Did you know 18 states changed their minimum wage starting January 1, 2018? Did you know more states and localities will prohibit employers from asking about or considering prior salary history? As 2018 starts to unfold before our eyes, make sure your business is in “The Know” with all Legislative updates.

Employment and labor laws trends we’ve seen developing at state and local levels over the past few years continue in 2018. These changes include; Ban the Box/Fair Chance laws,  paid sick and safe time, family leave, pregnancy accommodation, secure scheduling ordinances, legalization of medical and recreational marijuana and more.

Employment and labor laws will continue to change over the next year – so, if your company is looking to stay on top of these trends, take note of  a few of the 2018 Legislative changes below:

Ban the Box/Fair Chance Laws

States and localities continue to enact laws regulating employers’ use of applicants’ criminal history in making hiring decisions.  Effective January 1, 2018, with some exceptions, California prohibits any questions about or reliance on, criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment has been made.  Employers must also follow new procedures before taking any adverse action based on a criminal conviction.  Beginning in June of 2018, employers in Spokane, WA will face a similar ban although the city will not begin imposing fines for failure to comply until 2019.

Salary History Bans

More states and localities including California, and San Francisco will prohibit employers from asking about or considering prior salary. Employers in affected jurisdictions should train anyone who interviews candidates on behalf of the company not to ask about a job applicant’s prior salary history (this would include other benefits such as bonuses, allowances, and medical benefits). Also, if the interviewer becomes aware of the prior salary history of the applicant, they may not rely on that information as a factor in determining whether to offer employment or what salary to present to the applicant.

Minimum Wages

18 states and about 20 cities saw increases in their minimum wage on January 1, 2018. Statewide minimum wages are at or more than $10 an hour in 9 states including Washington, which tops the list at $11.50 hour.  Several cities in California, Washington and New York are over $13 per hour and a handful exceed $15/hour. Employers in states with certain overtime exemptions tied to minimum wage should ensure exempt employees’ salaries meet the new minimum floor.

Sick and Safe Time

Effective January 1, 2018: Nevada requires employers to provide unpaid leave (up to 160 hours per year) to employees who are victims or who have family members who are victims of domestic violence; Oregon’s sick leave law was amended to clarify certain provisions and enable employers to cap yearly accrual; and Washington allows employees to accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Effective May 5, 2018, New York City expands its paid sick leave law to allow employees to use the time to deal with domestic or sexual violence or stalking. In July 2018, Rhode Island’s paid sick leave law will go into effect for employers with 18 or more employees working in the state.

Family Leave

California expanded its parental leave law to include employers with 20 or more employees, and New York now provides for employee-funded paid family leave for up to 8 weeks per year.

Pregnancy Accommodation

Laws take effect during 2018 in Massachusetts and Vermont that require employers to offer reasonable accommodations for conditions relating to pregnancy (including expressing breast milk).

Predictive Scheduling Ordinances

These laws typically require employers to provide employees with advance notice of their schedule, and in some cases, to offer additional hours to existing part-time employee before engaging new workers. Application is generally limited to the retail and fast-food sectors. Covered employers in Emeryville, CA, New York City, and Oregon will need to comply. Notably, a similar statewide law proposed in California was recently withdrawn by its sponsor.


Employers in states allowing the use of medical and/or recreational marijuana (which now includes California and effective February 1, 2108, Maine) should continue to be aware as court cases addressing the issue of if and how employers must accommodate use of the drug.

The above article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice.  You should consult with your attorney to see if any of the information provided here applies to your organization.

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