A Look at the Ever-Changing Leave and Accommodation Law Landscape

September 09, 2019

2019 has brought a flurry of new leave and accommodation laws. In fact, in the first 8 months of 2019, more than 20 new laws in this area have passed. The states that passed new laws, expanded or otherwise amended existing leave and accommodation laws, or had new laws go into effect this year include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

Mandatory PTO

Maine (effective January 1, 2021), Nevada (effective January 1, 2020) and Bernalillo County, New Mexico (effective July 1, 2020) became the first jurisdictions to mandate that employers provide employees with paid leave that can used forany reason.These laws are a significant departure from the paid sick leave laws that have been adopted in many states and cities across the country that limit the leave to specific reasons. We expect this broader trend to continue as other jurisdictions are considering similar proposals.

Paid Family and Medical Leave

Efforts to adopt and expand paid family and medical leave across the country continue, as new laws were passed, including in Connecticut and Oregon; benefits were extended in California; Colorado established a task force to implement a family and medical leave insurance program; and the District of Columbia began collecting taxes from private sector employers to fund its paid family leave program.

Other Types of Leave

The number of jurisdictions with laws requiring accommodations for pregnant and breastfeeding employees continues to grow. We also saw a number of jurisdictions pass laws providing protected leave to employees serving in the state National Guard, civil air patrol and serving as emergency responders. A growing number of jurisdictions are also requiring leave for employees who are the victims of violence or who serve as organ donors.