Washington Voters Approve Minimum Wage Increases and Paid Sick Leave

Minimum Wage Increases Begin January 1, 2017

Voters in Washington State have approved a ballot initiative that raises the state minimum wage and requires paid sick leave.

Minimum Wage
Under the initiative, the minimum wage will rise as follows:

  • Beginning January 1, 2017: $11.00 per hour.
  • Beginning January 1, 2018: $11.50 per hour.
  • Beginning January 1, 2019: $12.00 per hour.
  • Beginning January 1, 2020: $13.50 per hour.
  • Beginning January 1, 2021 (and each following January 1st), the minimum wage will be adjusted for inflation.

Note: An employer must pay to its employees all tips and gratuities and all service charges (except those that are itemized as not being payable to the employee(s) servicing the customer). Tips and service charges paid to an employee are in addition to (and may not count towards) the employee’s hourly minimum wage.

Paid Sick Leave
Beginning January 1, 2018, every employer must provide each of its employees paid sick leave (at the greater of the newly increased minimum wage or the employee’s normal wage). Highlights of the law are presented below:

  • An employee will accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked.
  • An employer may provide paid sick leave in advance of accrual, provided that such front-loading meets or exceeds the requirements of the law for accrual, use, and carryover of paid sick leave.
  • An employee is authorized to use paid sick leave for (among other things) an absence resulting from the employee’s mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, or to allow the employee to provide care for a family member with a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition.
  • Unused paid sick leave carries over to the following year, except that an employer is not required to allow an employee to carry over paid sick leave in excess of 40 hours.
  • The initiative generally does not require an employer to provide financial or other reimbursement for accrued and unused paid sick leave to any employee upon his or her termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment.

Click here to read the initiative.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360.COM

Illinois Enacts Child Bereavement Leave Act

Law Applicable to Certain Large Employers

A new law in Illinois allows certain employees to take child bereavement leave. Highlights of the law are presented below.

Coverage
The law covers (among other entities) employers with 50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

Employees are generally covered if they:

  • Work for a covered employer;
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of leave;
  • Work at a location where the employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles; and
  • Have worked for the employer for at least 12 months (not required to be consecutive).

State Bereavement Leave
Covered employees are entitled to use a maximum of 2 weeks (10 work days) of unpaid bereavement leave to:

  • Attend the funeral (or alternative to a funeral) of a child;
  • Make arrangements necessitated by the child’s death; or
  • Grieve the child’s death.

Bereavement leave under the provisions above must be completed within 60 days after the date on which the employee receives notice of the child’s death.

Note: “Child” means an employee’s son or daughter who is a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis.

Notice
An employee must provide the employer with at least 48 hours’ advance notice of the employee’s intention to take bereavement leave, unless providing such notice is not reasonable and practicable.

The law is effective as of July 29, 2016. The text of the law features additional provisions affecting employers and employees.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360

DOL Releases New FMLA Poster and Employer’s Guide

new20fmla20banner200416The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released an updated version of the “Employee Rights Under the [Federal] Family and Medical Leave Act”poster (often referred to as the “General FMLA Notice”), along with a newemployer’s guide to help employers comply with the law.

Background
The FMLA provides eligible employees of covered employers with unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons, with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. The law also includes certain family military leave entitlements.

Private sector employers who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year must comply with the FMLA.

New Poster
The DOL released an April 2016 version of the FMLA poster that covered employers are required to display in a conspicuous place where employees and applicants can see it. A poster must be displayed at all locations even if there are no employees eligible for FMLA leave. If a covered employer has any eligible employees, it must also provide the general notice to each employee by including it in employee handbooks or other written guidance concerning employee benefits or leave rights (if such written materials exist—otherwise, the employer may distribute a copy of the general notice to each new employee upon hire).

(Note: According to the DOL, the February 2013 version of the FMLA poster is still valid and can be used to fulfill the posting requirement.)

Employer’s Guide
An employer’s guide was also released, which is designed to provide information about employers’ obligations under the law and the options available to employers in administering FMLA leave. Specific areas covered include:

  • Covered employers under the FMLA and their general notice requirements;
  • What to do when an employee needs FMLA leave;
  • Qualifying reasons for leave;
  • The certification process;
  • Military family leave;
  • What to do during an employee’s FMLA leave; and
  • FMLA prohibitions.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY WWW.HR360.COM