New 2021 HR Laws to Know About

New 2021 HR Laws to Know About

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As we move into the new year it is important to know about some of the new laws for 2021. The below new laws are organized by state and include the name, main topic, summary, and effective date. Want an easier way to save these new laws? Click below to download a PDF including the same information. 

Certipay_EmploymentLaws2021_v1 (1).pdf

Please note the content in this update is as of Dec 17th 2020. 


Law: AB 323

Main topic: Contingent Workforce – Independent Contractors

Summary: Extends for one year (until January 1, 2022) the exception from the ABC test for newspaper carriers. 

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: AB 685

Main topic: COVID-19 Notification

Summary: Allows the state to track COVID-19 cases in the workplace more closely.  Expands Cal/OSHA’s authority to issue Stop Work Orders for workplaces that pose a risk of an “imminent hazard” relating to COVID-19.  Requires notice in the event of a COVID-19 exposure in the workplace, including providing written notice to “all employees” who were at the worksite within the infectious period who may have been exposed to the virus.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: AB 979

Main topic: Corporate Boards – Diversity

Summary: Requires that a publicly traded corporation with a principal executive office in California appoint members of underrepresented communities to the Board of Directors. 

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: AB 1281

Main topic: Privacy

Summary: Grants another one-year extension (until January 1, 2022) of the exclusion of certain Human Resources data from coverage under the California Consumer Privacy Act. 

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: AB 1512

Main topic: Security Guards – Rest Breaks

Summary: Allows employers to require that security guards covered by collective bargaining agreements, and paid at least one dollar more than minimum wage, remain on premises and on call during rest breaks.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: AB 1731

Main topic: Unemployment – Work Sharing

Summary: Automates parts of California’s work sharing program.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: AB 1864

Main topic: Whistleblowing

Summary: Prohibits adverse action against employees who have filed any proceeding under the Consumer Financial Protection law.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: AB 1947

Main topic: Statute of Limitations for Wage/Hour Discharge – Discrimination Complaints

Summary: Lengthens from six months to one year the statute of limitations for bringing a claim of discriminatory discharge in violation of any law under the jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner; authorizes attorney’s fees for successful plaintiffs.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: AB 1963

Main topic: Human Resources – Mandated Child Abuse Reporting

Summary: Designates Human Resources professionals who work for businesses that employ minors, and employ five or more employees, as mandated child abuse reporters.  Such persons must be given mandated reporting training, and a written statement describing their obligations. 

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: AB 2017

Main topic: Protected Time Off – Kin Care

Summary: Provides that the designation of sick leave taken for kin care shall be made at the sole discretion of the employee.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: AB 2143

Main topic: Discrimination and Harassment

Summary: Clarifies when a no-rehire provision in a settlement agreement regarding harassment, sexual assault, or criminal conduct is permitted; requires certain employer documentation.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: AB 2231

Main topic: Public Works

Summary: Lowers threshold for qualifying as a public works project for purposes of the minimum wage.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: AB 2399

Main topic: Family Temporary Disability Insurance

Summary: Expands Family Temporary Disability Insurance (FTDI) program to include absences due to military service of family member.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: AB 2479

Main topic: Petroleum Facility Safety-Sensitive Employees– Rest Breaks

Summary: Allows employer to require that employees in safety-sensitive positions at petroleum facilities covered by collective bargaining agreements, and paid at least 30% more than the state minimum wage, remain on premises and on call during rest breaks.

Effective date: 1/1/2021 – 1/1/2026

Law: AB 2537

Main topic: Acute Care Hospital –PPE Supplies

Summary: Requires acute care hospitals to supply PPE to employees who provide direct patient care, and ensure that employees use PPE.  Beginning April 1, 2021, acute care hospitals must maintain a three-month supply of PPE, and provide an inventory of PPE to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health upon request.

Effective date: 1/1/2021 and 4/1/2021

Law: AB 2588

Main topic: Health Care Worker Training

Summary: Requires acute care hospitals to reimburse certain training expenses of employees and job applicants. 

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: AB 2992

Main topic: Protected Time Off – Crime Victims

Summary: Expands leave for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking to include leave for the victim of any crime that caused physical injury or mental injury with a threat of physical injury.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: AB 3075

Main topic: Report of Wage and Hour Violations

Summary: Requires that corporations register with the state information regarding violations of the wage orders or Labor Code.

Effective date: 1/1/22

Law: AB 3372

Main topic: Employment Taxes

Summary: Permits any notice or document required to terminate, modify, or release an earnings withholding order for taxes to be served by electronic transmission.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: SB 973

Main topic: Pay Data Reporting

Summary: Requires businesses to report to DFEH pay data for various categories of employees. 

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: SB 1383

Main topic: CFRA Expansion

Summary: Expands California Family Rights Act (CFRA) coverage to employers of five or more employees.  Expands categories of family members covered by CFRA leaves. 

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: SB 1384

Main topic: Representation of Financially Disabled Persons in Arbitration

Summary: Labor Commissioner will represent financially disabled persons when wage claims are referred to arbitration.

Effective date: 1/1/21


Law: SB 20-170

Main topic: Unemployment Compensation & Eligibility

Summary: Provides that employees forced to leave work for domestic violence-related safety reasons, may still be eligible for unemployment benefits; expands definitions of family members; permits severance pay to be deducted from unemployment compensation.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: SB 19-085

Main topic: Pay Equity & Discrimination

Summary: Prohibits wage discrimination based on sex and gender identity; prohibits employers from seeking an applicant’s salary history and from barring employees from disclosing or discussing their wages.  Mandates transparency in wages and advancement and provides damages for non-compliance.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: SB 20-205

Main topic: Paid Leave

Summary: This law allows employees to accrue at least one hour of paid sick and safe time leave for every 30 hours they work, up to a maximum of 48 hours per year.  *The law will apply to employers with 16 or more employees starting January 1, 2021, and then apply to all employers on January 1, 2022.

Effective date: *1/1/2021


Law: P.A. 19-25

Main topic: Paid Leave

Summary: This law establishing a Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program was enacted in 2019. Leaves covered by the program do not begin until January 2022. Employers must, however, begin payroll deductions to fund the program starting January 2021.

Effective date: 1/1/21


Law: SB 288

Main topic: Criminal Background Checks

Summary: Allows rehabilitated individuals to petition the court to restrict and seal certain criminal records, and prohibits the use of an employee’s criminal history information in an action against an employer for the employee’s actions.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: SB 443

Main topic: Wage & Hour – Garnishments

Summary: Limits the amount of wages that can be garnished for student loan repayment to 15% of garnishee’s weekly disposable earnings.

Effective date: 1/1/21


Law: SB 2638

Main topic: Protected Time Off – Domestic Violence

Summary: Makes changes to documents that an employer may request to verify that an employee is a victim of domestic or sexual violence.

Effective date: 1/1/21


Law: SB 2296

Main topic: Contingent Workforce – Independent Contractors

Summary: Establishes the circumstances under which certain independent contractors are not considered employees for purposes of various laws.

Effective date: 7/1/21


Law: SB 68

Main topic: Employee Definitions

Summary: Provides the definitions of “employee” and excludes independent contractors from definition of “employment” for the purpose of unemployment benefits.

Effective date: 1/1/21


Law: LD 369 (SP 110)

Main topic: Protected Time Off – PTO General

Summary: Entitles employees to accrue one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year, where the employer has more than 10 employees.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: 12-170 Ch. X

Main topic: Protected Time Off – PTO Rules

Summary: Creates procedures for accruing paid leave, providing notice of the need to use leave, scheduling use of leave, and penalizing denial of paid leave.

Effective date: 1/1/21


Law: Montgomery County Bill Dec 19

Main topic: Wage & Hour – Scheduling

Summary: “Requires certain employers to provide a minimum work week of at least 30 hours for each employee working as a janitor, building cleaner, security officer, concierge, doorperson, handyperson, or building superintendent and performing janitorial services.”

Effective date: 1/1/21


Law: HB 4640

Main topic: Paid Leave

Summary: Beginning on January 1, 2021, all private Massachusetts employers must provide covered individuals with paid family and medical leave, funded through a payroll tax.

Effective date: 1/1/21


Law: Minneapolis Ord. No. 2019-00699

Main topic: Contingent Workforce – Independent Contractors

Summary: Creates the Freelance Worker Protection Ordinance; requires contracts for service to be set forth in writing and provides an enforcement mechanism for failure to pay a worker as agreed upon in the contract.

Effective date: 1/1/21


Law: St. Louis Ord. No. 71074

Main topic: Criminal Background Checks

Summary: Prohibits employers from basing hiring or promotion decisions on an applicant’s criminal history, unless the employer can demonstrate its relevance to the employment-related decision.

Effective date: 1/1/21


Law: SB 481 (BDR 788)

Main topic: Benefits – Health Insurance

Summary: Establishes requirements for obtaining a certificate of authority for self-funded multiple employer welfare arrangements.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: SB 119

Main topic: Safety Training

Summary: Expands mandatory safety training to include employees performing work at sites primarily used for trade shows, conventions and related activities.

Effective date: 1/1/21


Law: SB 3170 (AB 5145)

Main topic: Business Restructuring

Summary: “Expands employers’ advance notice and severance pay obligations under the Millville Dallas Airmotive Plant Job Loss Notification Act  (New Jersey mini-WARN). *Note that the effective date of this law has been extended several times due to the pandemic. It is possible that the current effective date will once again be extended.”

Effective date: 2/21/21


Law: SB 2328

Main topic: Wage Payment – Pay Stubs

Summary: Enables employees who have chosen direct deposit to receive electronic confirmation of direct deposit in lieu of paper pay stubs.

Effective date: 4/5/21


Law: Portland Ord. No. 190114

Main topic: Privacy – Surveillance

Summary: Prohibits private entities from using facial recognition technology in places of public accommodation.

Effective date: 1/1/21


Law: HB 1407 (SB 744)

Main topic: Contingent Workforce: Independent Contractors

Summary: Creates a presumption that a worker is an employee, unless either party proves independent contractor status under federal IRS guidelines.  Prohibits worker misclassification, providing civil penalties and prohibiting contract awards from public bodies and covered individuals for violations.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: HB 874 (SB 160)

Main topic: Cell Phones/ Texting

Summary: Prohibits holding a handheld personal communications device while driving a motor vehicle, subject to several exceptions, including for emergency situations and personnel employed by certain emergency services.

Effective date: 1/1/21


Law: HB 1645

Main topic: Criminal Background Checks

Summary: Prohibits denying employment to a care provider or licensing to an early childhood educator where a background check reveals that the individual has a finding of child abuse or neglect in their record, but has since obtained a certificate of parental improvement, as defined in the new chapter.

Effective date: 1/1/21

Law: Seattle Council Bill No. 119810

Main topic: Employment Taxes

Summary: Imposes a local payroll tax on employers doing business within the City of Seattle.

Effective date: 1/1/21

We’re here to make sure you’re compliant and aware of any new laws that may affect your business. Reach out to us with any questions

Click below for a downloadable PDF of the above information. 

Certipay_EmploymentLaws2021_v1 (1).pdf

Posted Jan 4, 2021
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