If you're an employer or leave case manager, you know that there's always new information pertaining to leave management being thrown your way. Last year is no exception, with everything from clarifications to existing leave laws to new leave laws being established and everything in between! Instead of searching through countless websites and trying to remember everything, we did the hard work for you and have collected the most pertinent new leave laws you should know about!
New Leave And Accommodation Laws
Having a good grasp on the new leave and accommodation laws not only helps your employees taking the leave they're entitled to, it also safeguards your organization from disastrous financial and legal issues associated with non-compliance. Multiple new leave laws were established in 2019, so here’s a brief summary of them:
Pittsburgh Pregnancy Accommodations for Employees and Partners
Pittsburgh was the first city in the U.S. to enact a law, established on March 15, 2019, that protects the partners of pregnant women. The partner of the pregnant woman can be of any gender who provides emotional and/or physical support, not necessarily a marital or domestic relationship. This law protects pregnant women and their partners by forbidding employers with five or more employees from discriminating against them. This law also provides accommodations for pregnant women, examples of reasonable accommodations under this law include modified work stations, duties and job requirements.
Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act
This law amended the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and became effective June 27, 2019. This law applies to employers with 15 or more employees within the state and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who are limited due to childbirth, pregnancy or related medical conditions (such as lactation). Examples of a reasonable accommodation for such an employee can include time off to recover from childbirth and modified schedules.
Westchester County Earned Sick Leave Law
Westchester County Earned Sick Leave Law commenced on July 10, 2019 for employees to take sick leave for themselves or a family member. Employees are eligible if their employer has five or more employees and are entitled to take up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.
Puerto Rico Special Leave for Victims of Certain Domestic and Sexual Crimes
The Puerto Rico Special Leave Act, which took effect on August 1, 2019, is meant for employees residing in Puerto Rico to take up to 15 days of unpaid leave each calendar year for the following reasons: domestic or gender based violence, child abuse, sexual harassment in the workplace, sexual assault, lewd acts or felony stalking. This leave time may be intermittent or on a fractioned basis. Employees taking special leave may also do so to seek advice and obtain a restraining order, seek and obtain legal assistance and seek and obtain safe housing or space in a shelter.
Maine Act to Protect Pregnant Workers
This act went into effect on September 19, 2019 to protect pregnant and nursing employees in Maine. Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees related to limitations of performing their job due to pregnancy, child birth or related medical conditions (such as lactation). A reasonable accommodation could include temporary relief from lifting requirements, temporary transfer to less strenuous or dangerous work and provisions for lactation.
Maine Leave for Appointments for Veterans
Enacted on September 19, 2019, this new Maine law requires employers to provide veterans with leave for scheduled appointments at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ medical facilities. Employers may provide paid leave (if available to the employee) or unpaid leave if the employee has no available paid leave.
Connecticut Civil Air Patrol Leave
This new law covers members of the Civil Air Patrol as a new protected class and commenced on October 1, 2019. The Connecticut Civil Air Patrol Leave allows members of the Civil Air Patrol Service to be absent from work for the following reasons: responding to requests for assistance in life-threatening events, emergencies and natural disasters; responding to emergencies declared by either the Governor of Connecticut or the President of the United States; participating in mandatory emergency training programs and exercises.
Maryland Organ Donation Leave
Maryland enacted a few employment laws on October 1, 2019, including the Organ Donation Leave. Under this law, employers with a minimum of 15 employees in Maryland are required to give their employees up to 60 business days of unpaid leave to be an organ donor and 30 business days of unpaid leave to be a bone marrow donor.
Westchester County Safe Time Law
The Westchester County Safe Time Law was enacted October 30, 2019. This law provides up to 40 hours of paid leave for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. Employers can ask for additional documentation from employees to demonstrate that the leave covers them, such as a court appearance ticket or subpoena.
Clearly, it's important as a employer or leave manager to stay up-to-date on new leave laws during the year. Luckily, we’ve recapped the key changes that happened last year, so you can stay out of hot water (a.k.a remain compliant)!
Stayed tuned for our next blog, which will summarize important law updates that happened in 2019. Our leave law reference guide, Leave Genius, will also keep you in the know with all of the latest leave laws and relevant information available, anytime, anywhere!
Should you have any questions regarding these updates and new laws, please consult your organization’s legal counsel.