News and Analysis
The Governor’s Executive Workforce Board and the Office of Workforce Transformation recently released its 2013 Annual Report and 2014 Strategic Plan. The stated goal of the strategic plan is to create a unified workforce system that supports business in meeting its workforce needs.
This week the OMA signed onto a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to reject any efforts to increase the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) tax base or rate. The three specific requests are: no increase in the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) tax base or rate; no extension of federal restrictions on states in adopting measures that would reduce the average weekly benefit amount as part of state unemployment solvency legislation; and no increase in direct spending from employer financed federal unemployment trust fund accounts that are already deeply in deficit.
A FUTA tax base increase from $7,000 to $14,000 would immediately increase state UI taxes in 29 states, placing additional tax burden on employers at a time when their investment in job creation is critical to our nation’s economic recovery.
Governor Kasich’s Office of Workforce Transformation released an online toolkit for industry sector partnerships.
A goal of the office is to facilitate sector partnerships that “bring together an industry-led dialogue with government, education and training providers, workforce development, labor, and community organizations to focus on the workforce needs of an industry within a region or statewide.”
This week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a Stipulation of Dismissal in the Ambush Election Rule legal challenge.
The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), of which the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is a leading member, challenged the ambush election rule in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The judge invalidated the rule based on a technicality and the case has been held up in the appeals court due to the recess appointment case, Noel Canning.
According to Joe Trauger, NAM’s Vice President, Human Resources Policy, “With the NLRB filing this stipulation, the Court is expected to dismiss the case shortly. It is anticipated the NLRB will move relatively quickly to issue a new version of the ambush election rule in the coming months.”
This week the House approved Senate Bill 206, a bill that creates a legislative panel to oversee and recommend changes to Ohio’s Medicaid program. It is sponsored by Senators Dave Burke (R-Marysville) and Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard).
The Senate concurred with changes the House made and the bill now goes to the governor for signature.
The oversight panel will consider, among other issues, Medicaid cost containment and health outcome measurement. The General Assembly moved this bill along after the governor’s decision to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
According to OMA Connections Partner, Jackson Lewis, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has published new employment regulations covering most government contractors and subcontractors. The regulations add substantial new data-collection and recordkeeping requirements, mandatory language for certain notices, and statistical benchmarks and goals. They will take effect starting in March 2014.
To comply with the changes, contractors will need to review and update their affirmative action programs, subcontracts, job postings, invitations to both applicants and employees to self-identify, and application and applicant tracking systems. More.
Just weeks after the state controlling board approved Medicaid expansion in Ohio, the Senate passed a bill to reform Ohio’s Medicaid program.
Senate Bill 206, sponsored by Sen. Dave Burke (R-Marysville) and Sen. Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard), is a bipartisan bill focused on three major areas: cost containment, increased accountability, and improved health outcomes. The bill “adds accountability to ensure that Medicaid is administered in the most efficient way by covering the greatest number of enrollees at the lowest cost. This is achieved by recommending an actuarially sound rate of growth.”
The bill also creates a Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee made up of members from the House and Senate who will be responsible for the program’s heightened level of accountability.
According to OMA Connections Partner, GPQ Partners LLC, the IRS announced a new exception to the longstanding “use or lose” rule for healthcare flexible spending account (FSA) plans. Under the exception, unused balances in FSAs at the end of the plan year can be carried over up to $500 to the following year.
Without such a carryover privilege, any unused balance is forfeited to the employer under the use-or-lose rule. However, an employer must amend its plan to offer the new carryover privilege.
Employers of union employees should be aware of a recent decision of the Ohio Supreme Court: Picketing unrelated to a concerted refusal to work requires no advance notice.
OMA Connections Partner, Roetzel, summarizes the case.
Dr. Richard Ross, Superintendent of Public Instruction, used his office to promote manufacturing to the state’s education community.
Ross wrote: “We should begin working with local manufacturers to promote career options year-round to our students. I urge your districts and schools to have middle and high school students tour a facility in your community to see the opportunities available in robotics and other kinds of high-tech, advanced manufacturing. Most students will be surprised to learn that wages in manufacturing are 9 percent higher than the state average.
I also believe we need to raise the status and prestige of vocational careers to the same level as college and professional careers. One way of doing this is to strengthen our career-tech curricula and assessments to the extent that our students can graduate from high school with important industry credentials already in hand.”