2024 Legal Updates You Should Be Aware Of

Labor laws are changing constantly, and the upcoming year is no different. In 2024, several states will enact laws governing wage disclosures, standards, and increases. There are also new rules regarding employment status. 

It’s vital for all human resources professionals to understand these new rules and how they may affect policies and processes in your organization.

Updates to Colorado’s Equal Pay Act

Colorado’s original Equal Pay Act prevents sex and gender identity-based discrimination by prohibiting employers from asking about or relying on wage history to make wage determinations and preventing employees from discussing compensation. 

Employers also had to notify all employees of promotion opportunities on the same day and disclose all compensation information in job postings. 

Under the new amendment going into effect on January 1, 2024, employers are also required to:

  • Make a reasonable effort to communicate all job opportunities, including vacancies being recruited for, with in-line promotions no longer being considered job opportunities
  • Post details about compensation and application closing dates
  • Communicate information about promoted candidates to individuals who will work with them, including former job title, new title, and how to declare interest in taking a similar path
  • Disclose specific requirements, compensation packages, and opportunities for career advancement

The statute of limitations for wage discrimination claims is now six years (up from three), and the Director of the Division of Labor Standards and Statistics must now investigate all claims, order compliance and relief, and establish rules for enforcement.

Oregon Sets Wage Standards Rules for Specified Workers

Starting January 1, 2024, Oregon’s House Bill 3306 now requires entities that get money from local workforce development boards for training initiatives to develop training and wage standards for workers who get paid experience from those programs. They must:

  • Define an entry-level training wage as a percentage of the average wage in the area for an hour’s worth of work in the same trade but no less than the state minimum wage
  • Set up a wage progression schedule based on the average wage in the area and tell individuals how they can progress through it
  • Create and distribute a training plan for the program

The training plan must include disclosures that state the following:

  • The individual will be paid according to the wage progression schedule
  • A description of the requirements to progress to a higher wage rate
  • The entry-level training wage is not less than the minimum wage, as those receiving compensation are employees under state wage and hour laws
  • An explanation that the entry-level training wage is a minimum standard and a higher wage will be paid if required by law

The bill also requires the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to establish wage rate standards for skilled positions in healthcare, manufacturing, and technology. Industry consortiums representing these sectors must calculate these standards using economic data and submit their methodologies to the Commission. 

California Raises State Minimum Wage & Expands Sick Day Laws

California will increase the current state minimum wage by $0.50 to $16 per hour starting January 1, 2024. This law goes into effect for all employers without regard to size or industry. Employers in jurisdictions with higher local minimum wage rates must honor those higher rates.

On that same date, California will also enact the expansion of its sick day laws. The new law:

  • Increases the employee limit for sick day accrual from 24 hours (three days) each year to 40 hours (five days)
  • This accrual must occur by the 200th calendar day of employment each year
  • Increases the yearly carryover cap to 80 hours (10 days)

The carryover rule is not required if the employer provides 40 hours of paid sick leave up front (without the need for accrual) each year.

New York’s “Freelance Isn’t Free Act” Set to Go Into Effect in 2024

As of May 20, 2024, all employers in New York State working with freelancers must now treat those individuals as independent contractors. This means they must:

  • Draft and sign written agreements
  • Pay promptly
  • Disclose the process for complaints and payment disputes
  • State the penalties for breaches of contract

The act does not include construction contracts and is not retroactive.

National Labor Relations Board Issues Joint Employer Status Final Rule

As the year ends, the National Labor Relations Board has issued a final rule to go into effect on February 26, 2024. The rule outlines new criteria for determining joint-employer status. An employer can now be considered as such if it possesses the power to control an employee in one or more essential areas:

  • Compensation
  • Scheduling
  • Duty assignments
  • Supervision
  • Work and discipline rules
  • Hiring, tenure, and termination
  • Health and safety conditions

Additionally, employers must now bargain collectively about any term or condition of employment that it has the power to control. 

Staying Up to Date Is the Best HR Strategy

Even if these laws aren’t applicable in your state, it’s important to be aware of the changes across the country. When you commit to staying aware of nationwide trends and keeping your ears open for talks of introducing similar legislation in your state, you’ll be in a much better position to respond to possible changes and ensure compliance for your organization if and when needed.

Our HR compliance platform provides legal updates and a compliance calendar to help your organization stay compliant. Schedule a demo to learn more about VirgilHR.