News and Analysis
According to this post from OMA Connections Partner Bricker & Eckler, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it will extend the deadline for employers to file their 2019 EEO-1 report to March 2021.
By extending the reporting deadline, employers who would have been required to file their 2019 EEO-1 report by May 31, 2020, will not need to file either a 2019 or the 2020 report until the new deadline in 2021. 5/18/2020
OMA Connections Partner Bricker & Eckler reports that the IRS recently issued Notice 2020-29, allowing §125 cafeteria plans and high-deductible health plan (HDHP) changes during the remainder of 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For example, employees who declined employer-sponsored health coverage at the beginning of the plan year may now elect to enroll. Employees enrolled in employer coverage can switch to different coverage offered by the same employer. Employees can disenroll from employer coverage in order to enroll in other coverage immediately. 5/18/2020
On May 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule that allows employers to pay bonuses or other incentive-based pay to salaried, nonexempt employees whose hours vary from week to week. The final rule clarifies that payments in addition to the fixed salary are compatible with the use of the fluctuating workweek method under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Read the details here. 5/20/2020
Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives this week introduced the HEROES Act (aka “Phase IV” of the federal response to COVID-19). The legislation would spend another $3 trillion by providing a new round of $1,200 direct payments to individuals, and an extension to January of the $600/month in extra unemployment benefits, among other things.
See this summary of the bill by OMA Connections Partner Clark Schaefer Hackett.
The HEROES Act would require employers to provide paid sick and emergency FMLA leave to workers regardless of company size, according to reports. It would also temporarily suspend minimum hour eligibility requirements and reduce tenure requirements for non-emergency FMLA. 5/14/2020
The COVID-19 pandemic could reduce the health care costs of large, self-funded employers by as much as 4% in 2020 due to deferred medical care, according to a study by Willis Towers Watson. Other health plan costs, including dental and vision care, will likely decrease in 2020 as employees eliminate some discretionary care, according to the firm. 5/11/2020
Ohio’s major business organizations — including the OMA — this week urged the state’s federal delegation to consider the negative hiring effects of the federal government’s additional $600 in weekly unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 emergency. Under current law, the additional aid is scheduled to continue through July 31, 2020. 5/7/2020
To address potential unemployment insurance fraud, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has created this page for employers to report employees who quit or refuse work when it is available. ODJFS has posted FAQs regarding unemployment eligibility and other issues at the bottom of its employer resource hub.
As noted in guidance from Bricker & Eckler, the OMA’s general counsel, when employees quit or refuse an offer of work without just cause, they may become ineligible for unemployment benefits. If you have employees who refuse to return to work or quit work, it’s important to let ODJFS know so agency officials can make accurate eligibility determinations. 5/4/2020
On Tuesday, May 5, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued new guidance to address returning workers with pre-existing medical conditions. The next day, May 6, the agency retracted part of that new guidance, saying the answer to G.4 in the document was revised to clarify the ADA does not allow exclusion of employees simply because they have an underlying medical condition that the CDC says might pose a higher risk of severe illness if the individual contracts COVID-19.
OMA Connections Partner Benesch has posted this update on the agency’s retraction. 5/7/2020
The EEOC said this week it will delay the opening of its 2019 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection, as well as the 2020 EEO-3 and EEO-5 data collections due to the novel coronavirus. The agency encouraged filers to prepare data submissions for 2021. 5/7/2020
With motor vehicle licensing bureaus closed in many states — and people experiencing challenges renewing their state-issued driver’s licenses and identity cards– some job applicants and employees are incurring difficulty in establishing their identity on Form I-9. The Department of Homeland Security has temporarily changed its Form I-9 policy, according to this insight from OMA Connections Partner Benesch. 5/5/2020