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Persuader Rule Rescinded by Department of Labor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From OMA Connections Partner, Bricker & Eckler: “Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) rescinded the so-called “Persuader Rule”, issued in 2016.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“Now, the DOL has rescinded the rule, acknowledging in a Twitter post on July 17 that “the 2016 Persuader Rule [ ] exceeded the authority of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure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 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

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