In recent years, inequality has become a national focus. This is particularly true when it comes to civil rights. But inequity in the workplace has also come into question. Some states have taken these local and national conversations to heart. Recently, Rhode Island announced amendments to laws designed to offer workers more protection and a more equitable future.
Keeping workers protected
Employment law in Rhode Island has evolved significantly over the past year. In July, 2021, changes were made to clarify the rights of Rhode Island workers and even expand some of the benefits they’re eligible for. Whistleblowers will no longer have to be current employees. Applicants or prospective employees are now explicitly included in the law.
Another change applies to caregivers. In January 2022, temporary caregivers will be eligible for five weeks of leave. In the following year, that will increase to six weeks. Organizations will need to inform their management staff and revise their onboarding materials to reflect these changes.
Finally, one of the most critical changes comes in the form of Rhode Island’s equal pay law. Previously, this applied explicitly to sex. Now, it has been updated to include race, color, religion and gender identity, among other classifications. The idea is to level the playing field as much as possible for applicants and workers.
All of these legal changes are designed to protect workers. Companies will need to note the dates these amendments take effect. They should also make plans to train the people who will implement them. If a local supervisor is unaware of these changes and neglects to abide by them, it could open an organization to liability, even if they are acting in good faith.