President and business consultant
It’s difficult just to keep up with running your business on a daily basis, but an important part of business is knowing the laws that affect your business and your employees.
There are two recent public laws that employers need to be aware of: The Fair Chances Hiring Process Act, Public Law 34-22, and the amendments to the Guam Family and Medical Leave Act, Public Law 34-40 and Public Law 34-41.
Employers need to be aware of these laws as one impacts the way that they will be screening applications and the other adds job-protected bereavement leave and clarifies the number of employees needed to be covered by the law.
The FCHPA will take effect on Feb. 8 and covers applicants for employment and employers who employ more than 15 employees. One of the key provisions of the FCHPA is that the employer will no longer be able to require that the applicant provides a police or court clearance, a long-standing practice by many employers, until later in the hiring process. An employer who falls under the FCHP must wait until they have made an applicant a conditional offer of employment before asking about criminal history or requiring documentation. The conditional offer of employment can only then be withdrawn from the applicant for legitimate business reasons.
Applicants who believe that employers have violated their rights under the FCHPA may file a complaint with the Guam Department of Labor and there are fines and penalties for violations of the act. Employers who violate the act repeatedly will have their names posted on the GDOL official website for seven years.
The public laws discussed below took effect on Aug. 7, 2017.
Public Law 34-40 provides for unpaid bereavement leave for the death of a family member of an employee. The law defines who is considered a “family member” and allows the employee to take up to 14 calendar days of family leave for the death of a family member during a 12-month period. This leave must be completed within 60 days of the date the employee knew of the relative’s death, and the employer may require the employee to provide a death certificate or obituary when requesting the leave.
Public Law 34-41 clarifies that the minimum number of employees required for an employer to fall under the Guam FMLA is 20 or more employees. This law also changes the number of employees required for an employer to fall under Guam’s Leave for Child School-Related Purposes to 20.
What employers should be doing now
The first issue is to determine if your organization falls under the minimum number of employee requirement for the FCHPA and/or the Guam FMLA. If it does, management needs to review their job application form and standard operating procedures that address recruitment and benefits to determine if they are up-to-date to meet the requirements. Next, make sure that employees who are hiring or handling benefits are up-to-date on these laws and the employer’s revised policies and procedures that meet the requirements.
Employment laws change periodically, both on the federal level as well as locally. Part of being a good employer is keeping up with the laws and these changes and reflecting them in updated policies and procedures.