With the COVID-19 pandemic and changes to the workforce in 2020, business owners have experienced many changes and updates in Federal employment laws including the CARES Act, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and the most recent Consolidated Appropriations Act.

In addition to these changes to Federal law, it is important for employers to be aware of any new state employment laws in states where their employees are located. Here are some of the notable state employment law changes to be aware of for 2021. All of these changes are effective 1/1/2021 unless otherwise specified.


California made several changes to their employment laws for 2021. For a more complete list click here. Some of the areas affected by changes to the law changes include:

  • Minimum wage
  • COVID-19 reporting
  • Paid family leave and sick leave
  • Expansion of EEO-1 Reporting Requirements
  • Protected time off for crime victims


  • Paid public health emergency leave
  • Paid sick leave
  • Asking job applicant pay history


  • Family Medical Leave deductions begin for law taking effect in 2022


  • Paid leave for an employer has more than 10 employees


  • Paid family and medical leave


  • Applicant criminal history


  • Penalties for misclassifying workers as independent contractors


  • New employment tax on employers in Seattle.

If you have questions about these or any other employment law changes for 2020 and 2021, reach out to our HR team at humanresoucres@helpside.com.