June 23, 2023

Federal and State Updates

Federal Updates

Childcare and Eldercare Benefits

Does your company supply any agencies of the federal government with products or services? President Biden recently issued an executive order potentially affecting all companies that supply agencies of the federal government, encouraging them to offer childcare/eldercare benefits. While it is currently a suggestion, the administration recently set a precedent with the CHIPS act, requiring semiconductor manufacturers seeking funding to provide childcare/eldercare to their employees.

The Larkin Company Family Care Concierge allows you to easily add childcare and eldercare benefits for your employees. Ask your account manager for details.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The EEOC has added information regarding the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) to its “Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal” poster. The update is just in time for the effective date of the PWFA on June 27, 2023 (see below). You can find electronic and printable versions of the poster in English and Spanish as well as audio recordings here.

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)

As a gentle reminder, the PWFA was passed as part of the federal spending omnibus package in December 2022 and goes into effect June 27, 2023. Even though the Act is effective this month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) must write the regulation and is not required to release it until December 29, 2023. This means all we have to go on at this time is what is stated within the omnibus package, which can be found here. The PWFA section is only two pages long and begins on page 1626. In essence, employers with 15 or more employees must engage in an interactive discussion process with a qualified employee or applicant and provide reasonable accommodation(s) for a known limitation due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer. Compared to previous laws, new requirements of this law include the concept that an essential job duty can be temporarily removed from the employee’s responsibilities within certain parameters, and leave of absence should not be required if another reasonable accommodation can be provided. The intent is to keep the employee working with a reasonable accommodation for as long as possible while the PWFA applies to their pregnancy.

State Updates

Paid Family Leave Insurance Updates

Texas Governor Abbott has signed HB 1996 into law (effective September 1, 2023) which authorizes insurers (life, health and accident insurance companies) to provide paid family leave insurance. The law specifies that family leave insurance is considered a type of disability income insurance.

The trend continues as Alabama has enacted HB 141 which authorizes disability insurers to offer paid family leave benefit policies. The law is effective as of August 1, 2023.

As mentioned previously, we recommend reaching out to your insurance carrier if you would like more information. Also, please keep your Larkin Account Manager updated if you do add Paid Family Leave to your group insurance policy.

California

City of San Francisco

The Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) has released the required poster for the city’s Military Leave Pay Protection Act (MLPPA). The poster must be posted where employees can read it easily. If you have an employee handbook that describes other kinds of leave available to your employees, you will need to include a description of the rights afforded to your employees under the MLPPA.

Employment Development Department (EDD)

You may have received emails from the EDD recently regarding a change to their online system for filing claims for State Disability Insurance (SDI) and Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits. The Benefit Programs Online (or BPO or SDI Online) is being replaced with myEDD. The EDD has published a few FAQs and we hope more information will be provided in coming weeks. It appears that the main benefit to myEDD is that it is more secure than the current system. If you reference SDI Online in any materials such as your employee handbook or leave policy, you will want to update “SDI Online” to “myEDD”. The DE 2515 (Disability Insurance Provisions), DE 2511 (PFL brochure), and DE 1857A all reference SDI Online, so our assumption is that the EDD will update these required documents as well. We’ll keep you updated.

Illinois

The Paid Leave for All Workers Act (SB 208) that we discussed here takes effect on January 1, 2024. While the law is several months away, the Illinois Department of Labor has published FAQs that may be of interest. As mentioned previously, there will be a required poster for employers to display, but at this time it is not yet available.

Nevada

AB 163 has passed and been signed into law by Governor Lombardo. The bill broadens the state’s established law that provides leave to eligible employees who are victims or whose family or household member is a victim of domestic violence, to include leave for victims of sexual assault. Further, in line with the initial law, employers must make reasonable accommodations (unless there is an undue hardship) for employees who are victims of sexual assault. Employers are required to post the “Domestic Violence Bulletin” in a conspicuous location in each workplace – we will share the updated bulletin once it’s available.

New York

SB 4844 was signed into law late last year and went into effect on June 7, 2023. The law expands the rights of nursing employees to express breast milk. For employers, the law requires that:

  • they allow an employee to express breast milk each time the employee has a reasonable need to do so (for up to three years following childbirth).
  • they designate a room or location (not a restroom or toilet stall) for an employee to express breast milk which is:
    • in close proximity to the work area,
    • well lit,
    • shielded from view; and
    • free from intrusion from other persons in the workplace or the public.
  • they develop a written policy and provide it to each employee upon hire and annually thereafter, and to employees returning to work following the birth of a child. Per the law, the Labor Commissioner created a model policy that employers may use to inform their employees.

North Dakota

The Peace Garden State’s Human Rights law states that it is a discriminatory practice for an employer to fail or refuse to make reasonable accommodations for an otherwise qualified individual because that individual is pregnant. Effective August 1, 2023, HB 1450 expands the term “pregnant” to include pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical reasons.

Rhode Island

The Department of Labor and Training has announced the new maximum weekly benefit amount for new claims with an effective date of July 1, 2023. The maximum weekly benefit will increase from $1,007 to $1,043. For those with the maximum of five dependents, the maximum weekly benefit will be $1,408, an increase from the current maximum of $1,359.

Virginia

A quick reminder that Virginia’s Organ Donation Leave Law, SB 1086, goes into effect July 1, 2023. For a refresher on the details, refer to this newsletter from April.

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