Contractors face August 1 deadline for new veteran reporting form

Beginning August 1, federal contractors must use the new VETS-4212 report to provide information to the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) about their affirmative action efforts in employing veterans.

The VETS-4212 report replaces the VETS-100 and VETS-100A forms required by the regulations implementing the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) that became final in September 2014.

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New guidance signals tougher stance on independent contractor classification

July 15, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A new interpretation of language in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the latest effort in the government’s fight against what it sees as troubling misclassification of employees as independent contractors.

On July 15, David Weil, administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD), released Administrator’s Interpretation 2015-1 to analyze how the FLSA determines whether an individual should be classified as an employee or an independent contractor.

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Agencies issue ACA-related regulations addressing contraceptive coverage

July 13, 2015 - by: Jessica Webb-Ayer 0 COMMENTS

On July 10, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued final regulations on coverage of certain preventive services under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Specifically, the new regulations focus on the ACA’s controversial “contraceptive mandate.”Birth Control ACA Contraception Coverage

The contraceptive mandate

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Expanded data security breach laws taking effect in Washington

by Joelle Hong and Amelia Morrow Gerlicher

Washington’s expanded data security breach notification laws are set to take effect July 24, meaning employers must make sure they have safe and effective privacy practices in place and are ready to respond in the event of a security breach.

Under the old law, businesses that own or license computerized data containing personal information about Washington residents must disclose any breach involving unencrypted personal information. But beginning July 24, the requirement will expand to include both computerized and hard copy data containing personal information that is not “secured” as well as encrypted information if the person who gains unauthorized access to the data has access to the encryption key or an alternative means of deciphering the data.

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DOL’s proposed rules to swell ranks of overtime-eligible employees

June 30, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 1 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) release of new proposed rules regulating who is eligible for overtime pay has employers scrambling to determine how many of their workers will need to be reclassified when new regulations take effect.

Currently, the salary threshold for an employee to be exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is $455 a week ($23,660 a year). That figure was last revised in 2004. The new proposed rule puts the floor at an estimated $970 a week ($50,440 a year) for 2016.

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Employers need to examine policies, laws in light of Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling

June 26, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 2 COMMENTS

The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling in favor of same-sex marriage means employers across the country need to take a look at their policies as well as the effect the ruling has on various laws dealing with employment.Pride flag at city hall

The Court’s 5-4 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges struck down prohibitions on gay marriage in states covered by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals—Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. But it has the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

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Obamacare ruling means little change for employers

June 25, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

In a much-anticipated June 25 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court handed President Barack Obama a victory on his administration’s signature piece of legislation—the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although the ruling was crucial to the future of the healthcare law, it basically means business as usual for employers.

The Court ruled 6-3 in King v. Burwell that federal tax credits to subsidize healthcare coverage are authorized under the ACA. Opponents of the law argued that it doesn’t authorize subsidies to individuals in states that don’t offer a state-run healthcare exchange. Thirty-four states have not set up exchanges, so individuals in those states turn to a federal government exchange.

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Minnesota employers need to be ready for medical marijuana by July 1

by Laurie Jirak

Distribution of medical marijuana in Minnesota is set to begin July 1, so employers need to understand their rights and responsibilities under the state’s new medical marijuana law.

Confusion may arise because employers are subject to both federal and state laws that may impose different standards or requirements on workplace medical marijuana policies. Although the state has a law allowing medical marijuana use, it isn’t permitted under federal law.

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Firing employee for off-duty marijuana use legal, says Colorado Supreme Court

by Emily Hobbs-Wright

In a nationally awaited decision, the Colorado Supreme Court has upheld an employer’s termination of an employee who tested positive for marijuana because of his off-duty, off-premises marijuana use.

The court issued a narrow decision on June 15 in Coats v. Dish Network, LLC. It turned on the fact that marijuana use remains illegal under federal law. Construing the term “lawful” to encompass activities that are permitted by both state and federal law, the court ruled that the employee’s off-duty marijuana use wasn’t a protected activity within the meaning of Colorado’s lawful activities statute because marijuana use remains unlawful under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

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Model notice for new Massachusetts paid sick leave law published

by Kimberly A. Klimczuk

The Massachusetts attorney general (AG) has published a model notice that employers may use to fulfill their obligations to notify employees about the state’s new earned sick leave law that goes into effect on July 1.

In addition, the AG has issued a new “safe harbor” notice that makes it easier for employers to take advantage of the safe-harbor protection. Under that process, qualified employers will have until January 1, 2016, to bring their paid time off (PTO) and related policies into full compliance with the sick leave law.

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