1980s Thomas Ford Sheffield By Darren Felon - originally posted to Flickr as School bus., CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12074674As many of the legislative sessions wrap up in time for summer break, Colorado and Minneapolis enact two new laws, while Illinois and Connecticut passed several more which are awaiting Governor approval.

Colorado Pregnancy Accommodation law: On June 1, Governor Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1438, requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations for the health conditions related to pregnancy, the physical recovery from childbirth, or a related condition. While the bill does not specify that leave is a reasonable accommodation, ReedGroup confirmed with the state legislator who proposed the bill that leave is one of many accommodations that employers may need to consider. The law contains obligations for employee and employer notification – including posting and certification requirements, so be sure to carefully review the bill to ensure compliance. The Colorado pregnancy accommodation law goes into effect August 10, 2016.

Minnesota Sick and Safe Time Ordinance: On May 27, the Minneapolis City Council approved its Sick and Safe Time Ordinance. This law goes into effect July 1, 2017, and provides paid sick and safe leave for employees who work in Minneapolis for at least 80 hours per year. All Minneapolis employers are covered. Similar to many other recently passed municipal paid leaves, the law provides an accrual of leave at a rate of one hour for every 30 worked, up to a maximum of forty-eight (48) hours in a calendar or fiscal year. Employees may use the leave for:

  • their own or a family member’s mental and physical illness or treatment;
  • safety leave (i.e. preparing for or participating in any legal proceeding related to or resulting from domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking);
  • a public health emergency; or
  • an unexpected closure of school or family care facility.

In addition, the following laws have passed both houses, and await the signature of the Governor in their respective state:

  • Illinois Senate Bill 2613 provides up to 2 weeks of unpaid bereavement leave for an employee who suffers the loss of a child. This includes making arrangements, attending the child’s funeral and/or to grieve. Bereavement leave must be completed within 60 days after the employee receives notice of the child’s death. If the employee suffers the death of more than one child in a 12-month period, the employee may take up to 6 weeks of bereavement leave during the 12-month period. The law will be immediately effective upon becoming law.
  • Illinois House Bill 4036 amends the Illinois Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act by expanding its applicability to all employees, not just those working for an employer with 50 or more employees. If signed, this law will take effect January 1, 2017.
  • Illinois House Bill 6162 creates the Employee Sick Leave Act. This allows employees to use personal sick leave benefits for an illness, injury, or medical appointment of an employee’s family member, (child, spouse, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent), on the same terms as the employee is able to use the time for their own illness or injury. An employer may limit this time to the amount of personal sick leave that would be accrued during a 6-month period. If signed this law will take effect on January 1, 2017.
  • Connecticut Senate Bill 262 amends its state FMLA law, expanding it to include as a leave reason any qualifying exigency arising from the employee’s spouse, child, or parent being on active duty, or having been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the armed forces. The new leave reason does not provide an additional leave allotment, but rather shares time with the existing FML reasons; the total amount of leave remains the same at 16 weeks. The law will be effective immediately upon signature.

What Employers Must Do Now

Even though it’s nearly summer, employers had best keep those pencils sharpened! Employers are responsible for compliance with these new laws upon their effective dates, and should stay tuned to the passage of the pending laws. For those passed already, employers should:

  • Incorporate new notice and certification provisions into current policies and postings;
  • Review and, if necessary, update any policies, handbooks, and notice postings to include the new leaves;
  • Train appropriate personnel (Human Resources, Benefits, etc.) on the variety of issues, such as how to engage in the interactive process for a pregnancy accommodation; and
  • Train supervisors and managers on the new leaves so that they can help spot covered absences and enlist HR assistance.

What Reed Group is Doing

If you are using Reed Group’s leave management services or software, we are:

  • Updating our leave management software platforms to encompass the new state laws;
  •  Training staff and updating documentation, if necessary; and
  • Adding new chapters for the new leaves in LeaveAdvisor™.

Did you know? Reed Group tracks pending laws that affect leave of absence in LeaveAdvisor’s Pending Legislation product. We provide detailed resources, including examples and hard-to-solve problems in our LeaveAdvisor™ product.  And of course, we provide full-service leave administration.  Concerned about navigating your way through complex state leave legislation? Reed Group has options. We offer both out-sourced and software solutions for clients with complex and/or multi-state employee populations. Take a cruise through our website for more information.