2023 year in review: Five new laws to watch for business owners

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As a business owner, keeping up to date on employment law trends is critical.
You may think you have a handle on the myriad rules, regulations, guidelines and laws impacting your industry — but are you also keeping a close eye on lawmakers and regulators in D.C., your state Capitol, City Hall or the county commission? Because employment law isn’t static -today’s trends are tomorrow’s history lessons.

Large companies often have a government relations team or a cadre of lobbyists to keep tabs on legislative and regulatory changes and other employment law trends.

Most small- and medium-sized businesses don’t have that option — which is why a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) like Integrity Employee Leasing is essential to help ensure full compliance in a rapidly changing legal landscape.

Here are five new laws that went into effect in 2023 that impact how you do business:

Employment Law Trend #1: Protection for nursing mothers

The federal Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers (PUMP) Act requires that employers provide reasonable break times and space requirements for nursing employees to pump breast milk at work.

The PUMP Act extends lactation protections to millions of previously exempt workers not covered under a similar change in 2010 via the Affordable Care Act -and includes remote workers. Companies with fewer than 50 employees can be exempt if they can show that compliance would impose an undue hardship.

Nursing mothers are protected for one year after the child’s birth, with no maximum number of breaks stipulated, and the frequency, timing and duration of breaks varying depending on employee needs. Employers cannot require the nursing workers to make up the time spent on pump breaks and must provide a designated space (other than a bathroom) that is shielded from view and free from intrusion.

Read More: The PUMP Act, explained

Employment Law Trend #2: Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)

This new law went into effect in June and requires covered employers (those with at least 15 workers, public or private) to provide reasonable accommodations to a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy and childbirth, unless the accommodation causes an “undue hardship.”

According to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the PWFA only applies to accommodations — existing laws already protect pregnant workers from being fired or retaliated against because of their medical condition. The EEOC also notes that other laws extend even more protection to such workers, with more than 30 states and cities enforcing laws that provide accommodations for pregnant workers

So, what is a reasonable accommodation? Here are a few examples:

  • closer parking to reduce walking distance to the office
  • flexible schedules
  • appropriately sized uniforms and safety gear
  • additional time for restroom and meal breaks

Read More: What to know about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Employment Law Trend #3: New E-Verify Requirements

In early May, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 1718, a wide-ranging piece of legislation with a key change for private business owners: all private employers in the state with at least 25 employees must now utilize the E-Verify digital tool to verify citizenship, in addition to the Form I-9. The tool was already in place for public employees and government contractors in the Sunshine State.

The electronic employment eligibility verification system is administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and utilizes digital records from federal government databases such as Social Security Administration records and U.S. Department of Homeland Security records.

Independent contractors and service workers, such as house cleaners, landscapers and day laborers who are hired directly by homeowners or other occupants of a private residence, are not considered employees and are exempt.

Read More: Florida rolls out E-Verify for private employers

Employment Law Trend #4: Minimum Wage Hike

Three years ago, Florida voters approved a state constitutional amendment to gradually increase the minimum by $1 each year until it reaches $15/hour in 2026.

The latest hike took effect on Sept. 30 – Florida’s minimum wage now stands at $12/hour. The November 2020 vote, which was approved by more than 60 percent of voters, did not change the allowable tip credit for employers of up to $3.02 per hour for properly classified tipped employees meeting the eligibility requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act. It did increase the minimum cash wage rate for eligible tipped employees (e.g., restaurant workers) to $6.98/hour.

Read More: Florida minimum wage increase could change the way local businesses operate

Employment Law Trend #5: Expanded Overtime Eligibility Proposal

The federal Department of Labor has proposed a rule that would restore and extend overtime protections to 3.6 million salaried workers by guaranteeing overtime pay for most salaried workers earning less than $1,059 a week, or about $55,000 annually.

The rule proposes an automatic increase in that salary threshold every three years. The current cutoff is $684/week, or about $35,600 annually.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) notes that the proposed overtime rule is “likely to face (a) court challenge,” but business owners should nonetheless be prepared to make the necessary adjustments.

No time to track employment law trends? Save time and money with Integrity Employee Leasing

A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) like Integrity Employee Leasing is here to do the heavy lifting when it comes to ensuring that changing employment law trends don’t catch business owners by surprise.

Our team of professionals brings objectivity, consistency and peace of mind to your HR team – without having to hire a high-priced lobbyist or create a government relations team from scratch.

Find out how Integrity Employee Leasing can help protect and grow your business. Call us at (941) 625-0623 for a free consultation.

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