March 15, 2024

Federal, State, and Local Updates

Federal Updates

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

We reached the 4-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this week, and there is updated guidance from the CDC. The guidance aligns COVID-19 recommendations with other common respiratory viral illnesses such as the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The CDC has officially ended the recommendation for those testing positive for COVD-19 to stay home for five days. Sick individuals with symptoms should stay home until their fever has disappeared for at least 24 hours (without relying on medications to lower the fever) and their symptoms have improved. For those who have contracted a respiratory virus, masking is still recommended for five days after leaving isolation.

National Paid Family and Medical Leave Program

Here we go again – President Biden is taking another shot at establishing a national paid family and medical leave program by adding a proposal to the 2025 budget. The program would be administered by the Social Security Administration and would provide eligible employees with 12 weeks of leave for their own serious health condition, bonding with a new child, family care, and for circumstances arising from a loved one’s military deployment. Not included in last year’s budget proposal, employees would also be able to utilize the leave to find safety from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

The President also called on Congress to require employers to provide seven job-protected paid sick days each year to all employees.

State and Local Updates

Hawaii

The Aloha State has recently released updated labor law posters. Although the changes are minimal, we encourage you to update these within your intranet and applicable Hawaii offices as soon as practicable. The Disability Compensation Law poster was updated to reflect the current Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, and the Wage and Hour Laws poster was updated to remove 2022 minimum wage information, as well as the change to the current director’s name.

Maryland

The Maryland Department of Labor (DOL) has created a new website for the state’s upcoming Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program. Navigate here to find an employer page and frequently asked questions on topics such as contributions, claims, and private plans. While the program is currently slated for contributions to begin in October 2024, with benefits becoming available January 2026, there are proposed regulations that are making their way through the General Assembly. If approved, the dates would be pushed back to July 2025 and July 2026, respectively. Only time will tell if the MD FAMLI program is delayed again. In the meantime, you can sign up for email updates from the DOL regarding the FAMLI program, and continue to keep an eye out for any coverage from us on any program changes.

Oregon

Proposed rules that would update both the Oregon Family and Medical Leave Act (OFLA) and Oregon sick leave were approved and made effective on March 2, 2024. The full notice with changes can be found here from the Bureau of Labor and Industries website, so we’ll give you just the highlights:

  • Employers will need to update their OFLA leave year to be “measured forward” by July 1, 2024, if not already tracking leave with this method. The rules also state that if an employer transitions to the “measured forward” method, then all OFLA-eligible employees must be provided a full benefit year of leave as of the first day of the new OFLA leave year (i.e., by July 1, 2024). Employers who already track OFLA as measured forward will not be affected by this change.
  • While calculating the average hours an employee has worked per week, these hours can now be determined by including any hours of protected leave taken, including OFLA leave, as well as hours actually worked.
  • A relationship by “affinity” has been added to the covered family members an employee can take OFLA leave for. If an employee requests sick time to care for a family member related by affinity, employers are allowed to provide the employee with an attestation form so the employee can attest to the family-like relationship.
  • If an employee is denied coverage under Paid Leave Oregon, the denial does not become a basis for an employer to also deny OFLA leave. Employers have an independent responsibility to determine OFLA eligibility.
  • If an employer requires the employee to present verification from a health care provider of their work clearance upon their return from OFLA leave for their own medical condition, the employer must pay for this return-to-work clearance. The rules require that this policy should be uniformly applied to all return-to-work verifications, so this would mean even for employees who did not use protected leave.

New York City

The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) has published the Workers’ Bill of Rights (referenced in this newsletter) on its website. The Bill of Rights speaks to Paid Safe and Sick Leave, the Family and Medical Leave Act, Paid Family Leave, and much more. Employers must provide a copy of the Bill of Rights to current employees by July 1, 2024 and new hires thereafter, as well as post a notice of the Bill of Rights at the worksite. An employer must make the notice available online or on its mobile application if such means are regularly used to communicate with employees.

Related Posts
Federal, State, and Canada Updates

Federal, State, and Canada Updates

Federal Update Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) If you have employees who are struggling with Long COVID, the ODEP has many resources available to support you and...

read more
State Updates

State Updates

State Updates California This is a quick reminder that starting on February 15, 2024, unemployment, disability, and PFL benefits from the Employment Development Department will no longer be issued...

read more
Local, State, and Canada Updates

Local, State, and Canada Updates

Local and State Updates San Francisco Military Leave Pay Protection Act The Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) has updated the required employer poster for the city’s Military Leave Pay...

read more