State and local governments are increasingly regulating the workplace. While it is not possible to discuss all state and local laws, this update provides an overview of current and upcoming legal developments so you and your organization can comply with guidelines. (Please note that developments specifically related to minimum wage rates and COVID-19 are not included.)
Decrease in additional withholding tax: Effective January 1, 2021, the withholding tax on additional wages in Arkansas will decrease to 5.9%. Some examples of additional wages are tips, bonuses, back payments, commissions and severance payments. The rate was previously cut from 6.9% in 2019 to 6.6% in 2020, and officials with the Arkansas Revenue Division have come up with proposals that would lower the rate further over the next two years.
For information on the new California laws for 2021, please see our law firm’s legal update on the matter.
Sexual Harassment Training: The deadline for employers to complete required sexual harassment training for all supervisors and non-supervisors has been extended by 39 days to February 9, 2021.
Attachment of creditors: Effective January 1, 2021, amendments to the Georgian Law on Attachment of Creditors extend the attachment of creditors to 1,095 days (currently 180 days).
The maximum amount that can be garnished for private student loan debt is 15% of the employee’s weekly disposable income if the subpoena or court order conspicuously states that it is based on private student loan debt.
Should an employer receive a completed form to change the garnishment, the employer must respect the lower source amount agreed by the obligee and the employee as long as the form has been submitted to the garnishment court.
30-day withholding tax threshold for non-residents: Effective January 1, 2021, for tax years ending on or after December 31, 2020, the withholding tax on income tax localization test will be changed so that the compensation paid to a non-resident will be deemed paid in Illinois and subject to Illinois withholding tax , if:
Some of the alien’s services are provided in Illinois.
The Illinois nonresident services are not accidental to the services the individual performs outside of Illinois. and
The alien’s benefits are rendered in Illinois for more than 30 business days during the tax year.
If an employer uses a time and attendance system to keep track of where employees work on a daily basis, the data can be used to prove that a non-resident employee has reached the 30-day threshold.
Minimum work week in Montgomery County for maintenance workers: Effective January 1, 2021, Montgomery County will establish a minimum work week for any employee who works as a janitor, building cleaner, security officer, concierge, doorman, manual worker, or site manager in an office building within the county that is at least 350,000 square feet. This also applies to district government maintenance workers who work in a building that meets the same size and type requirements. Insured employers must ensure that the minimum working week for any building maintenance worker at an insured location is at least 30 hours, unless the worker is on covered leave. This rule does not apply to anyone who works in a building owned by the United States, any state, or local government.
The regulation also contains retaliatory measures.
Montgomery County Harassment Protection: Effective January 15, 2021, the Montgomery County, Maryland Human Rights Ordinance will be amended to harass an individual as a discriminatory employment practice, including sexual harassment.
The term “harassment” includes verbal, written or physical behavior when:
Behavior is based on race, skin color, religious denomination, ancestry, national origin, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, family responsibility, genetic status, or disability of a person.
Submission to behavior occurs either explicitly or implicitly as a condition or condition for a person’s employment.
The submission or rejection of the behavior is used as the basis for an employment decision that affects the individual. or
The behavior has the purpose or effect of inappropriately interfering with a person’s job performance or creating a work environment that the victim perceives as abusive or hostile. and
A reasonable victim of discrimination would view the behavior as more than a minor, minor inconvenience or nuisance.
Sexual harassment includes unwanted sexual advances; Requests for sexual favors; or other verbal, written or physical behavior of a sexual nature.
Montgomery County’s Prohibition of Boxing Act: Effective February 19, 2021, the Montgomery County, Maryland Human Rights Ordinance will be amended to change certain provisions related to employer criminal record investigations.
In particular the changes:
Extension of the application of the law to all employers with at least one full-time employee in the district;
Prohibiting employers from investigating an applicant’s criminal history before renewing a conditional job offer; and
Prohibit employers from investigating or justifying hiring or promotion decisions based on certain categories of arrest and conviction documents listed in the regulation.
Protecting Freelance Workers in Minneapolis: Effective January 1, 2021, the Minneapolis Freelance Worker Protection Ordinance governs any commercial hiring party that hires freelance workers to provide services within the city of Minneapolis. This rule applies in one of the following cases:
The regulation lays down specific requirements that the landlord must include in the written contract.
Recreational marijuana legalization: Effective January 1, 2021, recreational marijuana use by adults 21 and over is legal in Montana under the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act.
With respect to employers, the law does not require that an employer permit or accommodate recreational marijuana use in a workplace or on the employer’s property, or prohibit an employer from intercepting an employee for violating a drug policy in the workplace or for work Discipline the influence of marijuana. An employer also has the right to refuse to hire a person or to take negative employment action against a person regarding the hiring, tenure, conditions, or privilege of employment because the person is violating a drug policy in the workplace or is intoxicated by marijuana while working .
Recreational marijuana legalization: As of January 1, 2021, recreational marijuana use by adults 21 and older will be legal in New Jersey. Legislation is currently pending in the state legislature to clarify various issues, including how legalization will affect an employer’s right to a drug-free job, as well as the employer’s refusal to hire, employ, or dismiss a person or take negative action Any employee for using or not using cannabis products from us, unless the employer has a reasonable basis appropriately related to the employment, including the responsibilities of the employee or prospective employee.
Columbus City of Wage Theft Ordinance: With effect from January 1, 2021, the Ordinance on the Prevention and Enforcement of Wage Theft of the City of Columbus (the Ordinance) comes into force. This ordinance applies to city contracts, city vendors and certain financial incentive agreements with the city. The ordinance empowers the city and the Columbus Commission for the Prevention and Enforcement of Wage Theft (the Commission) to investigate and punish wage theft, wage fraud and misclassification of workers.
When companies first sign a contract with the city or apply for an extension as a city vendor, they must report any adverse findings within the last three years themselves. As soon as a company reports an adverse finding, the Commission places the company on a published list. Companies on the Adverse Findings List are prohibited from entering into or entering into financial incentive contracts with the city or any other company on the List.
Pittsburgh City Paid Sick Day Act: From March 15, 2021, employees who work in the city for at least 35 hours per calendar year will be sick. As of March 15, 2020, regardless of company size, employees must accumulate at least (1) hours of sick leave per 35 hours of work for a Pittsburgh employer. For the first year after March 15, 2020, sick leave is unpaid. Then it is paid for. Employees who work for an employer with fewer than 15 employees may not be sick for more than 24 hours, unless the employer determines a higher amount. Employees who work for an employer with 15 or more employees may not be sick for more than 40 hours, unless the employer determines a higher amount. Employers with 15 or more employees will be required to take up to 40 hours of paid sick leave each year from March 15, 2020.
© 2020 Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 4
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