EverythingPeople This Week!

Published on Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Quick Hits - March 13, 2019

Author: ASE Staff

EEO-1 Component 1 reporting season starts March 18:  The EEOC sent out a press release on March 8 and 9 stating that it will officially open the 2018 EEO-1 survey (aka Component 1) on March 18, 2019. The deadline to submit EEO-1 data has been extended until May 31, 2019. The EEO-1 is an annual survey that requires all private employers with 100 or more employees and federal government contractors or first-tier subcontractors with 50 or more employees, and a federal contract, subcontract or purchase order amounting to $50,000 or more to file the EEO-1 report. The filing of the EEO-1 report is required by federal law per Section 709(c), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; and §1602.7–§1602.14, Title 29, Chapter XIV of the Federal Code of Regulations.  As for the U.S. District Court ruling regarding compensation data (aka Component 2), EEOC Office of the Chair and Office of Legal Counsel are deciding how to best move forward.

Are you reskilling your employees? Research from McKinsey found 82% of executives at large organizations believe retraining and reskilling must be at least half of the answer to addressing their skills gap, with 27% calling it a top five priority. 74% of global recruiting firms say reskilling workers represents an effective strategy to combat the perennial skills shortage, according to Bullhorn’s 2019 “Staffing and Recruiting Trends” report. To stay relevant, companies need to hire people who have the ability to constantly learn new skills that may not yet exist. This focus on reskilling as a talent management strategy is already taking place, said Art Mazor, principal of Deloitte’s human capital management consulting practice, in Atlanta. “Most big companies today are focused on reskilling, and for good reason: The half-life of skills is two to five years,” he said. “That has huge implications for recruiting.” “New hires need to be willing and able to learn new skills and to tackle nebulous workplace challenges. This new approach to recruiting could make it easier for companies to look further afield for candidates who show an aptitude and interest in learning, even if they don’t follow a traditional academic or career path,” said Tara Cassady, senior vice president at Cielo.  Source: Workforce 2/27/19

Hiring only U.S. citizens or permanent residents because of ITAR requirements illegal:  The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it had reached a settlement with Honda Aircraft Company LLC in connection with allegations that Honda Aircraft engaged in unfair immigration-related discrimination against job applicants. Specifically, the DOJ alleged that Honda Aircraft, which manufactures and sells business jet aircrafts, violated the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provision (8 U.S.C. § 1324b) by publishing job announcements which specified that only applicants who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents would be considered for employment in roles involving technical data and technology subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) or the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). This enforcement action is not novel and reflects the U.S. Government’s long-held view that export control laws do not give companies a blank check to exclude non-U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents from open positions.  Source: Holland & Hart LLP 2/21/19

Those in their 40s are at great risk for student loan delinquencies:  Student-loan delinquencies surged last year, hitting consecutive records of $166.3 billion in the third quarter and $166.4 billion in the fourth.  Bloomberg calculated the dollar amounts from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s quarterly household-debt report, which includes only the total owed and the percentage delinquent at least 90 days or in default.  That percentage has remained around 11% since mid-2012, but the total increased to a record $1.46 trillion by December 2018, and unpaid student debt also rose to the highest ever. Delinquencies continued to climb even as the unemployment rate fell below 4%, suggesting the strong U.S. job market hasn’t generated enough wage growth to help some people manage their outstanding obligations. Loans at least 90 days past due are considered to be in “serious delinquency.’’ The age group transitioning into this category at the fastest pace is 40- to 49-year olds. That’s partly because of parents borrowing to pay their children’s expenses. The cost of higher education has roughly doubled in the past 20 years and will continue to grow at a rate faster than inflation.  Source: Bloomberg 2/16/19

Bill introduced to have educational funds to be used for loan repayment:  Under legislation reintroduced in the Senate, employers could contribute up to $5,250 tax-free annually to employees' student loan debt repayments. Companies can already get this tax break for employer-paid tuition reimbursements, but the new bill expands the coverage of existing tax codes to include student loan debt repayment.  "That takes an existing legislation and just makes a slight tweak to make it the cover the cost of taking class or covering a student loan," said Mark Kantrowitz, president and vice president of research at Savingforcollege.com. "That might be an elegant way to do this." While only 4% of companies currently employ the benefit, experts expect that number will climb once the benefit is a tax-advantaged incentive for businesses. For employers, it's a valuable recruitment and retention tool in a low-unemployment economy.  The plan is also cost-efficient. At $50 or $100 per month for lifetime maximum contributions of several thousands of dollars, the bills simply reallocate money that companies would have budgeted for other benefits.  Kantrowitz believes the bills will likely pass, given the increasing public frustration about student loans and because they're both bipartisan and bicameral.  Source: CBS 2/18/19

Lululemon to offer 6-month parental paid leave: In a bid to retain current employees and attract new hires, Lululemon will now offer gender-neutral paid parental leave to full-time U.S.-based employees. Employees, who are considered full-time by the athletics wear company if they work 24 hours per week, will be eligible for three months of leave after two years at the company. Employees with five or more years behind them will be eligible for six months. About 60% of Lululemon's 13,400 workers are U.S. based, and of those employees, the majority of full-time workers have been with the company for at least two years. One-fifth have worked there five or more years.  Source: Bloomberg 2/13/19

Michigan contribution rates published: Contribution rates for employers with three or more years of experience will continue to range from 0.06% to 10.3% in 2019. The maximum rate of 10.3% includes a 6.3% maximum chargeable benefit component, a 3.0% maximum account building component, and a 1.0% maximum nonchargeable benefits component. Note that if the employer has submitted no quarterly tax reports, that employer's maximum tax rate will be 10.3%, and the employer also will be assessed a penalty of 3.0%, which is separate from the contribution rate. In addition, the new employer rate remains at 2.7%, plus part of its chargeable benefits component depending on the employer’s year of liability, except for new construction employers.  The nonchargeable benefits component (NBC) for 2019 may range from 0.06% to 1.0%, depending upon an employer's experience. For an employer with no benefit charges for nine years, the NBC is 0.06%. For an employer with no benefit charges for eight years, the NBC will be 0.07%. For an employer with no benefit charges for seven years, the NBC will be 0.08%. For an employer with no benefit charges for six years, the NBC will be 0.09%. For an employer with no benefit charges for five years, the NBC will be 0.1%. For all other employers, the NBC is 1.0%.  In 2019, an obligation assessment (OA) will be applied to all contributing employers until the state’s refinancing bonds are repaid. The OA calculation is structured to incorporate the employer’s experience rate and a base assessment. For 2019, the OA ratio is 0.166825 and the base assessment is $63.  Source:  CCH 3/4/19

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