performed by videoconference.
Communication methods that do not meet these criteria are insufficient, by themselves, to satisfy the regulatory requirement of an “in-person” visit.
7. Colorado State Employers Must Provide 80 Hours’ Emergency Leave on Jan. Requirement Applies Even to Employers With Fewer than 16 Employees.
On Jan. 1, 2021, Colorado employers will have to provide workers with up to 80 hours of paid public health emergency leave (PHEL) under the state’s Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, passed in July 2020. The requirement was clarified in guidance and temporary emergency rules issued by the state’s Department of Labor and Employment (DLE) on Dec. 23, 2020.
The PHEL requirement mandates that on the date a public health emergency is declared, employers provide full-time employees with enough supplemental paid leave to ensure they have a total of 80 hours of paid leave to use for specified purposes related to the emergency. Part-time employees are entitled to a lesser amount of the supplemental paid leave, and all employees may use the leave for four weeks following the end of the public health emergency.
According to the DLE’s Dec. 23 guidance and temporary rules, the PHEL requirement was triggered by Colorado executive orders declaring and extending a COVID-19 public health emergency through at least Dec. 27, 2020. Employers with fewer than 16 employees must provide 80 hours of PHEL, despite not having to provide general paid sick leave under the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act until 2022.
We hope this information was very helpful to you. Our goal is to provide you with useful information to assist you with labor requirements and compliance. Contact us today to further assist you. We wish you the best success!
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