The pandemic seems not to have slowed down state and local lawmakers. Indeed, over 100 new labor and employment laws and ordinances are scheduled to take effect between July 1, 2021 and November 1, 2021. Notably, while some of these laws address COVID-19 and topics concerning return-to-work, most mark a renewed attention to other hot-topic labor and employment issues. Not surprisingly, a number of states and localities have adopted their own nondiscrimination statutes or expanded the same to recognize new protected classifications. Other popular topics include independent contractors and worker classification, marijuana use and drug testing in the workplace, and repairs to state unemployment insurance systems.

Some states have more changes on the horizon than others. Like last year, Virginia has been the most active of the states—the Commonwealth will see 11 new labor and employment laws go into effect on July 1, 2021. These include major changes such as a new state overtime law and auto-enroll payroll deduction retirement savings program.

Please note that our annual “July is the New January,” which tracks many labor and employment laws and ordinances across the country that take effect in the latter half of the year, is not all-inclusive. Although this Insight touches on some industry-specific laws, the focus is on generally applicable labor and employment laws enacted in states and larger municipalities. Moreover, this report does not discuss changes to the minimum wage and related wage and hour legislation. See Spring into Summer and Fall Minimum Wage, Tipped, and Exempt Employee Pay Increases for information on new wage rates taking effect across the country.

Finally, note that many state legislatures are still in session, so additional laws that will take effect this summer are bound to be enacted after publication. And new laws—particularly at the local level—are often subject to amendment. This article is intended to provide insight on the types of laws state and local legislatures are enacting, some of which have effective dates right around the corner.1

Alabama

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Alabama HB 408

Contingent Workforce: Independent Contractors

Requires employers to follow specified requirements to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor for purposes of benefits and tax liabilities.

July 1, 2021

Alabama SB 249

Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN)

Requires employers relocating call centers to notify the Secretary of the Commerce Department.

September 1, 2021

 

Arizona

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Arizona SB 1268

Labor Relations

Requires labor organizations to be subject to similar fiduciary guidelines as employers or third-party administrators providing benefits to employees.

August 5, 2021

Arizona HB 2045

Discrimination: Pregnancy

Prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy or childbirth-related medical conditions.

August 27, 2021

Arizona HB 2067

Background Checks: Criminal

Provides employer liability protections to employers of an employee who has been provided with a Certificate of Second Chance.

August 27, 2021

Arizona HB 2770

COVID-19: Mask Mandates

Provides that businesses are not required to enforce mask mandates in response to COVID-19.

August 27, 2021

Mesa Ordinance No. 21-0214

Discrimination: Protected Classifications

Creates the Mesa Non-Discrimination Code and prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of a protected class.

June 29, 2021

Glendale Ordinance No. O21-39

Discrimination: Protected Classifications

Prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, veteran’s status, marital status, or familial status.

September 22, 2021

 

Arkansas

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Arkansas SB 555

Weapons in the Workplace

Prevents an employer from prohibiting the storage of legal firearms in vehicles in the employer’s parking lot.

July 29, 2021

Arkansas HB 1714

Benefits: Health Insurance

Amends the law concerning multiple employer welfare agreements.

July 30, 2021

Arkansas SB 547

Contingent Workforce: Independent Contractors

Provides that direct sellers are considered independent contractors.

July 30, 2021

Arkansas SB 615

COVID-19: Vaccine Passports

Prohibits the state, state agencies, and local jurisdictions and officials from requiring a vaccine passport as a condition for entry or services.

July 30, 2021

 

California

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Santa Barbara Ordinance No. 5999

COVID-19: Hazard Pay

Requires hazard pay of $5.00 per hour for grocery and retail pharmacy workers.

June 11, 2021

Burbank Grocery Hazard Pay Ordinance

COVID-19: Hazard Pay

Requires hazard pay of $5.00 per hour for grocery and drug store employees.

June 18, 2021

San Jose Ordinance No. 30568

COVID-19: Reasonable Accommodation

Supplements the requirements of California Labor Code section 2810.8 by entitling a laid-off employee to reasonable accommodation of a job duty or job requirement due to a family care hardship.

June 24, 2021

 

Colorado

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Colorado HB 1108

Discrimination: Protected Classifications

Prohibits discrimination based on gender expression and gender identity.

September 14, 2021

Colorado SB 90

Benefits: Health Insurance

Clarifies that if a small employer has been issued a health benefit plan subject to small group insurance laws and rules, and then following the issuance date it no longer meets the definition of “small employer,” the small group insurance laws and rules continue to apply to the plan as long as the employer renews the current health benefit plan.

September 14, 2021

 

Connecticut

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Connecticut HB 5158

Lactation Accommodation

Specifies certain parameters for a room or other location in the workplace that accommodates employee breastfeeding.

October 1, 2021

Connecticut HB 5377

COVID-19: Unemployment Insurance

Removes COVID-19-related layoffs from an employer’s unemployment experience account.

October 1, 2021

Connecticut HB 6380

Equal Pay

Requires employers to disclose salary ranges for vacant positions and to provide comparable pay for comparable work.

October 1, 2021

 

District of Columbia

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

District of Columbia Bill 140

COVID-19: Leave

Temporary measure. Requires employers to provide leave to employees to use for reasons related to COVID-19.

This measure will take effect following congressional review and publication in the DC Register. It is projected to take effect on June 29, 2021.

 

Florida

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Florida SB 2006

COVID-19: Vaccine Passports

Provides that a business may not require individuals to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-infection recovery.

July 1, 2021

 

Indiana

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Indiana HB 1156

Privacy

Clarifies the definition of employer subject to the prohibition against microchipping employees.

July 1, 2021

Indiana HB 1309

Pregnancy Accommodation

Requires an employer to respond to an employee's request for a pregnancy accommodation within a reasonable time frame.

July 1, 2021

Indiana SB 234

Employment Taxes

Provides if a payroll service provider fails to deposit or remit a business client's employer withholding taxes when due, the payroll service provider is responsible for the payment of any penalties or interest assessed.

July 1, 2021

 

Iowa

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Iowa HB 200 (SB 182)

Protected Time Off: Military

Requires an employer to provide leave to a member of the U.S. Coast Guard for active duty purposes.

July 1, 2021

Iowa SB 2296 (HB 2479)

Contingent Workforce: Independent Contractors

Establishes the circumstances under which certain independent contractors are not considered employees for purposes of various laws.

July 1, 2021

 

Kentucky

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Kentucky HB 210

Benefits: Leaves

Requires an employer to provide the same leave policies to adoptive parents as they provide to birth parents.

June 30, 2021

 

Maine

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Maine LD 137 (HP 93)

Protected Time Off: Volunteer Emergency Responder

Provides that an employer must designate in writing that an employee who is an emergency service employee is essential to operations.

September 15, 2021

 

Maryland

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Maryland HB 289 (SB 105)

Workplace Safety

Makes certain provisions relating to filing, issuance, and modification of certain peace orders applicable to peace orders filed by an employer on the employer’s behalf or on behalf of an employee, upon the occurrence of certain criminal activities; and provides immunity from civil liability under certain circumstances.

October 1, 2021

Maryland HB 290 (SB 455)

Discrimination: Statute of Limitations

Extends from 6 months to 300 days the time period within which a person claiming to be aggrieved by certain discriminatory acts is required to file a complaint with the Commission on Civil Rights.

October 1, 2021

Maryland HB 804 (SB 916)

Whistleblower

Establishes a whistleblower reward program within the Office of the Comptroller, providing that a whistleblower who voluntarily provides certain information to the Comptroller is entitled to receive a monetary award.

October 1, 2021

Maryland SB 473 (HB 56)

Protected Time Off: Bereavement

Authorizes the use of certain leave with pay for bereavement.

October 1, 2021

Maryland SB 801 (HB 1154)

Business Restructuring

Excludes employees who have accepted offers of transfer to another worksite from the calculation of the number of employees impacted by a reduction in operations.

October 1, 2021

 

Minnesota

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Minnesota HB 2253

COVID-19: Workers’ Compensation

Extends the presumption that certain workers who have contracted COVID-19 have done so while on duty for the purposes of workers’ compensation.

October 1, 2021

 

Mississippi

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Mississippi HB 1139

Employment Taxes

Removes the provision that requires an employer with an average monthly withholding tax liability of at least $50,000.00 for the preceding calendar year to pay their estimated withholding tax liability for the current taxable year by June 25.

July 1, 2021

Mississippi HB 119

Drug Testing

Extends the effective period of the statute permitting the possession and use of cannabidiol for medical purposes.

July 1, 2021

Mississippi Medical Marijuana Amendment (Ballot Measure)

Drug Testing

Establishes a medical marijuana program in Mississippi for individuals with a debilitating medical condition.

July 1, 2021

Mississippi SB 2124

Unemployment

Revises the definition of unemployment to exclude administrative leave when full compensation for regular wages is received and allows for partial unemployment benefits when only partial compensation for regular wages is received.

July 1, 2021

 

Montana

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Montana HB 655 (LC 479)

Drug Testing

Disqualifies an individual from workers' compensation if the individual fails to pass or refuses to take a drug test in violation of an employer's stated workplace drug policy, with the exception of medical marijuana users.

July 1, 2021

Montana SB 118 (LC 481)

Workers’ Compensation

Provides that false statements in an employer-provided questionnaire are grounds for barring workers' compensation benefits.

July 1, 2021

Montana HB 282 (LC 1027)

Child Labor

Allows student-employees 16 years of age or older to perform work functions under certain circumstances.

October 1, 2021

Montana SB 367 (LC 133)

Contingent Workforce: Independent Contractors

Provides that the absence of an independent contractor exemption certificate does not indicate an employment relationship.

October 1, 2021

 

Nebraska

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Nebraska LB 260

Unemployment

Expands provisions relating to good cause for voluntarily leaving employment.

August 31, 2021

Nebraska LB 451

Hairstyle Discrimination

Prohibits discrimination based on traits typically associated with race, including hair texture and hairstyle.

August 31, 2021

Nebraska LB 540

Disability Discrimination

Provides that cities and villages can prohibit discrimination based on disability.

September 10, 2021

 

Nevada

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Nevada AB 37 (BDR 301)

Garnishment

Amends the procedures for garnishment of wages pursuant to a child support order.

October 1, 2021

Nevada AB 190 (BDR 379)

Protected Time Off: Kin Care

Requires employers that provide sick leave to allow an employee to use sick leave to assist certain family members with medical needs.

October 1, 2021

Nevada AB 280 (BDR 132)

Discrimination: Public Accommodation

Requires that owners or operators of places of public accommodation that provide a single-stall restroom to the public make the single-stall restroom as inclusive and accessible as possible to a person of any gender identity or expression.

October 1, 2021

Nevada AB 307 (BDR 764)

Workplace Posters

Requires an employer to post a notice of services provided by the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation to employees.

October 1, 2021

Nevada SB 293 (BDR 907)

Salary History

Prohibits an employer from seeking the salary history of an applicant; prohibits an employer from discriminating against an applicant for not revealing salary history.

October 1, 2021

 

New Hampshire

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

New Hampshire HB 258 (LSR 0228)

Record Retention

Requires an employer to permit an employee to electronically sign or acknowledge alterations to such employee's wage and hour records.

June 22, 2021

 

New Jersey

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

New Jersey Healthy Terminals Act

Wage and Hour

Requires covered airport or related location employers to pay a covered airport or related location worker the applicable prevailing wage.

September 1, 2021

 

New Mexico

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

New Mexico SB 129

Benefits: Retirement

Provides conditions for implementation of the New Mexico Work and Save Act.

June 18, 2021

New Mexico SB 35

Child Labor

Removes the exception to the minimum wage requirement for secondary school students.

June 18, 2021

New Mexico HB 2

Drug Testing

Permits the personal use of cannabis; does not restrict an employer from taking adverse action against an employee for possessing or being impaired by an intoxicating substance at work or during work hours.

June 29, 2021

New Mexico SB 2

Background Checks: Criminal

Provides for the expungement of certain criminal records.

June 29, 2021

New Mexico SB 80

Hairstyle Discrimination

Prohibits discrimination or disparate treatment in employment based on hairstyle.

July 1, 2021

 

New York

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

NYC Int. No. 1396-2019

Hospitality

Provides that a fast food employee in New York City cannot be discharged except for just cause or due to bona fide economic reasons; requires fast food employers to conduct layoffs by inverse seniority.

July 4, 2021

NYC Int. No. 1415-2019

Hospitality

Provides that a fast food employee in New York City cannot be discharged except for just cause; provides for arbitration guidelines to mediate disputes between fast food employers and fast food employees.

July 4, 2021

 

North Carolina

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Durham Ordinance No. 14420

Hairstyle Discrimination

Prohibits discrimination in employment based on a protected class; prohibits discrimination based on natural hair or hairstyles.

July 1, 2021

Greensboro Ordinance No. 21-0084

Discrimination: Protected Classifications

Prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, and hair texture and hairstyles that are commonly associated with race or national origin.

July 1, 2021

 

North Dakota

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

North Dakota HB 1040

Workers’ Compensation

Provides that an employer has 45 days instead of 30 to appeal a workforce safety and insurance decision or administrative order.

July 31, 2021

North Dakota HB 1084

Workers’ Compensation

Amends definition of compensable injury to not include any injury caused by the use of recreational marijuana.

August 1, 2021

North Dakota HB 1278

Unemployment: Military

Provides eligibility for unemployment compensation for military spouses due to relocation.

August 1, 2021

North Dakota HB 1398

Preemption: Paid Leave

Prohibits a political subdivision from adopting or enforcing an ordinance that requires an employer to provide to an employee paid family leave that exceeds the requirements of federal or state laws and rules.

August 1, 2021

 

Oklahoma

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Oklahoma HB 2780

Garnishments

Permits wage garnishment for delinquent taxpayers; requires employers to withhold wages subject to an order of garnishment.

November 1, 2021

Oklahoma SB 794

Unemployment

Requires e-filing of documents with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

November 1, 2021

Oklahoma SB 862

Drug Testing

Allows employers to take action against a licensed medical marijuana patient if there is use or possession of marijuana at the place of employment or during employment hours.

November 1, 2021

 

Oregon

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Oregon HB 2231

Protected Time Off: Military

Exempts time spent in voluntary service overseas and domestic voluntary service responding to a declared emergency or disaster from the five-year limit on reemployment rights.

September 25, 2021

 

Pennsylvania

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Pennsylvania HB 203

Protected Time Off: Organ Donation

Requires an employer to provide leave for organ donation.

June 27, 2021

 

South Carolina

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

South Carolina HB 3094

Weapons in the Workplace

Allows a permit holder to carry a concealable weapon openly on their person; permits a private employer to prohibit permit holders from carrying a concealable weapon or open carry weapon.

July 16, 2021

 

South Dakota

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

South Dakota Constitutional Amendment A (Ballot Measure)

Drug Testing

Amends the state constitution to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

July 1, 2021

South Dakota HB 1154

Home Health Services

Prohibits employment contracts restricting competitive health care practices.

July 1, 2021

South Dakota Initiated Measure 26 (Ballot Measure)

Drug Testing

Establishes a medical marijuana program in South Dakota for individuals with a debilitating medical condition.

July 1, 2021

 

Tennessee

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Tennessee HB 1182 (SB 1224)

Workplace Posters

Requires an entity open to the general public to post a notice at each public restroom and each building entrance of the business' policy of allowing a member of either biological sex to use any public restroom within the building or facility.

July 1, 2021

Tennessee SB 1576 (HB 401)

Workers’ Compensation

Authorizes the court of workers' compensation claims to award additional attorneys' fees and costs incurred when an employer wrongfully denies a claim or wrongfully fails to timely initiate benefits.

July 1, 2021

 

Texas

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Texas SB 45 (HB 48)

Discrimination and Harassment

Provides that it is unlawful employment practice if an employer knew about prohibited harassment and did not act immediately.

September 1, 2021

 

Utah

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Utah SB 42

Garnishments

Authorizes garnishment orders for state tax liability and provides the maximum amount subject to garnishment.

July 1, 2021

 

Vermont

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Vermont HB 149

Protected Time Off: Military

Removes the 15-day limitation on the leave of absence afforded to military and National Guard personnel when ordered to state or federal active duty.

July 1, 2021

 

Virginia

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Virginia HB 1814

Garnishments

Provides that the Virginia minimum hourly wage will be used to calculate the amount of a person's aggregate disposable earnings protected from garnishment if it is greater than the federal minimum hourly wage.

July 1, 2021

Virginia HB 1848

Disability Discrimination

Prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.

July 1, 2021

Virginia HB 1862

Drug Testing

Prohibits an employer from taking adverse action against an employee for such employee's lawful use of cannabis oil.

July 1, 2021

Virginia HB 1985

COVID-19: Workers’ Compensation

Establishes that COVID-19 is an occupational disease compensable under the Workers' Compensation Act for health care providers.

July 1, 2021

Virginia HB 2063

Wage Payment: Overtime

Requires an employer to compensate its employees who are entitled to overtime compensation at a rate not less than one and one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay.

July 1, 2021

Virginia HB 2134

Contingent Workforce: Independent Contractors

Provides that if an employer provides workers with personal protective equipment in response to a disaster caused by a communicable disease, it cannot be considered in determining whether the worker is an independent contractor.

July 1, 2021

Virginia HB 2137

Protected Time Off: Paid Sick Leave

Requires employers to provide paid sick leave to home health care workers.

July 1, 2021

Virginia HB 2161 (SB 1410)

Discrimination: Military Status

Prohibits discrimination based on a person's military status.

July 1, 2021

Virginia HB 2174

Benefits: Retirement

Establishes an automatic enrollment payroll deduction individual retirement account (IRA) retirement savings program.

July 1, 2021

Virginia HB 2312

Background Checks: Criminal

Eliminates criminal penalties for possession of marijuana for persons who are 21 years of age or older.

July 1, 2021

Virginia SB 1339

Background Checks: Criminal

Establishes a process for the automatic sealing of certain convictions, deferred dispositions, and acquittals and prohibits an employer from inquiring about sealed records.

July 1, 2021

 

Washington

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Washington HB 1206 (SB 5218)

Safety Training

Requires workplace safety training for manufacturing and construction temporary workers.

July 24, 2021

Washington SB 5284

Subminimum Wage

Eliminates subminimum wage certificates for persons with disabilities.

July 24, 2021

Washington HB 1097 (SB 5090)

Workplace Safety

Provides that an employer may contest an order restraining any condition of employment or practice and provides for penalties for violations found.

July 25, 2021

Washington SB 5097

Family and Medical Leave

Expands the definition of family member under the paid family and medical leave program.

July 25, 2021

Washington HB 2308

Record Retention

Requires employers to periodically report standard occupational classifications or job titles of workers.

October 1, 2021

 

West Virginia

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

West Virginia HB 2009

Contingent Workforce: Independent Contractors

Clarifies that an independent contractor is not considered an employee for the purpose of wage payment law.

June 17, 2021

West Virginia HB 2026

Employment Taxes

Excludes compensation of certain temporary nonresident employees from state source income tax.

June 28, 2021

 

Wyoming

Law

Main Topic

Summary

Effective Date

Wyoming HB 239

Student Workers

Provides for student learner agreements between eligible students, school districts or community colleges, and employers; provides workers' compensation coverage for student learners.

July 1, 2021