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What to Do with Exiting Employees’ Unused Vacation Time?

July 27, 2018

From OMA Connections Partner Frantz Ward: “When an employee leaves an organization, one issue the employer often confronts is whether to pay the employee for unused vacation time or other paid time off (PTO). The employer may seek to withhold PTO for myriad reasons: from encouraging employees to use their PTO during employment, to offsetting an employee debt, to encouraging compliance with an obligation (e.g., providing advanced notice of a resignation). But regardless of the reason, the extent of the employer’s ability to withhold PTO (at least in Ohio) depends on the terms of its PTO policy.”

Read about the outcome of a case decided by the Ohio Court of Appeals for the Seventh District for more insights about PTO management. 7/23/2018

Multiemployer Pension Plan Crisis Explained

July 27, 2018

Here’s a good summary about the country’s crisis with multiemployer pension plans prepared by OMA Connections Partner, Calfee, as a result of the recent U.S. Congress Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans field hearing held recently at the Ohio Statehouse.

Calfee wrote: “The Committee held the field hearing to discuss the country’s crisis with multiemployer pension plans as it considers legislative solutions to the problem. It focused particularly on the growing number of “orphan” retirees, whose former employers are no longer contributing to their multiemployer plans, leaving fewer and fewer remaining employers holding the bag. These plans are now critically underfunded. …

“Consequently, these multiemployer pension plans’ critical status is causing nationwide concern, with Ohio employers being hit particularly hard. There are 1.3 million retirees with threatened pensions in multiemployer plans. In Ohio there are over 60,000 participants in multiemployer pension plans headed toward insolvency alone. …” 7/25/2018

Employee Handbook: Old? None? Read on!

July 27, 2018

This post from OMA Connections Partner Dinsmore explains the top 10 reasons why you need an employee handbook, and how a handbook helps your organization. 7/26/2018

Persuader Rule Rescinded by Department of Labor

July 20, 2018

From OMA Connections Partner, Bricker & Eckler: “Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rescinded the so-called “Persuader Rule”, issued in 2016.

“This rule required employers to report to the DOL the retention of law firms or consultants engaged to directly or indirectly persuade employees about exercising or refraining from exercising their right to organize and bargain collectively. This reporting requirement — a publicly available filing — meant employers’ strategies about union campaigns could become known to unions, employees, and anyone making a public records request. The reporting requirement also included the duty to report fees paid to firms and persuaders. In implementing this rule, the DOL relied on the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA), thus exposing companies to civil or criminal penalties for non-compliance.

“In November 2016, a federal district court in Texas blocked enforcement of the 2016 rule, finding it was incompatible with a longstanding doctrine known as the “advice exception” and jeopardizing the attorney-client privilege.

“Now, the DOL has rescinded the rule, acknowledging in a Twitter post on July 17 that “the 2016 Persuader Rule [ ] exceeded the authority of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.” The rescission will become effective on or about August 17, 2018, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.”

Please direct any questions to Marie-Joëlle C. Khouzam, Bricker & Eckler LLP. 7/19/2018

FMLA Management Tip

July 20, 2018

From OMA Connections Partner, Jackson Lewis: “If an employee does not comply with the employer’s usual notice and procedural requirements, and no unusual circumstances justify the failure to comply, an employer may delay or deny FMLA-protected leave. However, employers should clearly include this requirement in an FMLA policy, so that the requirement is well communicated.”

Read more about this from Jackson Lewis. 7/18/2018

Congressional Pension Panel to Hear Ohioans’ Testimony

July 13, 2018

A joint congressional panel will meet at the Statehouse this afternoon to hear testimony about the looming insolvency of certain pension systems.

The Joint Select Committee on the Solvency of Multi-Employer Pensions will hear testimony from Ohioans to gain an understanding of what’s at stake for current workers and retirees.

Both of Ohio’s U.S. senators serve on the panel and Senator Sherrod Brown serves as co-chair. The hearing will commence on Friday, July 13 at 2:00 p.m. and will be webcast. 7/12/2018

Form 5500 Filing Deadline for Many Health Plans is July 31

July 9, 2018

Group health plan administrators are reminded that Form 5500 must be filed with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) by the last day of the seventh month after the plan year ends. For calendar-year plans, that due date falls on July 31.

In general, all group health plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) are required to file Form 5500. However, group health plans (whether fully insured, unfunded [meaning its benefits are paid as needed directly from the general assets of the plan sponsor], or a combination of the two) that covered fewer than 100 participants as of the beginning of the plan year are exempt from the Form 5500 filing requirement.

Questions about this may be directed to OMA’s employee health plan partner, One Source Advisors. 7/4/2018

SCOTUS Decision: Public Employees Cannot be Required to Pay Union Fees

June 29, 2018

OMA Connections Partner, Bricker & Eckler, posted: “… the U.S. Supreme Court held in Janus v. AFSCME that public sector employees who are not members of the union do not have to pay so-called “agency fees,” because requiring such payments violates their First Amendment rights.

“In Janus, an Illinois public employee refused to join a union, because he disagreed with many of its positions. State law, however, required that he pay a reduced fee to the union to cover the union’s collective bargaining activities but not its political and ideological projects. This arrangement had been acceptable under an earlier Supreme Court decision, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which was expressly overruled in today’s opinion.”

Read more from Bricker. 6/28/2018

Don’t Live in Denial

June 22, 2018

The OMA joined a number of organizations in launching this week a campaign to combat the scourge of opioid addition. The effort is a multi-million dollar media campaign designed to engage parents and caregivers in preventing the use of opioids among our youth.

Initial funding comes from a $2 million contribution from the Nationwide Foundation. The initial focus of the campaign will be Franklin County.

The media campaign — developed by Ogilvy, in collaboration with addiction experts and Ohio parents — is based on research that indicates most people are aware of the opioid crisis, but significantly underestimate the risk opioids can pose to their own children and family. Many parents admit to having a “not my kid” mindset, leading them to overlook the importance of preventative measures.

The setting for the media campaign is the fictional town of Denial, Ohio. The advertisements depict the residents of Denial, Ohio, who reveal their beliefs that the opioid crisis won’t impact their children. Viewers are urged to visit DontLiveinDenial.org to learn how to discuss opioids with their children and how to properly dispose of or safeguard prescription drugs.

View one of the ads. 6/21/2018

NLRB General Counsel Issues Guidance Re. New Employer-Friendly Work Rules Standard

June 15, 2018

From OMA Connections Partner Frantz Ward: “In a memorandum issued last week, NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb offered important guidance on how his office plans to prosecute claims of unlawful workplace rules in the wake of the Board’s restorative Boeing decision … the Boeing decision created a sensible standard for determining the lawfulness of work rules. This was a welcome change for employers, given the flurry of handbook-related activity under the Obama-era Board. Unfortunately, though, Boeing gave little guidance on how to actually implement the new standard. Mr. Robb’s memo adds some clarity.

“Recall that Boeing established three different categories for evaluating employer work rules: 1) rules that are generally lawful (known as “Category 1” rules); 2) rules that merit a case-by-case determination (“Category 2” rules); and 3) rules that are plainly unlawful (“Category 3” rules). Within this framework, Mr. Robb’s memo identifies the proper category for a number of common work rules …”

Read more from Frantz Ward here, including the Robb memo. 6/14/2018