News and Analysis
Democrats on Capitol Hill have re-introduced legislation to expand employer National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) liability and bar collective action waivers under the law. According to this report by HR Dive, the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would codify Browning-Ferris, an Obama-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that interpreted the law’s “joint employer” definition to include those businesses that have only indirect control over workers, rendering such an employer liable for NLRA violations.
The bill also would effectively undo the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in Epic Systems in the NLRA context, which determined that employers can require workers to waive their rights to class or collective actions and to arbitrate disputes individually. The U.S. Chamber has called the bill “a threat to America’s workers, employers, and our economy.” 2/16/2021
Last week, the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel rolled back Trump-era financial disclosure requirements for unions. Even without a complaint, unions had been required to explain fees charged to non-members. Now, beyond routine financial reporting, unions are only required to make extra disclosures if non-member employees complain about union fees. For more, read this summary from OMA Connections Partner Roetzel. 2/17/2021
Some manufacturing employees have been able to work remotely during the pandemic. But as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available, the employers of these remote workers will soon face critical decisions as they create policies and/or plan for the transition back to the workplace. Here are several FAQs and best practices compiled by OMA Connections Partner Frantz Ward addressing key issues facing returning to the office. 2/17/2021
In the first month of the Biden administration, there have been several announcements regarding the timing and selection process for the Fiscal Year 2022 H-1B Electronic Registration process. OMA Connections Partner Thompson Hine has produced this summary of key developments and dates. The firm also provides recommended actions for employers. 2/17/2021
The Coalition to Stop the Spread — an alliance of Ohio companies, chambers and associations, including the OMA — notes that one of the challenges employers face is how to effectively communicate with employees in their effort to fight COVID-19. Suggestions from Coalition members include:
- Communications must come from the top.
- Employers must seek feedback and address questions.
- Companies should always cite experts.
At noon Feb. 24, OMA Connections Partner Fisher Phillips will offer a free webinar to provide guidance on employment-related issues created by the COVID-19 vaccination process. Among the issues that will be addressed are: vaccination programs, employee safety and OSHA compliance; communicating vaccination protocol to employees; and tips to boost employee buy-in for vaccinations, including the use of incentives. Register here. 2/8/2021
Democrats on Capitol Hill recently re-introduced legislation to create a paid leave program on the national level. The Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act would mandate that workers receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave for reasons such as health conditions, pregnancies, childbirth, or to care for a family member. Employees could receive up to 66% of their monthly wages while taking three months of leave.
See more details in this summary from OMA Connections Partner Roetzel. 2/9/2021
Decisions by the National Labor Relations Board can have significant impacts on employers. That’s why OMA Connections Partner Thompson Hine will host a free webinar Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. to highlight what is likely to be on the Biden agenda regarding NLRB activities — and when we can expect to see those changes. 2/10/2021
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced this week that during December, it identified 56,000 fraudulent overpayments in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, costing taxpayers an estimated $330 million.
In response, ODJFS has created a new online portal that provides a direct way for employers to notify the agency if they believe their employees’ personal information was compromised and used to file fraudulent unemployment claims. Employers can visit unemployment.ohio.gov, click on the “Report Identity Theft” button, and submit the names of any employees whose personal information may have been compromised.
Many employers have been alerted to this growing problem when they receive a “request for separation information” from ODJFS regarding an individual who is currently employed. Last month, ODJFS issued 1.7 million 1099-G tax forms to individuals in whose names unemployment benefits were paid in 2020. Many of those individuals never received benefits and didn’t know their identity had been compromised until they received a 1099-G form.
Individuals may call (833) 658-0394 or visit the online portal to notify the agency if they believe their personal information was compromised. 2/2/2021
A new survey of 700 businesses — conducted by OMA Connections Partner Fisher Phillips — shows the vast majority of employers are not considering requiring their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but will encourage the shot.
The survey found that 43% of businesses were confused on whether and how to incentivize their workers to get inoculated due to legal uncertainties. (See this guidance on incentives for vaccinations.) Of those employers considering incentives, most said they would provide cash/gifts (38%) or paid time off (30%).
On Tuesday, Feb. 9, Fisher Phillips will offer a free webinar to address employer questions about COVID-19 vaccine issues, including incentives. 2/4/2021