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New Employee Laws in January 2017

January 10, 2017

The new year is a time when many new laws take effect. We've assembled some important changes in 2017 to employee labor laws in the United States. There are new federal rules as well as employee minimum wage and sick leave laws enacted by a number of states.

Salary Threshold Law Blocked
Just days before an updated salary overtime law was set to take effect, it was blocked by a federal judge on November 22, 2016. There is much speculation as to what is next and if the ruling will be appealed, so stay informed by referring to the Department of Labor website for clarification. We also wrote a blog post about how the judge blocking the law might effect employers.

Minimum Wage
The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 per hour since July 24, 2009. Though set Federally at $7.25, nearly 30 states and a growing number of cities have set higher minimum wages. The states have chosen to make incremental increases over time to account for changes in living expenses. For example, California raised the minimum wage for certain employers to $10.50 on January 1, 2017 and plans to incrementally raise the state wide minimum wage to $15 by 2022. Refer to the Minimum Wage Laws on our website and the Department of Labor website for details on changes coming to your state in 2017.

Sick Leave Laws
There is no federal requirement for employers to offer sick leave in the United States, yet many states require employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. There are currently 4 states with laws that award sick leave to their employees and over 20 cities that have established similar ordinances including New York City, Seattle and Los Angeles.

There are a few exceptions, but the majority of employees in the states and cities with paid sick leave laws are entitled to sick leave. This applies to full-time, part-time, seasonal and paid interns. The laws explain how sick leave can be earned or accrued, the requirement to keep track of sick leave available, and if it can be capped by employers. The most common earned paid sick leave is one hour for every 30 hours worked or a lump sum can be awarded to an employee.

The details of the State laws vary, so it is important to refer to your state's legislative websites. Here are the links to more information for states with sick leave laws currently in effect: CaliforniaConnecticutMassachusetts and Oregon.

There are some changes to sick laws coming in 2017 that will affect many businesses. Changes announced so far include: Federal ContractorsArizonaVermontChicagoMinneapolisSanta MonicaSpokane, San Francisco.

Affordable Care Act (ACC)
Group insurance plans will likely be changing after president elect Donald Trump is inaugurated and carries out his pledge to repeal and replace ObamaCare. The U.S. Health and Health Sciences website is an excellent resource to keep you informed on changes that may effect your business.

Labor Compliance with Virtual TimeClock
Our Virtual TimeClock employee time and attendance software can help you comply with labor law changes and requirements to track employee leave. For example, you can setup sick leave benefits for your workers setting the accrual based on the number of hours worked. In states where labor laws award one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, Virtual TimeClock can effortlessly track sick time that your employee has accrued and used throughout the year.

Staying up to date on labor laws for your employees is important. For additional information, please see to our free employer resources and consult your legal, labor and accounting representatives.

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