News and Analysis
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
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
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
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
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 Regulations.gov. 4/11/2018
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
The U.S. Dept. of Labor, Wage & Hour Division (WHD), has created a new series of short compliance videos to help employers comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
According to the WHD: “These brief, plain-language explanations of FLSA requirements strip away the “legalese” and provide employers the basic information they need to understand their obligations and to comply with the law.
“We consulted a variety of employers and other stakeholders during the production of these FLSA tutorials, and incorporated their feedback to provide these user-friendly, straightforward primers, delivered in a language and format that’s engaging and easy to understand.” 3/28/2018
OMA Connections Partner, Working Partners(R), with funding from Anthem BlueCross BlueShield has worked with the Ohio Chamber to bring an Opioid Toolkit to Employers. It is available at no charge to all Ohio businesses.
The 5-module course (13-16 min. per module) gives an overview of the legal and operational issues an employer must consider in dealing with an employee’s use of opioids and other substances. The modules include best practices around how, when and why to drug test; how to handle a situation if the employee confesses or is discovered to be using harmful substances; and much more.
An hour-long employee education course teaches the employee a five point strategy and provides downloadable tools to enable the employee to understand the dangers of misusing prescription drugs and how to be a safe and responsible consumer of drugs.
Other resources include:
- 4-Minute video about the opioid problem
- Awareness campaign materials for employer distribution
- Informational materials and resources
To get additional help for your workplace program, please reach out to OMA Connections Partner, Working Partners(R). 3/21/2018
OMA Connections Partner, Bricker & Eckler, posted this: “The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has reached a settlement agreement in the agency’s first lawsuit challenging parental leave policies that grant more rights to new mothers than new fathers. In August 2017, the agency filed suit against cosmetic company Estée Lauder after a new father requested, and was denied, six weeks of paid leave and a flexible return-to-work schedule as a primary caregiver under the company’s policy.
“Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employers with 50 or more employees are required to offer 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to both new mothers and new fathers following the birth or adoption of a child. While there is currently no federal law requiring paid parental leave, most companies provide some form of paid leave, including, in some cases, paid caregiver or child-bonding leave.”
Read more about the resolution of the case here. 3/22/2018
OMA Connections Partner, Bricker & Ecker posted: ” Last week, the Sixth Circuit (which covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee) held that Title VII provides transgender and transitioning employees with protection from employment-related discrimination.”
And: “While the court has not created a new group of protected employees (that could only be done by congress), it did hold that discrimination on the basis of transgender and transitioning status is in fact discrimination on the basis of sex, which is already prohibited under Title VII.”
Per Bricker: “While this issue will likely be addressed by the Supreme Court in the future, for Ohio employers and others, transgender employees are protected from discrimination under Title VII. Employers should:
- Review and, if necessary, revise their anti-discrimination policies accordingly
- Notify employees that discrimination will not be tolerated on the basis of transgender or transitioning status in the form of training or otherwise.”
Read more here. 315/2018