The pandemic seems not to have slowed down state and local lawmakers. Indeed, over 100 new labor and employment laws and ordinances are scheduled to take effect between July 1, 2021 and November 1, 2021. Notably, while some of these laws address COVID-19 and topics concerning return-to-work, most mark a renewed attention to other hot-topic labor and employment issues. Not surprisingly, a number of states and localities have adopted their own nondiscrimination statutes or expanded the same to recognize new protected classifications. Other popular topics include independent contractors and worker classification, marijuana use and drug testing in the workplace, and repairs to state unemployment insurance systems.
Some states have more changes on the horizon than others. Like last year, Virginia has been the most active of the states—the Commonwealth will see 11 new labor and employment laws go into effect on July 1, 2021. These include major changes such as a new state overtime law and auto-enroll payroll deduction retirement savings program.
Please note that our annual “July is the New January,” which tracks many labor and employment laws and ordinances across the country that take effect in the latter half of the year, is not all-inclusive. Although this Insight touches on some industry-specific laws, the focus is on generally applicable labor and employment laws enacted in states and larger municipalities. Moreover, this report does not discuss changes to the minimum wage and related wage and hour legislation. See Spring into Summer and Fall Minimum Wage, Tipped, and Exempt Employee Pay Increases for information on new wage rates taking effect across the country.
Finally, note that many state legislatures are still in session, so additional laws that will take effect this summer are bound to be enacted after publication. And new laws—particularly at the local level—are often subject to amendment. This article is intended to provide insight on the types of laws state and local legislatures are enacting, some of which have effective dates right around the corner.1
District of Columbia
Alabama HB 408
Contingent Workforce: Independent Contractors
Requires employers to follow specified requirements to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor for purposes of benefits and tax liabilities.
July 1, 2021
Alabama SB 249
Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)
Requires employers relocating call centers to notify the Secretary of the Commerce Department.
September 1, 2021
Arizona SB 1268
Requires labor organizations to be subject to similar fiduciary guidelines as employers or third-party administrators providing benefits to employees.
August 5, 2021
Arizona HB 2045
Prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy or childbirth-related medical conditions.
August 27, 2021
Arizona HB 2067
Background Checks: Criminal
Provides employer liability protections to employers of an employee who has been provided with a Certificate of Second Chance.
Arizona HB 2770
COVID-19: Mask Mandates
Provides that businesses are not required to enforce mask mandates in response to COVID-19.
Mesa Ordinance No. 21-0214
Discrimination: Protected Classifications
Creates the Mesa Non-Discrimination Code and prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of a protected class.
June 29, 2021
Glendale Ordinance No. O21-39
Prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, veteran’s status, marital status, or familial status.
September 22, 2021
Arkansas SB 555
Weapons in the Workplace
Prevents an employer from prohibiting the storage of legal firearms in vehicles in the employer’s parking lot.
July 29, 2021
Arkansas HB 1714
Benefits: Health Insurance
Amends the law concerning multiple employer welfare agreements.
July 30, 2021
Arkansas SB 547
Provides that direct sellers are considered independent contractors.
Arkansas SB 615
COVID-19: Vaccine Passports
Prohibits the state, state agencies, and local jurisdictions and officials from requiring a vaccine passport as a condition for entry or services.
Santa Barbara Ordinance No. 5999
COVID-19: Hazard Pay
Requires hazard pay of $5.00 per hour for grocery and retail pharmacy workers.
June 11, 2021
Burbank Grocery Hazard Pay Ordinance
Requires hazard pay of $5.00 per hour for grocery and drug store employees.
June 18, 2021
San Jose Ordinance No. 30568
COVID-19: Reasonable Accommodation
Supplements the requirements of California Labor Code section 2810.8 by entitling a laid-off employee to reasonable accommodation of a job duty or job requirement due to a family care hardship.
June 24, 2021
Colorado HB 1108
Prohibits discrimination based on gender expression and gender identity.
September 14, 2021
Colorado SB 90
Clarifies that if a small employer has been issued a health benefit plan subject to small group insurance laws and rules, and then following the issuance date it no longer meets the definition of “small employer,” the small group insurance laws and rules continue to apply to the plan as long as the employer renews the current health benefit plan.
Connecticut HB 5158
Specifies certain parameters for a room or other location in the workplace that accommodates employee breastfeeding.
October 1, 2021
Connecticut HB 5377
COVID-19: Unemployment Insurance
Removes COVID-19-related layoffs from an employer’s unemployment experience account.
Connecticut HB 6380
Requires employers to disclose salary ranges for vacant positions and to provide comparable pay for comparable work.
District of Columbia Bill 140
Temporary measure. Requires employers to provide leave to employees to use for reasons related to COVID-19.
This measure will take effect following congressional review and publication in the DC Register. It is projected to take effect on June 29, 2021.
Florida SB 2006
Provides that a business may not require individuals to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-infection recovery.
Indiana HB 1156
Clarifies the definition of employer subject to the prohibition against microchipping employees.
Indiana HB 1309
Requires an employer to respond to an employee's request for a pregnancy accommodation within a reasonable time frame.
Indiana SB 234
Provides if a payroll service provider fails to deposit or remit a business client's employer withholding taxes when due, the payroll service provider is responsible for the payment of any penalties or interest assessed.
Iowa HB 200 (SB 182)
Protected Time Off: Military
Requires an employer to provide leave to a member of the U.S. Coast Guard for active duty purposes.
Iowa SB 2296 (HB 2479)
Establishes the circumstances under which certain independent contractors are not considered employees for purposes of various laws.
Kentucky HB 210
Requires an employer to provide the same leave policies to adoptive parents as they provide to birth parents.
June 30, 2021
Maine LD 137 (HP 93)
Protected Time Off: Volunteer Emergency Responder
Provides that an employer must designate in writing that an employee who is an emergency service employee is essential to operations.
September 15, 2021
Maryland HB 289 (SB 105)
Makes certain provisions relating to filing, issuance, and modification of certain peace orders applicable to peace orders filed by an employer on the employer’s behalf or on behalf of an employee, upon the occurrence of certain criminal activities; and provides immunity from civil liability under certain circumstances.
Maryland HB 290 (SB 455)
Discrimination: Statute of Limitations
Extends from 6 months to 300 days the time period within which a person claiming to be aggrieved by certain discriminatory acts is required to file a complaint with the Commission on Civil Rights.
Maryland HB 804 (SB 916)
Establishes a whistleblower reward program within the Office of the Comptroller, providing that a whistleblower who voluntarily provides certain information to the Comptroller is entitled to receive a monetary award.
Maryland SB 473 (HB 56)
Protected Time Off: Bereavement
Authorizes the use of certain leave with pay for bereavement.
Maryland SB 801 (HB 1154)
Excludes employees who have accepted offers of transfer to another worksite from the calculation of the number of employees impacted by a reduction in operations.
Minnesota HB 2253
COVID-19: Workers’ Compensation
Extends the presumption that certain workers who have contracted COVID-19 have done so while on duty for the purposes of workers’ compensation.
Mississippi HB 1139
Removes the provision that requires an employer with an average monthly withholding tax liability of at least $50,000.00 for the preceding calendar year to pay their estimated withholding tax liability for the current taxable year by June 25.
Mississippi HB 119
Extends the effective period of the statute permitting the possession and use of cannabidiol for medical purposes.
Mississippi Medical Marijuana Amendment (Ballot Measure)
Establishes a medical marijuana program in Mississippi for individuals with a debilitating medical condition.
Mississippi SB 2124
Revises the definition of unemployment to exclude administrative leave when full compensation for regular wages is received and allows for partial unemployment benefits when only partial compensation for regular wages is received.
Montana HB 655 (LC 479)
Disqualifies an individual from workers' compensation if the individual fails to pass or refuses to take a drug test in violation of an employer's stated workplace drug policy, with the exception of medical marijuana users.
Montana SB 118 (LC 481)
Provides that false statements in an employer-provided questionnaire are grounds for barring workers' compensation benefits.
Montana HB 282 (LC 1027)
Allows student-employees 16 years of age or older to perform work functions under certain circumstances.
Montana SB 367 (LC 133)
Provides that the absence of an independent contractor exemption certificate does not indicate an employment relationship.
Nebraska LB 260
Expands provisions relating to good cause for voluntarily leaving employment.
August 31, 2021
Nebraska LB 451
Prohibits discrimination based on traits typically associated with race, including hair texture and hairstyle.
Nebraska LB 540
Provides that cities and villages can prohibit discrimination based on disability.
September 10, 2021
Nevada AB 37 (BDR 301)
Amends the procedures for garnishment of wages pursuant to a child support order.
Nevada AB 190 (BDR 379)
Protected Time Off: Kin Care
Requires employers that provide sick leave to allow an employee to use sick leave to assist certain family members with medical needs.
Nevada AB 280 (BDR 132)
Discrimination: Public Accommodation
Requires that owners or operators of places of public accommodation that provide a single-stall restroom to the public make the single-stall restroom as inclusive and accessible as possible to a person of any gender identity or expression.
Nevada AB 307 (BDR 764)
Requires an employer to post a notice of services provided by the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation to employees.
Nevada SB 293 (BDR 907)
Prohibits an employer from seeking the salary history of an applicant; prohibits an employer from discriminating against an applicant for not revealing salary history.
New Hampshire HB 258 (LSR 0228)
Requires an employer to permit an employee to electronically sign or acknowledge alterations to such employee's wage and hour records.
June 22, 2021
New Jersey Healthy Terminals Act
Wage and Hour
Requires covered airport or related location employers to pay a covered airport or related location worker the applicable prevailing wage.
New Mexico SB 129
Provides conditions for implementation of the New Mexico Work and Save Act.
New Mexico SB 35
Removes the exception to the minimum wage requirement for secondary school students.
New Mexico HB 2
Permits the personal use of cannabis; does not restrict an employer from taking adverse action against an employee for possessing or being impaired by an intoxicating substance at work or during work hours.
New Mexico SB 2
Provides for the expungement of certain criminal records.
New Mexico SB 80
Prohibits discrimination or disparate treatment in employment based on hairstyle.
NYC Int. No. 1396-2019
Provides that a fast food employee in New York City cannot be discharged except for just cause or due to bona fide economic reasons; requires fast food employers to conduct layoffs by inverse seniority.
July 4, 2021
NYC Int. No. 1415-2019
Provides that a fast food employee in New York City cannot be discharged except for just cause; provides for arbitration guidelines to mediate disputes between fast food employers and fast food employees.
Durham Ordinance No. 14420
Prohibits discrimination in employment based on a protected class; prohibits discrimination based on natural hair or hairstyles.
Greensboro Ordinance No. 21-0084
Prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, and hair texture and hairstyles that are commonly associated with race or national origin.
North Dakota HB 1040
Provides that an employer has 45 days instead of 30 to appeal a workforce safety and insurance decision or administrative order.
July 31, 2021
North Dakota HB 1084
Amends definition of compensable injury to not include any injury caused by the use of recreational marijuana.
August 1, 2021
North Dakota HB 1278
Provides eligibility for unemployment compensation for military spouses due to relocation.
North Dakota HB 1398
Preemption: Paid Leave
Prohibits a political subdivision from adopting or enforcing an ordinance that requires an employer to provide to an employee paid family leave that exceeds the requirements of federal or state laws and rules.
Oklahoma HB 2780
Permits wage garnishment for delinquent taxpayers; requires employers to withhold wages subject to an order of garnishment.
November 1, 2021
Oklahoma SB 794
Requires e-filing of documents with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
Oklahoma SB 862
Allows employers to take action against a licensed medical marijuana patient if there is use or possession of marijuana at the place of employment or during employment hours.
Oregon HB 2231
Exempts time spent in voluntary service overseas and domestic voluntary service responding to a declared emergency or disaster from the five-year limit on reemployment rights.
September 25, 2021
Pennsylvania HB 203
Protected Time Off: Organ Donation
Requires an employer to provide leave for organ donation.
June 27, 2021
South Carolina HB 3094
Allows a permit holder to carry a concealable weapon openly on their person; permits a private employer to prohibit permit holders from carrying a concealable weapon or open carry weapon.
July 16, 2021
South Dakota Constitutional Amendment A (Ballot Measure)
Amends the state constitution to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.
South Dakota HB 1046
COVID-19: Liability Shield
Limits liability for certain exposures to COVID-19.
South Dakota HB 1154
Home Health Services
Prohibits employment contracts restricting competitive health care practices.
South Dakota Initiated Measure 26 (Ballot Measure)
Establishes a medical marijuana program in South Dakota for individuals with a debilitating medical condition.
Tennessee HB 1182 (SB 1224)
Requires an entity open to the general public to post a notice at each public restroom and each building entrance of the business' policy of allowing a member of either biological sex to use any public restroom within the building or facility.
Tennessee SB 1576 (HB 401)
Authorizes the court of workers' compensation claims to award additional attorneys' fees and costs incurred when an employer wrongfully denies a claim or wrongfully fails to timely initiate benefits.
Texas SB 45 (HB 48)
Discrimination and Harassment
Provides that it is unlawful employment practice if an employer knew about prohibited harassment and did not act immediately.
Utah SB 42
Authorizes garnishment orders for state tax liability and provides the maximum amount subject to garnishment.
Vermont HB 149
Removes the 15-day limitation on the leave of absence afforded to military and National Guard personnel when ordered to state or federal active duty.
Virginia HB 1814
Provides that the Virginia minimum hourly wage will be used to calculate the amount of a person's aggregate disposable earnings protected from garnishment if it is greater than the federal minimum hourly wage.
Virginia HB 1848
Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.
Virginia HB 1862
Prohibits an employer from taking adverse action against an employee for such employee's lawful use of cannabis oil.
Virginia HB 1985
Establishes that COVID-19 is an occupational disease compensable under the Workers' Compensation Act for health care providers.
Virginia HB 2063
Wage Payment: Overtime
Requires an employer to compensate its employees who are entitled to overtime compensation at a rate not less than one and one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay.
Virginia HB 2134
Provides that if an employer provides workers with personal protective equipment in response to a disaster caused by a communicable disease, it cannot be considered in determining whether the worker is an independent contractor.
Virginia HB 2137
Protected Time Off: Paid Sick Leave
Requires employers to provide paid sick leave to home health care workers.
Virginia HB 2161 (SB 1410)
Discrimination: Military Status
Prohibits discrimination based on a person's military status.
Virginia HB 2174
Establishes an automatic enrollment payroll deduction individual retirement account (IRA) retirement savings program.
Virginia HB 2312
Eliminates criminal penalties for possession of marijuana for persons who are 21 years of age or older.
Virginia SB 1339
Establishes a process for the automatic sealing of certain convictions, deferred dispositions, and acquittals and prohibits an employer from inquiring about sealed records.
Washington HB 1206 (SB 5218)
Requires workplace safety training for manufacturing and construction temporary workers.
July 24, 2021
Washington SB 5284
Eliminates subminimum wage certificates for persons with disabilities.
Washington HB 1097 (SB 5090)
Provides that an employer may contest an order restraining any condition of employment or practice and provides for penalties for violations found.
July 25, 2021
Washington SB 5097
Family and Medical Leave
Expands the definition of family member under the paid family and medical leave program.
Washington HB 2308
Requires employers to periodically report standard occupational classifications or job titles of workers.
West Virginia HB 2009
Clarifies that an independent contractor is not considered an employee for the purpose of wage payment law.
June 17, 2021
West Virginia HB 2026
Excludes compensation of certain temporary nonresident employees from state source income tax.
June 28, 2021
Wyoming HB 239
Provides for student learner agreements between eligible students, school districts or community colleges, and employers; provides workers' compensation coverage for student learners.
1 Notably, over 300 new labor and employment bills, ordinances, and regulations took effect at the state and municipal levels between January 1 and July 1 of this year alone. Employers that are interested in keeping updated on new laws impacting the workplace can learn about Littler GPS here.