As we embark on a new decade, it’s overwhelming to think about what’s next—especially when our pressing compliance responsibilities continue to grow. That’s why we’ve taken the time to research emerging labor laws and human resources issues, so you can stay on top of the upcoming trends for the new year.

Here are 5 trends we expect to be front and center for human resources professionals and compliance teams throughout 2020.

  1. #MeToo and Sexual Harassment Prevention

The focus on harassment that arose with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements will continue into the new year. With the number of claims of sexual harassment on the rise (the EEOC reported a 50% increase in lawsuits in the last fiscal year), employers should lean into these trends, if they haven’t already, and address this hot-button issue with increased anti-harassment training and proactive prevention programs.

 

  1. Paid Sick Leave

To date, some states and several localities have enacted laws granting employees paid sick leave. Here is the current list of states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C.

 

More states are considering enacting statutes granting sick leave. We anticipate that additional states, cities, and counties will add this benefit in the near future.

 

  1. Paid Family Leave

Only a few states currently have paid family leave laws. They include the following:

  • California
  • Connecticut (benefits start 1/1/21)
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon (benefits start 1/1/23)
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C.

 

Employees can use the leave provided by these states, as well as some localities, to fulfill caregiving responsibilities to close family members with serious illnesses and to bond with a newborn, a newly adopted child, or a foster child (depending on the state’s coverage). More states are likely to consider similar laws in the coming year.

 

  1. Bans on Pre-Hiring Questions About Pay History

In the last few years, a growing number of states, along with Puerto Rico and several localities, have passed legislation regulating the use of salary history in hiring.

 

Here is a list of states with laws that restrict employer questioning of applicants about their salary history:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Wisconsin

The goal of these statutes is to eliminate the gap in wages between white males and their female and minority peers by forcing prospective employers to focus on candidates’ qualifications, including their experience and education. We expect more states to join this bandwagon in the coming year.

 

  1. Medical and Recreational Marijuana Use

New challenges will continue to arise for employers and compliance professionals as states legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use. Some states currently prohibit pre-employment testing for marijuana, while others protect employees who use medical marijuana during nonworking hours from discrimination. With the inconsistencies between federal, state, and local laws, employers should review their drug testing policies and decide whether and how to test candidates for employment and current employees and what the repercussions, if any, should be for a positive drug test.

 

Where to Find the Latest Updates on Labor Laws That Affect Your Business

To stay up-to-date on the latest developments in federal, state, and local labor laws in 2020, including posting requirements, subscribe to our Labor Law Updates.