The Daily Rundown: New York and California Ban Hair Discrimination

May 15, 2019
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Category: The Daily Rundown

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Welcome to the Small Business Run Down. Each day, we bring you stories and trends that impact small business owners and their workforce.

Today we kick things off by looking at the growing trend toward part-time work, before heading over to California to check out the governor’s plan to help SBOs pay for healthcare and new protections for all types of hairstyles in the workplace.

Part-time gigs expanding to include more types of work

For some, the term “part-time job” conjures up teenagers flipping burgers after school. However, a growing trend indicates that more Americans are choosing to working part time–and more employers are enabling them to do so. Companies are now turning to part-time workers to fill needs across a variety of disciplines, including finance and accounting, social media and marketing, medical administration, and many other professional roles. Historically low unemployment rates mean that companies would rather have part-time help rather than no help at all, allowing workers to craft their own definition of what work-life balance looks like.

The Number: 22 million. The Bureau of Labor Statistic estimates that there are 22 million people in the country who work part time–35 hours or less per week–and that of those people, only 3 million are working reduced hours because they’re unable to find full-time work.

The Quote:  “Employers understand that, for a wide range of reasons, great talent may not be willing or able to work full time. Part-time jobs are also a great way for startups and small companies to bring on additional team members, so they can keep growing while keeping their costs low.”

California governor proposes new healthcare laws to support SBOs

Concerned about the impact of rising healthcare premiums on small business owners, Governor Gavin Newsom of California is proposing changes to state healthcare laws. The proposal requires that everyone purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. The money from the penalty fees will be used to help subsidize the cost of health insurance policies for SBOs who struggle to keep up with the rising cost of health care.

The Number: $150,000. The governor’s proposal would provide subsidies to families making up to $150,000, which is 600 times the federal poverty level.

The Quote: “Year after year the premium keeps going up and now we’re at a point where we’re at $1,000 dollars a month where we were starting out at $850 dollars a month, and that’s just for two people in their 40s.”

California and New York ban hair discrimination in the workplace

In recent months, the state of California and New York City have added laws to the books that create legal protections for non-traditional and ethnic hairstyles in the workplace. In enacting these protections, lawmakers confronted the notion that employers who require a “professional” hairstyle are using this term as a “thinly veiled reference for Eurocentric ideas of what hair “should” look like.” More jurisdictions are required to follow suit with similar laws.

The Number: $250,000. New York City employers in violation of the new law face penalties of up to $250,000 for harassing or discriminating against employees because of their hairstyle.

The Quote: It goes without saying that referring to an employee’s hair with a term whose history denotes such offensive connotations is unacceptable, and based on where you are located, may even be unlawful.

2020 Open Enrollment is just around the corner

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost that time of year again: Open Enrollment. A few things have changed this year so take a quick look at this Open Enrollment Guide for 2020 to make sure you and your employees are up to date.

About

Kathryn Smith is a writer, registered nurse and mompreneur with extensive experience in the healthcare, public policy and travel and tourism spheres. She grew up in Tokyo, Japan, where her first job as a sixteen-year-old was teaching English to homemakers and businessmen. She lives in Portland, Maine with her husband and son, Pascal.

Category: The Daily Rundown


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