Both state legislatures and Congress passed some laws during their last sessions that directly affect employers. While at least one piece of federal legislation has been put on hold by a federal court ruling, i.e. the new overtime exemptions in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), other laws have gone into effect as planned in various states and on the federal level in late 2016 and early 2017. For instance, on the federal level, the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) both have increased their civil penalties for employer violations of various federal employment laws, such as the FLSA, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
In the state of California, various employer responsibilities have changed. For instance, employers must notify employees that they may be eligible for the California Earned Income Tax Credit. Employers also must inform new employees and current employees (if they so request) about their rights concerning discrimination on the basis of being a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. However, this provision is not effective until the California labor department posts a sample notice, which will be no later than July 1, 2017. Furthermore, employers must label single-user toilet facilities as all-gender. California businesses with more than five employees either must offer employees an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan or enrollment in the new California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program, once it is established. There are also changes for California employers with more than ten employees; they must now file all unemployment reports and returns electronically and remit all contributions via electronic funds transfer. Finally, despite the temporary halting of the FLSA overtime exemptions, the state of California went ahead and passed a bill that progressively increases the salary threshold for employees to be exempt from California’s overtime requirements over a period of five years.
Meanwhile, in the state of Florida, employers must keep abreast of developments concerning the state’s new medical marijuana laws and the impact that they may have for both employers and employees. While it is clear that the employer is not required to allow medical marijuana use in the workplace, there are many questions that linger about zero tolerance drug policies in the workplace and a worker’s right to use medical marijuana as prescribed. Furthermore, as of January 1, 2017, the minimum wage in Florida increased to $8.10 per hour.
At Heit Law Group, P.C., we serve as general counsel for many California and Florida businesses so that we can provide them with ongoing legal advice and guidance as various issues arise, including any issues related to labor and employment law. Our California and Florida business lawyers know how to help you build your business and comply with all pertinent laws and regulations. Call our office today to set up your complimentary evaluation.