Quick Hits - March 17, 2021 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

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Quick Hits - March 17, 2021

Registration now open for Michigan COVID-19 vaccination at Ford Field: Michiganders can now begin registering for the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Ford Field in Detroit. The community vaccination site is set to officially open on March 24. After the registration process is completed, people who have registered will receive an invitation either by voice or text when it's their turn to schedule the appointment. The Ford Field site will operate from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., seven days a week, for eight weeks under the federal government's vaccination pilot program.  Anyone currently be eligible to receive the vaccine is able to make an appointment. Three options are available to do so:

1.           Online at clinic.meijer.com/register/CL2021

2.           Text EndCOVID to 75049

3.           Call the MDHHS COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136 (press 1)

a.  Residents who don't have access to the internet or need assistance navigating through the registration process can use the MDHHS COVID-19 Hotline to register. Call Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is expected that the call center will have long wait times, so calling is recommended only people who cannot register online or by text.

EEO -1 reporting end of April: There’s important news for employers concerned with advancing their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that collections of 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 Data, postponed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 crisis, will begin in April 2021 and end reporting in July.  When in July is unknown.  Source:  Trusaic 3/15/21, Jackson Lewis 3/15/21, EEOC

Are you burned out? Anyone can feel burned out, even people who might have spent the pandemic relaxing on a COVID-free island with a magically replenishing money supply. The mental pressure of living through a mass-casualty event would be enough to fry the most Zen of brains. There’s also been burnout creep recently—people might talk about “midlife-crisis burnout” or being “burned out on Pilates.” But at its core, burnout is a work problem. Burnout experts say that tips and tricks are not the best way to treat the condition. Instead, they say, burnout is a problem created by the workplace, and changes to the workplace are the best way to fix it. Six elements of work cause burnout.  The first is pure workload—having way too much to do. The second factor is how much control or autonomy someone has over their work. The third factor is a lack of recognition or reward for your work. The fourth factor has to do with whether your workplace is more like a community or a viper pit (which leads to burnout). The fifth relates to whether policies and practices are administered fairly. Finally, work that doesn’t create meaning or value for workers can lead to burnout.  Source:  The Atlantic 3/12/21

Are women in a recession?  At its peak last spring, unemployment for women stood at 15%, compared with 13% for men. Though that gender gap in the unemployment rate has since closed, that is largely a factor of so many women dropping out of the workforce, economists say. Women’s participation in the labor force has slipped to 57%, the lowest it has been since 1988, according to an analysis of government data by the National Women’s Law Center. Among mothers with children under 13 years old, labor-force participation declined 3.4 percentage points between February and October of last year, while dropping 1.4 points for prime-age fathers, according to analysis by economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. In all, more than 2.3 million women have dropped out of the labor force during the pandemic, compared with 1.8 million men, according to the National Women’s Law Center report. “If we don’t get all the workers back, we can never have a V-shaped recovery,” says Betsey Stevenson, economics professor at the University of Michigan, referring to a quick and sustained bounceback after a sharp decline. “Everybody should be worried about making sure that we don’t leave workers behind,” she said.  Good opportunity for HR to get creative to disrupt this trend.  Source:  The Wall Street Journal 3/8/21

One step closer to California’s ABC test:  The U.S. Department of Labor wants to withdraw its final rule, "Independent Contractor Status under the Fair Labor Standards Act," which was published on January 7, 2021. The effective date of the rule, initially set for March 8, has been delayed to May 7, 2021. The controversial Trump-era rule provides a new test for determining who is an "employee" versus "independent contractor" under the FLSA.  These regulations would have established an economic reality test to determine whether an individual is in business for him or herself (independent contractor) or is economically dependent on a potential employer for work (FLSA employee).  Further, it identifies and explains two "core factors" that are most probative of whether a worker is economically dependent on someone else’s business or is in business for him or herself. The first core factor is the nature and degree of control over the work, and the second core factor is the worker’s opportunity for profit or loss based on initiative and/or investment.  This rule was delayed from a March 8th effective date to May 7, 2021 but will be withdrawn.  There is a push within the administration to codify the California ABC test which is a rigid standard for ICs.  Source:  CCH

The U.S. DOL wants stricter rules on joint employment:  The U.S. Department of Labor proposed to rescind its January 16, 2020, final rule, "Joint Employer Status Under the Fair Labor Standards Act," which went into effect March 16, 2020. Specifically, the rule specifies that when an employee performs work for the employer that simultaneously benefits another entity, that entity will be considered a joint employer when that entity is acting directly or indirectly in the interest of the employer in relation to the employee;  provides a four-factor balancing test to determine when an entity is acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to the employee; clarifies that an employee’s "economic dependence" on a potential joint employer does not determine whether it is a joint employer under the FLSA; specifies that an employer’s franchisor, brand and supply, or similar business model, and certain contractual agreements or business practices do not make joint employer status under the FLSA more or less likely; and provides several examples applying the DOL’s guidance for determining FLSA joint-employer status in a variety of different factual situations.  It is likely that the DOL will take a more rigid stance that there is joint employment unless otherwise proved (which is a difficult standard to overcome).  Source:  CCH

The House passes the Pro Act to bolster the DOL moves:  On March 9, the House passed an amended version of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act) (H.R. 842), which among other things would strengthen collective bargaining rights by amending the National Labor Relations Act to require courts to consider, when determining potential joint employment of an employee, whether there is joint control over the employee’s essential terms and conditions of employment, including reserved authority as well as control exercised in fact—in other words, indirect or reserved control standing alone would be enough to find joint employment. Also, the bill would codify the controversial "ABC test" to determine who is an "employee" as opposed to independent contractor, potentially sweeping many gig workers under the federal labor law’s protections.  Some sections include permitting labor organizations to encourage participation of union members in strikes initiated by employees represented by a different labor organization (i.e., secondary strikes); prohibiting employers from bringing claims against unions that conduct such secondary strikes; and permitting collective bargaining agreements to require all employees represented by the bargaining unit to contribute fees to the labor organization for the cost of such representation (eliminating the "free rider" issue), notwithstanding contrary state law. At the Senate, it is called filibuster.  So . . .  Source: CCH

House passes Equality Act:  On February 25, the House approved the Equality Act, legislation that would put LGBTQ on equal footing with other protected categories under antidiscrimination laws. The 224-206 vote fell mostly along party lines, with all Democrats and three Republicans supporting H.R. 5. The Act would prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system; define and include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation; expand the definition of "public accommodations" to include places or establishments that provide exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays; goods, services, or programs; and transportation services;  permit the Department of Justice to intervene in equal protection actions in federal court on account of sexual orientation or gender identity; and prohibit an individual from being denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual's gender identity.  The bill has been introduced yearly since 2015.  Although Democrats control both chambers, it is still unlikely to pass subject to filibuster.  Source:  CCH

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