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What We're Watching | Week of August 15, 2022


What We're Watching, a weekly summary from the team at Boss Consulting HR, to highlight the ever-moving parts that is Human Resources.

 

Federal Updates


DOL Cracks Down on Employers' Failure to Obey the Laws of the FLSA.


Last week, the Department of Labor held that a series of WingStop franchise locations were in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The locations failed to comply with terms of minimum wage (after paycheck deductions), overtime, and recordkeeping of employee wages and hours worked. These violations resulted in civil penalties, back wages, and damages owed.


“The law prevents [the employer] from shifting operating costs to workers by deducting the costs of uniforms, cash register shortages or training expenses, or to allow worker’s pay to fall below the minimum wage rate.” - U.S. Department of Labor


To avoid violations in your own workplace:

The best practice is to stay ahead of any potential issues by getting a written employee Acknowledgement before deducting anything that may not be returned upon termination – such as uniform, equipment, ID badge, etc.


We encourage you to have your employees sign off when they receive the items, rather than waiting to address the deduction on a final paycheck when an issue arises.


If you would like to know more about the laws enforced by the FLSA, check out more here for great resources. Including a toll-free helpline and Timesheet App.


Affordability Requirements Have Been Set – Time to Review and Revise


Each year, the IRS sets an affordability threshold for health plan premiums. As an employer, you must make sure your lowest-premium health plan meets the affordability requirement outlined in the Affordable Care Act. Failure to do so may result in strict penalties.


For 2023, the number to meet is set at 9.12% of an employee’s household income, down from this year’s minimum of 9.16%. Determining your workers’ household income presents an obvious challenge. This is why the IRS created three affordability “safe harbors” that you can use to make sure you comply with the affordability standard.


For more detailed information on how to determine your affordability safe harbors – and to ensure you’re in compliance for 2023 – we point you to this great article from SHRM.


Once a Union-Only Issue, Weingarten Rights May Soon Apply to All


Weingarten rights (familiar to those who deal with unions) may soon apply to non-union workplaces as well.


What are they, and how might you be affected?


Weingarten rights → “an employee represented by a union has the right, upon request, to union representation in any investigative interview that could reasonably lead to discipline of that employee.”


Concern that this regulation may soon apply to all workplaces, stems from a memo released by the National Labor Relations Board at the end of May. The memo implied that, as soon as the right case presents itself, this change in president could take effect.


While no change has been made, consequences for failing to comply with Weingarten rights are worthy of your attention. The National Law Review deems it an issue all employers should be watching, and we agree.


To familiarize yourself with Weingarten rights, read more here.


Connecticut Updates


Premium Pay Program Kicks Off This Week – Your Workers May Qualify for Aid


Connecticut’s Premium Pay Program is set to kick off this week. The program provides relief for essential workers in the private sector, offering up to $1,000.00 per worker.


The Premium Pay Program is the second of two initiatives to provide assistance to Connecticut essential workers. The first, the Connecticut Essential Worker COVID-19 Assistance Fund, is another resource for your employees. It is designed to help essential workers recoup lost wages and medical expenses incurred due to the pandemic.


Funds remain available for both programs.


We urge you to spread the word to both your own employees (if considered essential workers) and to other small business owners you may know who employ essential workers.


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