California, New Jersey, and New York have recently issued new rules that may affect our clients.  This newsletter provides a summary of the new rules.  Please feel free to contact us with questions if your business is impacted.

CALIFORNIA: STRICTER RULES FOR INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

The California Supreme Court recently changed the requirements for companies to classify workers as independent contractors, adopting a much narrower test from Massachusetts.  Under the new test, workers must meet all three criteria to be independent contractors: (1) free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in the performance of the work; (2) performing work outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and (3) customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business.  Workers must satisfy all three tests; otherwise, they must be classified as employees.

TO DO:  With this shift to a narrower test, many independent contractors may now be misclassified.  We are happy to work with you to answer any questions you may have about this shift and to ensure that your employees and independent contractors are properly classified.

NEW JERSEY:  STATEWIDE MANDATORY PAID SICK LEAVE

New Jersey is enacting a statewide, mandatory paid sick leave law, effective October 29, 2018.  The new law preempts the patchwork of local and city laws previously in place in New Jersey.    Many of the new law’s provisions will be familiar to employers operating in other states with mandatory sick leave.  Employees must accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per year.  Employees can use accrued sick leave after 120 days of employment.  Employees must be allowed to rollover up to 40 hours of accrued, unused sick leave per year.  Sick leave can be used to address an employee’s or family member’s mental or physical illness or preventative care, or to address the effects of domestic or sexual violence.  One unique provision of the law is that employers can set their own benefit year, not necessarily tied to the calendar year.

TO DO:  Employers with any employees working in New Jersey should adopt a paid sick leave policy by October 29, 2018.  Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance developing a new policy or updating existing handbooks and policies.

NEW YORK CITY: SICK LEAVE INCLUDES SAFE LEAVE

On May 5, New York City expanded its sick leave law to include “safe leave.”  Safe leave requires employers to allow employees to use their paid sick leave to address the effects of sexual assault, domestic violence, or human trafficking on themselves or family members.  Employees may use sick leave to restore their physical, psychological, or economic health.  This may include obtaining services from a domestic violence shelter, enrolling a child in a new school, meeting with an attorney, or participating in a criminal investigation or court proceeding.

New York City’s safe and sick leave applies to all employers with any employees who work at least 80 hours per year in New York City.  However, if you have fewer than 5 employees in New York City, the leave can be unpaid.

TO DO:  All covered employers must provide the following notice to their employees by June 4, 2018.  The notice should also be provided to all new hires when they begin employment.  https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/dca/downloads/pdf/about/PaidSickLeave-MandatoryNotice-English.pdf

Additionally, be sure to update all sick leave policies and handbooks to reflect the new rules.

NEW YORK: MANDATORY SEXUAL HARASSMENT TRAINING

Starting in October 2018, New York State will require all employers to provide annual sexual harassment training.  The training must include an explanation of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct and detailed information about legal remedies and procedures available to victims of harassment.  Employers must also have a written sexual harassment prevention policy in place and distribute that policy to all employees.  The New York Department of Labor is developing a model policy and training that employers can adopt, or employers can adopt their own policies/trainings that meet or exceed the state requirements.

New York City is imposing additional requirements on top of the state-required training, effective April 2019.  For employers with at least 15 employees in the city, the training must also include a discussion of the importance of bystander intervention, new employees must be trained within 90 days, and employers must maintain signed acknowledgement forms from employees for three years.  New York City also requires additional training for managers and supervisors.  The city is developing an online training program that companies can use to satisfy these requirements.

TO DO:  If you do not already have a sexual harassment policy in place, now is the time to adopt one.  Employers have until October 9, 2018 to adopt a sexual harassment policy and implement annual training.