California Updates EITC Employer Notification Requirements – On July 10, 2023, California adopted Senate Bill (SB) 131 to update requirements for employers to notify their employees that they may be eligible for the earned income tax credit (EITC). Employers must comply with these new notification requirements beginning Jan. 1, 2024. Read more: California Legal UpdateContinue reading
On Aug. 23, 2023, the IRS released the affordability percentage threshold for 2024 plan years under the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) pay-or-play rules. For plan years beginning in 2024, employer-sponsored coverage will be considered affordable under the ACA’s pay-or-play rules if the employee’s required contribution for self-only (employee-only) coverage does not exceed 8.39% of their household income for the year.
This is a significant decrease from the affordability percentage for 2023 plan years (9.12%) and the lowest this percentage has ever been set since the pay-or-play rules became effective. Applicable large employers (ALEs) will need to consider this affordability percentage in developing their health plan contribution strategies for the 2024 plan year. ALEs may have to reduce the amount they require employees to contribute in 2024 to meet the lower percentage.Continue reading
CROWN acts prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s hair texture and style associated with a protected class, such as race. CROWN stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.” Hair discrimination tends to disproportionately impact Black individuals, especially women, who wear hairstyles such as braids, twists, locs, Bantu knots, afros, and other hairstyles. CROWN Acts aim to prevent individuals from being subjected to discrimination by unfair workplace dress codes and grooming policies due to their hair texture or style.
Since 2019, many states (California, Colorado, Illinois, New York, etc.) and localities have enacted a CROWN Act, and more are likely to do so in the near future. Therefore, it’s essential that employers, especially those operating in states and localities with these laws, understand CROWN laws and their impact on their organizations and workforce.Continue reading
The student loan repayment pause has given borrowers a break from paying for a few years, but starting this October, student loan payments will resume. This comes at a time when many American workers are feeling financially strained. Employers are poised to help employees prepare for repayment and help reduce their emotional and financial stress.
However, employers must be cognizant of finding the right balance for their workforce. While loan relief could help organizations attract and retain talent (often younger generations) impacted by student loans, repayment assistance may seem unfair to workers who do not have such debt.Continue reading
On Aug. 30, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a proposed rule to amend current requirements employees in white-collar occupations must satisfy to qualify for an overtime exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
To qualify for this exemption, white-collar employees must satisfy the standard salary level test, among other criteria. This salary level is a wage threshold that white-collar employees must receive to qualify for the exemption. The DOL is proposing to increase the standard salary level from:
- $684 to $1,059 per week ($35,568 to $55,068 per year); and
- $107,432 to $143,988 per year for highly compensated employees.
Colorado Law Expands and Clarifies Pay Transparency Requirements – On June 5, 2023, Colorado enacted a new law, Senate Bill (SB) 105, that expands pay transparency and related requirements under the Colorado Wage Equality Law. The new law is effective Jan. 1, 2024. Employers must make reasonable efforts to announce, post or otherwise make all job opportunities known to current employees before making a promotion decision. SB 105 also requires employers to provide current employees with information about the candidate selected for each job opportunity. Read more: Colorado Legal Update
The U.S. Supreme Court issued several consequential decisions as its most recent term ended, including addressing affirmative action programs in college admissions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. While these rulings will likely not directly affect employers, they may impact workplace diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) initiatives, including how organizations promote and implement them.
- Individual Lawsuits – While the Supreme Court’s rulings did not directly address hiring or employment practices, employers may face increased scrutiny over their hiring practices and DEIB initiatives. This will likely take the form of individual reverse discrimination lawsuits, with applicants or employees claiming to be disadvantaged by an employer’s DEIB initiatives. For example, employers that rely on DEIB programs that impact employment decisions could be at a higher risk of potential litigation than those that simply offer employee resource groups (ERG).
When an employee is misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee, they are denied crucial benefits and standard labor protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA, enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD), establishes standards for recordkeeping, overtime pay, minimum wage, and youth employment in the private sector and for federal, state, and local governments.
On Oct. 13, 2022, the DOL published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to rescind its 2021 independent contractor classification rule under the FLSA and replace it with new guidance for how employers should interpret employee or independent contractor status. The agency recently indicated that it will likely publish a final independent contractor rule in October 2023. The proposed revision is intended to reduce the likelihood that employees will be misclassified as independent contractors and improve clarity for employers. If the proposed rule comes into effect, it will likely impact most employers. Employers are not required to change how they classify employees until the DOL’s proposed rule is finalized.
New Form – On Aug. 1, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, published an updated version of Form I-9. USCIS has indicated that employers may begin using the new form immediately and that use of the expired form (dated “10/19/2019”) will be allowed through Oct. 31, 2023. Beginning Nov. 1, 2023, employers will need to use the newest version of the form or face potential penalties. The new version of the form can be accessed by clicking the following link: New Form I-9.
Form I-9 Summary of Changes – The new version contains changes to the form and instructions, including shortening the Form I‑9 to one page and reducing the instructions to eight pages. Click the following link to view: USCIS’s Summary of Form I-9 Changes.
As talent shortages persist across industries, an increasing number of employers are grappling with the need to adapt to the “new normal” to address this challenge effectively. Hiring managers are encountering a significant shift in which they find themselves dealing with an inadequate number of candidates or insufficient resources (e.g., budget and staffing) to meet the high demand for candidates. The 3 infographics below provide tips and tricks to help hiring managers improve their recruiting efforts.
Strategies to Improve Hiring Outcomes – Prioritizing the quality of new hires can improve employee retention and morale, decreasing turnover costs. Employers should analyze their recruitment and onboarding practices for more positive hiring outcomes. Click the following link to view the infographic: Strategies to Improve Hiring Outcomes