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Are you ready for January in July? In the land of sexy topics, a slew of new federal, state, and local business and tax regulations have taken effect in the past two weeks.
Below are a few highlights that are most likely to impact your operations. The legal links go to JD Supra’s simple explainers, and the final link is a summary of tax changes by location from the Tax Foundation.
- Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) – PWFA establishes a federal minimum standard for accommodation of pregnant workers in companies with 15 or more employees. This law protects birthing persons’ rights to take extra bathroom breaks, drink water, and take time off for recovering from childbirth. (Not paid, mind you – just the right to not lose your job.) Yes, we needed a federal law so pregnant people can sit down and not wear astronaut diapers. If your state or local area has more stringent laws in place, those supersede these rules.
- Delaware, Minnesota, and Maryland now allow recreational use of marijuana-derived (THC and CBD) products outside of work hours. Note Minnesota will not allow sales until 2025, but use is decriminalized. Reuters summarizes all US locations that allow legal recreational use.
- Colorado Privacy Act – Increases individuals’ rights over the data they provide to businesses. Colorado has defined “sensitive data” differently than the existing California and Virginia laws, which may trigger a compliance review for you.
- Connecticut Data Privacy Act – has business size limitations that likely exempt you, but gives consumers more privacy rights over data collected and used by businesses. You may choose to voluntarily comply within your programs for California, Virginia, and Colorado.
- Minnesota Paid Family and Medical Leave – Minnesota initiated employer and employee payroll deductions to fund their new PFML statute. Use of leave starts January 1, 2026.
- Los Angeles Freelance Workers Protection Ordinance – The City of Los Angeles now requires hiring entities to provide freelancers with written contracts for work valued at $600 or more, including itemization of services (a SOW) and terms and date of payment. Note, households are exempt. Columbus, Ohio just added a similar bill for work valued over $250.
- Tax policies changed in 18 states. Of note, Washington added a long-term care payroll deduction, Oklahoma repealed its corporate franchise tax, and Colorado added a surcharge to ride shares.
Additional state changes allow workers to carry concealed weapons at work, lower the age of employment to 14, and override federal rules to legalize discrimination based on gender identity.
On that last one, if you operate in one of the many states that’s softened its discrimination statutes, I’d stick to the EEO nondiscrimination standard and reiterate your commitment to your team to provide a fair and welcoming work environment. When the legal bar is lowered, you’re not required to go with it.
Take a few minutes to check your operating locations for specific compliance changes. Review the full list of state and local changes here.