13 April 2021
Congress has made another avenue of health coverage more accessible by fully subsidizing the cost of COBRA coverage (or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985) from April 1 - September 30, 2021 for individuals who lost their health coverage due to an involuntary termination or a reduction in hours under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP).
6 April 2021
Unemployment requirements are now reverted back to the way it was before the pandemic hit Michigan. Temporary expansions in unemployment eligibility and cost-sharing applicable to state unemployment claims established by Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order 20-76, and temporarily codified in statute, expired on March 31, 2021. The last week that the flexibilities apply was the week ending March 27, 2021.
30 March 2021
The Biden administration is taking a hard look at the discriminatory aspects of artificial intelligence or AI. In the past few years, AI bias has been in the news. For example, Amazon dropped an AI recruitment program because it found that it was biased towards white males. Other cases reported bias against African Americans in healthcare algorithms. Facial recognition software has an underwhelming library of faces and has been identified as a leading cause of...
23 March 2021
Today, March 24, 2021 is Equal Pay Day. Equal Pay Day denotes how far into the new year women must work to be paid what men were paid the previous year. Started by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996, the goal was to raise awareness about the gender wage gap. Although there are various analyses of what the gap is, all agree there is a gap.
16 March 2021
Last week Congress passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021 and it was signed into law on Friday. The ARP also extends some of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) provisions that were signed into law on December 27, 2020. Below are provisions that will impact employers.
9 March 2021
What is the role of the HR professional? Slowly it is turning more into a compliance role – not just for the employer, but of the employer’s contractors and subcontractors. Many in HR will say, “Really?” But it is happening. For example, under the Bush administration in the 2000s, I-9 compliance was pushed, and HR professionals were forced to become I-9 specialists. There was pushback, but essentially the government got their way.
2 March 2021
Many organizations are reviewing their security and surveillance policies and looking to update them. A common question coming into the ASE Research Hotline is whether the employer can utilize video surveillance and have voice/sound recording. The simple answer is yes for video and maybe for voice/sound recording.
23 February 2021
Employees, at times, seem to be better lawyers than the employment lawyers – or so they think. How many times has HR or a supervisor been threatened by an employee for violating their rights or discriminating against them when in reality, they are simply trying to get an employee to perform and follow direction. Employers have broad discretion for terminating employees according to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Michigan.
9 February 2021
On January 28, the Democrats reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7), a bill that did not succeed in the Obama administration, as a way to strengthen the Equal Pay Act (EPA). According to the sponsors, the Paycheck Fairness Act would end the practice of pay secrecy and strengthen the available remedies for wronged employees. It is a priority not only for the Democrats in Congress, but a plank in President Biden’s gender equality initiatives.
2 February 2021
In a long running audit of Google by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), the two sides came to a settlement agreement just before the administration switched over. It is an interesting agreement and may hold some implications for future audit settlements.
26 January 2021
Executive Order 11246 covers federal contractors and subcontractors if they hold $50,000 or more in federal contracts or subcontracts. The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is the agency tasked to audit them. However, over the past four years, the agency moved away from the past method for identifying contractors for audit, and it greatly diminished the universe of auditees. Only direct contractors have been audited.
19 January 2021
When the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) was signed on December 27, 2020, it did not just fund government for the 2021 Fiscal Year but also made some changes to benefit offerings. Specifically, changes were made to Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), student loan assistance programs, mental health and substance abuse benefits, pharmacy benefits reporting, disclosure of service provider compensation, and surprise medical billing.
12 January 2021
With more employees working remotely, which may be the norm in the future, questions arise regarding how to ensure compliance with posting requirements.
15 December 2020
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is seeking public comment on a proposed update to its religious discrimination guidance. The draft guidance is available for review at https://beta.regulations.gov/document/EEOC-2020-0007-0001. During a public meeting on November 9, the Commission voted (3-2) to publish its proposed changes to the manual.
8 December 2020
Employers have to worry about employees using social media, including their managers and executives. Like kids, managers and executives can say the darndest things. And Twitter, especially, can take on a life of its own.