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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

2019 HSA and HDHP Limits Released

June 8, 2018

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the 2019 inflation-adjusted amounts for Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and high deductible health plans (HDHPs).

For calendar year 2019, the annual limit on HSA contributions for an individual with self-only coverage under an HDHP will be $3,500, up from $3,450 for 2018. The annual limit on HSA contributions for an individual with family coverage under an HDHP will be $7,000, up from $6,900 for 2018.

For calendar year 2019, an HDHP will be defined as a health plan with an annual deductible that is not less than $1,350 for self-only coverage or $2,700 for family coverage, and annual out-of-pocket expenses (deductibles, co-payments, and other amounts, but not premiums) that do not exceed $6,750 for self-only coverage or $13,500 for family coverage. 6/4/2018

“Right to Work” Not on DeWine Agenda

June 1, 2018

Republican candidate for governor Mike DeWine indicated this week that “right to work” is not on his agenda.

That position is similar to that of Governor Kasich, as well as several midwest Republican governors who eventually signed “right to work” bills. 5/31/2018

Kasich Creates Office of Opportunities for New Americans

May 18, 2018

This week Gov. John Kasich announced the creation, by executive order, of the Office of Opportunities for New Americans and New Americans Advisory Committee to help legal immigrants more successfully become part of Ohio and find job opportunities in the state.

The new office, which will be housed within the Ohio Development Services Agency, was created to help to ensure legal immigrants successfully integrate into communities by breaking down barriers in state government to improve workforce development opportunities.

The 12-member advisory committee will be named and will include members who presently engage new immigrant populations in the private-sector, non-profit community and government.

A new website has been created to help new immigrants better navigate various state programs. And, here’s a fact sheet. 5/16/20018

IRS Readjusts HSA Contribution Limit

May 11, 2018

OMA Connections Partner, Bricker & Ecker, posted: “In March of this year, the IRS adjusted the 2018 HSA contribution limit for individuals enrolled in family coverage down $50 from $6,900 to $6,850. A little over a month later, the IRS reconsidered the retroactive limit adjustment to the inflation-based calculation and allowed the $6,900 limit to remain for the entire 2018 tax year. …

“To view a chart of relevant plan limits for 2018, click here.

“Employers should (again) confirm that they are using the correct contribution limits for HSAs and other welfare plans. …” 5/8/2018

Statewide Resource Line to Address Ohio Opioid Crisis

May 4, 2018

An addiction nonprofit has launched a confidential resource line serving people across Ohio who are struggling with substance use disorder, as well as their loved ones.

Addiction Policy Forum (APF) designed the resource to address the growing epidemic affecting tens of thousands across the state.

The Addiction Resource Center line can be reached by dialing 1-833-301-HELP (4357). 5/3/2018

FDA Seeks Comments on Potential Marijuana Reclassification

April 27, 2018

OMA Connections Partner, Jackson Lewis, posted: “The Food and Drug Administration requested comments in a notice published in the Federal Register on April 9, 2018 concerning the “abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking, and impact of scheduling changes on availability for medical use” of five marijuana-related substances: cannabis plant and resin; extracts and tinctures of cannabis; delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); stereoisomers of THC; and cannabidiol (CBD). The comments will be considered in preparing a response from the United States to the World Health Organization (WHO)’s request for information regarding “the legitimate use, harmful use, status of national control and potential impact of international control” for each of these substances. …

“Any change in marijuana’s classification under international drug control treaties may influence the way marijuana is classified in the United States. Employers who are opposed to marijuana legalization should consider submitting comments.”

More here. 4/25/2018

DOL Wage and Hour Division Releases Three Opinion Letters

April 23, 2018

From OMA Connections Partner, Dinsmore: “On April 12, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage Hour Division released three opinion letters regarding the legality of certain arrangements under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA).

“The first letter addresses a question commonly faced by employers—whether an employee is entitled to compensation for time spent traveling away from the employee’s home community. …

“The next letter addresses whether a non-exempt employee’s 15-minute rest breaks—when covered under the FMLA because they are certified by a health care provider as necessary due to a serious health condition—are compensable under the FLSA. …

“The final letter addresses whether certain lump-sum payments are earnings for garnishment purposes …”

Read more about these opinion letters here. 4/19/2018

Comments Invited on Ambush Election Rule

April 16, 2018

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) reminds manufacturers that the comment deadline is approaching on the proposed changes to the union representation election process (the “ambush election” rule).

Comments are due on April 18. The NAM has fashioned substantive coalition comments but urges individual manufacturers to make their voices heard. In particular, manufacturers that have encountered problems since the board finalized its 2014 election rule will want to file comment.

You can file comments online at 4/11/2018

Self-Audit & Report Wage Violations

April 6, 2018

The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the U.S. Department of Labor is launching a new nationwide pilot program, the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program.

PAID facilitates resolution of potential overtime and minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The program’s primary objectives are to resolve such claims expeditiously and without litigation, to improve employers’ compliance with overtime and minimum wage obligations, and to ensure that more employees receive the back wages they are owed.

Under the PAID program, employers are encouraged to conduct audits and, if they discover overtime or minimum wage violations, to self-report those violations. Employers may then work in good faith with WHD to correct their mistakes and to quickly provide 100% of the back wages due to their affected employees.

WHD will conduct a public webinar on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time to provide an overview of the PAID program. 4/4/2018