The laws, they are a-changing.  Most importantly, we expect several critical 2018 employment law changes that will impact small businesses and the employers of hourly workers.  So, it’s important for all local business managers and employees to be aware of these changes so they can comply with the regulation.  

2018 employment law changes

ICE raids expected to 4x

The most important 2018 employment law change to watch are upcoming ICE raids.  For example, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (abbreviated as ICE) under the Department of Homeland Security works to detain and deport undocumented workers.  

During these sweeps, ICE has been known to arrive with guns and dogs to investigate worksites and employee files of suspected employers of undocumented workers.   

In early 2017, along with the change of administration, restaurants and retailers braced for a surge of ICE raids on their businesses.  But we actually saw very little increase in activity.   Read the recap here.  

However, in 2018, more ICE raids are expected by four or five times.  ICE Director Thomas Homan has instructed Homeland Security Investigations (ICE’s investigative arm) to increase its time spent on worksite enforcement by “four or five times” next year.

So, you should prepare now by conducting an i-9 audit at your location.  Don’t forget to use the updated form i-9 for newly hired employees and review the updated i-9 handbook for employers.

Salary threshold to increase

The Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) salary threshold that has been on hold since 2016 is likely to be updated in 2018.  However, expect a new salary threshold under the FLSA for exempt employees to finally be revised somewhere between the threshold proposed under the Obama administration of $47,476 and the actual current FLSA threshold of $23,660.  

Predictive scheduling continues to spread

New York City, San Jose, San Francisco, and Seattle currently have Predictive Scheduling laws in effect.  Secondly, Oregon has recently passed the first statewide predictive scheduling regulations scheduled to take effect in July of 2018.

For example, in Oregon, the new law applies to employers with 500 or more employees in three specific industries: retail, hospitality (including casinos), and food services.

However, the State of New York may be the next state to pass predictive scheduling regulations as the bill is currently in the comment period until January 8, 2018.

Minimum wage increases in 19 states

19 states and D.C. have upcoming minimum-wage increases;  

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.  

Far more cities are also passing their own minimum wage.  Click here to check your city and state’s current and future minimum wage legislation.  

Paid leave laws in effect in several states

Employers across the country must prepare to pay employees for sick or family time. For example, in St. Paul, Minnesota employers with 24 or more employees in St. Paul must provide Earned Sick and Safe Time to those employees working in the city.

Secondly, New York State passed a requirement where most private employers must obtain Paid Family Leave Insurance and provide 12 weeks of leave for qualifying situations.  

Furthermore, Rhode Island permits employees to accrue and use paid sick and safe time up to 24 hours in 2018.  The State of Washington requires employees to accrue 1 hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked.  [link to the washington blog post once created]

Equal Pay for Equal Work

Governments continue to enhance equal pay laws for 2018.  For instance, Maryland and Puerto Rico passed legislation that prohibits different pay for comparable work.  Click here for the full multi-state review for state legislation regarding equal pay.  http://www.ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/equal-pay-laws.aspx

Additionally, California, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada and New York City have passed legislation prohibiting employers from screening applicants based on pay.

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