2018 will bring changes to employment laws.
Will your franchise be ready and compliant?
By John Waldmann
You can expect several critical changes to employment laws in 2018 that will impact franchise businesses that employ hourly workers. It is important for all local franchise managers and employees to be aware of these changes so they can comply with the regulations.
The most important trend to watch are an increase in raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the Department of Homeland Security to detain and deport undocumented workers. During these sweeps, ICE has been known to arrive with guns and dogs to investigate worksites and the employee files of suspected employers of undocumented workers.
In 2018, the number of ICE raids is expected to multiply. Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan has instructed Homeland Security Investigations to increase time spent on worksite enforcement by “four to five times” this year. Prepare now by conducting an I-9 audit at your franchise location. Don’t forget to use the updated form I-9 for newly hired employees and review the updated I-9 handbook for employers.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) salary threshold that has been on hold since 2016 is likely to be updated in 2018. Expect the salary threshold for exempt employees to finally be revised somewhere between the Obama administration’s $47,476 proposed figure and the actual current FLSA threshold of $23,660.
New York City, San Jose, San Francisco, and Seattle have predictive scheduling laws in effect. Oregon recently passed the first statewide predictive scheduling regulations scheduled to take effect in July 2018.
In Oregon, the new law applies to employers with 500 or more employees in three specific industries: retail, hospitality and foodservices. The state of New York might be the next state to pass predictive scheduling regulations.
Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., have upcoming minimum-wage increases. Those states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington. Far more cities are also passing their own minimum wages.
Paid Leave Laws
Employers across the country must prepare to pay employees for sick or family time. In St. Paul, Minn., employers with 24 or more employees must provide earned sick and safe time. New York state requires most private employers to obtain paid family leave insurance and provide 12 weeks of leave for qualifying situations. Rhode Island permits employees to accrue and use paid sick and safe time up to 24 hours in 2018. The state of Washington requires employees to accrue one hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked.
To address the gender pay gap and ensure pay equity in the workplace, equal pay laws continue to be enhanced. Maryland and Puerto Rico passed legislation to be enforced in 2018 that prohibits different pay for comparable work. The National Conference of State Legislatures makes its multistate review of legislation regarding equal pay available here.
In addition, California, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada and New York City have passed legislation prohibiting employers from screening applicants based on pay.
Almost every state has updates to employee posting requirements. Check with a lawyer who knows the details of the laws in your local jurisdiction to make sure that you and your business are fully compliant with the changing landscape of employment.
With the start of a new year, now is the time to prepare. It’s important for all local franchise managers and employees to be ready to for the changes coming so they can be compliant with the updated regulations.
John Waldmann is the co-founder and CEO of Homebase, which provides a free real-time software solution that helps more than 60,000 small businesses eliminate the paperwork of managing their hourly employees, manage overtime and curb absenteeism and turnover.