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Ohio New Gun Law is Effective March 21

February 24, 2017

OMA Connections Partner, Barnes & Thornburg, reminds us that Ohio’s new gun law, SB 199, that passed in the December 2016 lame duck session, goes into effect next month, on March 21. The bill revised the state’s laws on where a concealed carry firearm licensee is allowed to take a gun.

According to Barnes & Thornburg, here are the main points Ohio business owners should remember about the new gun law.  2/17/2017

OMA Supports Aligning Ohio Employment Discrimination Laws with Federal Laws

February 24, 2017

In written testimony this week to the House Economic Development, Commerce, and Labor Committee, OMA’s Rob Brundrett said: ” … Ohio is at a competitive disadvantage with employment discrimination laws that are significantly different than federal laws and the laws of many other states. These differences between the state and federal laws create an administrative burden for Ohio’s manufacturers and other Ohio employers. Bringing Ohio’s laws in line with their federal counterparts creates a more predictable and consistent system for employers and employees alike, and does not disrupt individuals’ avenues to assert discrimination violations.

“In the critical areas of statute of limitations, dual actions, individual supervisor liability, damages, affirmative defenses, and age discrimination, the bill improves Ohio’s laws. We agree with other proponents that the bill encourages predictability, stability, and administrative efficiency, not only for Ohio manufacturers but also in terms of use of the state’s resources. This legislation gives human resources professionals the first opportunity to resolve personnel complaints and rectify detrimental workplace behavior before it results in costly litigation.”

The bill had its second hearing this week.  2/23/2017 

With Focus on Immigration, Get I-9s in Compliance

February 17, 2017

OMA Connections Partner, Frantz Ward, posts a timely notice about the importance of I-9 compliance: “In an Executive Order issued on January 25, 2017, titled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” President Trump directed all executive agencies to prioritize the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws. Such enforcement will very likely include more frequent and significant  audits and investigations of employers’ I-9 compliance.

” … on January 21, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services began requiring employers to use a new version of the I-9 form for all new hires. Employers who fail to use the proper form can be subject to civil penalties exceeding $2,000 for every improper form used.

“Here is a link to the new form and instructions for completing it. Note that unlike prior versions, the instructions are now contained in a separate document and are more detailed.”

Read more from Frantz Ward2/14/2017

Allen, Auglaize and Hardin Count Employers – Help with Substance Abuse in the Workplace

February 10, 2017

The Mental Health & Recovery Services Board of Allen, Auglaize and Hardin Counties and The Partnership for Violence Free Families have partnered with OMA member, Working Partners®, to help area employers respond to substance abuse in the workplace.

The program provides:

  • Education about how to protect your business – legally and operationally – from the risks associated with substance abuse
  • 1:1 technical assistance to create a substance abuse policy or help update your existing one
  • Access to resources for assistance with prospective or current employees who are dealing with substance abuse issues
  • Access to discounted drug-testing, employee education, supervisor training and ongoing technical assistance

Applications for scholarships are currently being accepted. Apply by March 8, 2017. To learn more or apply, contact Regina Bond at (614) 337-8200.  2/9/2017

LIFT Joins YSU University Research Foundation in Developing Advanced Manufacturing “Teaching Factory”

February 3, 2017

LIFT, Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow, has joined a partnership among Mahoning Valley manufacturers, educators at all levels, and workforce developers, led by Youngstown State University Research Foundation (YSURF), to develop the Mahoning Valley Innovation & Commercialization Center (MVICC).

This public-private partnership will create an educational and entrepreneurial hub to share facilities, equipment, and instructors – all necessary to build the educated and skilled manufacturing workforce for the region.

The MVICC will serve as the first of its kind for the manufacturing industry, creating a “Teaching Factory” by replicating the concept of teaching hospitals across the U.S. The Teaching Factory will use shared equipment, facilities and training, all focused on the greater purpose of creating and shaping the talent of tomorrow and further developing incumbent workers today.

Students engaged in the program will earn stackable, portable credentials which can culminate in a certificate or degree. They will also have the option to gain full-time employment with one of the many industry partners.

Here is a fact sheet on the initiative.  2/2/2017

ACA Requirements Remain in Effect

February 3, 2017

President Trump has signed an executive order calling upon federal administrative agencies to minimize the economic burden of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), pending repeal of the law.

According to OMA Connections Partner, One Source Advisors: “Until further guidance is issued or legislation is signed, however, all ACA requirements remain in effect, including penalties for noncompliance.

“The executive order specifically calls upon agencies to exercise authority and discretion to:

  • Waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any ACA provision or requirement that would impose a fiscal or regulatory burden on states, individuals, health care providers, health insurers, and medical device and product producers (including fees, taxes, and penalties);
  • Provide greater flexibility to states, and cooperate with them in implementing health care programs; and
  •  Encourage the development of a free and open market for the offering of health care services and health insurance.

“The executive order must be implemented in a manner consistent with applicable law, including the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires extended review of and public comment on any federal rules which may be proposed as a result of the executive order.”  2/2/2017

President Trump’s Executive Order – Impact on International Travel

February 3, 2017

On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order titled, “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals.” The stated purpose of the order is to increase screening of foreign nationals to better detect those individuals with “hostile attitudes” and potentially terroristic intents.

OMA Connections Partner, Dinsmore, summarizes the order and provides a Q & A about what this might mean for you and your employees.  1/30/2017

Data Collection Obligations for Government Contractors Updated

February 3, 2017

OMA Connections Partner, Dinsmore, reminds employers about a form change: “Since 2014, federal government contractors and subcontractors subject to affirmative action regulations have been required to invite applicants and employees to voluntarily self identify as an individual with a disability. The self identification process is designed to collect data for the purpose of measuring progress toward achieving equal employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. The self identification form prescribed by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is the only form that can be used. The prescribed form has been renewed with an expiration date of January 31, 2020.

“Federal contractors must download the renewed form or update their electronic version of the form to reflect the new expiration date. No other changes have been made to the form. Contractors have until February 10 to implement the new form.”  2/2/2017

H-1B Visa Filing Season Starts April 3, 2017

January 13, 2017

Per OMA Connections Partner, Dinsmore, April 3, 2017 is the first day on which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may accept H-1B specialty worker petitions for the next fiscal year beginning on October 1, 2017.

Due to the overwhelming demand for the annual allotment of 85,000 new H-1B slots, employers who wish to file new H-1B petitions for current or future employees should do so on April 3rd. The number of H-1B approvals requested by employers has reached the annual H-1B cap every year for more than 10 years. Last year, USCIS received 236,000 petitions within the first week, then conducted a random lottery to determine which petitions would garner the 85,000 slots.

Read more about this from Dinsmore here1/12/2017

Minimum Wage in Ohio Increased January 1

January 6, 2017

Effective January 1, 2017, the minimum wage in Ohio became $8.15 per hour for non-tipped employees ($4.08 per hour in addition to tips for tipped employees).

Employers are required to post the minimum wage and overtime information in a conspicuous place that can be accessed by employees, such as an employee break room or other common space.

See the current state and federal posting requirements and other useful human resources forms and guidance on this OMA webpage (scroll right side bar).  12/29/2016