Where We Are and Where We’re Going: The State of North America Compliance Report
Director of Compliance
North American organizations in 2022 faced many new and amended leave laws affecting their employees. This year, there is a noticeable focused theme in legislation due to a rising trend in employees’ demanding more time off in their positions. Among these new regulations granted by local, state, and federal lawmakers, those impacting employee time off for family and medical reasons, including bereavement, proved especially noteworthy.
To help employers stay ahead, WorkForce Software’s Current State of North America Workforce Compliance Report provides a look into the employment legislation that impacted U.S. and Canadian organizations in 2022 and offers guidance on how to prepare for success in this new legal landscape.
Here are some of the major legislations across several U.S. states:
California Bereavement Leave. New legislation in California requires employers with five or more employees to provide five days of bereavement leave to covered employees beginning January 1, 2023.
California Family Rights Act Leave Extended to a “Designated Person” California enacted legislation that expands leave under the California Family Rights Act, allowing covered employees to take time off to provide care to a “designated person” with a serious health condition starting January 1, 2023.
Alabama Family Leave. The Alabama Adoption Promotion Act took effect July 1, 2022, requiring private companies with 50 or more employees (and public agencies and schools) to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of family leave for the birth and care of a newborn or adopted child during the first year after birth or placement. Employees are eligible for family leave if they have completed at least 12 months of employment and worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months.
Illinois Family Bereavement Leave. Illinois renamed the Child Bereavement Leave Act to the Family Bereavement Leave Act. This amendment expanded the definition of family members for whom bereavement leave may be taken and includes events such as fertility-related losses, failed adoptions, and failed surrogacy agreements as reasons for employees to take bereavement leave.
Maryland Paid Family and Medical Leave. Maryland established a statewide family and medical leave program to provide up to twelve weeks of paid leave to employees for family and medical reasons beginning January 1, 2025. Employees will be able to take paid leave to (1) care for a child during the first year after the birth or placement of the child through foster care, kinship, or adoption; (2) care for a family member with a serious health condition; (3) care for their own serious health condition; (4) care for a service member who is the employee’s next of kin; or (5) attend to a qualifying exigency arising out of the military deployment of a family member.
Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Amendments. Effective June 9, 2022, eligible employees have been able to use Washington Paid Family Leave for bereavement reasons during the seven days following the loss of a child if the employee meets one of these conditions: (1) they would have qualified for prenatal or postnatal medical leave for the birth of their child, (2) they would have qualified for family leave to bond with their child during the first 12 months after birth, or (3) they had a child under age 18 placed in their home and qualified for bonding leave within the first 12 months of placement.
Canada experienced similar regulation updates. Here are some of the major provincial and federal rule changes:
Alberta Bereavement Leave Amended. On May 31, 2022, Alberta expanded bereavement leave so employees who have been employed by the same employer for at least 90 days and who would have been either biological, adoptive, or surrogate parents can take up to three days of unpaid bereavement leave per calendar year when a pregnancy ends other than in a live birth.
British Columbia Illness or Injury Leave Amended. Beginning March 31, 2022, covered employees with an illness or injury can take up to five paid days and three unpaid days of leave in a calendar year. Prior to March 31, employees were limited to three unpaid days of leave for an illness or injury. The employee decides whether to use paid or unpaid leave.
Paid Medical Leave for Federally Regulated Employers. Changes to the Canada Labour Code affected federally regulated employers beginning December 1, 2022. With these changes, employees are entitled to three days of paid medical leave after 30 days of continuous employment and to the accrual of one day of paid medical leave at the beginning of each month, up to a maximum of 10 days in a calendar year. Each day of paid medical leave not used in a calendar year carries over to the next year, but it counts toward the ten days that can be earned in the new calendar year. Employers may require employees who take at least five consecutive days of paid medical leave to provide medical certification within 15 days of returning to work.
As workers adjust to the new normal post-pandemic, changes in compliance laws will continue to reflect the changing needs and demands of the workforce. As U.S. and Canadian employers look forward to 2023, they can anticipate more changes similar to 2022 across the map, focusing greatly on leave protections, especially for family, medical, and bereavement reasons.
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