All eyes on Philly: Businesses launch second challenge to city’s salary history ban

For a second time, a Philadelphia business group has asked a judge to block the city’s ban on salary history questions, arguing that the law infringes on business’ free-speech rights.

The law also would prevent businesses in the city from keeping pace with competitors, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia said in a statement. “The inevitable consequences will be companies choosing to do business elsewhere and the loss of jobs for city workers.”

The challenge may serve as a test case for similar bans being adopted around the country.

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Los Angeles, San Francisco minimum wages going up July 1

Employers in Los Angeles and San Francisco must prepare to pay higher minimum wages starting July 1.

In the city of Los Angeles and the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, the minimum wage is going to $12 an hour on July 1 for businesses with more than 25 employees, up from $10.50 an hour. Businesses with 25 or fewer employees will have to pay at least $10.50 an hour, up from $10 an hour. Unincorporated areas of Los Angeles are the areas of the county that aren’t governed by local city governments.

San Francisco’s minimum wage will go from $13 an hour to $14 an hour on July 1.

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DOL rescinds joint-employment, independent contractor guidance

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has withdrawn two major Obama-era guidance documents, one addressing joint employment and one dealing with independent contractors.

The move, while not a surprise, is good news for employers, according to H. Juanita Beecher, an attorney with Fortney & Scott and editor of Federal Employment Law Insider. The Obama administration tried to find a way to deal with shifting employer-employee relationships, she said. The effort included a focus on outsourcing and the use of staffing companies as well as a big push to examine whether independent contractors were actually employees. By rescinding the guidance documents, the DOL is backing off its “aggressive” initiative, Beecher said.

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Signaling end of overtime rule, DOL will seek public input on new regs

On June 7, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta said he will soon formally request the public’s input on new overtime regulations. The announcement signals that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) likely will drop its defense of former President Barack Obama’s overtime rule, according to one expert.

A request for information (RFI) likely will be filed with the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the next two to three weeks, Acosta told lawmakers during a budget hearing of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations.

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Paid sick leave laws for Chicago-area workers take effect July 1

by Steven L. Brenneman

Most employers in Chicago and Cook County will be required to offer paid sick leave beginning July 1. The city of Chicago passed a sick leave ordinance last summer, and Cook County (where Chicago is located) passed a nearly identical law in October. The ordinances apply to all businesses that are located in the city or county or are subject to city licensing requirements (except for employers in the construction industry).

The laws require employers, regardless of size, to provide all employees who work at least 80 hours in a 120-day period with one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours of leave per year. Employees are allowed to carry half of their unused accrued paid sick leave (up to 20 hours) to the next year. In addition, employers that are subject to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) must allow FMLA-eligible employees to carry over up to 40 additional hours of accrued paid sick leave to use exclusively for FMLA-qualifying purposes.

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CBO says revised AHCA not much of an improvement over prior version

May 25, 2017 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

The saga of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Republican plan to repeal and replace key portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has been a long and winding one so far.

To recap: The original version of the AHCA was introduced in early March. After receiving lukewarm support and a discouraging report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which concluded that it would leave an additional 24 million Americans uninsured by 2026 as compared with the current ACA, it was pulled from the House floor shortly before a scheduled vote on March 24.

Republican lawmakers regrouped, and on May 4, a modified version of the AHCA squeaked through the House by the slimmest of margins. The vote took place before the CBO had a chance to review the new version of the bill.

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New Tennessee law allows employers to pay employees once a month

by David L. Johnson

On May 11, Governor Bill Haslam signed a new law that gives private employers in Tennessee more flexibility in paying wages and other compensation. The law took effect immediately.

The new law specifies that private employers must pay wages and other compensation only once per month. Companies that issue paychecks once per month must pay all wages earned and unpaid as of the end of the month no later than the fifth day of the next month. In other words, employers can issue employees a paycheck on the fifth day of each month that reflects wages for the entire previous month.

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Judge strikes down Alabama workers’ comp law

by Al Vreeland

In a potentially monumental decision, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Pat Ballard struck down the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act as unconstitutional on May 8.

Specifically, Judge Ballard held that 1989 limits on compensation payments to injured workers and fees for their attorneys were so low that they violated the Alabama Constitution. Currently, compensation payments to an injured employee are capped at $220 per week, no matter how much the employee is paid regularly. Attorneys’ fees are capped at 15 percent of an employee’s award. The judge noted that the compensation payment amount was below the poverty line for a family of four.

The implications are monumental. Although the decision focused on payments and fee caps, the effect would be to strike down the entire Workers’ Compensation Act if the decision holds. If the Act is unconstitutional, employees would be allowed to sue employers for work-related injuries. Employees would be able to recover for medical treatment, pain and suffering, and—potentially—punitive damages.

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ACA ‘repeal’ bill eases employer requirements, faces uphill battle in Senate

Now that the House has passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA)—a proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare—the ball is in the Senate’s court. And while Senate Republicans say they won’t adopt the House’s version wholesale, most of the provisions easing requirements on employers are likely to appear in the Senate’s bill as well.

The measures in H.R. 1628 that affect employers are relatively uncontroversial, according to Eric Schillinger, a contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider and an attorney at Trucker Huss. Senate Republicans probably will push back against some of the changes affecting Medicaid and the individual market, Schillinger said, but “the employer provisions aren’t attracting the same controversy.”

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‘Religious liberty’ order leaves LGBT nondiscrimination provisions intact

On May 4, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) that, unlike a draft version, leaves intact Obama-era LGBT nondiscrimination requirements for federal contractors.

The EO, which one expert described as largely hortatory, addresses tax exemptions for religious organizations and the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive mandate. But it includes little affirmative movement, according to Burton J. Fishman, senior counsel with Fortney & Scott and a contributor to Federal Employment Law Insider.

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