Quick Hits - October 12, 2022 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

Quick Hits - October 12, 2022

Michigan court allows City of Jackson, Michigan to tax remote worker who works for company located in city: The Michigan Court of Appeals held that it was not illegal for the City of Jackson to require a company located there to withhold city income taxes from the pay of an employee working remotely outside the city. The case involved a company headquartered in the City of Jackson that authorized employees to work remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company continued to withhold City of Jackson income tax from the worker's pay just as it did when the worker worked at the Jackson headquarters. The worker did not file the required form to request that the company reduce the amount of tax withheld considering the worker's change in work location. The Court found that the City of Jackson acted legally in requiring the company to withhold the full amount of city income taxes when the worker did not request a change in withholding. The Court further noted that the worker had the available remedy of filing a city income tax return to request a refund of the excess tax withheld. The worker did not file a city income tax return, as he believed that doing so would deprive him of interest on the excess tax withheld. The Court found no statutory basis for the worker's objections. Source: Hofmeister v. City of Jackson, No. 358159, (Michigan Court of Appeals September 29, 2022).

Changes coming to I-9s: As of September 27, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") intends to implement the following changes after October 31, 2022: Compressing Sections 1 and 2 from two pages to one page; making Section 3 (the Reverification and Rehire Supplement), a stand-alone supplemental section that can be accessed only if needed; and updating the List of Acceptable Documents to include a link to List C documents on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. Previously, some List C documents were unlisted, making this a helpful resource to employers; reducing and simplifying the form's instructions from 15 pages to 7 pages. Online form users also will be directed to the online M-274 Handbook and I-9 Central for all other questions.  Also, they will remove PDF restrictions to ensure that the form can be completed on more electronic devices and systems, with the goal of reducing problems some users have had due to software issues.  Note that starting November, COVID uses of expired documents will not be allowed.   Source: McMahon Berger 10/3/22

Return to office becoming a norm?  ResumeBuilder.com surveyed 1,000 business leaders to find out if their company has implemented a return to office (RTO) plan or if they intend to in 2023.  Key survey findings include 66% of employers currently require employees to work from office; 90% of companies will require employees to return to office in 2023; 21% of companies will fire workers who do not return to the office; and 88% of companies are offering incentives to get employees to return, including catered meals, commuter benefits, and higher pay. Majority will RTO within 6 months. Of the companies that currently allow employees to work fully-remotely, 73% say they will ‘definitely’ (28%) or ‘likely’ (45%) change their work location policy six months from now. For companies that are currently hybrid, 77% say their policy will change. A percentage (13%) will shift to having employees be back full-time in the office, 40% will require employees to come in four days a week, and 31% three days a week. Given the shift back to office culture, a large number of companies (67%) plan to have more office locations in the next six months. The majority of companies still have fewer offices today than March 2020.  Source: ResumeBuilder 9/26/22

Inflation to hit benefit selections by employees:  New research from The Hartford found 40% of U.S. workers reported inflation will make them scale back on the employee benefits they choose during open enrollment. In addition, 48% of U.S. workers said inflation is making it difficult for them to pay for their benefits. Younger workers were more likely to report they would cut back on benefits compared to older peers. More than half of workers ages 18-34 (51%) reported they are likely to scale back on their benefits compared to those ages 35-54 (41%) and those ages 55+ (25%). According to the national survey, 30% of U.S. workers are “rollers,” typically rolling over the same benefits choices they made the previous year; 28% of workers are “planners,” keeping up to date on benefits throughout the year so they are prepared at enrollment time; 22% of workers are “analyzers,” analyzing the coverage and crunching the numbers for all of their benefits choices; 12% of workers are “consulters,” typically needing to consult with someone else before making their benefits selections; and 8% of workers are “avoiders,” tending to ignore all the open enrollment emails and would prefer not to think about their benefits.  Source:  The Hartford 8/31/22

Individuals with disabilities working at a higher rate than in the past:  The 42.5 million disabled Americans make up 13% of the civilian population, compared with the nearly 19% that is Hispanic and the almost 12% that's African American, according to 2021 Census data released on September 15. After suffering some of the worst job losses during the initial phase of the pandemic, people with disabilities are now benefiting from the remote-work trend it triggered. Adults with disabilities have rarely been employed in such high numbers, thanks in large part to the removal of one of the biggest obstacles to having a job — commuting. About 5.6 million disabled men and women ages 16-64 were employed in August — a slight dip from June's record but still historically elevated, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The group's labor-force participation rate — the share of the population that is working or looking for work — was 37.6% in August, up nearly five percentage points from April 2020 and hovering close to a record in data back to 2008, according to an analysis by the Kessler Foundation and the University of New Hampshire.  Source: EBN 10/3/22

Activist NLRB does another take on union dues:  The NLRB held on October 3 that the employer’s obligation to deduct union dues from an employee’s wages and remit to the union under a collective bargaining agreement, must continue after the expiration of that collective bargaining agreement. This decision in Valley Hospital Medical Center, Inc. d/b/a Valley Hospital Medical Center and Local Joint Executive Board of Las Vegas overruled a 2019 case of the same name that gave employers the right to stop collecting union dues after the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement containing that requirement. This action is another reversal of longstanding precedent. Prior to its recent decision, the Board in Bethlehem Steel, 136 NLRB 1500 (1962), stated basically no contract, no dues collection. The Board overturned this 50-year-old precedent in 2015 in Lincoln Lutheran of Racine, 362 NLRB 1655 and then re-established it again in 2019 in Valley Hospital Medical Center, 368 NLRB No. 139 (2019). With the October 3 decision, the Board returns to the Lincoln Lutheran standard, allowing dues checkoff provisions to remain enforceable beyond the contract’s expiration.  Source:  Littler 10/4/22

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