2021 Legal Updates – A Round Up

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The time has come for a review of the new employment laws taking effect on January 1, 2021, in order to determine their impact and get your organization ready to comply. The new laws – more than 100 in total – will affect employers in 28 states and numerous localities. To help you prepare, Guardian HR has summarized the key topics covered, and provided a list by the jurisdiction of the new employment law requirements that take effect on or around January 1.


Employers with operations in California should become familiar with changes to paid and unpaid leave laws, as well as new sexual harassment training and reporting obligations.


Key Topics

Minimum Wage

Of the many new laws taking effect on January 1, more than half are changes to the hourly minimum wage at the state and local level. Increases will take effect in 21 states and more than 30 localities, with four cities in California – Burlingame, Half Moon Bay, Hayward, and San Carlos – implementing a local minimum wage for the first time.


Guardian HR has created a 50-State Chart Regarding Minimum Wage Rates by State and Municipality that lists all the rate changes taking effect on January 1, 2021, as well as current and future minimum wage rates across the US available in the Forms Library. Clients may access the forms library using their username and password.


Leaves of Absence

States continue to expand employee leave benefits. Particularly noteworthy are new paid leave initiatives set to begin in Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York. In California, employers can expect important changes to both paid and unpaid leave programs. One major development pertains to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which provides up to 12 workweeks of unpaid protected leave. Starting 1-1-21, these same provisions will now apply to employers with five or more employees (previously 50 employees or more). Additionally, triggers for leave under the CFRA will expand as well.


Guardian HR has created a 50-State Chart Regarding Leave Laws by State and Municipality that provides an overview of these and other leave requirements at the federal, state, and local levels available in the Forms Library.



Employers in California, Nevada, and Washington should be aware of new and expanded training requirements that begin in January, covering topics such as sexual harassment prevention, human trafficking awareness, safety, and child abuse and neglect reporting. In Washington, the new training obligations are just one part of a sexual harassment and abuse prevention program that will be required for certain industries that employ isolated workers; the program includes a number of additional requirements for these businesses.


Clients of Guardian HR may access our online learning management system in order to comply with their particular state requirements.


Other Trending Topics

In addition to minimum wage, leaves of absence, and training, employers should take note of a number of other upcoming laws covering topics such as workplace safety, recreational marijuana, employment screening, and discrimination. Colorado employers should be ready to comply with the state’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, which takes effect on January 1, 2021 and will limit salary inquiries, require that salary range be included on job postings, and impose new notice requirements, all in an effort to prevent pay disparities.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD: 50 State Chart listing Federal, State & Local Law Updates 



  • Minimum Wage Rates by State and Municipality (Forms Library > Compensation & Payroll)
  • Leave Laws by State and Municipality (Forms Library > Leaves of Absences)
  • Sexual Harassment Training by State (Forms Library > Harassment)
  • Paid Family Leave Requirements by State and Municipality (Forms Library >Paid Family Leave (by State)
  • Paid Sick Leave by State and Municipality (Forms Library > Sick Leave)
  • New Hire Packets by State (Forms Library > Hiring > New Hire Packs & Documents > Select your State)
  • Documents to Provide During Employment by State (Forms Library > Hiring > New Hire Packs & Documents)
  • Marijuana Laws by State (Forms Library > Drugs and Alcohol)
  • Salary History Inquiry Restrictions by State and Municipality (Forms Library > Hiring)
  • Temporary Disability Insurance Requirements by State (Forms Library > Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Online Employee Training (Sexual Harassment Prevention Courses for Managers/Supervisors and Employees)


Should you have any issues logging into the client portal, please email support@guardian-hr.com for assistance.


Clients wishing for additional information on the upcoming changes, please contact your Guardian HR dedicated consultant.


If you wish to become a client of Guardian HR and get access to all our resources including your own dedicated consultant and our team of employment attorneys, please contact us at sales@guardian-hr.com or call us at 888-373-4724.