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Informed Employer: March 13, 2019 Informed Employer: March 13, 2019

Informed Employer: March 13, 2019

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Judge Says Companies Must Report Pay Data by Gender and Race
A U.S. judge has revived an Obama-era rule that requires larger companies to report workers' pay data broken down by gender and race, which business groups have said would be burdensome and would not address pay discrimination as intended. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington D.C. said the White House Office of Management & Budget failed to explain what was wrong with the rule when it blocked it from taking effect in 2017, and ordered the agency to put the requirements back in place.
(Source: Reuters, 2019-03-05) Read the full article
IRS Issuing New Penalties Against Employers Over ACA Forms
Lost amid the confusion of the federal government shutdown this year was a new set of penalties the IRS began to issue as part of the agency's ongoing enforcement of the Affordable Care Act. In the final days of 2018, the agency started issuing notices to assess penalties against employers who failed to file Forms 1094-C and 1095-C with the IRS or to furnish 1095-C forms to employees under IRC Sections 6721 and 6722 for the 2015 or 2016 tax year.
(Source: Accounting Today, 2019-03-06) Read the full article
Bill Would Let OSHA Enforce Hospital Violence Safety Standards
Sponsored by Congressman Joe Courtney, D-CT, a workplace violence bill (H.R. 1309) would require healthcare and social service employers to implement workplace violence prevention plans that would be enforceable by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. "This would create a nationally-enforceable standard so that OSHA -- as it does in so many other workplace areas of safety -- can actually have a measuring stick," Courtney said.
(Source: Fierce Healthcare, 2019-02-28) Read the full article
Proposed Bills Would Eliminate National Caps on Work-Based Green Cards
Legislation meant to clear backlogs for employment-based green cards would expedite the flow of high-skilled workers from countries such as India and China who face inordinately long waits, but it could lengthen wait times for immigrant workers from other countries. Companion bills have been put forward in the House and in the Senate that would remove per-country limits on employment-based green cards, which allow foreign nationals to live and work permanently in the U.S.
(Source: SHRMOnline, 2019-03-08) Read the full article
More Companies Pairing 401(k) and Student Loan Benefits
An increasing number of employers are adopting programs that pair 401(k) savings with student loan repayments, as the nation's cascading college debt has some workers deciding between paying off loans or building a retirement nest egg. Some employers have been wary of pairing student loans and retirement savings due to "contingent benefit rules," which limit the ability of employers to link certain types of workplace benefits together.
(Source: InvestmentNews, 2019-03-08) Read the full article
Reducing Mental Health Stigma Benefits Workplace Diversity Efforts
Because of the stigma often associated with mental health disorders, employees might not be using the benefits and programs employers have in place to help address the problem. That’s why just having programs in place isn’t enough, experts say.
(Source: Employee Benefit News, 2019-03-11) Read the full article
Employers Face Challenges as States Legalize Cannabis
The legalization of cannabis isn't an "if" but a "when" issue for employers in most states. With the possibility of legalized cannabis under federal law in the coming years, workplace policy changes are also in question.
(Source: Workforce, 2019-02-27) Read the full article
Companies Amassing Highly-Skilled Workers Even Without Openings
With businesses struggling to fill job vacancies amid low unemployment and fewer available workers, many are adopting a new strategy: they're stockpiling the most talented employees in fields such as information technology, social media and engineering on fears they might not be around when an opening arises. Worker shortages have led to prolonged searches and lost revenue.
(Source: USA Today, 2019-03-06) Read the full article
Free Food at Work Has Tax Implications for Companies
Employers can't write off most meals they give to employees, but snacks are tax-deductible. That means someone has to figure out when a snack morphs into a meal.
(Source: Marketplace, 2019-03-08) Read the full article
 
 
 
Headlines
U.S. DOL "Springs Forward" with Increased Salaries for Overtime Exemptions

Paul Bittner Emmanuel Boulukos Tami Earnhart
Paul Bittner, Manolis Boulukos & Tami Earnhart

On Thursday, March 7, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released its proposed new regulations concerning the minimum salary level required for most of the "white-collar" (i.e., Administrative, Executive and Professional) overtime exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the proposed rule, which is subject to a period of public comment and potential revision before implementation, the minimum salary for most white collar exemptions would increase from $455 per week ($23,660 per year) to $679 per week ($35,308 per year).

Read more here.

 

 

 

The BIPA Roller Coaster Webinar

Friday, March 15, 2019
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. (CT) Webinar

Ice Miller, RSM, FinTex, and the Chicago Bar Association Financial and Emerging Technologies Committee are proud to present a live presentation and webinar on: "The BIPA Roller Coaster: BIPA Compliance and Mitigating Litigation Risk post-Six Flags".

This experiential learning event includes a panel of experienced privacy professionals, attorneys, and consultants who will address what businesses need to know about the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act ("BIPA"), common issues and a primer on BIPA compliance, and how to minimize the litigation risk for potential BIPA violations following the Illinois Supreme Court's decision in Rosenbach v. Six Flags.

Sign up here.

 

Tips for Avoiding Lifting Injuries

Jennifer McDaniel
Jennifer McDaniel

Excessive lifting, pushing and pulling causes a lot of workplace injuries. By carefully analyzing the job, you can reduce lifting injuries.

  • Plan the workflow to eliminate unnecessary risks.
  • Use mechanical assist devices whenever possible to relieve heavy load lifting and carrying tasks. Make sure lifting aids are readily available in areas where needed.  
  • Minimize the distances loads have to be lifted and lowered.
  • Position pallet loads at the right height so workers lift and lower within the power zone between waist and chest level.
  • Store materials above ground so they don’t have to be lifted in order to be used.
  • Use team lifting for heavy and bulky items.  
  • Rotate workers between lifting and non-lifting tasks to prevent repetitive overexertion.

 

 
   
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