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

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Quick Hits - November 17, 2021

Minimum wage increases for 2022: 22 States (including Michigan) are expected to increase their minimum wage in 2022.  For a list of these states and their new rates, click here.  ASE members receive a 15% discount at govdocs.com for posters.  The discount will appear automatically at check out.

Bad news for benefit season – employer health coverage for families exceeds $22,000: Annual family-plan premiums rose 4% to hit $22,221 for an employer-provided family plan in 2021, up from $21,342, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation survey. Employees paid $5,969 of the total this year, with the rest of the cost borne by employers. The amount of the employee contribution was statistically unchanged from 2020. The average cost of an employer health plan for an individual for 2021 was $7,739, also up about 4% from last year. In addition, 95% of employers with at least 50 workers now offer at least some telemedicine, up from 85% last year and 67% three years ago.  The Kaiser survey also found that employers continued their pause in the expansion of deductibles, which are out-of-pocket charges people must pay toward most care before a health plan begins covering expenses.  The average 2021 general deductible for individual-worker coverage, according to the survey, was $1,434, which isn’t a statistically significant change from last year’s figure of $1,364.  Source: Wall Street Journal 11/10/21

IRS publishes new contribution rates for retirement plans: The contribution limit has increased from $19,500 to $20,500 for employees who take part in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan.  The annual limit on contributions to an IRA remains unchanged at $6,500.  The catch-up contribution limit for individuals 50 and over remains $3,000.  The income phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is increased to $129,000 to $144,000 for singles and heads of household, up from $125,000 to $140,000. For married couples filing jointly, the income phase-out range is increased to $204,000 to $214,000, up from $198,000 to $208,000. The phase-out range for a married individual filing a separate return who makes contributions to a Roth IRA is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.  Source:  IRS 11/4/21

Want to attract more candidates? Add flexibility and autonomy to the job posting: Flexibility appears at the top of the list of many employee demands. After leaving offices for a while, some people realized they’d rather be looking for another job than return to an office for 40 hours a week.  Nearly all businesses can manage more flexibility in some way. Next, autonomy can be a highly motivating benefit to workers who are already performing excellently in their field. Is it possible to reduce the number of times that trusted employees report in? Would they feel better if they could report to someone higher up the chain?  Fix the management flow chart first, and then find out what it tells about what can be offered to new hires.  Source:  Forbes 11/9/21

For hourly workers, add good benefits:  A third of hourly employees said they would switch jobs in order to receive more comprehensive benefits, according to data by financial services company Netspend. 58% of hospitality workers — an employee demographic with a high percentage of hourly workers — say that they are planning to quit their jobs before the end of 2021, according to Joblist’s most recent quarterly U.S. Job Market Report.  One attractive benefit is paying people faster. Breaking the traditional pay cycle so that employees are in control of when they can spend their hourly wage may be the most important change to companies’ employee offerings, Andy Garner, senior vice president and general manager of commercial prepaid at Netspend says. These tools can help hourly workers bridge the gap from paycheck to paycheck and help pay monthly bills without putting their finances at risk.  Further, employees that consider themselves financially stable are much more likely to remain with their current employer for the next year compared to those who are financially unstable — 87% compared to 58%.  Source:  EBN 11/10/21

Michigan House passes bill to preserve criminal background check information:  The House of Representatives passed House Bill 5368 (Representative Graham Filler, R-DeWitt), a bill that prohibits Michigan courts from redacting a defendant’s date of birth from court records available to the public.  ASE (along with MMA and other employer associations) supports the legislation because, while fighting identity theft is admirable, employers need to be able to have clear access to court records when performing criminal background checks on potential employees. HB 5368 will ensure that consumer reporting agencies, employers, and background screeners will be able to deliver accurate, affordable background checks and more quickly onboard applicants who pass those checks.  The rule to redacting records by the Michigan Supreme Court has caused much consternation as it slowed down background checks in a major way.  Source: MMA 11/9/21

OFCCP is rescinding the Religious Exemption rule:  The U.S. Department of Labor has announced a proposal to rescind the final rule “Implementing Legal Requirements Regarding the Equal Opportunity Clause’s Religious Exemption.” The final rule has been in effect since Jan. 8, 2021. The Federal Register will publish the proposal on Nov. 9, 2021. The order contains a religious exemption for certain religious corporations, associations, educational institutions, and societies with respect to the employment of individuals of a particular religion. The EO 11246 religious exemption is based on the religious exemption in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.   This rule in effect allows for any religious reason as permissible for discriminating against a protected class. “The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ proposed rescission would protect against discrimination and safeguard principles of religious freedom. With this proposal, OFCCP would simply return to our policy and practice of considering the facts of each case and applying Title VII principles and case law and other applicable law,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Jenny R. Yang.  Source:  Department of Labor 11/8/21

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