Recent Changes to State and Local Employment Laws Include Minimum Wage Increases, Mandatory Sick Leave and Extension of Employee Protections to Non-Employees
SAN LEANDRO, Calif. – JANUARY 20, 2015 – As we enter the new year, TriNet (NYSE: TNET), a leading cloud-based provider of HR services, highlights some of the top labor law trends that small and medium-sized business (SMBs) owners need to know in 2015 in order to keep compliant.
Last year’s labor and employment-related legislative activity declined slightly in comparison to 2013. However, changes to employment laws and regulations in 2014 were still significant. While congressional gridlock was the main trend at the federal level, over 100 state and local laws were enacted in 2014 to address human resources-related issues.
Almost all of the laws passed in 2014 increase protections or rights for employees. Some of the most notable examples of this overall trend are trends in their own right, including the following:
- Efforts at the state and municipal level to require employers to provide paid sick leave have been meeting with success. In 2014, California and Massachusetts enacted measures that will double the number of state-level jurisdictions with paid sick leave requirements (since Connecticut and the District of Columbia already had similar requirements in place). This trend has been even more pronounced at the local level, where new sick leave requirements in Oakland, Calif. and Eugene, Ore. were promulgated in 2014, adding to many such requirements already on the books in other cities (including San Francisco, New York City, three cities in New Jersey, Seattle and Portland, Ore. – and industry specific requirements in other locales).
- State and local interest in extending employment protections to non-employees has also been notable. For example, as a consequence of laws passed in 2014, the states of California and Illinois will provide interns with fair employment protections in 2015. This will nearly double the number of states that grant anti-discrimination and harassment protection to non-employees; the District of Columbia, New York and Oregon already had in place similar requirements.
- Finally, boosting lower-paid employee’s wages was a big theme at the state and local level last year. As a consequence, the minimum wage rates in at least 24 states will change in 2015. Maryland has scheduled two increases – in January and July of 2015. New York scheduled an increase to take effect on December 31, 2014, and another to take effect on December 21, 2015.
Employers should be prepared to deal with the new compliance challenges presented by these trends, and should watch to see whether these trends (and many others) continue in the form of new laws and ordinances passed this year. It is likely that 2015 will be another year of high activity insofar as the creation of new requirements for employers at the state and local level.
Burton Goldfield, President and CEO, TriNet
“The government does not always think about the size of a company when it develops and sets new legislation and compliance regulations. If SMBs are not properly prepared for the changes to the laws, they can become hampered by the complexity of the new regulations. It is critical to the health of the business for employers to be well-versed and up to date on the state and local laws, seek expert advice as needed as well as have the technology needed to streamline the process. Doing so will help keep employers stay compliant in 2015, and eliminate HR headaches, transforming HR from a challenge into a strategic business driver.”
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TriNet is a leading provider of a comprehensive human resources solution for small to medium-sized businesses, or SMBs. We enhance business productivity by enabling our clients to outsource their human resources, or HR, function to one strategic partner and allowing them to focus on operating and growing their core businesses. Our HR solution includes services such as payroll processing, human capital consulting, employment law compliance and employee benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans and workers compensation insurance. Our services are delivered by our expert team of HR professionals and enabled by our proprietary, cloud-based technology platform, which allows our clients and their employees to efficiently conduct their HR transactions anytime and anywhere. For more information, please visit http://www.trinet.com.
Jock Breitwieser Michelle Sieling
TriNet Horn Group
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 Sharon Florentine “6 IT workforce predictions for 2015,” CIO.com December 15, 2014 http://www.cio.com/article/2859558/careers-staffing/6-it-workforce-predictions-for-2015.html