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State Policy Update - Oct 20, 2017

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FOOD & BEVERAGE

Illinois: Chicago officials have voted to repeal a sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax approved in November 2016 by the Cook County Board of Commissioners but delayed by a lawsuit arguing that the tax was unconstitutional. The tax took effect in August 2017 after a court dismissed the Illinois Retail Merchants Association’s lawsuit. Retailers reportedly saw SSB sales decline 25 to 50 percent, while retailers with locations in surrounding counties not subject to the tax saw sales increase. In addition, the Chicago Tribune reported, “Internal polling for one Cook County commissioner showed more than 90 percent of constituents opposed the soda tax.” The repeal will take effect December 1, 2017.

California: Bloomberg news reports, Alcoholic Beverages Manufacturers Allowed to Purchase Advertising Space from On-Sale Retail Licensees. The California Legislature enacted S.B. 582, amending Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code Section 25503.6, extending an existing exception pertaining to the general prohibition against advertising arrangements between retail, wholesale and manufacturer excise tax licensees. The bill allows beer manufacturers, wine growers, distilled spirits rectifiers, distilled spirits manufacturers, or distilled spirits manufacturer's agents to purchase advertising space and time from, or on behalf of, on-sale retail licensees at: 1) the Los Angeles stadium at Hollywood Park and an adjacent performance venue with specified seating capacities located in the City of Inglewood, and 2) an outdoor stadium of at least 70,000 seats located in Los Angeles County operated by a joint powers authority.

New York: New York City Council Expands Earned Sick Time Law To Include Safe Time. New York City’s Earned Sick Time Act (also known as the Paid Sick Leave Law) will require employers to allow employees to use paid time off for “Safe Time” under an amendment (Int. 1313-A) passed by the New York City Council on October 17, 2017. Under the revised law (the “Earned Safe and Sick Time Act”), employers will be required to provide paid time off for hours taken in connection with family offense matters, sexual offenses, stalking, and human trafficking.

New York: New York City Ban on Salary History Inquiries Set to Take Effect October 31. Effective October 31, employers operating or recruiting in New York City will no longer be permitted to seek information regarding the compensation history of their job candidates. Under an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio, employers will be prohibited from: (1) asking prospective employees about their current compensation rate or compensation history; (2) attempting to ascertain this information from other sources; and (3) relying on a candidate's salary history in determining compensation (including in negotiating a contract) except in limited circumstances. In preparation for this salary history ban, New York City employers should take steps now to review and revise their recruiting practices and documents.

California: New California Law Prohibits Employers From Asking Applicants About Salary History. Beginning January 1, 2018, California employers will no longer be able to ask job applicants about their salary history. California joins a small but growing group of states and cities that have enacted similar measures, including New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Oregon, Delaware and Massachusetts. This development is the latest in a number of California legislative initiatives designed to promote pay equity.

Florida: Florida to Raise its Minimum Wage in 2018, State Labor Department Confirms. Effective Jan. 1, 2018, Florida’s hourly minimum wage is to rise to $8.25 from $8.10, the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity announced. The tipped workers’ hourly minimum wage is to rise to $5.23 from $5.08, based on a maximum tip credit of $3.02.

LABOR

Kentucky: Kentucky's Electronic Recordkeeping Rule Is In Effect. The December 1 compliance date for federal OSHA’s new electronic recordkeeping portion of the new recordkeeping regulation is fast approaching. Known as “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses,” the new federal OSHA rule will require certain employers with more than 20 employees to electronically submit injury records that will be posted on OSHA’s website. These requirements were previously set to begin in July 2017, but have since been delayed to December 1, 2017 in order to allow OSHA “the opportunity to further review and consider the rule.” (Federal OSHA said in an October 10, 2017 court filing that it has completed a draft rule revising the reporting rule. So, more changes are likely coming.) OSHA’s website portal became available on August 1, 2017.  Employers operating in OSHA State Plan states should be aware, however, that certain states, such as the Commonwealth of Kentucky, are not following the federal standard.

California: How to Comply With California’s New Requirement to Provide Anti-Harassment Training on Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexual Orientation. On October 15, 2017, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 396, a new law that requires employers in California with 50 or more employees to provide training on policies that prohibit harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. This training is to be provided as a component of the already-required two-hour sexual harassment training provided to supervisory employees once every two years and within six months of an employee’s assumption of a supervisory position.

Illinois: Bloomberg news reports, a bill in the Illinois statehouse was introduced on October 18, 2017 to amend the Employee Sick Leave Act. SB2242 Amends the Employee Sick Leave Act. Permits an employee to use personal sick leave benefits for leave an employee is entitled to under the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act. Permits an employer to limit the use of personal sick leave benefits for leave an employee is entitled to under the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act. Provides that the Employee Sick Leave Act does not limit or extend the period of leave to which an employee is entitled under the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act, regardless of whether the employee receives sick leave compensation during that leave. If passed, effective immediately.

EMPLOYMENT

California: New California Laws on the Horizon. California has passed a number of employment laws this year, including the expansion of baby bonding leave to small employers, prohibiting inquiries into an applicant’s salary history, and restricting the use of applicants’ criminal background information. These new laws, which go into effect January 1, 2018, are expected to have a significant impact on employers operating in California.

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