Informed Employer: Handbook Revisions Required for Companies with New Federal Contracts Informed Employer: Handbook Revisions Required for Companies with New Federal Contracts

Informed Employer: Handbook Revisions Required for Companies with New Federal Contracts

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14 States Moving Forward with Minimum Wage Increases in 2016
As the United States marks more than six years without an increase in the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, 14 states and several cities are moving forward with their own increases. The increases come in the wake of a series of "living wage" protests across the country, including a November campaign in which thousands of protesters in 270 cities marched in support of a $15-an-hour minimum wage and union rights for fast food workers.
(Source: Reuters, 2016-01-01) Read the full article
Employers Re-Evaluating Emergency Plans Amid Recent Violence
The terror attack at a social services facility in California has become a sobering reminder to companies of how vulnerable workplaces can be when employees are confronted with active shooters. Since a gun-wielding husband-and-wife team killed 14 and wounded 21 others this month in San Bernardino, California, employers across the country have been reassessing their emergency plans to ensure they are prepared to deal with workplace violence.
(Source: Insurance Journal, 2015-12-18) Read the full article
California's Fair-Pay Law Becomes Strictest in Nation
California’s Fair Pay Act, passed this October with unanimous bipartisan support in the California state senate, has been called the "strictest" fair-pay law in the U.S., and it applies to any company that has an office in the state. Under the Fair Pay Act, Californian companies are now required to justify pay differences between male and female employees doing "substantially similar" work regardless of job title.
(Source: The Atlantic, 2015-12-31) Read the full article
IRS Gives Employers 3 More Months to Comply with ACA Reporting
The Treasury Department gave employers an extension of critical reporting requirements as it seeks to manage some of the most complicated parts of the federal health care law. Previously, employers had faced deadlines in February and March to report 2015 health insurance information to their employees, and also to the Internal Revenue Service, but if they need more time, employers now have until March 31 to get information to their workers and until June 30 in certain cases to get details to the IRS.
(Source: The (Ore.) Register-Guard, 2015-12-29) Read the full article
Delay Postpones 'Cadillac' Tax for Two Years
Employers got an early Christmas present when President Obama signed a budget bill that delayed the implementation of the Affordable Care Act's tax on high-value or "Cadillac" health plans. How long is the delay? The 40% excise tax on high-value health plans (individual plans with premiums that exceed $10,200 and family plans with premiums exceeding $27,500) is now slated to kick in January 1, 2020, instead of 2018.
(Source: HR Morning, 2015-12-23) Read the full article
Economists Expect Workers' Wages to Begin Increasing
America's workers may be finally in line for a decent raise. After five years in which annual wage increases have averaged around two percent, salaries are set to pick up as a taut job market prompts more employers to boost pay to retain or add the workers they need, economists said.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2015-12-21) Read the full article
Many Startup Employees Seeing Little Payouts During Big IPOs
The frustrated expectations of early employees have become a common thread in the latest round of technology IPOs. It used to be "the get-rich story happened for people who joined in the early days," says Saar Gur, general partner at Charles River Ventures, but now they can be among the few left behind.
(Source: Bloomberg, 2015-12-17) Read the full article
Companies Helping Employees Pay for Homes Closer to Work
Facebook is offering employees at its Silicon Valley headquarters at least $10,000 to move closer to the office, a reflection of the challenges many tech companies face in the increasingly expensive and congested San Francisco Bay area. Facebook's efforts -- along with similar programs at some other technology companies including investment management technology company Addepar, data company Palantir and software firm SalesforceIQ, a unit of Inc -- could help ease a major source of tension in San Francisco: an influx of young, wealthy tech workers who commute to Silicon Valley on private buses and often displace lower-income residents.
(Source: Reuters, 2015-12-17) Read the full article
Poll Finds Workers Often Battle Over Office Temperatures
Office temperature battles rage year-round, as documented by a national Harris Poll for CareerBuilder. One in five office workers admitted arguing with a co-worker about the temperature, and about one in four admitted to secretly adjusting the controls.
(Source: Reading Eagle, 2015-12-29) Read the full article
Studies Show Workplace Environment Has Impact on Mental Health
The workplace environment you spend 40 or 50 hours in per week has a very real and substantial impact on your mental health, according to multiple studies and expert opinions from psychologists all around the world. According to a 2011 research study on how workplace design contributes to mental health and well-being, the average person spends 33 percent of their waking time in their workplace on a weekly basis; therefore, the physical workplace environment has a major impact on everything from happiness and mood to productivity and focus.
(Source: Psych Central, 2015-12-20) Read the full article
Handbook Revisions Required for Companies with New Federal Contracts

Tami A. Earnhart
Tami A. Earnhart

In April 2014, President Obama issued Executive Order 13665 prohibiting retaliation by covered federal contractors (generally, companies with federal contracts or subcontracts totaling $10,000 or more) against any employee or applicant because the employee or applicant inquired about, discussed, or disclosed the compensation of the employee or applicant or another employee or applicant. Because the National Labor Relations Act already prohibits such retaliation by most employers, this Executive Order did not receive as much attention as other recent Executive Orders related to federal contractors. Nonetheless, covered federal contractors need to be familiar with the final rule issued by the Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP) in September, 2015. The final rule is effective on January 11, 2016 and applies to contractors who enter into a new covered federal contract, or modify an existing covered federal contract, on or after that date. If your company enters into such federal contracts, you will need to make a change to your employee handbook in addition to modifying your postings.

Read the full article here.


DHS Publishes Proposed Regulations Affecting Foreign Workers

The Department of Homeland Security recently published proposed regulations designed to improve employment-based visa programs for high-skilled foreign national workers. Some of the proposed changes would conform with longstanding policies related to H-1B extensions beyond the normal six-year maximum, eligibility of H-1B workers and adjustment of status applicants to change employers, and exemption of certain employers from the H-1B annual quota. Other proposed amendments would implement new requirements in these areas, including adhering to specific timelines regarding the filing of adjustment of status applications and proposing new definitions of “same” or “similar” occupations as those terms relate to adjustment of status applicants changing jobs. The proposed regulations also establish grace periods for certain nonimmigrant visa classifications, provide limited circumstances for employment authorization for beneficiaries of approved immigrant petitions, and eliminate the current regulation requiring adjudication of Employment Authorization Document applications within 90 days. Temporary automatic extension of existing Employment Authorization Documents would be provided, however, to certain applicants.

Read the full article here.


New Partner Spotlight

Manolis Boulukos

Ice Miller LLP is pleased to announce that nine attorneys have been named new partners of the Firm, including Manolis Boulukos in the Firm’s Labor and Employment Group.
Manolis Boulukos represents and advises clients in labor and employment law matters, including federal and state litigation; wage and hour issues; administrative proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Labor Relations Board; collective bargaining; arbitrations; union organizing; and the development of employment policies and practices, including conducting extensive wage and hour audits. Learn more about Manolis here.


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