Proposed Mandates Will Make Florida Less Competitive

By: Florida Chamber of Commerce

A flurry of workplace and employment bills were filed this week – the third committee week leading up to the 2019 Legislative Session. Chief among those bills are employment regulations and mandates.

Keeping Florida’s business climate competitive means protecting the employment decisions of job creators. The Florida Chamber recognizes the importance of employers providing workplaces free of discrimination.  In this regard, the Florida Chamber supports the fair resolution of employment discrimination complaints in a timely fashion, otherwise not provided by federal law. However, we oppose any new mandate that is detrimental to the employer-employee relationship.

Below is a list of workplace and employment bills filed this week.

Employer Mandates:

Minimum Wage (HB 517- Jacquet) – Increases the minimum wage by $1 plus inflation the first year and $1.50 plus inflation until 2023, totaling $15.46 plus inflation.  Increases the minimum wage by inflation beginning in 2024.

Sexual Harassment (HB 417- Eskamani) – Requires the Florida Commission on Human Relations to establish a model sexual harassment prevention training program and requires each employer to use this training program or a program that exceeds the minimum standards in the Commission’s training program.  Sexual harassment prevention training will be required of all employees on an annual basis. No additional funding for this newly mandated program was included in the bill.

Paid Leave (HB 393- Joseph) – Requires paid family leave of up to six months for an employee after the birth of a child or placement of a child in connection with foster care or an adoption.  Employees included in this section are those that work an average of 20 or more hours a week and have been employed for at least 18 months.  The bill also requires model notice requirements and creates a cause of action with a statute of limitations of up to three years.

Salary and Wage Requests (HB 419- Joseph; SB 474- Stewart) – Prohibits an employer from requesting or relying on previous wage or salary information to interview, hire, promote, or otherwise employ an individual.  Employees can voluntarily disclose wage or salary history for negotiating wages or salary.

Social Media Privacy (HB 493- Hart) – Prohibits employers from requesting or requiring access to the social media account of an employee or prospective employee.

 

Prohibited Discrimination:

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity:
• SB 438 – Gruters – Prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the area of employment.
• SB 430 – Rouson and HB 485- Webb – Prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the area of employment and from public lodging and public food service establishments.

Equal Pay (HB 419- Joseph; SB 474) – Prohibits an employer from providing a less favorable employment opportunity based on the employee’s sex or to pay a rate less than an employee of the opposite sex for substantially similar work.  Increases the statute of limitations to three years after the alleged violation and adds civil penalties.

More Legislation Impacting the Employer-Employee Relationship:

Preemption of Employment Conditions (SB 432- Gruters) – Adds to existing law that local governments cannot regulate certain conditions of employment for employers.  These conditions include, but are not limited to: preemployment screening, job classification, job responsibilities, hours of work, scheduling and schedule changes, wages, payment of wages, leave, paid or unpaid days off, and employee benefits.

Florida Commission on Human Relations (HB 283- Antone; SB 440- Rouson) – Clarifies that the statute of limitations is one year for an aggrieved person to bring a civil action under the Florida Civil Rights Act.

The Florida Chamber remains committed to protecting the employer-employee relationship and will provide regular updates as these issues progress during the 2019 Legislative Session.

Engage With Us

  1. Share this alert with your HR Manager and/or General Counsel.
  2. To learn more about how these bill will impact your business, contact Carolyn Johnson at cjohnson@flchamber.com or at (850) 521-1235.
  3. Register for the Florida Chamber’s annual Legislative Fly-In, where business leaders will engage with elected officials and learn details about the upcoming Legislative Session.