The New Year is here, and it’s important to stay in compliance with all state and federal employment laws to avoid any legal action against your company. Following is a list of new laws for 2022—but it’s always a good idea to contact your company’s legal counsel, first and foremost, to be sure you understand all the ins and outs of the laws and how they apply to your company and/or industry.


New employment laws for 2022


The federal government has rolled out the following for 2022:

  • Vaccine mandate. Employers with 100 or more employees must require full vaccination of all employees by January 10th, 2022, OR require unvaccinated employees to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing and wear a face mask while at work. They must also provide paid time off for employees to receive their vaccinations.
  • Vaccine mandate for health care workers. Any health care employees who work for providers that support Medicare and Medicaid must be full vaccinated by January 27th, 2022. Exemptions for medical conditions or religious beliefs do apply.
  • Unemployment extension. The Build Back Better Act includes several parts, one of which applies to the extension of unemployment compensation through the end of 2022 with an adjusted income level. These individuals will continue to receive subsidies for Affordable Care Act coverage, including no health care premiums.
  • Tip regulations. An employer in an industry with occupations that earn tips may take a tip credit. If not, employee wages must be paid at full minimum wage. In addition, employers may not unlawfully retain employees’ tips and can receive up to $1,100 penalty per violation.
  • Independent contractors. States misclassifying employees as independent contractors may face legal penalties.


States have issued a wide array of laws, helping further protect the rights of employees, as well as employers. Following are highlights (always check with your legal counsel for detailed descriptions, as this is not a full list):


  • Alabama
    • Non-disparagement contract clauses: standards for the creation of non-disparagement agreements
    • COVID-19: employers may allow religious exemptions to the vaccine mandate
  • California
    • Wage theft: Theft of wages or tips by an employee greater than $950, or by two or more employees great than $2,350 in a 12-month period is considered grand theft
    • Protected leave for the care of parents-in-law: employers with 5-19 employees can use CRFA leave to care for a parent-in-law
    • Criminal background checks: certain employers must report any felony convictions of an employee who has supervision over a child to the parents of that child
    • Production quotas: protects warehouse distribution center employees to ensure they receive meal and rest periods in compliance with health and safety laws
  • Colorado
    • Home Health Services: an employer must provide the professional license number of an employee suspected of mistreatment of an at-risk adult
  • Connecticut
    • Employer tax credits: employers who make payments on student loans for full-time employees can take a tax credit
  • District of Columbia
    • Protected time off (FMLA): increases the amount of paid time off to six workweeks of medical leave and two workweeks of prenatal leave
  • Illinois
    • Salary history: employers may not seek an applicant’s salary history
    • Domestic violence: victims and family members of victims may take unpaid leave and collect voluntary leave benefits
    • Human trafficking: workers in restaurants and truck stops must be trained to recognize signs of human trafficking and how to report it
    • Non-compete agreements: sets standards for employers to enforce these agreements
  • Minnesota
    • Lactation accommodation: an employee’s pay can’t be decreased during lactation breaks, and employees must be given reasonable accommodation for health conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth
  • New York
    • Contractors and subcontractors: legislation protects the wages and benefits owed by subcontractors to construction workers, and whistleblower protections to independent contractors and former employees
    • Surveillance privacy: employers must provide written notification to employees of any electronic monitoring
  • North Carolina
    • Discrimination protection: an employee cannot be discriminated against based on gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation and natural hairstyle
  • Oregon
    • Protected time off: employees may take leave due to public health emergencies, such as COVID-19
    • Discrimination protection: extends the definition of race to include natural hairstyles
    • Worker classification: a worker is any person other than an independent contractor who provides a service for compensation
  • Pennsylvania
    • Drug testing: employers are prohibited from requiring drug testing for marijuana
  • Rhode Island
    • Human trafficking: hotel employees must be trained to recognize signs of human trafficking
  • Texas
    • Criminal background checks: employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history, except in jobs where disclosure is required by law

*Odell Studner is sharing this list for educational awareness, this is not legal advice. Make sure to check your local laws & regulations. 


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