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President Biden's American Rescue Plan Would Reinstate and Expand Federally Mandated Paid Sick and FMLA Leave

On January 20, 2021, President Biden announced the principal points of his American Rescue Plan (the Plan), a new COVID-19 relief package that would revive the federal mandate on employers to provide paid sick and paid FMLA leave for certain COVID-19-related absences. On February 1, 2021, Republican lawmakers responded with a competing relief package that does not include those paid leave mandates. As of now, neither side has released a draft of the actual proposed legislation. Much of what we know comes from the announcement released by the Biden administration and a chart from Republican Senators. More ›

New Illinois House Bill Would Significantly Limit the Use of Restrictive Covenants in Employment Contracts

On January 8, 2021, a bill, HB 789 was introduced in the Illinois House that, if passed, will significantly change the treatment of restrictive covenants in the employment context. The new law would require employers to review their form contracts and modify their procedures for signing restrictive covenants. In some instances, it would forbid the use of such covenants. The bill—which would amend the existing Illinois Freedom to Work Act—is likely to pass in some form; if passed, HB 789 would go into effect on June 1, 2021. More ›

How Employers Can Prepare for the Upcoming H-1B Lottery

On March 1, 2021, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will open up the electronic registration process for cab-subject H-1B petitions, including those filed for the advanced degree exemption. The registration process will remain open until March 20; the registration fee for each H-1B candidate is $10. The USCIS will notify employers by March 31 and let them know whether their petitions have been selected in the lottery. If chosen, employers will have up to 90 days to file an H-1B petition. More ›

Hinshaw's 12 Days of California Labor & Employment Series – Day 12: COVID-19 Notification Requirements

In the spirit of the season—and keeping some semblance of normal—we are using our annual "12 days of the holidays" blog series to address new California laws and their impact on California employers. On this twelfth day of the holidays, my labor and employment attorney gave to me: twelve drummers drumming and AB 685.

In a year marked by the pandemic, it seems rather appropriate that our 2020 series is bookended with COVID-19 laws. As the pandemic evolved, so did requirements for employers to comply with COVID-19 guidelines. Earlier this summer, Virginia became the first state to adopt emergency COVID-19 regulations. As was suspected, California followed suit and enacted its own legislation to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and also emphasize employee safety. More ›

Hinshaw's 12 Days of California Labor & Employment Series – Day 11: Pay Data Reporting – Another Headache for Employers

In the spirit of the season—and keeping some semblance of normal—we are using our annual "12 days of the holidays" blog series to address new California laws and their impact on California employers. On this ninth day of the holidays, my labor and employment attorney gave to me: eleven pipers piping and SB 973.

The Equal Pay Act has been in play for decades and has expanded over the years. In 2015, Governor Brown signed the California Fair Pay Act, which became effective January 1, 2016. The California Fair Pay Act aimed to ensure equal pay for employees performing "substantially similar work" and also to make it more difficult for employers to justify pay disparities through the "bona fide factor other than sex" defense. Existing federal law requires certain companies to file an annual employer information report which includes data regarding demographics of the employer's workforce (EEO-1) with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). SB 973 is another attempt to minimize California's gender pay gap. A similar bill was vetoed in 2017 and then held in committee throughout 2018 and 2019. More ›

Hinshaw's 12 Days of California Labor & Employment Series – Day 10: COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Expanded to All Employers

In the spirit of the season—and keeping some semblance of normal—we are using our annual "12 days of the holidays" blog series to address new California laws and their impact on California employers. On this tenth day of the holidays, my labor and employment attorney gave to me: ten lords a-leaping and AB 1867.

AB 1867 fills a void that was left by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) regarding paid sick leave. The FFCRA was enacted to provide federal paid sick leave and expanded family leave due to the pandemic, but it only applied to employers with less than 500 employees. In response, California enacted a supplemental COVID-19 paid sick leave law through AB 1867. Applicable to businesses with 500 or more employees nationally, AB 1867 in essence guarantees that any employee—regardless of the size of the employer—will receive paid sick leave if needed due to COVID-19. More ›

Hinshaw's 12 Days of California Labor & Employment Series – Day 9: Additional Leave Law Updates

In the spirit of the season—and keeping some semblance of normal—we are using our annual "12 days of the holidays" blog series to address new California laws and their impact on California employers. On this ninth day of the holidays, my labor and employment attorney gave to me: nine ladies dancing and AB 2992 and AB 2399.

Both AB 2992 and AB 2399 include expansions for extended leave and are effective January 1, 2021. Given the particularly sensitive areas that AB 2992 addresses and the potentially broad implications of AB 2399, it is especially important for employers to know this legislation and be prepared. More ›

Hinshaw's 12 Days of California Labor & Employment Series – Day 8: Additional Exemptions for Worker Classification

In the spirit of the season—and keeping some semblance of normal—we are using our annual "12 days of the holidays" blog series to address new California laws and their impact on California employers. On this eighth day of the holidays, my labor and employment attorney gave to me: eight maids a-milking and AB 2257.

Deemed an emergency statute, AB 2257 went into effect immediately upon the Governor's signature on September 4, 2020. Focusing on worker classification, the bill provides additional exemptions to AB 5, which concerned the classification of independent contractors. More ›

Hinshaw's 12 Days of California Labor & Employment Series – Day 7: Rest Break Updates

In the spirit of the season—and keeping some semblance of normal—we are using our annual "12 days of the holidays" blog series to address new California laws and their impact on California employers. On this seventh day of the holidays, my labor and employment attorney gave to me: seven swans a-swimming and AB 1512 and AB 2479.

Due to the multitude of wage and hour claims that are filed each year, meal and rest break updates are consistently part of annual employment law changes. Generally, an employer must provide and permit an uninterrupted rest break for all nonexempt employees who work at least 3.5 hours. Rest breaks must be offered at the rate of 10 minutes for every four hours worked. In Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., the California Supreme Court held that employers must relieve employees of all duties during the rest breaks and relinquish any control over how employees spend their rest break. More ›

Hinshaw's 12 Days of California Labor & Employment Series – Day 6: The Expansion of the CFRA

In the spirit of the season—and keeping some semblance of normal—we are using our annual "12 days of the holidays" blog series to address new California laws and their impact on California employers. On this sixth day of the holidays, my labor and employment attorney gave to me: six geese a-laying and SB 1383.

Effective January 1, 2021, SB 1383 will dramatically expand California Family Rights Act (CFRA) leave. The CFRA authorizes eligible employees to take up to a total of 12 weeks of paid or unpaid job-protected leave during a 12-month period. While on leave, employees keep the same employer-paid health benefits they had while working. More ›