EEOC Proposes Adding Pay Data to EEO-1 Report

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today made public a proposed revision to the Employer Information Report (EEO-1) to include collecting pay data from employers, including federal contractors, with more than 100 employees.

This new data will assist the agency in identifying possible pay discrimination and assist employers in promoting equal pay in their workplaces, according to a press announcement. The revised EEO-1 will be announced today in conjunction with the White House commemoration of the seventh anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

EEO-1 data provides the federal government with workforce profiles from private sector employers by race, ethnicity, sex, and job category. This proposal would add aggregate data on pay ranges and hours worked to the information collected, beginning with the September 2017 report.

Proposed changes are available for inspection on the Federal Register website and will be officially published in the Federal Register on Feb. 1, 2016. Members of the public have 60 days from that date, or until April 1, 2016, to submit comments.

The new pay data will provide EEOC and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) of the Department of Labor (DOL) with insight into pay disparities across industries and occupations and strengthen federal efforts to combat discrimination, according to the EEOC announcement.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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Seattle Franchise Owners Seek SCOTUS Help on $15 Minimum Wage

The International Franchise Association (IFA) yesterday appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a federal court ruling that let stand a city minimum-wage provision lumping franchise owners in with their national franchisers.

As a result of that provision, Seattle franchisees are on the hook to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour faster than companies with fewer employees.

Businesses with 500 or more employees are on a faster track — three years to implement $15 an hour versus seven years for smaller businesses — and local franchisees are upset that they’re being lumped into the large employee classification because of their association with their franchisers, aka McDonald’s, Burger King, et al.

In September, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a similar appeal by the IFA, and that decision is now being appealed to the Supreme Court..


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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WHD Administrator Issues Joint Employer Interpretation

Wage and Hour Division (WHD) Administrator David Weil yesterday issued guidance on joint employers that will allow more employees to fall under the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), advising:

“When two or more employers jointly employ an employee, the employee’s hours worked for all of the joint employers during the workweek are aggregated and considered as one employment, including for purposes of calculating whether overtime pay is due.”

Weil admits that his interpretation won’t apply to every employment situation, but he defines two overarching categories of joint employment that would fall under the FLSA — horizontal and vertical:

“Horizontal joint employment exists where the employee has employment relationships with two or more employers and the employers are sufficiently associated or related with respect to the employee such that they jointly employ the employee. ”

“Vertical joint employment exists where the employee has an employment relationship with one employer (typically a staffing agency, subcontractor, labor provider, or other intermediary employer) and the economic realities show that he or she is economically dependent on, and thus employed by, another entity involved in the work.”

Read “Administrator’s Interpretation No. 2016-1.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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WARN Saga Involving Republic Windows Comes to a Slow Resolution

Republic Windows and Doors, located in Goose Island, Ill., abruptly shuttered its manufacturing facility in 2008, declared bankruptcy and relocated to Iowa using another name. Workers were let go with no notice, violating the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.

The union notified the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which sought redress of grievances in terms of wages and benefits. The saga dragged on for almost a decade, until today when notice was posted online that a bankruptcy court had awarded the employees partial recompense of $295,000.

Here’s the NLRB’s press release account:

Former Republic Windows and Doors employees will receive long overdue backpay of $295,000 after a motion from the NLRB’s Region 13 in Chicago was granted by the Bankruptcy Court of the Northern District of Illinois.  In a June 2011 decision, the Board found that the employer violated the National Labor Relations Act when they closed their Goose Island facility and moved operations to an alter ego operation in Iowa. However, ongoing bankruptcy procedures made full or partial compliance with the order unlikely until a successful suit against the employer’s insurer made additional assets available for the repayment of debts.

In December 2008, the employer abruptly shuttered operations at its Goose Island facility and filed for voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy resulting in the termination of 270 employees. Simultaneously, the employer established Echo Windows and Doors with substantially identical ownership, management, and purpose. Upon closing operations in the Chicago-area, the employer transferred all bargaining unit work to this alter ego operation in order to avoid obligations to the Union as the employees’ collective-bargaining representative.

Bankruptcy proceedings often prevent compliance with Board-ordered remedies as employer’s assets are liquidated through Chapter 7 processes. While the employees did not receive full backpay, obtaining partial compliance in this case is a victory for workers who have been waiting for a remedy since 2008.

The NLRB’s Region 13 Office in Chicago will be contacting former employees regarding the distribution of backpay.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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UnitedHealth, Humana Bleed Red for Obamacare

UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation’s largest health insurer which last year said it might withdraw from the Obamacare insurance exchanges, this week increased projected 2016 Affordable Care Act (ACA) losses from $400 million to $500 million.

Humana Inc. also disclosed that it was setting up a “premium deficiency reserve” for its anticipated 2016 ACA losses.

Aetna Inc. recently revealed losses on its exchange business in 2015 but said it hoped for “mid-single-digit” profits in 2016.

Obamacare represents just a fraction of UnitedHealth’s business, and the company still projects $7.60 to $7.80 in per-share earnings for 2016 on $180 billion in revenue.

Meanwhile, Kevin Counihan, health insurance marketplace CEO, yesterday moved to address one of the insurers’ pet peeves — that consumers were waiting until they got sick to purchase insurance on the exchanges using special enrollment periods (SEPs). Counihan announced the elimination of seven SEP categories (see blog post).

The CEO also explained:

While there will continue to be special enrollment periods for people who lose coverage mid-year or experience other life changes, this channel for enrollment will not be available for the vast majority of consumers. For example, special enrollment periods are not allowed for people who choose to remain uninsured and then decide they need health insurance when they get sick.  Consumers who do not currently have other health insurance coverage should enroll through the Marketplace now during these last two weeks of Open Enrollment, to make sure they have coverage if they get sick and to avoid the tax penalty.


For the full story on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) affects your business, no matter how large or small, please obtain a copy of our comprehensive yet easy-to-follow Affordable Care Act Compliance Kit.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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Supreme Court to Rule on Obama’s Immigration/Executive Authority

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments on the legality of President Obama’s twin executive orders of November 2014 that aimed to block deportation of illegal immigrations and also offer millions of them work permits.

Obama’s plans were blocked first by a federal district judge in Texas and then by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which kept the judge’s original legal injunction in place while referring the matter back for full trial.

That trial, involving a lawsuit brought by 26 states to block the president’s executive actions, now will likely prove moot, as a decision by the Supreme Court will come in June. That decision will have far-reaching effects if it either curtails Obama’s use of executive orders or if it rubber stamps them.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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OSHA Form 300A Must Be Posted from Feb. 1 to April 30

unnamedCovered employers must post OSHA’s Form 300A, which summarizes their work site’s total of job-related injuries and illnesses during the prior calendar year, from Feb. 1 to April 30 of each year.

Employers with 10 or fewer employees, as well as those businesses in specific low-hazard industries, are normally exempt, but due to changes in reporting requirements that took effect in January 2015, some previously exempt industries are now covered.

View the list of “Newly Required to Keep Records.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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Slips, Trips, Falls Rule Withdrawn

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has withdrawn its Walking Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems rule, commonly referred to as “slips, trips and falls,” from review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

It’s not clear what the reason for the withdrawal is, but OSHA appears committed to finalizing the rule, which was first proposed in 1990 and then reopened to public commentary in 2010-2011 and eventually submitted to OMB.

Under the OSH Act’s General Duty Clause, however, businesses still must maintain safe and healthy workplaces even as the agency reworks its slips, trips and falls rule.


NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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Obamacare Open Enrollment Shows Slight Uptick in January

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) yesterday reported 74,000 new sign-ups on HealthCare.gov from Jan. 3 to Jan. 9, bringing total federal Obamacare enrollments to 8.7 million for the 38 states covered by the online exchange.

With another 2.7 million people having signed up on the state exchanges thus far, total enrollment for 2016 stands at about 11.4 million, with open enrollment not closing until Jan. 31.

The stated goal is to have 10 million paying customers for 2016, with the emphasis on “paying” since not everyone who signs up actually pays the premiums all year.


For the full story on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) affects your business, no matter how large or small, please obtain a copy of our comprehensive yet easy-to-follow Affordable Care Act Compliance Kit.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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Insurers Cry Foul Over Alleged Obamacare Special Enrollment Abuse

Health insurers are bombarding Obamacare administrators with complaints that people are waiting to get sick before buying health insurance and then dropping it once they are cured. They want the rules and verification system for special enrollment period (SEP) sign-ups to be clarified and tightened.

“Many individuals have no incentive to enroll in coverage during open enrollment, but can wait until they are sick or need services before enrolling and drop coverage immediately after receiving services, making the annual open enrollment period meaningless,” wrote Steven B. Kelmar, executive vice president of Aetna, to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

“State regulators are concerned that consumers are not required to provide documentation to substantiate their eligibility for a special enrollment period,” wrote the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in a letter to the HHS. “We know of many cases where individuals with serious medical conditions purchased coverage midyear by simply checking the right box or using the right language, and their eligibility was not questioned.”

The acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Andy Slavitt, told an audience Monday that his agency needs to review SEP rules because there is evidence of abuse. “There may be bad actors and others out there who are abusing those [rules],” he said.


For the full story on how the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) affects your business, no matter how large or small, please obtain a copy of our comprehensive yet easy-to-follow Affordable Care Act Compliance Kit.



NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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