Compliance Regulations: Update 2016

by | Mar 3, 2016 | Blog |

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Compliance Regulations: Update 2016

Is your organization ready to comply with new regulations?

One of the biggest challenges for human resources professionals is keeping up with compliance regulations. From entirely new legislation to revised regulations, here’s a snapshot of some of the compliance changes that have taken effect in the U.S. and Canada over the last year:

Family Leave Updates

Both California and Massachusetts have changed their family leave laws. In California, amendments to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) regulations were generally intended to align the state’s CFRA leave regulations with those of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, there are still some key differences employers need to be aware of. For example, pregnancy disability is not a covered condition under the CFRA even though it is considered a serious health condition under the FMLA.

In Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act is now called the Parental Leave Act, and eligibility has been expanded. Employees who work for organizations with six or more employees can now take Massachusetts Parental Leave following:

  • The birth of a child
  • The placement of a child under the age of 18, or
  • The placement of a child under age of 23 if the child is mentally or physically disabled

Plus, the new law—which went into effect in April 2015—is gender neutral, so dads can take advantage of it, too.

To be eligible, employees must have either completed their initial probationary period (not to exceed three months) or, if there is no probationary period, they must have worked for the organization for at least three consecutive months. In situations where both parents work for the same employer, the law states that they are entitled to an aggregate of 8 weeks of leave (as opposed to 8 weeks each) for the birth or placement of the same child.

Updated Accommodations for Pregnant Women

The state of Nebraska amended its Fair Employment Practices Act to allow additional accommodations for pregnant women in the workplace. The new law requires reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees with known physical limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation—which could include leave—would pose an undue hardship on the employer. This law covers private employers with 15 or more employees, as well as the state of Nebraska, governmental agencies within the state, and political subdivisions of the state of Nebraska.

Emerging Sick Leave Laws

Another set of compliance regulations employers need to keep pace with is sick leave—both the paid and unpaid varieties. New sick leave laws recently went into effect in many locations across the U.S., including larger jurisdictions such as California, Massachusetts, Oregon, and the city of Philadelphia. If you have employees in any of these locations, you may need to adjust your accrual and leave tracking methods in order to demonstrate that employees are being granted sick leave in accordance with the law.

In some jurisdictions, such as Massachusetts, the size of an organization’s workforce determines whether sick leave must be paid or unpaid. Employers should also be aware that each state and/or city rolling out new sick leave laws sets its own parameters around use. For example, in Philadelphia, leave can be taken for an employee’s qualifying illness or injury or for the employee to care for a covered family member’s qualifying illness or injury.

Philadelphia sick leave can also be taken following documented incidents of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.

Compassionate Care and Bereavement Leave Updates

Nova Scotia expanded its Compassionate Care Leave from eight weeks to 28 weeks. To be eligible, employees must have worked for their employer for at least three months and must be taking the leave to care for a seriously ill family member with a significant risk of dying within 26 weeks.

In addition, Nova Scotia expanded bereavement leave to allow up to five consecutive days of leave if the employee’s spouse, parent, guardian, child, grandparent, grandchild, sister, brother, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, sister-in-law, or brother-in-law dies.

Streamlining Compliance Processes

We recommend working with your legal counsel to ensure that your organization complies with all wage and hour laws and absence regulations impacting your workforce. And when you’re ready to streamline compliance regulations and processes around Time and Attendance and Absence Management, be sure to contact us. We help midsized and enterprise organizations around the globe simplify compliance with national and local wage and hour laws and absence regulations—as well as relevant industry regulations, union rules, and corporate policies—so you can demonstrate proof of compliance quickly and easily.

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About Jennifer Wolf

As Communications Manager, Jennifer Wolf covers workforce management trends and best practices, absence management, and scheduling for WorkForce Software.

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