In late 2016, we at GovDocs made some predictions for the coming year in 5 Questions with GovDocs: 2017 Employment Law Trends. Now, as we look toward 2018, let’s revisit those predictions, what actually happened, and what we can predict for 2018.
Paid Sick Leave
States, counties and cities will continue to introduce new or expand existing paid sick leave laws to include more leave types, like caring for a family member.
At the federal level, there’s a chance the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may expand to include paid leave, but would happen later in the president’s term and most likely be limited in scope. States, cities and counties, as already discussed, can fill the gap, passing and enhancing their respective paid sick leave laws.
More than 100 paid sick leave bills were introduced at the state level, and more than 10 were introduced at the local level.
Of those states, Arizona, Illinois and Vermont enacted new state paid sick leave laws in 2017. Lastly, Rhode Island and Washington passed sick leave laws that will be effective in 2018.
On the local level, eight new paid sick leave laws passed, including:
- Berkeley, CA
- Los Angeles, CA
- Chicago, Il
- Cook County, IL (to date, more than 90 cities have opted out)
- Minneapolis, MN
- Paul, MN
- Morristown, NJ
- Spokane, WA
State and local paid leave laws will continue to occur, but at a slower rate than we saw in 2017. This may be because paid leave is up for discussion at the federal level.
Earlier in 2017, President Trump introduced paid leave in his 2018 budget. And, most recently, the House of Representatives introduced the Workflex in the 21st Century Act Nov. 6, 2017, which also includes paid leave. We’ll continue to monitor this bill for updates.
Unlike higher levels of government, local jurisdictions can pass and update laws at a faster pace. In 2017, more cities and counties will enact new minimum wage laws, while others will increase the rates of current ones – with some major cities moving toward $15 per hour.
States will also move toward higher minimum wage rate laws in 2017, at a slightly slower pace than local jurisdictions.
Will the federal minimum wage increase or change? At this point, it’s unclear. If so, it wouldn’t occur until at least halfway into the new administration’s term.
Our prediction was correct, as the number of minimum wage bills in the U.S. increased higher than ever before. In 2017, states introduced more than 250 minimum wage bills, with counties and cities introducing more than 30.
Minimum wage updates will increase steadily at the state, county and city levels, as the federal government will focus on other laws, such as E-Verify and paid leave.
Discrimination and Equal Pay
Discrimination and equal pay related activity may quiet down. As an example, we’ve monitored a possible update to the EEO is the Law posting, which falls under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) but are now unsure when that will happen.
We saw discrimination and equal pay initiatives slow down at the county and city levels in 2017. However, we did see an increase in these laws at the state level. There were more than 100 equal pay bills and more than 250 discrimination bills discussed at the state level.
With the significant increase in discrimination and equal pay bills in 2017, we anticipate both these types of laws will continue to grow in 2018, especially at the state level.