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2020 HR changes: Payroll, labor, regulations and more

Thursday December 19th, 2019

Estimated time to read: 2 minutes


As we enter the second decade of the second millennium, it’s clear that business practices have come a long way.

In 2020, numerous changes - legal, cultural and otherwise - are expected to reshape how the human resources department operates.

Below, we’ve outlined several recent developments to be mindful of:

Overtime pay rule

We’ve noted before the importance of the latest update to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The core changes as they relate to HR functions like accounting, pay scales and attendance tracking are: 

  • Salaried “professional and administrative employees” who work more than 40 hours weekly but currently earn less than $35,568 annually must be paid overtime or have their salary increased to the new $35,568 pay threshold.
  • Up to 10% of worker pay may come from nondiscretionary bonuses, commissions or incentive pay and still meet the federal threshold.

The rule is effective Jan. 1, so HR leaders and department heads should already have plans in place to bring their operations into full compliance with the latest Department of Labor guidance.

Salary inquiries during interviews, and other pay equity laws

Some states have passed more stringent regulations on HR interview policies in an attempt to create better pay transparency, protect against gendered pay disparities and foster merit-based salary offers. These initiatives are broadly referred to as “pay equity.”

At present, only Mississippi and North Carolina have refrained from implementing state-specific pay equity laws. Seventeen states and Puerto Rico have passed bans on salary inquiries during interviews.

In 2020, employers can expect full implementation of relevant state-based pay equity laws and, likely, further conversation around future iterations.

Family and Medical Leave Act changes

California, Washington, Connecticut and other states have new, long-anticipated FMLA laws taking effect in 2020. These changes specifically center on paid leave.

California, for instance, has increased its FMLA paid leave policy from six to eight weeks in any 12-month period. In Washington, employees who worked at least 820 hours in the previous year can take up to 12 weeks of paid leave. Up to 18 weeks may be provided should there be complications resulting from a pregnancy.

Drug employment laws

A spate of states have revised their enforcement and criminalization policies around certain drugs like marijuana. These now-relaxed laws pertaining mostly to medical or small amounts of recreational marijuana often stand in conflict with federal regulations, though recent 2019 updates and expected 2020 changes provide clarity for employer hiring practices.

Beginning in 2020, Nevada will make it illegal for employers to deny jobs to those who test positive for cannabis. Similarly, New York will soon prohibit pre-employment marijuana testing.

In the Midwest, Illinois still allows businesses to make hiring decisions based on a drug-free workplace but rewrote the rules on what classifies as a drug. The new law clarifies that in the context of cannabis, off-duty marijuana use cannot be a disqualifying factor in the hiring process.

In addition to the above 2020 updates, HR teams can expect changes to minimum wage laws and reclassifications of independent contractors.

To manage the backend of any internal company process revisions, an HCM solution can streamline all tracking, updating and reviewing of important business data. Keep your company agile today and tomorrow with iSolved, a platform that adapts to the changing regulations and helps you maintain compliance.


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