In addition to new multifamily housing legislation, 2017 has come with a few employment legislation changes as well. Here are some employment bills that passed this year that affect all employers, especially those in California and New York.

NATIONWIDE LEGISLATION

New I-9 Tax Form (view now)

While the newest version of the Federal Form I-9 (for immigration status) was made available November 22, 2016, employers are required to start using the new form by January 1, 2017.

IN APPEAL Overtime Pay Eligibility Rules (read the full article here)

The new Overtime Pay Eligibility Rules state that any employee making less than $47,746 per year is entitled to be paid overtime, including salaried employees. Previously, the “exempt from overtime” salary threshold was at $23,660. Although this change to labor laws was supposed to go into effect December 1, 2016, the Department of Justice and Department of Labor filed a notice of appeal, halting the law. It is unclear when the law will be reviewed.

 

CALIFORNIA

Minimum Wage Increase* (see wage schedule)

In accordance with California’s minimum wage schedule, which aims to increase minimum wage to $15 by 2023, effective January 1, 2017, the minimum wage will be increased to $10.50 for businesses with 26 employees or more, $10.00 with 25 employees or less.

*Many cities, like Los Angeles, El Cerrito, San Francisco, and Berkley, enforce a higher minimum wage than $10.50.

Fair Pay Act Revisions (SB 1063 and AB 1676)

Effective January 1, 2017, the Fair Pay Act now prohibits employers from “paying any of its employees at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of another race or ethnicity for substantially similar work”. Under SB 1063, employers must demonstrate that wage differentials are based on a seniority system, merit system, system that measures quality or quantity of production, or factors like education, training or experience. AB 1676 specifies that “prior salary shall not, by itself, justify any disparity in compensation”.

Employment Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence (AB 2337)

Employers with 25 or more employees must notify (in writing) each employee of their rights to take protected time off for domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. The Labor Commissioner will develop and publish a form for these purposes online by July 1, 2017.

Arbitration Protections for Employees (SB 1007 and SB 1241)

SB 1007 gives any party the right to have a certified shorthand reporter transcribe any deposition, proceeding, or hearing as the official record. For labor contracts entered into, modified, or extended on or after January 1, 2017, SB 1241 prohibits employers “from requiring an employee who primarily resides and works in California, as a condition of employment, to agree to a provision that would require the employee to adjudicate outside of California”, or require arbitrators to apply other state’s laws.

Single-User Restrooms (AB 1732)

All single-user toilet facilities labeled as either “male” or “female” must now be identified as all-gender. This is effective March 1, 2017.

Juvenile Criminal History (AB 1843)

This bill prohibits employers from asking about (or considering information for employment) related to arrests, convictions, or other proceedings while the applicant or employee was subject to the process and jurisdiction of juvenile court law.

Los Angeles Fair Initiative for Hiring* (see ordinance)

Effective July 1, 2017, Los Angeles employers are prohibited from asking job candidates about their criminal history until a conditional offer of employment has been made. If an employer decides to withdraw or cancel their conditional offer after reviewing an individual’s criminal history, they must conduct a “written assessment that effectively links the specific aspects” of the applicant’s criminal history “with risks inherent in the duties” of the position sought. For example, an applicant with a recent DUI applying for a job that requires the applicant to frequently drive. Before taking adverse action, the employer must provide a “fair chance process” (in addition to the written assessment) that gives the applicant 5 business days to provide information regarding the accuracy of the criminal history information. If adverse action is taken after the above process, the employer must notify the applicant of the decision and provide the applicant a copy of the written reassessment. The fair chance initiative (more commonly known as a part of “ban the box” laws) applies to any private employers that employ at least 10 individuals who perform at least two hours of work on average each week within the city. All records and documents related to applicants must be kept for 3 years.

*Cities like San Francisco; Dane County, Wisconsin; Champaign, Illinois; the state of Texas; New York city and Washington D.C. are either considering or have already passed similar “Ban the Box” initiatives.

San Francisco’s Paid Parental Leave (see ordinance)

In the city of San Francisco, employers must provide eligible workers with fully paid parental leave for up to six weeks. An estimate of 55% of the employee’s wages will be paid through state benefits; however, employers will be required to pay the difference. This ordinance applies to employers with 50+ employees on January 1, 2017, employers with 35-49 employees on July 1, 2017, and businesses with 20-34 employees on January 1, 2018.

City of Berkeley’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (see ordinance)

Effective October 1, 2017, eligible employees will begin to accrue one paid sick leave hour for every 30 hours worked. Accrued leave may be capped at 72 hours, with smaller businesses cap at 48 hours. Employers cannot limit the amount of leave employees may use during the year and unused leave will carry over year to year. Employers must post a city-published notice informing paid sick leave rights. This ordinance is published in conjunction with Berkley’s new minimum wage, which is $12.53 and will rise to $13.75 by October 1, 2017.

 

NEW YORK

Minimum Wage Increase (see wage schedule)

Effective December 31, 2016, the minimum wage will increase to $11 for large employers of 11 or more in NYC, $10.50 for employers with 10 or less, $10 for employers in Long Island and Westchester and $9.70 for all of New York State. These wages will increase again on December 31, 2017.

Wage Payment Methods (see amendment on page 8)

Employers can no longer require employees to accept pay cards as a form of wage payment beginning on March 7, 2017. If pay cards are used, employers must comply with strict notice requirements, including providing a list of locations at which the employee can withdraw money without fees or charges.

Paid Family Leave (see program)

Effective January 1, 2018, a new system of paid family leave benefits will begin, providing employees with up to 12 weeks of paid family leave annually to care for a new child (including adopted or foster children), care for a seriously ill family member, or to assist in family obligations when a family member is called into active military service. This new system will be gradually phased in, with a provided 8 weeks required in 2018, 10 weeks in 2019, and then 12 weeks in 2021.

New York City’s Gender-Neutral Single-User Restrooms (871-A)

Similar to California’s AB 1732, all single-user toilet facilities in New York City labeled as either “male” or “female” must now be identified as all-gender. This is effective January 1, 2017.

 

Are some of these laws going to affect you? How do you feel about this year’s legislation changes? Let us know your opinion in the comment section.

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About the Author

Author Becky BowerBecky Bower is the Communications Executive here at the Resident Screening Blog. She holds a degree in English, with a focus in creative writing, from CSU Channel Islands. Her biggest weakness is cake and favorite superhero is Batman.

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