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Changes to Expect for Labor Law Posters in 2021

Learning about Labor Laws

Remember when the big story last year in labor law was increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour? While that is still an issue being discussed, as we get closer to 2021, one of the most asked business questions now is what changes will be required due to COVID-19? This pandemic has impacted businesses all over the world, not only in the way we work but also in what laws/regulations or protocols businesses must have in place.

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Safety Protocols

While there are no standards currently written specifically for COVID-19, OSHA has outlined that certain regulations could be used to help prevent the spread of the virus. These standards include Bloodborne Pathogens, Personal Protective Equipment, Respiratory Protection, and the General Duty Clause.  To reduce the impact of pandemics such as COVID-19 on businesses, workers, customers, and the public, it is vital to prepare and to plan. Measures for protecting workers from exposure and infection depend on the type of work being performed and exposure risk, including potential for interaction with people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and contamination of the work environment. The pandemic will continue to have an impact on the workplace and laws relating to employees. You can find more detailed information here.

If you would like to stay proactive, consider training your employees on infectious disease control.

Labor Law Changes

Employees and employers have a lot of questions concerning The Family and Medical Leave Act as it relates to the Covid-19 pandemic. Can paid sick leave or time off be used for reasons related to COVID-19: symptoms, quarantine, caring for someone who is in quarantine and school closures and who is considered a family member? The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed on March 18, 2020 and went into effect April 1, 2020It expanded the FMLA and addressed some of those questions but is set to terminate on December 31st of 2020. Now everyone is waiting and watching to see what the Federal Gov’t will do to address these concerns past December 31st.

The three main areas we expect some type of new or extended legislation to cover are:

  • Paid sick leave: a benefit that allows employees paid time off from work, to stay home to address health issues without losing pay. In some instances, it can be used to care for a child or family member.
  • Family leave: is unpaid, job protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. It also requires that an employee can maintain their group health benefits during the leave.
  • Paid time off: time off when the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.

Several states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington as of this writing) along with the District of Columbia have implemented or have pending laws and/or regulations that extend or amend the federal law.

What Do I Need to Do?

The Coronavirus is ever-changing and filled with many unknowns which brings new and changing laws and regulations almost every week. It is the employer’s responsibility to be informed and take the necessary steps to ensure a safe workplace. In 2020 many employers had to lay off employees or shut down or scale back businesses. As businesses open back up and get back to work in 2021, employers will have to be prepared and ready by staying informed, implementing necessary precautions and enacting the possible new laws and regulations.  

National Safety Compliance is committed to keeping you up to date on the most recent federal and state changes and posting requirements for your business. The information contained in this blog cannot be considered as legal advice. It is provided for general information only. Contact the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) or your state’s Labor Department or agency for legal advice.

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4 Things You Should Know About Labor Laws

Labor Law Posters

In order to understand why your business is required to comply with labor laws, you first need to know what labor law is and how it affects your business. The definition of law is “the system of rules which a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties.” Labor laws are enacted to protect the rights, health and financial remuneration of workers.

What is Labor Law and how is it enforced?

Labor Laws give structure to the workplace and defines employers and employees responsibilities. Some statutes and regulations require that posters or notices be posted in the workplace. These postings are mandated state and federal law notices that employers with at least one employee or more are required to conspicuously post in an area frequented by all employees.  Not all employers are covered by each of the federal or state statutes and thus may not be required to post a specific notice. State laws vary from state to state. Just as there are consequences for breaking the law, there could be penalties and fines if a labor law is broken. The US Department of Labor (DOL) administers and enforces the federal laws. Every state has a department or agency responsible for administering state specific laws.

When and how do Labor Laws change?

There is not a set date for federal or Labor Law revisions or updates that apply to your business to be made. Labor Laws change throughout the year and state laws generally update more often than the federal labor laws.  The past few years have seen a large increase in the number of changes. In 2019 more than 50 changes were made that impacted employees. As of January 1, 2020, more than two dozen laws were slated to take effect. Some issues most likely to be addressed in 2020 will be Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Paid Family Leave and Minimum Wage. Many times, a law is passed in one year, and will be required to be enforced a year or two later. This allows the state or federal agency time to put policies and procedures in place that are needed to enforce the law.  Labor law posters must be updated and replaced whenever the new or revised law goes into effect.

What happens when State Laws and Federal Laws are different?

Employers are required to follow both federal law and applicable state laws. Sometimes different government agencies enact laws regarding the same issues or situations. Some examples where this has occurred include minimum wage, paid family leave, and discrimination laws. The U.S. Department of Labor instructs employers and employees to follow the law that provides the most protection.  For instance, the federal minimum wage in 2020 is $7.25 per hour yet many states, cities, and counties have a higher minimum wage rate. When the state, city or county minimum wage rate is higher than the federal rate, employers are required to pay workers the higher amount.

Who enforces Labor Laws?

While governmental agencies typically do not inspect for just Labor Law posting infractions, that doesn’t mean fines are not assessed. Most often fines are assessed when a business is being inspected or investigated for other reasons. At such times, the on-site agency will check to see if the required postings are posted as part of their investigation.

Labor Law compliance can be difficult to understand at times. As an employer, you need to be aware of the requirements that apply to your company. It is important to be aware of changes and updates and inform your employees. For more information, please look at our FAQ page.