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Flurry of State, Local Labor Laws Aims to Protect Workers

Workplace employment issues continue to make news as state and local governments propose employment law legislation at a frenzied pace. The increased activity comes in the wake of federal inaction on numerous issues.

More than 500 new employment-related bills were introduced this February alone. Hot topics include the right to work, disclosure of criminal history, the privacy of salary history, wage transparency and predictable scheduling. All initiatives aim to better protect workers and make it more likely they can earn a fair wage and work fair hours. And, several of these bills have posting requirements.

Here’s how these new workplace laws could affect your business:

  • Opportunity to Work Law Helps Part-Timers

    According to the Economic Policy Institute, about 6.4 million workers across the nation sought full-time hours last year but were unable to find anything but part-time work. It’s a troubling dynamic that seems to be the new normal. It’s also why the city of San Jose, CA, approved a landmark law that requires companies with 36 or more employees to offer extra hours first to part-time workers before hiring new staff. San Jose businesses are required to post the city’s new law, which is generating interest nationwide.

    The California legislature also proposed “The Opportunity to Work Act” with similar requirements. If approved, the legislation would apply to companies with 10 or more employees. The intent of this legislation is to combat underemployment, giving part-time workers a chance to make a more realistic living wage. More laws like this are predicted in the upcoming months.

  • “Ban the Box” Law Offers Second Chance

    Employment has been described as “one of the most effective tools” in helping to prevent offenders from returning to a life of crime. Unfortunately, it’s common for job seekers to be dropped from the hiring process if they reveal a previous arrest. That’s why “Ban the Box” legislation is gaining popularity. By prohibiting employers from asking about a criminal conviction on the job application, the measure gives job candidates a chance to move forward on their own merits and skills. San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia require labor posters on this trending topic, and New Mexico is advancing legislation on this issue. More cities are expected to follow. Nationwide, 25 states and more than 150 cities and counties have adopted “Ban the Box” to eliminate the stigma of a criminal record. Nine states require the removal of conviction history from job applications for private employers.

  • Salary History Questions May Be Off Limits

    Ever have a potential employer demand to know what you earned at your last job? It happens all the time and it can affect your pay scale for the rest of your life. If you routinely ask applicants about their previous salary history, you may need to stop. A new Massachusetts law prohibits this practice – and more states are expected to follow.

    The law is significant because a worker’s salary history often follows them from job to job. Low pay at an early job can have a lasting effect because employers often base their offers on salary history instead of a candidate’s skills. Women earn about 79 percent of what men earn and the Massachusetts law is one step toward narrowing that gap by basing salaries on skills instead of salary history, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. The legislation’s goal is to make sure applicants are compensated for what they bring to the company. No posters are required, yet but as the topic gains momentum, they’re likely.

  • Salary Disclosure Should Be Routine

    Several states are evaluating proposals designed to increase wage transparency in the workplace. These laws make it unlawful for employers to prevent employees from disclosing or discussing their salaries with other employees. Why does this matter? Without wage transparency, a company may have an unfair edge in salary negotiations if an employee doesn’t know what his coworkers are making. Disclosure helps level the playing field because everyone knows what it takes to move up the pay scale.

    No posting requirements have been established yet, but they are expected in the future.

  • Scheduling Law Protects Workers

    “Predictable scheduling” laws pertaining to advance notice of scheduling and the need to compensate employees if their work schedules are suddenly changed. These laws limit “just in time” or “on-call” scheduling practices, mostly in the retail and restaurant industries. San Francisco’s predictable scheduling law became effective in 2015, and Seattle passed a similar measure that takes effect in July 2017. Both have posting requirements. The New York City Council is considering similar legislation, and the issue is expected to gain traction in more cities across the nation.

Year-Round Compliance Can Be Easy

In a single year, it’s not unusual for the Poster Guard® Compliance Protection legal team to identify and track hundreds of state and local posting changes (including minimum wage increases). Changes can be complex — and require continual monitoring regarding related posting requirements. Also, to remain compliant, you must display federal, state and local postings, even if they conflict (as with the minimum wage).

With the dedicated service of Poster Guard® Compliance Protection, you’re guaranteed 365 days of hassle-free labor law posting compliance. You’ll receive an up-to-date federal, state and local poster set, along with automatic poster replacements every time a mandatory change occurs. Best of all, you’re guaranteed 100% compliance.

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