The brand new calendar yr at all times rings in some employment legislation modifications, and 2021 is not any totally different. This yr, many states have enacted modifications in worker go away insurance policies; ended or prolonged some non permanent exemptions put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic; and brought steps to enhance variety, fairness and inclusion within the office.

Listed below are a few of the main modifications we’re following. All these employment legislation modifications are efficient Jan. 1, 2021 except in any other case famous.

Federal employment legislation modifications in 2021

There are three employment legislation modifications on the federal degree that will have an effect on your group.

  1. The minimal wage for federal contract employees will increase to $10.95 per hour.
  2. Employers can select to show solely the final 4 digits of an worker’s Social Safety quantity on their Type W-2, to scale back the chance of identification theft.
  3. As a consequence of COVID-19, the Equal Employment Alternative Fee (EEOC) in 2020 waived its requirement that non-public sector employers submit EEO-1 information. In 2021, nevertheless, personal sector employers with 100 or extra workers, together with employers with 50 or extra workers and a minimum of one federal contract or subcontract price a minimum of $50,000 should submit their 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 surveys. The deadline for submission hasn’t been set, nevertheless it’s anticipated to be after March 31, 2021. (Study extra about why constant documentation is essential for EEOC compliance.)

Many states have been updating their household and medical go away legal guidelines lately, and a few long-planned modifications will take impact in 2021. There are newer legal guidelines, too, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, to guard employees’ well being and the protection of their co-workers.

California’s AB 685 can be in impact via Jan. 1, 2023. Beneath this legislation, employers who be taught of a attainable COVID-19 publicity should give probably uncovered workers and subcontractors written discover inside sooner or later. Employers who be taught of an outbreak of a number of circumstances have 48 hours to report the state of affairs to public well being officers.

Beneath AB 685, the discover should embody related federal, state and native COVID-related advantages data together with the employer’s security and disinfection plan. Employers are required to maintain copies of any notices for 3 years. For extra data, see the state’s web page on the subject.

Colorado is extending its 2020 Household First Coronavirus Response Act protection. All employers should present two weeks (as much as 80 hours) of emergency paid sick go away for all workers who want day off to quarantine, who’re sick with COVID-19 or who’re caring for a sick baby or one who’s out of faculty because of the pandemic. For extra data, see a abstract of the legislation right here.

Different state household and medical go away legislation modifications

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York all have up to date or new go away legal guidelines, every with its personal particulars and necessities.


California employers with 5 or extra workers are required to provide certified workers as much as 12 weeks of paid go away inside a 12-month interval beneath SB 1383. Qualifying causes embody:

  • Delivery, adoption or foster care placement of a kid
  • Caregiving for a member of the family with a critical well being problem
  • An worker’s critical well being situation (not together with incapacity go away for being pregnant or childbirth)
  • Wants associated to a member of the family’s energetic responsibility army service

For extra data, go to California’s web site on the subject.

California expanded its Home Violence Depart Regulation to incorporate victims of crime and abuse (together with bodily or psychological damage or the specter of bodily damage) beginning January 1, 2021.

Beneath California’s AB 2992 the state’s present home violence go away legislation will now prohibit employers from discriminating or retaliating in opposition to an worker who’s the sufferer of against the law or abuse. Beneath this expanded legislation, the definition of sufferer now consists of an individual whose rapid member of the family is deceased as a direct results of against the law. Employers should enable the worker day off from work to acquire or try reduction.

For extra data on the growth of this legislation, learn the textual content of the laws.


The Centennial State can be implementing a Wholesome Households and Workplaces Regulation. Colorado employers with 16 or extra employees should supply paid sick go away. On Jan. 1, 2022, the legislation will develop to cowl all employers within the state.

The legislation additionally requires organizations to supply supplemental paid sick go away in case of a public well being emergency, together with unplanned baby care tasks or an sickness associated to a public well being emergency.

For extra data, go right here.


Connecticut has a brand new paid household medical go away legislation.

The gathering of wage deductions will start on Jan. 1, 2021, however the wage substitute advantages gained’t be accessible to eligible workers till Jan. 1, 2022.

Workers who’ve earned a minimum of $2,325 within the highest quarter of the primary 4 of the 5 most up-to-date quarters instantly earlier than their utility for go away, and who’re both presently employed by a Connecticut employer or had been employed by a Connecticut employer through the 12 weeks instantly previous the appliance, are eligible to use for paid go away

Qualifying workers can use as much as 12 weeks of paid go away in a 12-month interval for:

  • Delivery, adoption, or foster placement of a kid
  • Dealing with a critical well being situation
  • Caregiving for a member of the family with a critical well being situation
  • Tasks associated to a member of the family’s energetic responsibility army service
  • Donating bone marrow or organs
  • Causes associated to household violence

Certified pregnant workers who want bedrest or restricted exercise could obtain an additional two weeks of paid go away. Employers could require workers to make use of their different paid day off first earlier than accessing CT FMLA paid go away advantages.

For extra data, please go to the Connecticut’s web site on the legislation.


Maine’s obligatory paid go away legislation requires employers with 11 or extra employees in any location to let workers earn an hour of paid go away for each 40 hours labored. This rule consists of additional time hours and begins when the worker is employed.

Eligible employees can earn as much as 40 hours of paid go away per yr. Employers can require a six-month ready interval earlier than employees can begin utilizing their go away, and the legislation states that the go away can’t impose an undue hardship on the employer.

For extra data on Maine’s legislation, go to the Maine Division of Labor web site on the subject.


Non-public employers within the Bay State should supply as much as 12 weeks of paid household go away and 20 weeks of paid medical go away annually, capped at a complete of 26 weeks yearly.

Eligible workers can use their go away to welcome a brand new baby into the house, look after themselves or a sick member of the family, or cope with sudden points associated to a member of the family’s army service.

To qualify, employees should:

  • Have earned a minimum of $4,700 from their employer through the previous 12 months
  • Have earned pay for a minimum of 15 weeks

Workers can use their go away to implement an intermittent or diminished work schedule, so long as their employer agrees to it.

For extra data on the legislation, go to the state’s employer’s information to paid household and medical go away.

New York

New York State’s Sick and Protected Depart Regulation requires all employers to supply some type of go away, based mostly on measurement and internet earnings.

  • Companies with 4 or fewer workers and fewer than $1 million in annual internet earnings should supply as much as 40 hours of unpaid go away. Companies of that measurement with extra internet earnings should supply as much as 40 hours of paid go away.
  • Bigger companies with as much as 99 workers should supply 40 hours of paid go away.
  • Firms with 100 or extra employees should present 56 hours of paid go away.

Workers earn an hour of go away for each 30 hours labored, together with additional time. They will use it in increments as small as 4 hours, and unused go away should roll over to the following yr. Staff can use their go away to look after themselves or a member of the family, or to get planning and relocation providers associated to home abuse.

For extra data, go to New York’s Paid Sick Depart web site.

Different state employment legal guidelines modifications in 2021

A lot of the different main new state labor legislation modifications for 2021 assist variety, fairness and inclusion.

Anti-harassment coaching necessities

California’s deadline for anti-harassment coaching, which was set in 2019, expires January 1, 2021. State legislation permits for employers to carry this coaching remotely for particular person workers or teams.

In 2020, Connecticut prolonged its Oct. 1 deadline for all employers to offer some or all of their workers with anti-sexual harassment coaching. The brand new deadline is January 1, 2021.

All Connecticut employers, together with family-only companies, should present two hours of coaching to supervisors. Employers with three or extra workers should additionally give nonsupervisory workers two hours of coaching.

New legal guidelines on equal pay

Employers in California should file their first yearly California Pay Knowledge Report with pay information for 2020 to the California Division of Truthful Employment and Housing by March 31, 2021. For extra data on this legislation, see the laws right here.

Colorado’s Equal Pay Act requires employers to:

  • Keep away from making compensation selections based mostly on an worker’s intercourse or different protected standing.
  • Create a written job description for every function of their group.
  • Put up open positions, together with job descriptions and wage vary, earlier than filling these positions.
  • Not ask candidates about their earlier salaries.
  • Retain every worker’s job description and pay historical past so long as they’re employed and for 2 years after.

For extra data on Colorado’s pay fairness legislation, go right here.

Minimal wage and wage exemption will increase

California’s state minimal wage improve for 2021 requires employers with 25 or fewer workers to pay a minimum of $13 per hour. Bigger employers should pay a minimum of $14 per hour.

This state minimal wage improve additionally leads to a rise within the minimal wage degree required for exempt workers in California as a result of the minimal weekly wage degree is 2 instances the minimal wage for a full-time worker. The result’s $1,120 per week or $58,240 yearly.

In case your group has workers in California, it’s additionally vital to evaluation the minimal wage necessities for all of the cities and counties the place you use. Many native governments have carried out their very own minimal wage necessities.

(Click on right here for extra data on California’s state minimal wage.)

In Colorado, the wage exemption threshold will increase to $40,500 and can keep at that degree via the tip of 2021. Nonprofit organizations with lower than $50 million in yearly gross income and for-profit employers with lower than $1 million in yearly gross income are exempt from this variation.

For extra data, view this Colorado Division of Labor and Employment doc.

Ban the Field

Colorado’s Ban the Field Act, which took impact for bigger employers in 2019, takes impact for employers of all sizes September 1, 2021. The legislation prohibits employers from asking candidates about their legal histories or discouraging candidates with legal histories.

Summing all of it up

Employment legislation modifications in 2021 can create advanced new monitoring and reporting necessities, particularly for companies that function in multiple locale.

It’s possible you’ll need to think about outsourcing your employment legislation compliance or supporting your HR workforce’s efforts by working with a PEO.

Study extra about reporting, monitoring and extra once you obtain our free e-book HR compliance: Are you placing your online business in danger?