18

Feb

2020

The Ultimate Employee Perk – Travel Stipends

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

It’s winter and we still have a long way to go.  Many of us will look out the window at the cold and gray and imagine being somewhere warm and on the beach.  How would you like to work for an employer that actually provides you money on top of your paid time off to take that dream vacation?  The newest perk some generous employers have rewarded their employees with are travel stipends, or as some call it, “paid, paid vacation” that helps to take care of...

11

Feb

2020

Fringe Benefits are Changing Faster than Ever

Author: Jason Rowe

With today’s tight labor market, employers are turning over any stone they come across to find the next benefit program that allows them to attract and retain employees. Remote working and flexible work environments do not have the same enticing properties that they did even a few short years ago since these programs are now becoming an expected benefit by many employees rather than a perk.

7

Jan

2020

U.S. DOL Updates FLSA Regular Rate of Pay for Overtime Calculation Purposes

Author: Anthony Kaylin

In a highly technical environment, a major issue that has gained momentum in the growing wage and hour lawsuits is the determination of base pay wage rate for calculating overtime.  The question is what needs to be included and what can be excluded for the overtime pay base wage rate. The new rule, which was published on December 16, 2019, will be effective as of 1/15/2020 and HR needs to be prepared for the updated calculations.

3

Dec

2019

DOL Wage and Hour Issues Fact Sheet to Clarify New Exemption Regulations

Author: Michael Burns

The new salary level test for wage and hour exempt status goes into effect January 1, 2020. The new regulation raises the salary level test to $684/week or $35,568/year. This means for a position to be classified as exempt (Executive, Professional, or Administrative) and be paid on a salary basis while meeting the duties tests of those exemptions, it must be paid at least the salary above. That is unless the employer chooses to use a non-discretionary bonus to meet, at most, 10% of the...

12

Nov

2019

U.S. DOL Issues Proposed Regulations Addressing Fluctuating Workweek Schedules and Overtime

Author: Michael Burns

On November 4, 2019 the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) announced it would revise its fluctuating workweek rules. These rules apply to a fairly narrow segment of the total U.S. labor force. The revised rule would apply to salaried non-exempt employees whose hours vary each week.

29

Oct

2019

Should You Use Pay Advance Apps?

Author: Anthony Kaylin

Financial wellness is a major issue for today’s employees.  According to Gallup, financial wellness is "effectively managing your economic life." This simple concept encompasses many factors, including:  spending within one's means, being financially prepared for emergencies, having access to the information and tools necessary to make good financial decisions, and having a plan for the future. Overall, it’s all about financial security, which all employees regardless of...

29

Oct

2019

Governor Proposes New State Exemption Salary Level Test for Overtime Eligibility

Author: Michael Burns

Governor Whitmer has joined seven other states in proposing a higher salary level test for job exemption status. Currently Michigan’s exempt salary level test for executive, professional, and administrative positions is only $250/week or $13,000/year. A very low salary level to meet that particular exemption test. The federal salary level test for those same positions is now $684/week or $35,568/year.

22

Oct

2019

Employer Jury Duty Leave Practices Reviewed by Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

Author: Michael Burns

As required by Michigan law, employers must provide time off to serve jury duty when summoned by the court. Though employers are not required to pay an employee for time off to serve jury duty, most ASE members report (93.6%) that they pay either full pay (50.7%) or the difference between full pay and jury duty pay (42.9%).  Further, though many employers will provide pay for a limited amount of time, over 63% indicated in ASE’s last Michigan Policies and Benefits Survey that they...

15

Oct

2019

And You Thought Exempt Wage Level Was Done

Author: Anthony Kaylin

For many, the wait for the exemption wage level is over.  The final regulations published at the end of September raises the “standard salary level” from the currently enforced level of $455 to $684 per week or from $23,600 to $35,568 per year.  Yet for those employers with multi-state locations, that’s only the beginning of the analysis.  A number of states are starting to act on their own to determine exempt level wages, and Michigan may eventually be one of...

15

Oct

2019

Michigan Appeals Court Clarifies Exception to Voluntary Quit Benefit Disqualification

Author: Michael Burns

One of the general understandings about how a worker may disqualify themselves from unemployment insurance benefit (UI) eligibility is if he or she voluntarily quits. However, there is an exception to this general rule (MCL 421.29(5)) that, somewhat counterintuitively, states that if an employee voluntarily leaves employment at one employer to take a job at another employer, the worker is not disqualified from getting UI. On the other hand, it makes sense that if a worker leaves one employer...

8

Oct

2019

Six Trends for 2020 Open Enrollment

Author: Heather Nezich

In the coming weeks, millions of employees and their families will be making important decisions about their health care and other employee benefits for 2020. The National Business Group on Health (NBGH), using data from its annual Large Employer Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey, has unveiled six trends employees can expect to see in their open enrollment packages.

24

Sep

2019

The Final Wage and Hour Exempt Regulations are Published

Author: Anthony Kaylin

The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division published the final exempt regulations.  These regulations have gone through various transformations from the Obama Administration to the Trump Administration.  The last time these rules were changed was in 2004 under the Bush Administration.  The final rule will be effective on January 1, 2020.

24

Sep

2019

Michigan Appeals Court Supports Employers’ Pursuit to Recover Workers’ Compensation Benefit Overpayments

Author: Michael Burns

Despite the best efforts of the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission to allow a worker’s compensation claimant to keep an erroneous overpayment, the Michigan Appeals Court supported the employer and their carrier and reversed the Commission’s ruling allowing for the overpayment.

20

Aug

2019

Slayer Laws and ERISA

Author: Anthony Kaylin

Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), a typical retirement plan describes a participant’s right to designate a beneficiary and provides a default beneficiary when a participant fails to do so or if a beneficiary designation is invalid for any reason.  Given the violence reported today with the seemingly increased workplace shootings and mayhem, would, for example, a 401K of an employee pass on to the designated beneficiary who had killed the...

23

Jul

2019

2019 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey Results Released

Author: Jason Rowe

How does your organization’s healthcare benefits compare to other Michigan employers? Find out with ASE’s recently released 2019 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey. The annual survey examines the premiums, deductibles, and co-pays of employer-sponsored health plans as well as wellness benefits and cost control strategies.

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American Society of Employers

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