News and Analysis
OMA Connections Partner, Bricker & Eckler, provides this summary of actions employers should take to not only reduce legal risks but also to improve business performance through diversity and inclusion. 12/1/2017
According to OMA Connections Partner, Bank of America Merrill Lynch: “Millennials have become the largest segment of the U.S. workforce. In fact, today, more than one-in-three American workers is a Millennial. For this reason, the Millennial generation is often singled out to examine how their needs and wants differ from those of others.”
As part of its 2017 Workplace Benefits Report, a nationwide study of the financial attitudes and behaviors of employees, Bank of America Merrill Lynch looked specifically at the responses of millennials to help educate employers about this generation.
Among its findings:
- 57% express significant doubts about the economy
- 43% express similar doubts about the job market
- 59% report being worried about finding a career path that will support the lifestyle they’ve envisioned for themselves
Read more here about millennial findings. 11/27/2017
OMA Connections Partner, Bricker & Eckler, reminds employers of a few steps they can take to celebrate the holidays safely with employee events. Read these prudent tips here. 11/28/2017
OMA Connections Partner, Bricker & Eckler, posts this update: The IRS has recently taken affirmative steps towards assessing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer mandate penalties, which are set to begin before the end of 2017. The agency has updated its website with information (questions 55-58) discussing how employer mandate penalties will be assessed and contested. It has also released a sample Letter 226J, which formally describes the procedures the IRS will use to propose and assess the penalties. The IRS plans to issue the first letters in late 2017 (for 2015 calendar year penalties).”
Read more from Bricker about this here. 11/16/2017
The U.S. House, by a vote of 242-181, passed H.R. 3441, the Save Local Business Act, which fixes the joint employer standard upended by the 2015 Browning Ferris Industries case, in which the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) overturned 30 years of case precedent.
Previously, businesses could meet the definition of an “employer” if they had “direct and immediate” control over another’s work. Now, a business owner who has “potential” or even “reserved control” over the practices of another business and its employees could be considered a “joint employer.”
H.R. 3441 will restore the old standard by amending the National Labor Relations Act to define that a person may be considered a joint employer in relation to an employee only if such person directly, actually, and immediately exercises significant control over the essential terms and conditions of employment.
The measure goes to the Senate. 11/13/2017
The U.S. Senate, by a vote of 49-47 and along party lines, confirmed Peter Robb to be the next General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). He replaces Richard Griffin and comes to D.C. from the firm Downs Rachlin Martin in Vermont. He joined the firm in 1995 from the Washington office of Proskauer Rose, where he was a labor attorney for a decade.
Robb’s confirmation is considered critical in rolling back some of the previous administration’s decisions, including rulings on social media policies and union elections. It is likely that he will be sworn in and get to work soon. 11/13/2017
From OMA Connections Partner, Frantz Ward: “The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion on October 13, 2017, that serves to remind employers of the need to pay employees when they take short work breaks during their workday.”
Advice from Franz Ward includes: “This decision serves as a reminder to employers to pay employees for any breaks that are 20 minutes or less, regardless of whether the employees are free to use the time as they choose or to leave the employer’s facility. This is also a good time for employers to remember that any unpaid breaks, such as meal times, must not be interrupted by the employer or the entire meal period could become compensable.”
Read more about this here. 11/3/2017
OMA Connections Partner, Dinsmore, reminds applicable public companies of a pay reporting rule.
Per Dinsmore: “Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, the Security Exchange Commission’s 2015 pay ratio rule required public companies to disclose the annual total compensation of the median employee (excluding the CEO), the annual CEO compensation and the ratio of those amounts. The Final Rule … mandates pay ratio disclosure for the fiscal year beginning January 1, 2017. As a result, most public companies must provide pay ratio disclosures in their 2018 proxy statements. …”
For more about this from Dinsmore, click here. 11/3/2017
OMA Connections Partner, Bricker & Eckler, reported that this week the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a news release announcing its intention to engage in new rulemaking regarding overtime.
Bricker wrote: “As many employers followed closely, the DOL previously increased the salary threshold for exempt employees to $47,476, which was set to take effect December 2016. Those regulations were halted by a federal judge in Texas in November 2016 and eventually struck down in August 2017. The DOL, however, has appealed that decision and plans to ask for the proceedings to be stalled to give it time to come up with new rules.
“DOL Secretary Acosta has stated that he thinks the current threshold of approximately $24,000 (set in 2004) needs to be updated, but almost doubling it to $47,000 will be a “shock to the system.” … Given Secretary Acosta’s signals, it appears that an increase to the salary threshold is inevitable, so employers should be mindful of adjusting their exempt employees at or near the old threshold if they wish to maintain those employees’ exempt status.”
Read more from Bricker. 10/31/2017
And here is a summary of 2018 benefit notices for open enrollment.