Compensation Solutions Blog
Human Resources Outsourcing (HRO – PEO – ASO – Payroll – Agency)

New Jersey Enacts ‘Ban the Box’ Law

Under a new law effective March 1, 2015, employers with 15 or more employees (including job placement and referral agencies and other employment agencies) are generally prohibited from:

•Requiring an applicant for employment to complete any employment application that makes any inquiries regarding his or her criminal record during the initial employment application process; and
•Making any oral or written inquiry regarding an applicant’s criminal record during the initial employment application process.

The “initial employment application process” begins when an applicant first makes an inquiry about a prospective employment position or job vacancy or when an employer first makes any inquiry to an applicant about a prospective employment position or job vacancy, and ends when an employer has conducted a first interview (whether in person or by any other means).

Exceptions and Scope of the Law
The law makes certain exceptions from these requirements, including:
•Certain law enforcement positions;
•Where the employment sought or being considered is for a position where a criminal history record background check is required by law, rule, or regulation; or
•Where an arrest or conviction would or may disqualify the person from holding such employment as required by any law, rule, or regulation.

The law does not prohibit an employer from, among other things:
•Requiring an applicant to complete an employment application that makes any inquiries regarding his or her criminal record after the initial employment application process has concluded; or
•Making any oral or written inquiries regarding his or her criminal record after the initial employment application process has concluded.

The law is scheduled to take effect March 1, 2015 (the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development may take anticipatory administrative action in advance as will be necessary for the implementation of the law).

For more information on other state laws specific to New Jersey, contact our HR department at 800-654-4234 ext. 180.

Teladoc is Here!

TeladocCompensation Solutions has added a telemedicine feature to their program - Teladoc. Teladoc provides 24/7/365 access to a national network of U.S. board certified doctors who can resolve many of your medical issues via the phone or online video consultation. It is quality healthcare, when and where you need it. Teladoc doctors can diagnose, treat and prescribe medication, when necessary, for non-emergency medical issues.

 

Compensation Solutions sponsors the Volunteer Center of Bergen County’s LINK Bergen Golf Event

The Tri-state Leading Human Resource Outsourcing provider – Compensation Solutions, a CoAdvantage Company, is a sponsor of this year’s LINK Bergen 2014 golf outing. The Volunteer Center of Bergen County’s newest charity event takes place on Monday, July 21 at the Hackensack Golf Club in Oradell, NJ with proceeds being used to support the many programs the Volunteer Center offers to the residents, corporations, and organizations of Bergen County.The Volunteer Center of Bergen County strengthens the Community by connecting people through service and developing civic leaders.

To play or sponsor click here:

http://bergenvolunteers.org/info.aspx?c=6691fba2f5b505c9&n=83&p=LINK+Bergen

Connecticut Amends Paid Sick Leave Law

Effective January 1, 2015, a new law makes certain changes to Connecticut’s paid sick leave law.

Background
Employers of 50 or more employees are required to provide annual paid sick leave to each of the employer’s service workers in Connecticut. Eligible employees may use paid sick leave for certain qualifying absences, including to care for the employee’s (or child’s or spouse’s) illness, injury or health condition.

Amendments
Key changes to the law include the following:

  • Changes to the method for determining employer coverage. Under the amendments, employers must annually determine if they meet the 50-employee threshold based on the number of employees on their payroll for the week containing October 1st (prior to January 1, 2015, employers are subject to the law if they employ 50 or more individuals in Connecticut during any of the previous year’s quarters).
  • Certain actions to avoid providing leave prohibited. Employers are prohibited from terminating or dismissing any employee, or transferring any employee from one worksite to another solely in order to not qualify as a covered employer under the law.
  • Changes to the timeframe for accruing leave. Service workers will accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked, in 1-hour increments up to a maximum of 40 hours per year. Workers will be entitled to carry over up to 40 unused accrued hours from the current year to the next year. The new law defines “year” as any 365-day period an employer uses to calculate employee benefits (prior to January 1, 2015, the timeframe for accruing paid sick leave is based on the calendar year).

Click here to read the text of the law.

Proposed Rule Extends FMLA Protections to All Eligible Employees in Same-Sex Marriages

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced a proposed rule extending the protections of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to all eligible employees in legal same-sex marriages, regardless of where they live.

Background
Under the FMLA, an eligible employee of a covered employer (50 or more employees in at least 20 workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year) is entitled to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons, including to care for the employee’s spouse who has a serious health condition.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act provision that interpreted “marriage” and “spouse” to be limited to opposite-sex marriage for purposes of federal law. In response, the DOL revised its agency guidance, effective as of June 26, 2013, to clarify the definition of “spouse,” for purposes of the FMLA, to mean a husband or wife as defined or recognized under state law for purposes of marriage in the state where the employee resides, including “common law” marriage and same-sex marriage.

Proposed Rule
The proposed rule makes significant changes from previously issued guidance. Such changes include the following:

  • The  FMLA regulatory definition of “spouse” is based on the law of the place where the marriage was entered into, sometimes referred to as the “place of celebration” (currently, the regulatory definition of “spouse” only applies to same-sex spouses who reside in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage).
  • The  proposed definition of “spouse” expressly references the inclusion of same-sex marriages (in addition to common law marriages), and will encompass same-sex marriages entered into abroad that could have been entered into in at least one state.

The proposed definitional change would mean that eligible employees, regardless of where they live, would be able to:

  • Take FMLA leave to care for their same-sex spouse with a serious health condition;
  • Take qualifying exigency leave due to their same-sex spouse’s covered military service;
  • Take military caregiver leave for their same-sex spouse; or
  • Take FMLA leave to care for their stepchild or stepparent, even if certain in loco parentis requirements are not met.

You may read the proposed rule by clicking here. A Fact Sheet and FAQs regarding the proposed rule are also available for downloading.

18 States Will Delay Employer Choice for Federally-Facilitated SHOPs Until 2016

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released a list of states with a federally-facilitated SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) which will not be implementing the “employer choice” feature in 2015. “Employer choice” provides employers the option to offer employees a choice of any qualified health plan at a single metal level.

A previously issued final rule provided state insurance commissioners the opportunity to recommend that, only for plan years beginning in 2015, a SHOP not provide this required “employer choice” feature if not implementing it would be in the best interest of small employers and their employees and dependents.

In total, 18 states with a federally-facilitated SHOP will not implement “employer choice” in 2015. Those states are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia. The remaining 14 states with a federally-facilitated SHOP will join most state-based SHOPs and have employer choice available to small businesses in 2015.

To find out more about the SHOP Marketplace in your state, click here.

U.S. Department of Labor Launches Annual Summer Campaign to Prevent Heat-Related Illnesses

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced the launch of its annual Campaign to Prevent Heat Illness in Outdoor Workers. For the fourth consecutive year, OSHA’s campaign aims to raise awareness and educate workers and employers about the dangers of working in hot weather and provide resources and guidance to address these hazards.

Thousands of employees become sick each year and many die from working in the heat. Workers at particular risk are those in outdoor industries, such as agriculture, construction, landscaping and transportation. Heat illness disproportionately affects those who have not built up a tolerance to heat (acclimatization), and it is especially dangerous for new and temporary workers.

Educational Materials and Resources
In preparation for the summer season, OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training, also available in both English and Spanish. Additionally, a web page provides information and resources on heat illness — including how to prevent it and what to do in case of an emergency — for workers and employers.

For more information on the OSHA campaign, please click here.

California Revises State Minimum Wage effective July 1, 2014

Effective July 1, 2014, California’s revised minimum wage will be increased to $9.00 per hour for all hours worked in California. Employers must pay their employees a wage not less than the amount of the hourly state minimum wage for all hours worked in California. The definitions of “employer,” “employee,” and “wage” for state purposes are the same as those established under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

This raise impacts the minimum salary threshold to qualify as exempt from California’s minimum wage and overtime requirements under the “white collar” exemptions, which include the administrative, executive, and learned professional exemptions.  To qualify as exempt under the FLSA, employees must be paid at least double the minimum wage.  Accordingly, on July 1, 2014, to qualify for a “white collar” exemption, an employee must earn an annual salary of at least $37,440.  This amount is based on a forty (40) hour workweek.  Please contact Kelly Lipari, HR Director at 800-654-4234, ext. 180 for additional information.

Reminder: State Minimum Wages Set to Increase This Summer

The per hour minimum wage rates will rise in several states this summer, according to the following schedule:

  • California: $9.00, effective July 1, 2014
  • Delaware: $7.75, effective June 1, 2014
  • District of Columbia: $9.50, effective July 1, 2014
  • Minnesota: Effective August 1, 2014:
    • $8.00 (enterprises with an annual gross volume of sales of $500,000 or more)
    • $6.50 (enterprises with an annual gross volume of sales of less than $500,000; employees under 18 years old; and 90-day training wage for 18 and 19 year olds)

In cases where an employee is subject to both state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher minimum wage. Be sure to comply with any city or other local wage requirements (which may be higher than the state or federal minimum wage) that may apply to your business. Please call Compensation Solutions HR department with any additional questions, 800-654-4234 ext. 180.

Unpaid Internships: What Employers Need to Know About the Fair Labor Standards Act

Summer is a popular time for hiring interns, but employers should be aware that internships in the for-profit private sector are most often considered “employment” subject to the federal minimum wage and overtime rules.

The Fair Labor Standards Act
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), non-exempt individuals who are “suffered or permitted” to work must be compensated for the services they perform for an employer. Interns who qualify as employees typically must be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well as overtime compensation at a rate of not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a workweek.

The Test for Unpaid Interns
There are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in for-profit private sector internships or training programs may do so without compensation. This may apply to interns who receive training for their own educational benefit if the training meets certain criteria.

The determination of whether an internship or training program meets this exclusion depends upon all of the facts and circumstances of each program. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) uses the following six criteria which must be applied when making this determination:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

If all of the factors listed above are met, an employment relationship likely does not exist under federal law, and the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the intern. This exclusion from the definition of employment is quite narrow because the FLSA’s definition of “employ” is very broad.

For a more detailed explanation of the factors used in the test for unpaid interns, please review the DOL Internship Programs Fact Sheet or call our HR department at 800-654-4234 ext. 180.