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Families First Coronavirus Response Act Becomes Law
03/19/2020
By: Sarah Stula

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), which, among many other things, provides paid leave for employees who must stay home to care for themselves or their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday, the Senate passed the Act, and President Trump signed it into law. The Act makes sweeping changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and has immediate consequences for employers.

The Act creates two types of paid leave: (1) up to two weeks of sick leave for an employee who is subject to quarantine or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, is caring for someone who is quarantined or ill, or is caring for a child who cannot go to school; (2) and up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave for an employee to care for a child who cannot go to school or daycare because of COVID-19. Employers will be subsidized for the paid leave through tax credits.
Employers must prepare to implement the Act as soon as possible. Though a deep dive is needed to fully understand your organization’s obligations under the Act and implement a compliance plan, here are some of the important things you should know right now.

1. When is the Act effective?

The new paid leave rules will take effect “not later than” April 2, 2020, and expire on December 31, 2020.
 
2. Which employers are      Continue Reading...
 
An Employer's Guide to Avoiding Tattoo Nightmares
02/11/2020
By: Sarah Stula

Perhaps your parents warned you as a teenager that if you got a tattoo, you would never get a good job. But millennials have turned this adage on its head.

Tattoos are no longer taboo. Nearly half of millennials have at least one tattoo, and the workforce is becoming more inked than ever before. As the popularity of tattoos (and tattoo reality-TV shows) continues to grow, employers may wonder whether to permit the visible display of tattoos in the workplace. Here are some tattoo policy tips for both private and public employers.

Tips for Private Employers

If you are a private employer, you may generally adopt dress code policies that require employees to cover their tattoos at work if their display could harm the company’s public image or otherwise interfere with your business. But you should also take precautions to prevent discrimination claims that could arise from a tattoo-concealment policy. These precautions include: (1) stating a legitimate business reason for adopting the policy; (2) applying the dress code equally to all similarly situated employees; and (3) enforcing the dress code consistently.

Any tattoo-concealment policy should be compliant with local, state, and federal anti-discrimination laws, and employers should be careful that the policy does not disparately impact protected classes. For example, if only employees of a certain nationality or gender are disciplined for failing to cover their tattoos, then those employees might allege that the policy is pretext for illegal discrimination. The same would be true if an employer refused to hire      Continue Reading...

 
Don't Ask, Don't Tell? Good Reasons to Stop Asking About Salary History
12/17/2019
By: Sarah Stula

Does your company ask about salary history during the application and hiring process? If so, you may want to re-think that approach.

Nationwide, women earn about 85% of men’s wages, and Kansas is no exception. In an effort to help reduce the gender pay bias, a growing number of states and cities have banned employers from inquiring about salary history during hiring. The rationale behind these bans is that, when salary offers are based on salary history, women who have been previously underpaid will continue to be underpaid. Thus, salary history inquiry bans aim to stop the cycle of underpaying women.

Salary history inquiry bans have been adopted from coast to coast—from California to New York City—and now, Kansas City, Missouri, has joined their ranks. Effective October 2019, the Kansas City ordinance generally prohibits an employer with six or more employees from engaging in certain hiring practices, including: (1) inquiring about a job applicant’s salary history; (2) searching public records to obtain salary history; (3) relying on salary history to make hiring decisions; and (4) retaliating against an applicant for failing to disclose salary history. These prohibitions do not apply to applicants for internal transfers or promotions with their current employer, and employers are permitted to discuss salary expectations with applicants.

If your company operates in Kansas City, Missouri, or other locations with salary history inquiry bans, you obviously need to update your hiring procedures accordingly, or risk liability and penalties down the road.

But even if an employer is not subject to a state      Continue Reading...

 


Editors
Don Berner Image
Don Berner, the Labor Law, OSHA, & Immigration Law Guy
Boyd Byers Image
Boyd Byers, the General Employment Law Guy
Jason Lacey Image
Jason Lacey, the Employee Benefits Guy
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