New Breastfeeding in the Workplace Law for Hawaii

Hawaii Employers: Are you still compliant with the new labor laws?

Hawaii recently passed an amendment to the Employment Practices Law pertaining to workplace accommodation for breastfeeding.

Under this legislation, employers are required to provide reasonable time for breastfeeding employees as needed for up to one year after childbirth. Employers are also mandated to provide the employee with a private location (other than a restroom) that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public for breastfeeding purposes.

Employers with fewer than 20 employees are exempt if that employer can show that the law would impose a significant expense or difficulty to their business.

A mandatory Breastfeeding in the Workplace poster is included with this law to explain the changes and notify employees.

Failure to comply with posting or enforcing the law results in a minimum $500 fine for each violation.

Hawaii’s state law takes precedence over the national Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as it offers greater protection to employees. You can read more about the FLSA here.

GovDocs offers this new Breastfeeding in the Workplace posting as part of our Hawaii All-On-One poster. To make sure you never miss out on mandatory state or federal labor law changes, join our Update Program and stay compliant!

For more information about the Hawaii Breastfeeding in the Workplace Act, Click here.

2013 Labor Law Posting Updates

Red indicates states with mandatory changes in 2013 to date (9/23/2013).
indicates states with mandatory changes in 2013 required for only certain types of employers (9/23/2013).

So far in 2013, 22 U.S. states have released mandatory labor law poster updates.

Six states released conditional postings*, which are mandatory for certain types of employers.

An additional 198 non-mandatory changes were identified by the GovDocs Research Department in 2013. What’s the Difference Between Mandatory and Non-Mandatory Changes?

That brings the grand total to 291 mandatory updates since January 1, 2006, and average of three mandatory changes every month.

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*What are Conditional Postings?

Human Trafficking posters are a good example of conditional postings, which are required for certain types of employers.

Employers in the affected states are required to post Human Trafficking postings if they meet certain conditions: interstate commerce and transportation, adult entertainment, drinking establishments, for example, are considered to be at risk for human trafficking. These employers must post the Human Trafficking postings while employers in other industries are not required to post. California, Georgia, and Pennsylvania each released a Human Trafficking poster in 2013.

Other types of conditional postings include industry-specific wage guidance, like Oregon’s Minimum Wage, Agricultural posting, required only for agricultural employers.

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Let a GovDocs Compliance Specialist Help You Find the Posting Compliance Program That Is Right for Your Business.

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The Washington State Update that Was NOT Mandatory

Did Your Poster Vendor Get it Right?

The GovDocs Research Department confirmed with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries that a June 2013 update to the Your Rights as a Worker in Washington State posting was not a mandatory change.

Employers displaying the posting dated December 2012 remain in compliance with the posting requirement, according to the Department.

A Department representative explained that the passage of the same-sex marriage initiative (R-74) in Washington will increase the employees covered by the state’s Family Leave Act (FLA). The posting was updated with language specific to the Act, but the changes were not mandatory.

Our Research Department proactively follows up with state and federal agencies to confirm whether posting changes are mandatory.

Did your vendor get it right?

Learn more about the difference between mandatory and non-mandatory changes here.

Are you responsible for labor law posting compliance for 50 or more locations? Let us know how we can help you reduce unnecessary spending on your workplace poster program.

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What’s the Difference Between Mandatory and Non-Mandatory Changes? Part 2

Utah State Capitol

Utah State Capitol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a typical scenario: your business receives an email, telephone call, or a snail-mail letter telling you that posters for your state have changed and that your posters are now out of compliance.

How can you be sure that they aren’t just feeding you a line? After all, they’re in business to sell as many posters as possible.

Three recent employment posting changes to Utah state postings serve as a good example. Several GovDocs’ competitors listed these changes as mandatory changes requiring customers with locations in Utah to purchase new posters.

  • Workers’ Compensation Notice (English): Verbiage addition to the poster that states employees have 180 days to give notice of injury. (Utah law has required the 180-day limit for more than 10 years. The English version now mirrors the 180-day language already found on the Spanish version.)
  • Workers’ Compensation Notice (Spanish): Reformatting/slight text changes.
  • Workplace Safety and Health in the State of Utah: Includes language that whistleblower complaints must be filed within 30 days.

GovDocs uses a very thorough research methodology when it comes to determining whether a posting change is mandatory or not. Our Research Department delved deeper with qualified members of the Utah Occupational Safety and Health (Utah OSHA) and confirmed that the three changes mentioned above are not mandatory changes, and Utah employers who display the previous version of each of these posting are in compliance.

As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, postings in the U.S. experience more than 200 labor law changes each year, but government issuing agencies deem approximately only 40% as mandatory changes requiring replacement of existing postings or the addition of new postings.

If you’re responsible for keeping a few locations compliant with labor law posting requirements, you many not mind spending an extra $30 here and there just to be “on the safe side.” But if you’re responsible for hundreds – or thousands – of locations, posting updates can be an expensive and confusing proposition.

GovDocs eliminates unnecessary spending on labor law postings and logistics for large, multi‐location employers with extreme accuracy.

That’s why many large employers – including 30% of Fortune 50 companies – rely on GovDocs to keep current with the latest state and federal labor law posting requirements. GovDocs actively monitors all changes from more than 500 state and federal agencies in order to provide complete and accurate posters that keep our customers compliant.

Learn more about how GovDocs helps business like yours remain compliant.

What’s the Difference Between Mandatory and Non-Mandatory Changes? Part 1

Many changes to labor law posters are considered non-mandatory. Do you need to post them?

You probably can guess that a mandatory labor law posting is one that employers are required to display. But did you know that not all changes to an existing mandatory posting are considered mandatory (that is, required) updates? In other words, sometimes an agency may make a change to a posting that does not require an employer to remove the previous posting and display the newest one. These are considered recommended but non-mandatory changes.

On average, more than 200 labor law changes occur each year, with approximately only 40% requiring employers to display new posters. State and federal agencies can change their labor law regulations at any time – and often do so without notifying businesses. Changes to a posting can take many forms, from revised content to formatting modifications, and not every change requires employers to post updated state or federal posters.

An agency may make what they consider non-mandatory changes, such as updating contact information on the posting, or including the name of a newly elected governor. Other times, an agency may substantially revise the content of their posting, like when a state raises its minimum wage rate.

GovDocs actively monitors all changes from more than 500 state and federal agencies in order to provide complete and accurate posters that keep our customers compliant. The GovDocs Research Department actively follows up with issuing agencies to determine which changes are considered mandatory so that our state and federal posters are updated with all mandatory changes and any non-mandatory changes that occurred prior to a mandatory update.

To read about a specific example of how this research can save your business time, money, and confusion, read Part 2 in our series.

4 Tips for Evaluating Labor Law Poster Providers

How does your department weigh the needs of your compliance program in relation to cost?

This is a particularly busy time for human resources and compliance departments at large companies. On top of open enrollment activities, and hiring and training for holiday operations, many companies assess their budgets for the upcoming year.

Assessing labor law poster vendors now? Download our free Buyer’s Guide.

Here are 4 quick tips to help you select a vendor who keeps your locations compliant and helps you avoid unnecessary spending on your compliance program.

1. Check their track record

Some poster vendors do a very good job of delivering compliance products to customers at a fair price and with responsive customer service. Others do not. Check out your vendors on the Better Business Bureau website. The BBB provides a letter grade and a register of specific complaints from customers.

2. Define mandatory versus non-mandatory changes

Have each vendor tell you what constitutes “mandatory” to them and how they verify that changes are mandatory. Some vendors claim any change to a required posting is mandatory, but it matters little what your vendor thinks is mandatory. It matters very much what the issuing agency considers mandatory change. If you purchase from vendors who push you into unneeded poster purchases, you are wasting precious budget dollars and potentially creating more confusion for your locations.

3. Cross-check their update records

Ask your potential vendors for a list of recent mandatory state and federal labor law posting changes. With those lists in hand, you can see if each vendor’s list measures up to what your current vendor delivered to your locations. You need to trust that the research methodology of your vendor translates into compliance for your locations. Remember, compliance starts with thorough and accurate research!

4. Check references

Specifically, ask your vendors for references from companies like yours (similar size, similar industry, similar service) – and then contact those references. Ask your peers about vendors’ customer service, products, and total costs. One important question to ask: If you could change one thing about your poster vendor, what would it be?

Talk to us!

When you’re considering labor law poster vendors to help keep your company compliant, GovDocs would love to be considered. Take a look at our Compliance Programs to see how GovDocs can make your compliance program – and your job – easier than ever, while eliminating unnecessary spending on labor law posting compliance and logistics for large companies. In fact, we provide ongoing compliance for more than 270,000 employment locations in the U.S. and Canada – including the world’s largest retail employer and 30% of Fortune 50 companies.

Discussing Politics in the Workplace

Based on the plethora of recent articles, it seems people are writing (almost obsessively) about political discussions in the workplace.  Much has been said about the pros, cons and legalities.  I’ve summarized a few common themes that have crept into just about every article I’ve read:

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  • Political discussions in the workplace have become more acceptable. One article even called it fashionable.  Some employers believe it can be healthy by fostering an atmosphere of free expression and encouraging ways to find common ground with co-workers.  Others argue it has the potential to be a huge time waster and an unnecessary diversion from productive activities, especially during election season.
  • The reality is that it is very difficult to control.  Whether you have a “no discussion” policy or allow some banter, proceed with caution and beware of unintentional consequences.  What seems like a spirited debate can quickly escalate into a claim of harassment and/or discrimination.
  • Put measures in place to strictly avoid abuse of position.  An employee’s political views should have no influence one way or the other in performance reviews or promotion considerations.
  • In the private sector, Freedom of Speech does not necessarily extend to the private property of the business.  For example, employers have a right to forbid use of company e-mail for distributing political cartoons, etc.  And, they can restrict t-shirts or buttons with political flare, if the employee deals directly with customers.  Public sector (government) employees are held to a different standard.
  • Workplace policies should be independent of political influence.  For example, requests for time off to volunteer on a political campaign or to attend a rally should be treated with the same rules as a time off requests for any other reason – advanced notice, vacation time banked, etc. (not to be confused with time off to vote. See Voter Time Off, Oct 22, 2008).

Has the political discussion in your organization impacted the workplace?  If so, how?


Links to a few articles: