Quick Hits - October 13, 2021 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

Quick Hits - October 13, 2021

Daylight Savings Time ends November 7: When clocks are turned back an hour in the early morning on November 7th, workers on the midnight shift at that time will actually work an extra hour. Assuming that these workers are nonexempt employees, meaning that they are governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), they must be paid for all hours worked. The end of daylight savings time can have overtime pay implications as well. Generally, nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime pay for all hours in excess of 40 worked during the week. Employees who work an extra hour during the conversion to standard time may go over the 40-hour mark for the workweek and are thus entitled to the higher overtime pay rate for that time. For a copy of the ASE end of daylight savings time poster, click here.

ACA affordability set for 2022: According to IRS Revenue Procedure 2021-36 all health plans offered by employers beginning January 1, 2022, will need to be no more than 9.61% of an employee’s household income for employer-sponsored self-only coverage to be ACA affordable.  This percentage is down from 2021’s 9.83% and means employers will need to contribute more towards their employees’ health coverage plans.  Source:  IRS 8/31/21, The ACA Times 10/5/21

Should AI be used to tell applicants why they didn’t get selected? Artificial intelligence (AI) tools are seeing ever broader use in hiring. AI should show people very clearly what factors are used to judge them.  First, the “posting label,” a short, simple, and clear set of requirements that an AI screener will be looking for in applicants. For example, the posting label for an art-director position might list “B.S. in communications or similar,” “two years of full-time experience” and “expert knowledge of Adobe Design Suite.”  The posting label also would explain the assessment process. Then if a job seeker applies for the job but isn’t selected, hey would receive a “decision label” along with the rejection. This label would show how the applicant’s qualifications measured up to the job requirements; how the applicant compared with other job seekers; and how information about these qualifications was extracted.   Source:  The Wall Street Journal 9/22/21

Telehealth exception for HSAs ends December 31, 2021: Last year the IRS provided guidance that permitted telehealth services to be offered under high-deductible health plans on a pre-deductible basis. Plan sponsors were permitted to amend their plan documents so participants could receive telehealth services at no cost or at a cost less than the normal deductible. This meant those individuals with HSAs could receive telehealth services at no cost or reduced cost without impacting their eligibility to contribute to their HSA.  Unless additional guidance is issued, this exception ends on December 31, 2021. Any plan sponsor that amended their plan to allow pre-deductible telehealth services should be preparing to amend their plan effective January 1, 2022 to remove this exception. From January 1, 2022 forward, telehealth services will need to be subject to the deductible in order for individuals to remain HSA eligible.  Source:  Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP 9/29/21

DEI is making inroads in organizations:  According to a World-at-Work survey, more than eight in 10 (83%) of the 656 organizations responding say they have been taking action on DEI initiatives in 2021, a 13%  point increase from 2020. Of those, 29% said they took their first action on DEI initiatives during the past 12 months. Nearly all (97%) of those DEI-active organizations have an established DEI strategy (56%) or are actively working on one (4%). One question asked about activity in 11 DEI areas with respondents indicating a “high level” of increased activity in seven of those areas from 2020 to 2021. The study also included a survey of 303 full-time business professionals via the Schlesinger Group panel online. The numbers from those employees included:  85% believe their employer prioritizes DEI a good or great deal in the workplace; 74% feel that their employer is putting the right amount of effort into these initiatives; 64% of employees believe DEI is very or extremely important; 83% agree or strongly agree with the statement “I feel comfortable talking about my background and cultural experiences with my colleagues”; and 85% either agree or strongly agree that “I feel included and respected at my organization.”  Source:  CCH 10/1/21

FAR Council requires two clauses to be embedded in federal contracts: To implement President Biden’s instructions to it in EO 14042, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (“Task Force”) posted new guidance directing federal contract officers to impose two new clauses in federal contracts: 

 (c) Compliance. The Contractor shall comply with all guidance, including guidance conveyed through Frequently Asked Questions, as amended during the performance of this contract, for contractor or subcontractor workplace locations published by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force…

 (d) Subcontracts. The Contractor shall include the substance of this clause, including this paragraph (d), in subcontracts at any tier that exceed the simplified acquisition threshold, as defined in Federal Acquisition Regulation 2.101 on the date of subcontract award, and are for services, including construction, performed in whole or in part within the United States or its outlying areas. 

The new clauses will be incorporated into the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) into Part 52, which contains standard solicitation provisions and contract clauses. Solicitation provisions are certification requirements, notices, and instructions directed at companies interested to compete for a federal contract.  Source:  DirectEmployers 10/4/21

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