Informed Employer: January 3, 2018 Informed Employer: January 3, 2018

Informed Employer: January 3, 2018

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Tax Overhaul Will Challenge How Employers Deal with Paychecks
Republicans' tax overhaul will completely change the way employers figure out how to withhold income taxes from millions of Americans' paychecks, potentially disrupting payroll departments as they figure out how to switch to the new system with little guidance and just days to spare. As of Jan. 1, the Republican plan dumps the entire concept of personal exemptions that workers now use to calculate how much should be taken from their pay on the tax forms known as W-4s.
(Source: Politico, 2017-12-20) Read the full article
Many States Giving Minimum Wage Workers Raises in New Year
The lowest wage workers in 18 states will get a boost in their paychecks starting on New Year's Day, as minimum wage hikes take effect. Many of the wage hikes are phased-in steps toward an ultimately higher wage, the product of ballot initiatives pushed by unions and workers' rights groups over the last few years.
(Source: The Hill, 2018-01-01) Read the full article
Rules on Employee-Covered Birth Control Blocked by Second Judge
A second U.S. judge blocked President Donald Trump's administration from enforcing new rules that undermine an Obamacare requirement for employers to provide insurance that covers women's birth control. U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam Jr. in Oakland, California, said the federal government likely did not follow proper administrative procedures in promulgating the new rules, and put them on hold while a lawsuit challenging their legality proceeds.
(Source: Reuters, 2017-12-21) Read the full article
Chief Justice Roberts Creates Task Force on Sexual Harassment
Responding to the retirement of a prominent appeals court judge accused of sexual harassment, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the federal court system must do more to protect law clerks and other employees from abusive conduct. "Events in recent months have illuminated the depth of the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace," the chief justice wrote in his year-end report on the state of the federal judiciary, "and events in the past few weeks have made clear that the judicial branch is not immune."
(Source: The New York Times, 2017-12-31) Read the full article
Employers Face New Overtime Rule Announced by DOL
A new overtime rule could hit employers as soon as next October, the U.S. Department of Labor announced in its fall regulatory agenda. Professional workers making less than $47,476 or an hourly equivalent, could stand to benefit, even if they are covered by other exemptions.
(Source: McKnight's, 2017-12-20) Read the full article
Workplace Fatalities Increased Seven Percent in 2016
There were 5,190 workplace fatalities reported in the U.S. in 2016, a seven percent increase over the previous year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of 2016 Fatal Occupational Injuries, the fatal injury rate increased from 3.4 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers in 2015 to 3.6 in 2016.
(Source: Insurance Journal, 2017-12-27) Read the full article
Lawsuit Claims Bias in Facebook Job Ads Targeting Age Groups
Several U.S. employers engaged in age discrimination by placing recruitment ads on Facebook targeting younger workers, according to a lawsuit filed by a communications industry labor union. Companies including T-Mobile, Amazon.com and Cox Communications imposed age limits on who could see recruitment ads, limiting some only to people younger than 38, according to the lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco by the Communications Workers of America.
(Source: Reuters, 2017-12-20) Read the full article
Employers Consider Coverage of Medical Marijuana in Health Plans
With 29 states and the District of Columbia now allowing the use of medical marijuana, it's conceivable that the drug could be covered under an employee health plan or workers' compensation plan. In Canada, which has legalized medical marijuana, some large employers have already announced that they will cover the drug under their employee benefit plans.
(Source: SHRMOnline, 2017-12-29) Read the full article
New York Paid Family Leave Law Takes Effect in January
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a phased-in system of paid family leave that will become effective on January 1, 2018, for New York employers. On the state level, New York becomes the fifth state (joining California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Washington) to pass a law granting eligible male and female employees paid family leave.
(Source: Insurance Journal, 2017-12-27) Read the full article
Employees Found to Be Productive During Week of Christmas
Despite all the vacant desks in the office, for some workers the week between Christmas and New Year's is the most productive time of the year. Though one-third of workers take the entire week off, overall productivity slumps only five percent, according to an analysis from file-sharing service Egnyte.
(Source: Chicago Tribune, 2017-12-26) Read the full article
 
 
 
Headlines
Is PTO the Solution to Your Ailments?


Tami Earnhart

Are you tired of wondering whether your employees are actually sick when they use their paid sick days? Are you weary of tracking your employees' use of both vacation and sick time?  Do you have locations in several states?  If you answer yes to any of these questions, switching to the use of Paid Time Off (PTO) instead of paid vacation, sick and/or personal time could be right for you. Before doing so, or if you have already made the switch, make sure you understand the upside and downside of PTO, the different options and the legal rules that apply.

The most commonly cited benefit of a PTO system is flexibility. Employees can typically use PTO without providing a reason, meaning they have more flexibility to decide when to take off to watch their child's soccer game, attend a family function or stay home when they are under the weather. This added flexibility can benefit employee morale and result in a more positive working environment. Employees may feel they have more discretion to control their work-life balance.
 
Another benefit is that PTO, depending on how it is structured, can eliminate some of the administrative work required to track both vacation and sick days. With PTO, employers have less need to question the reason for the absence and monitor, for example, if the employee is truly sick when using sick days.

Read more here.

 

Ice Miller's Day of Service

 

 

On Nov. 3, 2017, teams across Ice Miller’s markets proudly spent the day volunteering with local nonprofits during Ice Miller’s Second Annual Day of Service. Ice Miller’s Day of Service is coordinated by the Ice Miller Foundation.

Ice Miller has a culture of corporate philanthropy that spans its 100-year history. The Firm proudly gives of its time, treasure and talent. In 2016, the Firm built on its commitment by creating the Ice Miller Foundation. Learn more here.

 

 
 
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