The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has given notice of a proposal that would require certain employers to report employee pay information as part of the required Employer Information Report (EEO-1) starting in 2017. The EEO-1 is an annual report that requires most federal contractors (with 50 or more employees) and private employers (with 100 or more employees) to tally and report their employee numbers for one pay period by job category and by sex, race, and ethnicity. Currently, the EEO-1 does not require employers to report pay data or hours worked by each employee group.
On January 29, 2016, the state of Idaho introduced Bill H 400 that if approved may increase the minimum wage rate. Similar bills have been introduced in the past but have been denied in the early stages of legislation. The minimum wage increase topic has always been a complicated one across the nation. Those in favor of the minimum wage increase argue that by increasing it, employees would be able to meet their basic needs. This would then lead to not having to depend on public assistance programs, which cost millions to administer. Individuals against increasing the minimum wage argue that increasing the rate will damage the economic prospects of millions of vulnerable individuals. Many argue that by having to increase the minimum wage rate, employers are forced to increase their prices.
This year federal contractors and subcontractors will be busy navigating new laws and new posting responsibilities. Changes include an increase in the federal contractor minimum wage rate, implementation of the final rule requiring pay transparency, and expanded Equal Employment Opportunity rights for employees and applicants of federal contractors or subcontractors. For each of these changes there are also new posting requirements.
Federal contractors and subcontractors can obtain information on the new laws, rules and regulations, get answers to frequently asked questions, and access a number of resources to guide contractors through new responsibilities from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) website http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/. Federal contractors are also required to post three new notices under OFCCP regulations:
The state of Connecticut has passed a new law (Public Act 15-206) that imposes restrictions on the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems and vapor products in various establishments and public areas. As defined in the law, an “electronic nicotine delivery system” is a device that may be used to simulate smoking in the delivery of nicotine or other substances to a person inhaling from the device. A “vapor product” (e-cigarette) is defined as a product that employs a heating element, power source, electronic circuit or other electronic, chemical or mechanical means, regardless of shape or size, to produce a vapor that may or may not include nicotine, hat is inhaled by the user of such product.
New York City (NYC) Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed bill, Intro. 743-A to establish an Office of Labor Standards. The office will enforce the City’s paid sick leave and transit benefits laws. This comes as a result of pending rules that will help clarify provisions in the City’s paid sick leave law. The goal is to focus on the workplace and help employees and employers know and understand labor laws. Employers who violate any NYC labor standards will be held accountable.
The office, which is scheduled to be established this spring, will also be responsible for making recommendations for worker education, safety and protection, creating public education campaigns regarding worker rights, and collecting and analyzing labor statistics. Mayor de Blasio will soon appoint the Director who will conduct investigations, serve subpoenas, and impose civil penalties on businesses that violate the City’s labor standards. For more information, make sure to visit New York City’s official website.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration Recordkeeping Regulation (29 CFR 1904) requires employers to prepare and maintain records of work-related injuries and illnesses. Covered employers are required to complete and post the OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses by February 1st. The form must be visible to employees and prospective employees until April 30th.
Las year, new recordkeeping and reporting rules were adopted. The list of industries that are exempt from the requirement to routinely keep OSHA injury and illness records, and the list of severe work-related injuries and illnesses that all covered employers must report to OSHA were extended. The new requirements went into effect January 1, 2015. As a result, the instructions to fill out the OSHA Form 300A have been revised to clarify these changes. Specifically, the new instructions clarify the three methods of reporting and when employers are expected to report fatalities, inpatient hospitalizations, amputations or job related loss of an eye.
In 2014, New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie signed the Opportunity to Compete Act also known as Ban the Box law to assist individuals with criminal records reintegrate into the community by offering them a fair chance to apply to job positions. The law, which became effective March 1, 2015, prohibits employers from requiring prospective employees to complete an employment application that makes inquiries regarding their criminal record during the initial employment process. That is, employers cannot ask prospective employees to disclose whether he or she has a criminal history until after the first interview. Employers are also prohibited from making an oral or written inquiry during the initial employment application process regarding an applicant’s criminal record. The Act, however, does not apply to positions sought in law enforcement, homeland security or emergency management, corrections, and where a criminal background check is required by law, rule or regulation.
New California Workers’ Compensation regulations went into effect on January 1, 2016. The regulations revised several employee benefit notices so that injured workers have a clearer understanding of their rights and responsibilities in the workers’ compensation claims process and to reduce litigation. The regulations also revised the mandatory Workers’ Compensation posting, Notice to Employees – Injuries Caused by Work.
The revised Notice to Employees advises employees of additional benefits and limits on other specified benefits; clarifies the meaning of permanent disability; and updates information on the roles of the predesignated personal physician, medical provider network (MPN) and health care organization (HCO), and claims administrator when the employer is not using an MPN or HCO. The notice also informs employees that they can access the publication “Workers’ Compensation in California: A Guidebook for Injured Workers” on the DWC website.
On January 1, 2016, the minimum wage rate in the state of Massachusetts increased from $9.00 per hour to $10.00 per hour. The minimum wage rate increase is the second in a series of three annual increases required by Senate Bill 2195 signed in 2014 by Governor Deval Patrick. The next increase is scheduled for January 1, 2017. The minimum wage rate will increase to $11.00 per hour.
To prominently display the new minimum wage rate, the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General has revised the Wage and Hour Laws posting by removing the 2015 minimum wage rate. Information on the recently approved Earned Sick Time Law has also been added to the revised posting. Lastly, the new Fair Labor office hours and a statement that wage and hour laws apply to workers regardless of immigration status have been added to the Wage and Hour Laws posting.