EverythingPeople This Week!

5

Sep

2017

Federal District Court Permanently Enjoins DOL Salary Level Test

Author: Michael Burns

Another blow was landed against the Obama administration’s effort to change US wage and hour law without passing an amendment to the almost 80-year old Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The same Texas federal court that originally temporarily stayed the implementation of a new salary level test rule issued a permanent injunction against those rules last week. The Court’s reason for the permanent injunction remained the same: the salary level set by the new regulations was too high...

5

Sep

2017

Maternity Concierge Service New Benefit to Help Retain New Moms

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

Open enrollment season is rapidly approaching, and for many employers late summer and early fall is the time of year when benefit packages are reviewed for competitiveness.  Fifth Third Bank has recently rolled out a new benefit specifically aimed at retaining employees that are new moms - a maternity concierge service.

29

Aug

2017

ASE Healthcare Survey Reveals Telemedicine as the Number One Cost-Saving Measure for Employers

Author: Heather Nezich

ASE recently released the results of our 2017 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey.  48% of Michigan employers surveyed have either implemented or plan to implement telemedicine services in 2017.  This is a rising trend in healthcare that encompasses two-way video, email, smartphones, and other technology to make a virtual diagnosis.

22

Aug

2017

Expanded Bereavement Leave – The Latest Trend in Employee Benefits

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

Over the last several years organizations, especially in Silicon Valley, compete with each other by offering expanded parental leave benefits or unlimited PTO policies as a way to attract and retain talent.   Over the last several months the newest growing trend in leave benefits is offering expanded time off for bereavement.

1

Aug

2017

DOL Solicits Comments on the Overtime Rule

Author: Anthony Kaylin

As previously reported in the EPTW, the Trump administration was going to publish a Request for Information (RFI) on the White-Collar Overtime Exemption. It did so on July 26, 2017.  Previously, the Obama administration had published rules that would be effective December 1, 2017, that increased the exemption salary level test from $433/week up to $913/week with an escalation every three years.  This would have dramatically impacted employers.  Essentially most employees would...

18

Jul

2017

Are Americans Finally Using Their Vacation Time?

Author: Heather Nezich

According to the Project: Time Off report, The State of the American Vacation 2017, it appears that Americans might finally be starting to use their vacation time.  For years, vacation time usage has been on the decline in the U.S., but the 2017 report shows some optimistic results.

11

Jul

2017

U.S. DOL Walks a Fine Line as it “Walks Back” Overtime Rules

Author: Michael Burns

The US Department of Labor (DOL) is working toward rescinding its judicially enjoined overtime rules. These rules were published during the Obama Administration and dramatically increased the exemption salary level test from $433/week up to $913/week.  It was intended to reduce the number of jobs that could be classified non-exempt by employers.  

11

Jul

2017

To Ask or Not to Ask

Author: Heather Nezich

The salary history question has become quite controversial in recent months, and some cities and states have created laws around it.  It used to be an expected question during the interview process, but there is debate over whether the question is a fair one and could cause pay inequality to prevail as women progress through their careers.

27

Jun

2017

How the Repeal of Obamacare Could Affect Employers

Author: Anthony Kaylin

The Senate Bill for the repeal of the ACA was introduced Thursday, June 22nd.  The bill is very similar to the House bill. However, both the House and Senate bills would likely lead to higher cost healthcare policies with reduced benefits.  For example, both the House and Senate bills allow states to reduce the number of essential health benefits that policies would be required to cover, thus leading to a cap on costs on formerly essential benefits, such as maternity benefits.

30

May

2017

Glassdoor Survey Reports Americans Forfeit Half of Their Earned Vacation/Paid Time Off

Author: Michael Burns

It has been long said that Americans do not take as much vacation time off as their European counterparts and appear to work more and leisure less. A recent survey sponsored by Glassdoor, an online job site that also provides information on company culture for employees, found that most American workers only used half (54%) of their accrued vacation/paid time off in the past 12 months. 

23

May

2017

The Impact of Motherhood on Pay

Author: Michael Burns

Gender pay disparity and the many reasons for it, continues to be studied by researchers.  A new study by researchers at Wellesley, Harvard, Boston College and the Institute for Social Research in Oslo, Sweden identifies motherhood as a big impediment to equal pay as women’s careers progress. 

16

May

2017

Michigan Appeals Court Looks to Handbook Language to Settle Compensation Claim

Author: Michael Burns

A recent Michigan Appeals Court decision (unpublished) again affirms that courts regularly and purposely use employee handbook policy language to determine what the employer means when a dispute arises about payment of wages or fringe benefits. In the case of Robert E. Heine v. Mack 1 Global Services, Inc. (No.328964) 4/25/2017, the issue for the court was whether the organization’s incentive plan was properly followed in the payment of monies allegedly earned under the employer’s...

9

May

2017

Where’s the Beef – or the Wage Growth?

Author: Kevin Marrs

There has been a spate of good economic news recently.  Notably, April’s job report was strong, soundly beating analyst estimates.  To be specific, the U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in April, and the unemployment rate, now at 4.4%, fell to its lowest level since 2007.  In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently that unemployment rates were lower in March than a year earlier in 336 of the 388 metropolitan areas it measures.  And, in a promising turn,...

9

May

2017

Defending Equal Pay Act Claims Becoming More Difficult

Author: Anthony Kaylin

Under the Equal Pay Act (EPA), courts have generally allowed employers to prove that some “factor other than sex” justified the pay differentials.  However, a recent Federal 8th Circuit of Appeals case narrowed the parameters that employers can use to defend EPA lawsuits and allowed broadening of testimony to show the employer is committing systemic discrimination.

2

May

2017

Is it Legal to Pay a Woman Less if Based on Salary History?

Author: Heather Nezich

Solely based on Federal law…yes.  A federal court ruled last week that it is legal to pay female employees less than men if it is based on past salary history.  This decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturns a previous ruling that stated that pay differences solely on past salary history were discriminatory, based on the Equal Pay Act.

2

May

2017

Federal Compensatory Time Off Legislation Introduced

Author: Michael Burns

One of the more frequent questions ASE receives from private employers is about how to practice compensatory time off. Compensatory time off is the practice of “paying” overtime worked through paid time off at some later time. ASE frequently advises that most compensatory time practices are illegal. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires payment to non-exempt employees (hourly and salaried) of time worked over 40 hours in a week at time and one-half pay. Therefore, if an...

25

Apr

2017

Increase in Infertility Coverage Latest in Family Friendly Benefit Offerings

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

In the ongoing war for talent, many companies are looking to broaden their benefits coverage and make them more family friendly.  One benefit that is garnering more attention and is on the rise is coverage for infertility treatments such as fertility drugs, in vitro fertilization (IVF), and fertility concierge services.  For employees facing difficulties conceiving, the financial cost of pursuing such options on their own can be out of reach.  The American Society for...

18

Apr

2017

Piecework Pay, Bonus and Overtime Pay – How do They Collide?

Author: Michael Burns

Piecework pay is not a common pay practice today. In fact, ASE’s most recent Pay Administration Survey found no participants paid on a piece-rate in the Southeast Michigan area. However, in some industries this is still a pay practice.

18

Apr

2017

Excessive 401(K) Fees Lead to Lawsuits

Author: Anthony Kaylin

It used to be that retirement plan administration was a routine affair.  Not anymore.  Excessive 401 or 403 fees are the hot new area of ERISA lawsuits.  They can be costlier than wage and hour lawsuits and personally hit the retirement plan fiduciaries.  

 

18

Apr

2017

Pay Equity Plays Important Role in Employee Engagement and Retention

Author: Jason Rowe

Do you worry about hiring the right people? Do you worry about retaining and engaging your current workforce? All in an effort to drive business performance?  Maybe it is time to look at your organization’s pay equity.

21

Mar

2017

With ACA Repeal Pending, Shouldn’t the Million Dollar Question be What do Employees Want?

Author: Anthony Kaylin

With the introduction of and the quick movement out of committees in the House, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) may roll back several Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions.  These may include the out of pocket expenses cap and the Premium Tax Credits that lower health care premiums between 2.5%-9.5% of household income for employees who are not provided health care or opt out of employer health care.

7

Mar

2017

Obamacare Repeal Bill Unveiled

Author: Kevin Marrs

Earlier this week, House Republicans introduced legislation that seeks to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Obama’s signature health care law.  Released Monday night by top Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, the bill will, among other things, scrap the individual mandate.  It would also end the requirement that large employers offer insurance to their employees or pay a penalty.

31

Jan

2017

Caution! HR and Payroll Departments Targets of W-2 Scam

Author: Kristen Cifolelli

Human Resource and payroll departments should be aware of an IRS alert that was released on January 25, 2017 providing information about an email phishing scam making its way across the country.  The scam originated last year, and the goal of the scam is to gain access to personal information contained on employee W-2 forms.  Cybercriminals will send an email to an HR or payroll department using a corporate officer’s name (such as the company CEO), and request a list of...

24

Jan

2017

The Six-Hour Workday Experiment and Its Results

Author: Heather Nezich

After a two-year government study on 6-hour work days that took place in Sweden, the results are in.  While employees proved to be happier, employer costs were higher.  Is the increase in cost worth it?

17

Jan

2017

Investment in Value-Based Recognition Programs Pays Off

Author: Kevin Marrs

According to a recently released survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Globoforce, a leading provider of social recognition solutions, organizations that dedicate 1% or more of payroll to values-based rewards and recognition are more likely to see greater impacts on retention and financial outcomes.
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