Employment Law This Week®: Paid Sick Leave, New California Employment Laws, Final Pay Data Rule, Employee Drug Tests

Episode 45: Week of October 10, 2016

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We invite you to view Employment Law This Week® - a weekly rundown of the latest news in the field, brought to you by Epstein Becker Green. We look at the latest trends, important court decisions, and new developments that could impact your work. Join us every Monday for a new five-minute episode! Read the firm's press release here and subscribe for updates.

This week’s stories include ...

(1) Federal Contractors Must Provide Paid Sick Leave

Our top story: Under a new final rule announced by the U.S. Department of Labor, workers on federal projects can take leave to care for themselves or a family member. The rule will provide sick leave to almost 600,000 employees once it goes into effect on January 1, 2017. Dean Singewald, from Epstein Becker Green, has more.

“For federal contractors, they’re now required to provide employees performing work on or in connection with a contract one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 56 hours per year. Now, that’s seven paid sick days employers previously did not have to provide to their employees. On top of that, accrued, unused sick leave is to be carried over from year to year. Now, the use of paid sick leave cannot be made contingent on an employee finding a replacement.”

(2) California Passes New Employment Laws

There are a host of important changes coming for employers in California. Starting January 1, 2017, employers will be prohibited from requiring California employees to have their claims adjudicated in a forum outside the state or under any choice of law outside California law.  The new law includes a notable exception for agreements in which employees are represented by counsel in negotiating the choice of law to be applied, the venue, or the forum. The state also recently enacted legislation that prohibits employers from asking job applicants about juvenile criminal convictions. California employers are currently prohibited from considering arrests that did not result in convictions.

(3) EEOC Publishes Final Pay Data Rule

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has published its controversial final rule on pay data. Businesses with 100 or more employees will now be required to submit detailed pay reports that include information on the race, gender, and ethnicity of its workers. The data will reportedly help the agency track pay discrimination, but business groups argue that the final rule could cost employers more than $400 million. Employers must file their revised EEO-1 pay data reports by March 31, 2018.

(4) Positive Employee Drug Tests Reach 10-Year High

After years of declines, positive workforce drug tests have seen an increase of 4% over the last three years, reaching the highest level in a decade in 2015. According to the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index, positive results for amphetamines, marijuana, and heroin have increased each year for the past five years, and post-accident positive tests have risen 30% since 2011. Employers should take note, but also be aware, that OSHA’s new rule on reporting workplace injuries may limit their ability to require post-accident drug tests.

(5) Tip of the Week

Lynn Shapiro Snyder, Founder and President of the Women Business Leaders of the U.S. Health Care Industry Foundation, is here to continue our celebration of Global Diversity Awareness Month with some advice on how to think about “diversity of thought” on the board level.

“A company’s success relies on having an effective board of directors. One of the elements of effectiveness is having diversity of thought at the board level. ‘Diversity of thought’ is interpreted different ways, but one of the best ways to interpret it is to make sure you have gender diversity at the board level.”

Click here for more about Epstein Becker Green’s lifetime commitment to diversity: http://bit.ly/2dvZHhj

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