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

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.

Compensation Solutions hosts the North Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s HR Seminar – “How to Hire Better”

Compensation Solutions (CSI), a CoAdvantage Company, one of  the nation’s leading Professional Employer Organization (PEO), hosted the North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce’s HR Seminar – “How to Hire Better” on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at CSI’s corporate offices in Wayne. CSI’s Director of Human Resources, Kelly Lipari (below photo) presented the timely topic of “Interviewing Skills”. The conference rooms at CSI seated about 30 professionals from all types of industries that interacted with Lipari as she went through best practices for interviewing candidates for their respective businesses. For more information, please call 800-654-4234 ext. 180 or visit www.csihro.com.

Additionally, a second presenter, Karen Jacobsen from Data Screening, a Woodland Park-based background check firm spoke about best practices for checking employees and potential employees criminal and driving history. For more information, visit www.datascreening.com.

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Compensation Solutions’ Director of Human Resources, Kelly Lipari, presents “Interviewing Skills” at the North Jersey Regional Chamber of Commerce’s “How to Hire Better” Seminar on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Photo courtesy of NJRCC

 

Compensation Solutions – CoAdvantage Merger “Full Steam Ahead”

Compensation Solutions (CSI), one of the tri-state area’s leading Human Resource Outsourcing Organizations (HRO), announced in February 2014 its merger with Florida-based Professional Employer Organization (PEO) – CoAdvantage Corporation.

“We are pleased to say that the merger is full steam ahead,” said CSI’s President Susan Molosh after returning back from a series of collective meetings both at CSI’s New Jersey corporate office and at CoAdvantage’s offices in Tampa, Fl. “We are so pleased to be moving forward with our integration plan for 2014-2015,” she added.

The merger unites two market leaders with the right products, services and technology to provide world class services to clients and their employees, now nationwide. The combined company now has offices in New Jersey, New York, Texas, Arizona and Colorado in addition to its Florida home with a team of more than 350 service professionals experienced in payroll, human resources, workers’ compensation and employee benefits.

The merger creates one of the largest PEOs in the nation. Though each company has its own history, the common objective is shared – absolute client satisfaction.

About Compensation Solutions
Compensation Solutions is a leading human resources outsourcing organization that serves as a full-time outsourced human resource partner for businesses of all sizes throughout the United States.  By managing employee benefits, human resources, payroll and workers’ compensation administration, Compensation Solutions allows its clients to focus on their core competencies to maintain and grow their bottom line.  Compensation Solutions’ corporate headquarters is located in Wayne, NJ with offices in Upper Saddle River and Manhattan.  For more information, visit www.csihro.com.

About CoAdvantage Corporation
CoAdvantage, a portfolio company of New York-based private equity firm CIP Capital, serves as a leader in human resource solutions, provides Professional Employer Organization (PEO) services to small and medium-sized businesses nationwide. The company has offices throughout Florida, Texas, Arizona, Colorado and New Jersey, serving more than 45,000 worksite employees nationwide. For more information, visit www.coadvantage.com.

 

Compensation Solutions Sponsors the Volunteer Center of Bergen County’s Annual Derby Day Event

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Catherine Gil, Sam Rosin, Stephanie Wayne and Janine Kipilla represent Compensation Solutions, Paddock sponsor of the annual Derby Day event held at the Indian Hills Country Club, Franklin Lakes on Saturday, May 3, 2014. A great time was had by all.

Longtime Client of Compensation Solutions awarded a Garden State Green Award

Located in Linden, New Jersey, Cox Stationers and Printers, was recently awarded a Garden State Green Award in the small business category for their green initiatives. The awards ceremony took place on March 15, 2014 at Kean University in Union, NJ.

According to their website (www.coxprinters.com), the company has the following list of achievements to add to their green initiatives:

• Partial roof garden (100 square feet)
• Installed a 36 kW solar system on our roof
• Installed ECO-3 efficiency systems on our HVAC units
• Installed two wind turbines on our roof
• All light fixtures are low energy (180 fixtures)
• Recycling of toner cartridges
• Recycling of batteries
• Recycling thousands of pounds of paper
• Contracted with UPS to track carbon usage
• Offer non-petroleum inks
• 99% chemical free

Michael Kaufman, owner at Cox, will be interviewed by Katie Couric in an upcoming show in June. Cox Printers is located at 1634 E. Elizabeth Avenue, Linden, NJ. Contact: 908-928-1010 or www.coxprinters.com.

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The staff of Cox Stationers & Printers along with owner Michael Kaufman holding their prestigious Garden State Green Award

The Garden State Green Awards, also known as the “Boggies”, honor individuals and organizations that have made a significant contribution to the environment.
• Through preservation, reclamation or conservation activities
• Advocacy and pursuit of ‘Green’ lifestyles or business practices
• Support of development of green/sustainable energy or energy conservation.
- Source: www.gardenstategreenfest.com