2022 brings new leave requirements for several states and a California city.
While COVID-19 measures are still a huge part of the legislative landscape, state and municipal lawmakers are also grappling with the issue of time off for workers. Several states and a California city have leave requirements that go into effect in 2022. The changes include a new requirement for paid leave, expanding the definition of family members that qualify for leave, and adding small businesses to an already existing paid leave requirement.
Golden State lawmakers in September expanded the definition of family members to include parents-in-law.
California employees will soon be able to take leave to care for in-laws.
Golden State lawmakers in September expanded the definition of family members to include parents-in-law. The expansion applies to both private and public sector employees with 5 or more employees. The requirement goes into effect on January 1.
Under existing law, eligible workers in the Golden State can take can up to 12 workweeks of job-protected, unpaid leave in any 12-month period for medical and family care.
Job-protected means that employers must place the returning worker in the same or comparable position when the leave ends.
Under rules in effect in 2022, family care and medical leave for Golden State workers will include time off to:
- Care for a worker’s serious illness
- Care for a child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner with a serious health condition
- Bond with a child placed with the employee through adoption or foster care
The new employer requirements also include changes to the small employer family leave mediation pilot program. The program applies to California employers with between 5 and 19 employees. Either the employer or the employee may request participation in mediation through DFEH’s dispute resolution division. In 2022, participation in the program will be a prerequisite to the employee suing the employer.
Democratic gov. Gavin Newsom signed the amendments into law in October 2021. Last year, leave in California was expanded to cover small employers.
West Hollywood, California
The city of West Hollywood has enacted paid and unpaid leave requirements for all private employers. The city law goes into effect on January 1, 2022 for some workers. The time off requirements will apply to hotel workers starting January 1, 2022 and to all other employers on July 1, 2022.
The ordinance requires that employers provide up to 96 hours of paid time off for full-time employees over 12 months. Leave for part-time workers is prorated. The paid leave can be taken for illness, vacation or personal necessity. Employers must provide an additional 80 hours of unpaid sick leave to full-time employees, if the original leave is exhausted.
Colorado’s mandate of paid sick leave expands January 1, 2022 to include small businesses. All employers in the Centennial state will be required to provide paid sick leave to their employees. Previously, only employers with at least 16 workers were required to compensate workers for time off.
Workers accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employers can take up to 48 hours of leave each year.
Employees can use the leave for the following reasons:
- Mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition, including the need for a diagnosis or treatment related to the illness as well as the need to obtain preventive medical care
- Care for a family member who has a mental or physical illness, including the need for a diagnosis or treatment related to the illness as well as the need to obtain preventive medical care
- Domestic abuse, sexual assault, or harassment and need to be absent from work for purposes related to the crime
- A public official has ordered the closure of the school or place of care of the employee’s child or of the employee’s place of business due to a public health emergency, causing the employee to be absent from work
Employers, regardless of size, must also provide paid sick leave during a public health emergency. This is in addition to the paid sick leave requirement.
Democratic Gov. Jared Polis signed the bill in July 2020.
Eligible Connecticut workers will be able to obtain pay for medical and family leave beginning January 1, 2022 through the state’s wage replacement program. Claims are being handled by the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority and can be submitted online.
Employees can receive as many as 12 weeks of paid leave benefits. They can get paid up to 95% of their income. Two additional weeks of paid leave is available for employees who experience a serious health condition resulting during pregnancy.
Under the previous rules, workers were eligible for 16 weeks of unpaid leave over 24 months for family and medical reasons.
Workers are eligible for paid leave if they have been employed for as few as three months. Both full-time and part-time workers are covered. Previously, employees had to be employed for 12 months and work at least 1,000 hours to qualify.
Leave can be taken for starting or expanding a family, for the care of the employee or a family member, to deal with family violence, and for a family injured during active military duty. The leave available under the state plan does not apply to situations when employees cannot work because of school or daycare closures.
Connecticut employers with at least one worker must comply. Constitution State employers must provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave over a 12-month period in 2022.
The wage replacement benefit is funded by a 0.5% mandatory employee payroll tax, which most Connecticut employers began withholding in January 2021.
Connecticut’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Act was enacted in 2019.
Illinois will provide victims of violent crimes and their family members with unpaid leave as of January 1, 2022. The measures expand the existing victim’s rights act and gives survivors of domestic, gender or sexual violence up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave over 12 months to process the trauma.
Private employers with as little as one employee are covered. Public sector employers must also comply and include state agencies, local government units and school districts.
Gov. J.B. Pitzker signed the bill in August 2021.
New York state has changed the manner in which intermittent paid family leave is calculated, according to Stephen Fuchs and Sanjay V. Nair, attorneys at Littler Mendelsohn P.C. Intermittent leave benefits will be calculated by multiplying the average number of days per week that the employee works by 12 weeks starting January 1, 2022.
For example, the attorneys explained, an employee who works 6 days a week may receive up to 84 days of intermittent leave. The new formulation recognizes that people working more than 5 days a week are not able to take 12 weeks of intermittent leave with the previously imposed 60-day cap, Fuchs and Nair wrote in a post on the company’s blog.
The “New York State Paid Family Leave Act” provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected, paid time off to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, or to assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service. This time can be taken all at once or in increments of full days.
In another change, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has expanded the definition of family members under the “New York Paid Family Leave Act” to include an employee’s biological, adopted, step and half-siblings with a serious health condition. Hochul signed the legislation on November 1, 2021. It goes into effect January 1, 2023.
Separately, on October 12, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor updated its guidance to explain that employees may receive up to 4 hours of paid leave for each vaccine booster shot in addition to 4 hours of paid leave for each initial shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Paid family leave has been mandatory in New York State since 2018.
Lawmakers in the Beaver state have expanded the state’s family leave act to require that employers with as little as one employee must provide leave during public health emergencies.
Lawmakers in the Beaver state have expanded the state’s family leave act to require that employers with as little as one employee must provide leave during public health emergencies. The politicians also added a requirement that leave can be taken for the closure of a child’s school or childcare provider as a result of a public health emergency. The changes go into effect on January 1, 2022.
The amount of time that an employee must work for an employer before becoming eligible for leave was also reduced. Workers with as little as 30 days on the job can qualify for the public health emergency leave.
Gov. Kate Brown on December 21 extended the declaration of a state of emergency until June 30, 2022 because of the omicron variant surge in cases and hospitalizations.
Statutory language specifying gender in childbirth-related leave was also removed. The new language clarifies that eligible employees may take leave for an:
- Condition related to the employee’s pregnancy or childbirth
Previously, the language only referred to female employees.
Paid leave is coming to Oregon in 2023. However, family leave in Oregon is presently job-protected and unpaid unless the employee can use vacation, sick, or other paid leave.
Gov. Brown signed the bill into law in June 2021.