New Year, New You, New Policies Too?


Beyond the now standard minimum wage increases and updated required posters, January 1 has become a popular time to implement employment law changes, and 2023 is no different. These changes require changes to handbook policies and employer procedures. Because legislators often “copy” and “paste” straight from other jurisdictions for their “new” laws, knowing what’s going on around the country can help prepare you for what may be coming next in your jurisdiction.

Illinois One Day Rest in Seven Act: Employees can no longer be required to work every day in ANY seven-day period. Previously, only working every day in a calendar week was prohibited. Employee meal breaks are also expanded to include an additional unpaid 20-minute meal break for employees working 12 hours and additional breaks every 4 ½ hours thereafter. The required poster is expected to be published by the Illinois Department of Labor before the beginning of the year.

Illinois Bereavement Leave: Child Bereavement leave will now be known as Family Bereavement leave in Illinois. As the name change suggests, eligible employees will now be entitled to leave following the passing of a family member, which includes the employee’s “child, stepchild, spouse, domestic partner, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent.” Covered events have also been expanded to include a miscarriage, an unsuccessful round of intrauterine insemination or an assisted reproductive technology procedure, a failed adoption match or an adoption that is not finalized because it is contested by another party, a failed surrogacy agreement, a diagnosis that negatively impacts pregnancy or fertility, or a stillbirth.

Additionally, effective January 1:

  • California will add an unpaid family bereavement leave allowing eligible employees up to five days of unpaid time away from work following the death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in-law. Employees may elect to utilize available paid days, including paid sick time, which will likely require an update to paid sick leave policies.
  • Colorado and Oregon employers must begin withholding premiums for their respective paid family and medical leave insurance programs.
  • Washington D.C. will begin phasing out its tip-credit wage after more than 70% of voters approved Initiative 82.
  • Illinois will add “hair texture and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists” to the definition of “race” in the state’s discrimination law.
  • New York City will prohibit the use of algorithms and artificial intelligence in hiring and employment decisions without first being examined for bias.
  • Maine will now require payment of all unused vacation time upon separation of employment.

Lastly, effective December 8, 2022, Missouri voters approved Amendment 13, legalizing recreational cannabis use.

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