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Regulatory Roundup for October 2021: Your Guide to the Latest Changes

Please note the list below is not intended to be comprehensive. Our team is constantly monitoring for updates that may impact organizations across the country.

In this installment of Regulatory Roundup, your monthly guide to the world of compliance, we look at changes that may affect organizations nationwide and among seven states:

California
Delaware
Illinois
Massachusetts
New Jersey
New York
Washington

Federal Updates

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, the maximum amount of wages eligible for the Social Security tax will move from $142,800 to $147,000. This $4,200 increase echoes a similar jump from 2020, when the wage cap shifted from $137,700 to the current $142,800. This increase is projected to raise the average monthly retirement benefit for eligible recipients to $1,657. Review the press release here to learn more.

Federal contractor employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8, unless they’re granted a legal accommodation, under new White House guidance released late September.

The IRS recently clarified that the one-year suspended deadlines for COBRA elections and initial premium payments, as part of COVID-19 relief, run concurrently, not consecutively. Read more about it here.

Legislative Updates by State

 

California

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, Assembly Bill 1003 makes the intentional theft of wages, including gratuities, in an amount greater than $950 from any one employee or $2,350 in the aggregate from two or more employees by an employer in any consecutive 12-month period punishable as grand theft. This authorizes recovery of wages, gratuities, benefits or other compensation in a civil action by the employee or the Labor Commissioner.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Senate Bill 639 requires phasing out subminimum wage payments to persons with disabilities.

Starting Jan. 1, 2022, Senate Bill 62 enacts various requirements on employers in the garment manufacturing industry, including recordkeeping requirements, new liability for those who contract with a third party to ensure workers are paid for all hours worked and expanding the definition of garment manufacturing.

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, Assembly Bill 1033 provides that employers must grant eligible employees up to 12 weeks of job-protected time off from work for the purposes of providing care to a parent-in-law with a serious medical condition under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).

As of Oct. 5, Assembly Bill 654 requires employers to provide notice within 48 hours or one business day — whichever is later — when notifying a local public health agency of a COVID-19 outbreak. It also expands the list of employers exempt from the COVID-19 outbreak reporting requirements. These provisions will be repealed on Jan. 1, 2023.

The governor of California has signed Assembly Bills 1561 and 1506, which extend the time before application of the ABC test for certain occupations such as licensed manicurists, construction trucking subcontractors and newspaper carriers to Jan. 1, 2025.

Delaware

Effective Dec. 29, House Bill 88 removes the training minimum wage and youth minimum wage.

Illinois

Effective immediately, Executive Order 2021-26 requires Illinois state contractors and subcontractors to pay workers with disabilities at least the minimum wage. Current and future contracts with state agencies must ensure that workers with disabilities are paid at least the state minimum wage or the applicable local minimum wage, if higher.

Massachusetts

Effective immediately, House Bill 4127 extends COVID-19 Massachusetts Emergency Paid Sick Leave.

The state Department of Family and Medical Leave also announced on Oct. 1 that the Massachusetts paid family leave contribution rates are changing in 2022. You can see that notice here and see its guide to benefits here.

New Jersey

Effective immediately, Assembly Bill 681 (Senate Bill 397) amends the current law to extend protections against age discrimination.

New York

Effective immediately, Assembly Bill 3213 (Senate Bill 5395) ensures that employees are automatically enrolled into the secure choice savings program, a retirement program that they must opt out of if they do not wish to participate.

Washington

Washington’s hourly minimum wage is to increase to $14.49 from $13.69, effective Jan. 1, 2022. See the Department of Labor and Industries’ news release.

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, the Seattle minimum wage for small employers (500 or fewer employees) increases from $15.00 per hour to $15.75 for employers who pay $1.52 per hour toward the employee’s medical benefits or if their worker earns at least $1.52 per hour in tips. Otherwise, the applicable minimum wage is $17.27 per hour. The Seattle minimum wage for large employers (501 or more employees) increases from $16.69 per hour to $17.27 per hour for all employees. Visit the Seattle Office of Labor Standards here for more information.

 

DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.