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On Nov. 3, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published two new opinion letters providing the DOL’s official position on how the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to employee pay when there is work-related travel or employee training.

Voluntary Training Programs

The FLSA requires employers to compensate their employees for all hours of work. While the FLSA does not define what qualifies as “work,” the U.S. Supreme Court has determined that employees should be compensated for any time that “is spent predominantly for the employer’s benefit.”

The Vision Council reported that more than 70% of Americans don’t know—or don’t believe—that they could suffer from eye strain.

The reality is that most adults are on digital media for about four to six hours each day. If your job involves working on a computer and you’ve been logging on from home, you may be racking up even more hours than normal in front of a brightly lit screen.

HR Compliance Bulletin header imageThe U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule on defining and delimiting the exemptions for executive, administrative, professional, outside sales and computer employees (EAP employees) became effective Jan. 1, 2020. Among other things, the final rule updated the standard salary level employees must satisfy to qualify for an overtime exemption.

The final rule also allows employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level if these payments are made at least on an annual basis. To enable compliance with the nondiscretionary bonus option, the final rule allows employers to make a “catch-up” payment at the end of each 52-week period. This Compliance Overview explains how this provision can be used.

HR Insights Blog HeaderA successful business is all about accountability. Each worker’s individual contributions build on one another and culminate into something greater, to the benefit of the company and its customers.

Conversely, when some individuals struggle with their performance, the entire organization can suffer. Unfortunately, addressing poor performance isn’t always easy. This is especially true amid the COVID- 19 pandemic, as remote working often makes accountability more complicated. This article offers five tips to help employers manage poor performance in the workplace, even while everyone is working from home.

HR Compliance Bulletin header imageThe Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit available to employers that hire individuals from certain “targeted groups” that have consistently faced significant barriers to employment.

An employer may claim the WOTC for wages paid to these individuals during their first year of employment, as long as they are hired before Dec. 31, 2020, and work at least 120 hours for the employer during that first year. The credit is calculated as:
  • 25% of the wages paid to an employee who worked between 120 and 400 hours; or
  • 40% for an employee who worked more than 400 hours.

Legal Update HeaderUnder a new law enacted on Sept. 30, 2020, certain California employers must file an annual workforce pay data report with the state by March 31 every year.

The law applies to employers that have 100 or more employees and are required to file the federal Employer Information Report (EEO-1) with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The deadline for an employer’s initial report is March 31, 2021.

HR Insights Blog HeaderThe COVID-19 pandemic changed the world within just a few months. As the crisis worsened, established processes were relaxed or abandoned in favor of maintaining operations. Among the most significant of these changes has been the increase in telework arrangements and the domino effect that it has caused.

Telework, or working from home, has risen steadily over the past several years, but it exploded amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Take, for instance, a 2017 Gallup poll that found that 43% of Americans worked remotely at least some of the time. Now, nearly that same percentage (42%) is working remotely full-time, according to a recent Stanford study.

HR Insights Blog HeaderAhead of elections, many employers want to encourage voter participation and are considering if any initiatives may be appropriate for their organization. While voting initiatives allow employers to help increase voter participation— these efforts can also bolster employee relations.

Because partisan political and voting initiatives risk divisiveness in the workplace, employers should focus on simply encouraging voter participation. This article outlines the impact of voting initiatives and various efforts that employers can consider to help educate employees and encourage them to vote.

Legal Update HeaderNew York City has amended its Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (ESST) to align with the state’s paid sick leave law (PSL), which was passed in April 2020 as part of the state budget. Both the amendments to the city ESST and the accrual and notice portions of the state law take effect Sept. 30, 2020.

The ESST amendments make a number of changes to the law, most notably how much leave must be provided by employers of different sizes, as follows:

HR Insights Blog HeaderPolitical discussion has and will continue to be a reality in many work environments. Work can already be a stressful place for many, with political discussion adding an additional stressor for employees—and in many cases, an additional concern for employers. While disagreement in and of itself isn’t always a detriment to all workplaces, political discussion can negatively affect the work environment for many employees.

This article addresses the impact that political discussion has in the workplace and steps that employers can consider to help keep political discussion civil. Read More Button