Tag: Department of Labor

  • Opioids in America | CA Benefit Brokers

    June 5, 2018

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Lately, there’s been a big focus on America’s opioid addiction in the news. Whether it’s news on the abuse of the drug or it’s information sharing on how the drug works, Americans are talking about this subject regularly. We want to help educate you on this hot topic.

    Opioids are made from the opium poppy plant.  Opium has been around since 3,400 BC and it was first referenced as being cultivated in Southwest Asia. The drug traveled the Silk Road from the Mediterranean to Asia to China. Since then, the drug has gained popularity for pain relief but it also has gained notoriety as an abused drug. Morphine, Codeine, and Heroin are all derived from the opium poppy and are all highly addictive drugs that are abused all around the world. As the demand for these drugs has increased, so has the production.  From 2016 to 2017, the area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan increased by 63 percent. In 2016, it killed some 64,000 Americans, more than double the number in 2005.

    We can see that the danger from this drug is growing rapidly. What can we do to recognize potential abuse problems and to get help? Here are some facts about opioid addiction:

    • How do they work? Opioids attach to pain receptors in your brain, spinal cord, and other areas that recognize pain signals. As they attach to the receptors, it reduces the sending of pain messages to the brain and therefore reduces the feelings of pain in your body.
    • Short-acting opiates are typically prescribed for injuries and only for a few days. They take 15-30 minutes for pain relief to begin and this relief lasts for 3-4 hours. Long-acting opiates are prescribed for moderate to severe pain and are used over a long period of time. Relief typically lasts for 8-12 hours and can be used alongside a short-acting drug for breakthrough pain.
    • Dependence is common with long-term use of an opiate. This means that the patient needs to take more of and higher doses of the medicine to get the same pain relieving effect. This does not necessarily mean the patient is addicted. Addiction is the abuse of the drug by taking it in an unprescribed way—like crushing tablets or using intravenously.
    • Americans account for less than 5% of the world’s population, but take 80% of the world’s opioid About 5% of the people who take opiates become addicted to the drug.
    • Help is available through many channels from private recovery centers to insurance providers. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline is 1-800-662-HELP. This line is confidential, free, and available 24-hours a day and 7 days a week. Family and friends may also call this number for resources for help. Additional resources can be found at drugabuse.com.

    Make sure you are educated about the dangers of opioid abuse. But, don’t be discouraged and think that the abuse is incurable! There are many resources that can be used to break the addiction cycle and can make real change in the lives of its victims. Ask for help and offer help.

     

  • A DOL Audit Can Happen to You | Petaluma Benefit Consultants

    April 19, 2018

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


    Summary plan descriptions (SPDs) are required for all retirement, health, and welfare plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). However, misconceptions about this requirement are widespread. ERISA attorney Stacy H. Barrow, partner with Marathas Barrow Weatherhead Lent LLP, had a chat with ThinkHR about the importance of having proper ERISA documentation and the consequences of failing to do so.

    THR: What types of employers need to have an SPD?

    SHB: We tell all employers — of any size — who offer plans subject to ERISA that they need to have an SPD. This is the first item in every Department of Labor (DOL) audit. If you don’t have one and you get audited or a participant asks for plan documents, you will be scrambling to put documents together and you can’t do them fast enough to avoid an issue. In addition, cafeteria plans can only be adopted prospectively, so if you don’t have a written cafeteria plan in place, you may be jeopardizing the tax qualified status of your plan.

    THR: Won’t my broker or carrier take care of these documents?

    SHB: Employers may think that brokers or carriers take care of all required benefits documentation, but at the end of the day, it’s the employer who is responsible for complying with ERISA’s SPD requirement. Your broker may help you, but they might not be aware of every benefit you offer or your eligibility guidelines. The carrier’s documentation often is missing some of the required language, which is why you use a wrap. You don’t specifically have to use a wrap to develop your SPD, but the carrier document won’t get you there and an wrap is often the best way to comply. If the plan documents aren’t compliant, that’s not the carrier’s or broker’s responsibility, it’s the employer’s.

    THR: Do I really need to be concerned about a DOL audit?

    SHB: Employers can get complacent about documentation, thinking that only large employers get audited, or it won’t happen to them. It’s not only the large corporations that get audited. It can happen to employers of any size or type. It’s important to make sure you have good benefits documentation, because if you don’t, and you do get audited, it might cause the DOL to dig deeper and look for other problems, such as looking into your 401(k) plan.

    Plan documentation is a huge part of every DOL audit. I can’t stress strongly enough that they will want to see the summary plan description and plan documents. If you can get good, compliant documents to the DOL, it increases the chances of a speedy resolution. If you can provide them quickly, it sends a message that you are ready and in compliance.

    THR: What are the consequences of being out of compliance?

    SHB: Not having the proper documents may be an issue if you get audited or there is litigation over a denied claim. You need to be prepared for this possibility. If the DOL audits and imposes penalties, it may not be because the employer didn’t have a wrap document, but rather because the document wasn’t updated, wasn’t compliant, or wasn’t distributed to employees. And the DOL may impose penalties of up to $152 per day for failure to provide an SPD upon request. Also, failure to inform participants of plan changes may invalidate those changes.

    By Rachel Sobel

    Originally published by WWW.ThinkHR.com

  • Higher Satisfaction Through Higher Education | California Benefit Advisors

    April 18, 2018

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    When evaluating employee benefits, essentials such as health and dental plans, vacation time and 401(k) contributions quickly come to mind. Another benefit employers should consider involves subsidizing learning as well as ambitions. Grants and reimbursements toward advanced degrees and continuing education can be a smart investment for both employers and employees.

    Educational benefits are strongly linked to worker satisfaction. A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that nearly 80 percent of responding workers who rated their education benefits highly also rated their employers highly. While only 30 percent of those rating their higher education benefits as fair or poor conversely rated their employer highly.

    These benefits are popular with businesses as well. In a survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, nearly five of six responding employers offer some form of educational benefit. Their top reasons are to retain current employees, maintain or raise employee satisfaction, keep skill levels current, attract new talent and boost innovation and productivity. Tax credits offer additional advantages. Qualifying programs offer employers tax credits up to $5,250 per employee, per year.

    At the same time, companies should offer these benefits with care as they do pose potential pitfalls. Higher education assistance can be costly, even when not covering full costs. Workers taking advantage can become overwhelmed with the demands of after-hour studies, affecting job performance. Also, employers would be wise to ensure their employees don’t promptly leave and take their new skills elsewhere.

    When well-planned, educational benefits will likely prove a good investment. Seventy-five percent of respondents to SHRM’s survey consider their educational-assistance programs successful. To boost your employee morale, skill levels and job-satisfaction scores, consider the benefit that may deliver them all, and more.

    Find out more:
    IFEBP: Why Educational Assistance Programs Work
    EBRI: Fundamentals of Employee Benefit Programs

    By Bill Olsen

    Originally published  by www.UBABenefits.com

  • 6 Ways to Keep the Flu from Sidelining Your Workplace | CA Employee Benefit Brokers

    March 2, 2018

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    This year’s flu season is a rough one. Although the predominant strains of this year’s influenza viruses were represented in the vaccine, they mutated, which decreased the effectiveness of the immunization. The flu then spread widely and quickly, and in addition, the symptoms were severe and deadly. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the 2017 – 2018 flu season established new records for the percentage of outpatient visits related to flu symptoms and number of flu hospitalizations.

    Younger, healthy adults were hit harder than is typical, which had impacts on the workplace. In fact, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. recently revised its estimates on the impact of this flu season on employers, raising the cost of lost productivity to over $21 billion, with roughly 25 million workers falling ill.

    Fortunately, the CDC is reporting that it looks like this season is starting to peak, and while rates of infection are still high in most of the country, they are no longer rising and should start to drop. What can you do as an employer to keep your business running smoothly for the rest of this flu season and throughout the next one?

    1. Help sick employees stay home. Consider that sick employees worried about their pay, unfinished projects and deadlines, or compliance with the company attendance policy may feel they need to come to work even if they are sick. Do what you can to be compassionate and encourage them to stay home so they can get better as well as protect their co-workers from infection. In addition, make sure your sick leave policies are compliant with all local and state laws, and communicate them to your employees. Be clear with the expectation that sick employees not to report to work. For employees who feel well enough to work but may still be contagious, encourage them to work remotely if their job duties will allow. Be consistent in your application of your attendance and remote work rules.
    2. Know the law. Although the flu is generally not serious enough to require leaves of absence beyond what sick leave or PTO allow for, in a severe season, employees may need additional time off. Consider how the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), state leave laws, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may come into play for employees who have severe cases of the flu, complications, or family members who need care.
    3. Be flexible. During acute flu outbreaks, schools or daycare facilities may close, leaving parents without childcare. Employees may also need to be away from the workplace to provide care to sick children, partners, or parents. Examine your policies to see where you can provide flexibility. Look for opportunities to cross-train employees on each other’s essential duties so their work can continue while they are out.
    4. Keep it clean. Direct cleaning crews to thoroughly disinfect high-touch areas such as doorknobs, kitchen areas, and bathrooms nightly. Provide hand sanitizer in common areas and encourage frequent handwashing. Keep disinfecting wipes handy for staff to clean their personal work areas with.
    5. Limit exposure. Avoid non-essential in-person meetings and travel that can expose employees to the flu virus. Rely on technology such as video conferencing, Slack, Skype, or other platforms to bring people together virtually. Consider staggering work shifts if possible to limit the number of people in the workplace at one time.
    6. Focus on wellness. Offer free or low-cost flu shots in the workplace. If your company provides snacks or meals for employees, offer healthier options packed with nutrients.

    Get it all

    AGENCY RESOURCES: Get the latest weekly flu stats from the CDC. Learn more about how the FMLA and ADA may be used during pandemic flu from the U.S. Department of Labor.

    By Rachel Sobel

    Originally posted by www.ThinkHR.com

  • California Employment Law Update – February 2018 | Petaluma Benefit Consultants

    February 28, 2018

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Employer Response to Immigration Inspection Notice

    In January 2018, the California Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement (DLSE) released its pre-inspection notice, Notice to Employee Labor Code section 90.2.

    Effective January 1, 2018, and except as otherwise required by federal law, California employers must provide notice to current employees of any inspection of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms or other employment records conducted by an immigration agency. This notice is completed by posting the DLSE’s Notice to Employee Labor Code section 90.2 in the language the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related information to the employee within 72 hours of receiving notice of the inspection.

    A copy of the Notice of Inspection of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms, and any accompanying documents, must be posted or given to employees with the DLSE notice.

    See the notice

    Originally posted by www.ThinkHR.com

  • California Employment Law Update – January 2018 | CA Benefit Advisors

    January 24, 2018

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

    Workplace Discrimination Poster Updated

    In November 2017, the California Division of Labor and Employment updated its workplace discrimination poster, California Law Prohibits Workplace Discrimination and Harassment, to include the new supervisor training requirements to prevent sexual harassment and a revision date of November 2017. All employers must conspicuously post this document in hiring offices, on employee bulletin boards, in employment agency waiting rooms, union halls, and other places employees gather. Any employer whose workforce at any facility or establishment consists of more than 10 percent of non-English speaking persons must also post this notice in the appropriate language or languages.

    Download the poster

    Oakland Minimum Wage Poster Updated

    The City of Oakland updated its official notice for the city’s minimum wage. Beginning January 1, 2018, employees who perform at least two hours of work per workweek and within the geographic limits of the city must be paid a minimum wage of at least $13.23 per hour.

    Download the poster

    Originally published by www.ThinkHR.com

  • New Year, New Penalties | CA Benefit Advisors

    January 5, 2018

    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

    Department of Labor Publishes Updated Penalties for OSHA Violations

    On January 2, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published updated, inflation-adjusted penalties for violations of various laws regulated by the DOL and its internal components or divisions, including the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). The DOL is required to adjust the level of civil monetary penalties for inflation by January 15 each year pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Inflation Adjustment Act).

    Because of the Inflation Adjustment Act, rates for OSHA penalties have increased three times in the last 17 months (August 1, 2016, January 13, 2017, and January 2, 2018). Therefore, for violations occurring after November 2, 2015, the penalty amounts incurred by employers will depend on when the penalty is assessed, as follows:

    • If the penalty was assessed after August 1, 2016 but on or before January 13, 2017, then the August 1, 2016 penalty level applies.
    • If the penalty was assessed after January 13, 2017 but on or before January 2, 2018, then the January 13, 2017 penalty level applies.
    • If the penalty was assessed after January 2, 2018, then the current penalty level applies.

    The applicable January 2, 2018 penalty levels for violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) are as follows:

    • Willful violations: $9,239 – 129,936 (up from $9,054 – $126,749 after January 13, 2017 and $8,908 – $124,709 after August 1, 2016)
    • Repeated violations: $129,936 (up from $126,749 after January 13, 2017 and $124,709 after August 1, 2016)
    • Serious violations: $12,934 (up from $12,675 after January 13, 2017 and $12,471 after August 1, 2016)
    • Other-than-serious violations: $12,934 (up from $12,675 after January 13, 2017 and $12,471 after August 1, 2016)
    • Failure to correct violations: $12,934 (up from $12,675 after January 13, 2017 and $12,471 after August 1, 2016)
    • Posting requirement violations: $12,934 (up from $12,675 after January 13, 2017 and $12,471 after August 1, 2016)

    These increases apply to states with federal OSHA programs and states with OSHA-approved state plans. Violations occurring on or before November 2, 2015 are assessed at pre-August 1, 2016 levels.

    Employers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these increased penalties and consult counsel if they have questions about the penalty level applicable to a potential violation.

    By Nicole Quinn-Gato

    Originally published by www.ThinkHR.com

  • Opioids in America | CA Benefit Brokers

    June 5, 2018

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Lately, there’s been a big focus on America’s opioid addiction in the news. Whether it’s news on the abuse of the drug or it’s information sharing on how the drug works, Americans are talking about this subject regularly. We want to help educate you on this hot topic.

    Opioids are made from the opium poppy plant.  Opium has been around since 3,400 BC and it was first referenced as being cultivated in Southwest Asia. The drug traveled the Silk Road from the Mediterranean to Asia to China. Since then, the drug has gained popularity for pain relief but it also has gained notoriety as an abused drug. Morphine, Codeine, and Heroin are all derived from the opium poppy and are all highly addictive drugs that are abused all around the world. As the demand for these drugs has increased, so has the production.  From 2016 to 2017, the area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan increased by 63 percent. In 2016, it killed some 64,000 Americans, more than double the number in 2005.

    We can see that the danger from this drug is growing rapidly. What can we do to recognize potential abuse problems and to get help? Here are some facts about opioid addiction:

    • How do they work? Opioids attach to pain receptors in your brain, spinal cord, and other areas that recognize pain signals. As they attach to the receptors, it reduces the sending of pain messages to the brain and therefore reduces the feelings of pain in your body.
    • Short-acting opiates are typically prescribed for injuries and only for a few days. They take 15-30 minutes for pain relief to begin and this relief lasts for 3-4 hours. Long-acting opiates are prescribed for moderate to severe pain and are used over a long period of time. Relief typically lasts for 8-12 hours and can be used alongside a short-acting drug for breakthrough pain.
    • Dependence is common with long-term use of an opiate. This means that the patient needs to take more of and higher doses of the medicine to get the same pain relieving effect. This does not necessarily mean the patient is addicted. Addiction is the abuse of the drug by taking it in an unprescribed way—like crushing tablets or using intravenously.
    • Americans account for less than 5% of the world’s population, but take 80% of the world’s opioid About 5% of the people who take opiates become addicted to the drug.
    • Help is available through many channels from private recovery centers to insurance providers. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline is 1-800-662-HELP. This line is confidential, free, and available 24-hours a day and 7 days a week. Family and friends may also call this number for resources for help. Additional resources can be found at drugabuse.com.

    Make sure you are educated about the dangers of opioid abuse. But, don’t be discouraged and think that the abuse is incurable! There are many resources that can be used to break the addiction cycle and can make real change in the lives of its victims. Ask for help and offer help.

     

  • A DOL Audit Can Happen to You | Petaluma Benefit Consultants

    April 19, 2018

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


    Summary plan descriptions (SPDs) are required for all retirement, health, and welfare plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). However, misconceptions about this requirement are widespread. ERISA attorney Stacy H. Barrow, partner with Marathas Barrow Weatherhead Lent LLP, had a chat with ThinkHR about the importance of having proper ERISA documentation and the consequences of failing to do so.

    THR: What types of employers need to have an SPD?

    SHB: We tell all employers — of any size — who offer plans subject to ERISA that they need to have an SPD. This is the first item in every Department of Labor (DOL) audit. If you don’t have one and you get audited or a participant asks for plan documents, you will be scrambling to put documents together and you can’t do them fast enough to avoid an issue. In addition, cafeteria plans can only be adopted prospectively, so if you don’t have a written cafeteria plan in place, you may be jeopardizing the tax qualified status of your plan.

    THR: Won’t my broker or carrier take care of these documents?

    SHB: Employers may think that brokers or carriers take care of all required benefits documentation, but at the end of the day, it’s the employer who is responsible for complying with ERISA’s SPD requirement. Your broker may help you, but they might not be aware of every benefit you offer or your eligibility guidelines. The carrier’s documentation often is missing some of the required language, which is why you use a wrap. You don’t specifically have to use a wrap to develop your SPD, but the carrier document won’t get you there and an wrap is often the best way to comply. If the plan documents aren’t compliant, that’s not the carrier’s or broker’s responsibility, it’s the employer’s.

    THR: Do I really need to be concerned about a DOL audit?

    SHB: Employers can get complacent about documentation, thinking that only large employers get audited, or it won’t happen to them. It’s not only the large corporations that get audited. It can happen to employers of any size or type. It’s important to make sure you have good benefits documentation, because if you don’t, and you do get audited, it might cause the DOL to dig deeper and look for other problems, such as looking into your 401(k) plan.

    Plan documentation is a huge part of every DOL audit. I can’t stress strongly enough that they will want to see the summary plan description and plan documents. If you can get good, compliant documents to the DOL, it increases the chances of a speedy resolution. If you can provide them quickly, it sends a message that you are ready and in compliance.

    THR: What are the consequences of being out of compliance?

    SHB: Not having the proper documents may be an issue if you get audited or there is litigation over a denied claim. You need to be prepared for this possibility. If the DOL audits and imposes penalties, it may not be because the employer didn’t have a wrap document, but rather because the document wasn’t updated, wasn’t compliant, or wasn’t distributed to employees. And the DOL may impose penalties of up to $152 per day for failure to provide an SPD upon request. Also, failure to inform participants of plan changes may invalidate those changes.

    By Rachel Sobel

    Originally published by WWW.ThinkHR.com

  • Higher Satisfaction Through Higher Education | California Benefit Advisors

    April 18, 2018

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    When evaluating employee benefits, essentials such as health and dental plans, vacation time and 401(k) contributions quickly come to mind. Another benefit employers should consider involves subsidizing learning as well as ambitions. Grants and reimbursements toward advanced degrees and continuing education can be a smart investment for both employers and employees.

    Educational benefits are strongly linked to worker satisfaction. A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that nearly 80 percent of responding workers who rated their education benefits highly also rated their employers highly. While only 30 percent of those rating their higher education benefits as fair or poor conversely rated their employer highly.

    These benefits are popular with businesses as well. In a survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, nearly five of six responding employers offer some form of educational benefit. Their top reasons are to retain current employees, maintain or raise employee satisfaction, keep skill levels current, attract new talent and boost innovation and productivity. Tax credits offer additional advantages. Qualifying programs offer employers tax credits up to $5,250 per employee, per year.

    At the same time, companies should offer these benefits with care as they do pose potential pitfalls. Higher education assistance can be costly, even when not covering full costs. Workers taking advantage can become overwhelmed with the demands of after-hour studies, affecting job performance. Also, employers would be wise to ensure their employees don’t promptly leave and take their new skills elsewhere.

    When well-planned, educational benefits will likely prove a good investment. Seventy-five percent of respondents to SHRM’s survey consider their educational-assistance programs successful. To boost your employee morale, skill levels and job-satisfaction scores, consider the benefit that may deliver them all, and more.

    Find out more:
    IFEBP: Why Educational Assistance Programs Work
    EBRI: Fundamentals of Employee Benefit Programs

    By Bill Olsen

    Originally published  by www.UBABenefits.com

  • 6 Ways to Keep the Flu from Sidelining Your Workplace | CA Employee Benefit Brokers

    March 2, 2018

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

    This year’s flu season is a rough one. Although the predominant strains of this year’s influenza viruses were represented in the vaccine, they mutated, which decreased the effectiveness of the immunization. The flu then spread widely and quickly, and in addition, the symptoms were severe and deadly. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the 2017 – 2018 flu season established new records for the percentage of outpatient visits related to flu symptoms and number of flu hospitalizations.

    Younger, healthy adults were hit harder than is typical, which had impacts on the workplace. In fact, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. recently revised its estimates on the impact of this flu season on employers, raising the cost of lost productivity to over $21 billion, with roughly 25 million workers falling ill.

    Fortunately, the CDC is reporting that it looks like this season is starting to peak, and while rates of infection are still high in most of the country, they are no longer rising and should start to drop. What can you do as an employer to keep your business running smoothly for the rest of this flu season and throughout the next one?

    1. Help sick employees stay home. Consider that sick employees worried about their pay, unfinished projects and deadlines, or compliance with the company attendance policy may feel they need to come to work even if they are sick. Do what you can to be compassionate and encourage them to stay home so they can get better as well as protect their co-workers from infection. In addition, make sure your sick leave policies are compliant with all local and state laws, and communicate them to your employees. Be clear with the expectation that sick employees not to report to work. For employees who feel well enough to work but may still be contagious, encourage them to work remotely if their job duties will allow. Be consistent in your application of your attendance and remote work rules.
    2. Know the law. Although the flu is generally not serious enough to require leaves of absence beyond what sick leave or PTO allow for, in a severe season, employees may need additional time off. Consider how the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), state leave laws, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may come into play for employees who have severe cases of the flu, complications, or family members who need care.
    3. Be flexible. During acute flu outbreaks, schools or daycare facilities may close, leaving parents without childcare. Employees may also need to be away from the workplace to provide care to sick children, partners, or parents. Examine your policies to see where you can provide flexibility. Look for opportunities to cross-train employees on each other’s essential duties so their work can continue while they are out.
    4. Keep it clean. Direct cleaning crews to thoroughly disinfect high-touch areas such as doorknobs, kitchen areas, and bathrooms nightly. Provide hand sanitizer in common areas and encourage frequent handwashing. Keep disinfecting wipes handy for staff to clean their personal work areas with.
    5. Limit exposure. Avoid non-essential in-person meetings and travel that can expose employees to the flu virus. Rely on technology such as video conferencing, Slack, Skype, or other platforms to bring people together virtually. Consider staggering work shifts if possible to limit the number of people in the workplace at one time.
    6. Focus on wellness. Offer free or low-cost flu shots in the workplace. If your company provides snacks or meals for employees, offer healthier options packed with nutrients.

    Get it all

    AGENCY RESOURCES: Get the latest weekly flu stats from the CDC. Learn more about how the FMLA and ADA may be used during pandemic flu from the U.S. Department of Labor.

    By Rachel Sobel

    Originally posted by www.ThinkHR.com

  • California Employment Law Update – February 2018 | Petaluma Benefit Consultants

    February 28, 2018

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

    Employer Response to Immigration Inspection Notice

    In January 2018, the California Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement (DLSE) released its pre-inspection notice, Notice to Employee Labor Code section 90.2.

    Effective January 1, 2018, and except as otherwise required by federal law, California employers must provide notice to current employees of any inspection of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms or other employment records conducted by an immigration agency. This notice is completed by posting the DLSE’s Notice to Employee Labor Code section 90.2 in the language the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related information to the employee within 72 hours of receiving notice of the inspection.

    A copy of the Notice of Inspection of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms, and any accompanying documents, must be posted or given to employees with the DLSE notice.

    See the notice

    Originally posted by www.ThinkHR.com

  • California Employment Law Update – January 2018 | CA Benefit Advisors

    January 24, 2018

    Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

    Workplace Discrimination Poster Updated

    In November 2017, the California Division of Labor and Employment updated its workplace discrimination poster, California Law Prohibits Workplace Discrimination and Harassment, to include the new supervisor training requirements to prevent sexual harassment and a revision date of November 2017. All employers must conspicuously post this document in hiring offices, on employee bulletin boards, in employment agency waiting rooms, union halls, and other places employees gather. Any employer whose workforce at any facility or establishment consists of more than 10 percent of non-English speaking persons must also post this notice in the appropriate language or languages.

    Download the poster

    Oakland Minimum Wage Poster Updated

    The City of Oakland updated its official notice for the city’s minimum wage. Beginning January 1, 2018, employees who perform at least two hours of work per workweek and within the geographic limits of the city must be paid a minimum wage of at least $13.23 per hour.

    Download the poster

    Originally published by www.ThinkHR.com

  • New Year, New Penalties | CA Benefit Advisors

    January 5, 2018

    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

    Department of Labor Publishes Updated Penalties for OSHA Violations

    On January 2, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published updated, inflation-adjusted penalties for violations of various laws regulated by the DOL and its internal components or divisions, including the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). The DOL is required to adjust the level of civil monetary penalties for inflation by January 15 each year pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Inflation Adjustment Act).

    Because of the Inflation Adjustment Act, rates for OSHA penalties have increased three times in the last 17 months (August 1, 2016, January 13, 2017, and January 2, 2018). Therefore, for violations occurring after November 2, 2015, the penalty amounts incurred by employers will depend on when the penalty is assessed, as follows:

    • If the penalty was assessed after August 1, 2016 but on or before January 13, 2017, then the August 1, 2016 penalty level applies.
    • If the penalty was assessed after January 13, 2017 but on or before January 2, 2018, then the January 13, 2017 penalty level applies.
    • If the penalty was assessed after January 2, 2018, then the current penalty level applies.

    The applicable January 2, 2018 penalty levels for violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) are as follows:

    • Willful violations: $9,239 – 129,936 (up from $9,054 – $126,749 after January 13, 2017 and $8,908 – $124,709 after August 1, 2016)
    • Repeated violations: $129,936 (up from $126,749 after January 13, 2017 and $124,709 after August 1, 2016)
    • Serious violations: $12,934 (up from $12,675 after January 13, 2017 and $12,471 after August 1, 2016)
    • Other-than-serious violations: $12,934 (up from $12,675 after January 13, 2017 and $12,471 after August 1, 2016)
    • Failure to correct violations: $12,934 (up from $12,675 after January 13, 2017 and $12,471 after August 1, 2016)
    • Posting requirement violations: $12,934 (up from $12,675 after January 13, 2017 and $12,471 after August 1, 2016)

    These increases apply to states with federal OSHA programs and states with OSHA-approved state plans. Violations occurring on or before November 2, 2015 are assessed at pre-August 1, 2016 levels.

    Employers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these increased penalties and consult counsel if they have questions about the penalty level applicable to a potential violation.

    By Nicole Quinn-Gato

    Originally published by www.ThinkHR.com

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