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Parental Leave for State Employees

On March 20, 2017, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed legislation (S.B. 1412) that creates a new program of parental leave benefits for full-time state employees with one or more years of continuous employment with the Commonwealth who either:

  • Adopt an infant under one year of age; or
  • Are the natural father of an infant under one year of age.

The amount of leave would be equivalent to the amount of paid leave awarded to an employee pursuant to short-term disability for maternity leave. The bill specifies that the parental leave coverage will apply only to eligible state employees who take custody of an infant in the course of an adoption on or after July 1, 2018, or, for a natural father, for an infant born on or after July 1, 2018.

The bill also directs the Department of Human Resource Management to develop guidelines and policies for implementing the parental leave benefits.

Read VA S.B. 1412

Breach of Payroll Data Notification Requirement

On March 13, 2017, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed legislation (H.B. 2113) regarding the breach of an employer’s or payroll service provider’s payroll data. The bill requires employers and payroll service providers to notify the Office of the Attorney General without unreasonable delay after discovery of a breach of computerized employee payroll data that compromises the confidentiality of such data, regardless of whether the breach triggers other database breach notification requirements. The bill requires such notice to provide the affected employer’s name and federal employer identification number. Upon receipt of such notice, the Office of the Attorney General is required to notify the Department of Taxation of the breach.

The law goes into effect on July 1, 2017.

Read VA H.B. 2113

Workers’ Compensation – Employer’s Duty When Employee Incapable of Work

On March 13, 2017, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed legislation (S.B. 1201) amending the state’s workers’ compensation law. The bill authorizes the Workers’ Compensation Commission to require an employer to provide funds for the purchase of a suitably equipped automobile for an incapacitated employee if the commission finds that it is medically necessary and that modifications to the employee’s automobile are not technically feasible or will cost more than the funds available for a replacement automobile. The total of the costs of the automobile and of any bedside lifts, adjustable beds, and modification of the employee’s principal home are limited to $42,000, which is the amount of the existing cap on expenses for modifications to the injured employee’s automobile and home.

The bill goes into effect on July 1, 2017.

Read VA S.B. 1201

Mandated Health Coverage – Cancer Therapy

On March 3, 2017, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed legislation (H.B. 1656) relating to health insurance coverage for cancer therapy.

Pursuant to the bill, insurance policies and plans that provide coverage for cancer therapy may not apply higher standards of clinical evidence to benefit coverage decisions relating to proton radiation therapy than standards that apply to coverage decisions regarding any other type of radiation therapy.

The bill applies to all insurance policies, subscription contracts, and health care plans delivered, issued for delivery, reissued, or extended in Virginia on and after January 1, 2018, or at any time thereafter when any term of the policy, contract, or plan is changed or any premium adjustment is made.

Read VA H.B. 1656

Occupational Safety and Health – Penalties Increased

On March 3, 2017, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed legislation (H.B. 1883) increasing the civil penalties for violations of the Virginia Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) Law. The bill increases the maximum amount of civil penalties that may be assessed by the Commissioner of Labor and Industry for certain violations of occupational safety and health laws from $7,000 to $12,471 and for willful or repeated violations of such laws from $70,000 to $124,709. The measure also requires the commissioner annually to increase the maximum civil penalty amounts, starting in 2018, based on any increase in the consumer price index the previous calendar year.

The law goes into effect on July 1, 2017.

Read VA H.B. 1883

Workers’ Compensation – Benefit Rates

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has updated its Chronological Compensation Benefits Chart. Effective for injuries and illnesses that occur from July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018, the maximum weekly compensation rate will be $1,043 and the minimum weekly compensation rate will be $260.75.

View the Chart