West Virginia Legislature passes right-to-work bill; governor promises veto

by Rodney L. Bean

Both houses of West Virginia’s legislature have passed a bill that would make West Virginia the nation’s 26th right-to-work state. The bill arrived at Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s desk on Monday, February 8, and now awaits his signature or veto.

After a February 4 debate that lasted almost five hours, the House of Delegates voted 54-46 in favor of the bill, which bears the title “West Virginia Workplace Freedom Act.” The Senate had passed the measure by a 17-16 vote on January 21. Leaders of the Republican legislative majority have identified the bill as a priority for this session and introduced it on the opening day of the term.

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EEOC takes step toward adding pay data to EEO-1 reports

by H. Juanita M. Beecher

On January 29, President Barack Obama announced at a White House ceremony celebrating the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is proposing a new rule to collect pay data through the EEO-1 report. The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on February 1.  EEOC-jpg

The proposal calls for revising the current EEO-1 report to collect W-2 compensation and hours-worked data by pay band for employers that have 100 or more employees beginning with the 2017 report. In 2016, all employers will file the currently approved EEO-1 report, and employers with 50 to 99 employees will file the current report after 2016. The pay data is to be grouped in 12 pay bands that are the same pay intervals the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) uses in its Occupational Employment Statistics survey.

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New joint-employer guidance puts employers ‘on notice’

January 25, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) new guidance on joint employment means employers must think ahead when they find themselves in relationships that may fit the definition of “joint employment.”  DOL_logo

In a January 20 post on his blog, David Weil, administrator of the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), announced new guidance related to joint employment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. Weil said the laws share the same definition of “employment,” which was written “to have as broad an application as possible.”

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Not so fast—Judge strikes down Pittsburgh’s paid sick leave ordinance

by Gregory J. Wartman

In November, we reported that Pittsburgh had enacted a paid sick time ordinance for employees working in the city that was scheduled to take effect January 11, 2016 (see “Pittsburgh passes ordinance requiring paid sick time”). On December 21, 2015, a Pennsylvania judge struck down the ordinance, ruling that it is “invalid unenforceable.”

As we reported in November, the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association and others filed a lawsuit against the city of Pittsburgh to bar it from implementing the ordinance, which would have entitled workers within the city to up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year. They contended that the Pittsburgh City Council lacked the authority to pass and enforce the law.

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Employers get extension on some ACA reporting dates

January 06, 2016 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

The IRS has announced that it has extended the deadline for employers subject to certain reporting requirements necessary under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

New deadlines have been set for employers subject to Sections 6055 and 6056 reporting requirements:End of the Month

  • The deadline for employers to furnish employees Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, and Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, has been extended to March 31. The previous deadline was February 1.
  • The deadline for filing Form 1094-B, Form 1095-B, Form 1094-C, and Form 1095-C with the IRS has been extended to May 31 for employers filing nonelectronically and to June 30 for employers filing electronically. (Employers filing 250 or more information returns are required to file electronically.)

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New Alabama noncompete law starts in January

by Al Vreeland

A bill signed into law over the summer will significantly strengthen Alabama employers’ ability to enforce noncompete agreements when the law takes effect January 1, 2016.

The state’s old noncompete statute makes a broad statement that noncompete agreements are void. It then creates several exceptions into which courts have shoehorned the modern version of the noncompete.

Alabama courts have generally stated that noncompetes are disfavored, but they can be enforced when they are related to a legitimate interest (e.g., protecting customer relationships or proprietary information) and are reasonably limited in time and geographic scope. That formula gave an enormous amount of discretion to judges to decide whether noncompetes would be enforceable and left employers with uncertainty.

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Enforcement of DOL home healthcare rule starts November 12

by Judith E. Kramer

November 12 marks the date the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will begin enforcing regulations extending the minimum wage and overtime protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to almost two million home healthcare workers who are employed by third parties and provide either companionship services or live-in care for the elderly, ill, or disabled.

The DOL issued the regulations on October 1, 2013, but a federal district court held them invalid. Then the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit disagreed, holding on August 21, 2015, that they are a reasonable interpretation of the FLSA.

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Cybersecurity bill gives employers plenty to consider

November 02, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

Safety concept: blue Padlock on digital backgroundThe U.S. House and Senate have both passed versions of a cybersecurity bill that would enable companies to voluntarily share information on cyberattacks. The likelihood that some form of the measure will soon become law means employers need to consider whether or how they should participate.

The Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act on October 27. A similar bill passed the House earlier this year. Differences between the House and Senate versions will have to be reconciled before going to President Barack Obama for his expected signature.

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Proposed GINA rule clears up issue on wellness programs

November 02, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A new proposed rule from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) settles the question of whether employers are justified in seeking medical information on covered spouses participating in wellness programs.

The proposed rule, published in the October 30 Federal Register, would amend regulations implementing Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). The proposed rule’s summary states that it addresses how an employer may offer inducements for an employee’s covered spouse to provide information about current or past health status as part of a health risk assessment connected to the employer’s wellness program.

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Push for paid family leave gets boost from Washington, D.C., proposal

October 07, 2015 - by: Tammy Binford 0 COMMENTS

A bill under consideration in the Washington, D.C., City Council would give most workers in the city the most generous paid family leave allowance in the country. The bill, introduced October 5, comes amid a push by President Barack Obama and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to encourage states and cities to adopt paid leave laws.

The bill would entitle most full- and part-time workers in the city to take up to 16 weeks of paid family leave to bond with an infant or an adopted child, recover from an illness, recuperate from a military deployment, or tend to an ill family member.

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