HR News You Can Use

05.23.23Baylee Davies

Happy Springtime and hooray to Summer being almost here. Below is a round-up of news on the employment law front that you may find helpful to your business. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us for assistance from our knowledgeable HR Consultants!

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The Federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) was signed into law in December of 2022 and will be going into effect on June 27, 2023. This new law requires all employers with 15 or more employees regardless of the state they are in, to provide ‘reasonable accommodation’ to an employee who has limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions unless it will cause an undue hardship to the employer.

Some possible accommodations to consider are giving the employee a closer parking spot, allowing them to sit down when needed, providing appropriate-sized uniforms and safety apparel, and providing flexible hours or time off to attend healthcare appointments and time off to recover from childbirth.

Employers are required to have a discussion with an employee who is requesting reasonable accommodation due to pregnancy to determine what accommodation would be appropriate to the employee’s situation. They are not allowed to require the employee to accept an accommodation without having this conversation first. If the employer feels the accommodation requested by the employee would be an undue hardship, they should attempt to work with the employee to come up with a compromise that works for both parties.

Several state laws, including those in California, already require this of employers in those states, however, beginning in June all employers in the U.S. are required to comply with this new Federal law.

I-9 – End of Remote Verification Options

During the pandemic, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the option for employers to use remote verification to review documents and complete or update the I-9 when the employee is working exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19 precautions. The remote options for verification included video links, faxes, or emails. Employers are required to complete a physical inspection of the employee documents within three days after the employee returns to the office on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis. This option will end on July 31st, 2023. 

On May 9, DHS and ICE announced that employers will have until August 30th, 2023 to complete the physical inspections of the documents used during the remote verification process.

Employers should start planning now on how to meet the deadline for the physical inspection of I-9 documents by the deadline, and if you need assistance on your I-9 verification process for in-office or remote employees, just let us know.

New Posters from the Federal Department of Labor

Last month, the federal Department of Labor (DOL) updated two posters. 

The updated DOL Minimum Wage Poster expanded the language regarding breaks for nursing mothers. The Affordable Care Act first mandated breaks for non-exempt nursing employees to express breast milk. The poster was updated to include breaks for all employees regardless of their exempt/non-exempt status. The DOL requires employers to post the new Minimum Wage Poster as the current one does not meet the new requirements.

The DOL also updated the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The new poster has some wording revisions including that while leave under FMLA is unpaid, an employee may be required to or can be allowed to use employer-paid leave during that time. The DOL has said the current posters still fulfill the posting requirements for this poster but an employer may post the new one now if they would like.

A third poster is in the process of being updated. The Know Your Rights poster from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is in the process of being updated with information on the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act and will be released soon. We will keep you updated as soon as we see the revised poster.

Author: Traci Hagan