July 2019 HR Updates

on July 1, 2019

Every month we cover timely federal and state legislative and regulatory employment updates. Check out what you need to know and gain compliance tips to help you stay on top of HR the right way. Click on the federal topics or state names below to catch up on the latest news.

Federal Updates

State Updates

Federal Updates

W-4 Draft Released, Near-final Form Expected Late July

Who: All Employers

When: Near-final expected late July, Final form expected November 2019

What:

On May 31, 2019, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a draft of the 2020 W-4 Form. The public comment closed on July 1, 2019. The IRS is expected to release a “near-final” draft mid-to-late July and release the final in November.

The proposed changes are expected to align with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which went into effect on January 1, 2018. On the 2020 version of the W-4 form, withheld taxes should be more accurate. Employees who submitted a W-4 before 2020 won’t be required to submit a new form; employers may compute withholding information based on the employee’s most recent W-4 form.

How:

Contact your payroll process to ensure they are aware of the new form and readying their systems to accommodate the changes.

Additional Resources:

Draft 2020 W-4 Form

2020 W-4 Frequently Asked Questions

EEO Portal Expected Mid-July, Helpdesk Just Launched

Who: Employers with 100+ employees, Contractors with 50+ employees and $50,000 in contracts, subcontracts, or purchase orders

When: September 30, 2019

What:

The EEO-1 Pay Data portal for the collection of 2017 and 2018 Component 2 data is expected to launch in mid-July. A Helpdesk was launched to assist with the new system and new required submission information.

Employers are required to report 2017 and 2018 pay data on the revised EEO-1 form. The data will include total hours worked for all employees based on 10 categories, including race, ethnicity, and sex within 12 pay bands.

Previously, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) electronic submission system didn’t include the new required pay data parameters. Be aware that the deadlines for EEO-1 submission already shifted twice this year.

How:

  • Gather your 2017 and 2018 pay data. You need to submit both 2017 and 2018 pay data along with hours worked by the September 30, 2019 deadline.
  • Review pay data, identify areas of pay disparity, and develop a plan to address any discrepancies that could cause further examination from the EEOC.
  • Ensure your system and data is ready for the changes by reviewing your current system, and test run data pulls and reports.

Additional Resources:

EEO-1 Portal

Helpdesk information: [email protected]; (877) 324-6214

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Fee Due July 31, 2019

Who: Employers Contributing to Self-funded Group Health Plans, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), or Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA)

When: July 31, 2019

What:

The Federal Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) collects fees through the IRS from self-insured health plans to gather statistics for the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Employers who contribute to self-funded health plans must pay a fee to PCORI through Form 720. Fees are different based on the health plan’s last day of the plan year. 2018 fees have also increased slightly, as outlined below.

Group Health Plan Fees

Plan Year End Dates Fee Per Person Enrolled
October 1, 2018 – September 30, 2019 $2.45
January 1, 2018 – September 30, 2018 $2.39

 

If employers sponsored a self-insured major medical plan that integrated with an HRA, they can treat the medical plan and HRA as a single self-insured health plan and calculate the total PCORI using the $2.45 cost per enrollee.

How:

  • Review your insurance plan and the number of enrollees.
  • Review instructions and file IRS Form 720, including the annual fee. Include backup information to demonstrate you’ve paid the correct tax (i.e., tax returns, records, transaction accounts).
  • Keep the records that support your claims and exemptions; this information should date back at least 4 years from when the tax was due, you paid the tax, or you filed the claim.

Additional Resources:

Form 720

PCORI Fee Information

IRS Notice 2018-85, Adjusted Dollar Amount for Fee

Additional H2-B Visas No Longer Available

Who: Business that employ foreign seasonal workers

When: Effective Immediately

What:

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has fulfilled all of the additional H-2B petitions, reaching the maximum 30,000 total visas. Any petitions that followed the cap will be rejected and returned, with the filing fees, to employers.

How:

If USCIS rejected your petition, be on the lookout for the returned filing forms and fees.

Additional Resource:

USCIS H-2B Information

New National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) Poster for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors

Who: Federal government contractors and subcontractors

When: Effective Immediately

What:

The National Labor Relations Act rights poster now includes a new telephone number for the National Labor Review Board and contact information for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Federal contractors and subcontractors must inform employees about their rights to organize, collective bargain with their employers, and engage in other organized efforts. The notice outlines the types of prohibitive conduct by employers and unions. Employers should place the notice in a conspicuous area.

How:

  • Replace your current NLRA poster with the updated poster. If placing the poster for the first time, ensure it is 11 inches by 17 inches or bigger.
  • Remember every contract and purchase order must include the text of the notice and outline your posting obligation.

Additional Resources:

Employee Rights Under Federal Law Notification

Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws Poster

Union Representatives Prohibited from Employers’ Public Areas

Who: All Employers

When: Effective Immediately

What:

Now, employers may exclude union organizers from privately owned spaces. This National Labor Review Board decision is for spaces defined as “public space” on private property, e.g., a cafeteria open to the public on an employer’s private property. In addition to union organizers, employers should exclude all other nonemployees from similar activities in the same spaces.

How:

  • Consult with your legal counsel.
  • Develop or review your written non-distribution/non-solicitation policy to be sure it is consistent with the new rule.

Additional Resource:

NLRB Decision

NLRB Decision Requires Review of Mandatory Arbitration Agreements

Who: Employers with arbitration agreements

When: Effective Immediately

What:

In a recent ruling, the National Labor Review Board (NLRB) stated that mandatory arbitration agreements must not include language that prohibits employees from filing charges with the board or other administrative agencies.

The board specifically states that generic disclaimer verbiage like “the language in this agreement is not intended to interfere with employees’ rights or violate the law” isn’t enough.

How:

Review any of your arbitration agreements for any language that prevents employees from filing charges. Contact your legal counsel, if necessary.

Additional Resource:

NLRB June 18 Prime Healthcare

STATE Updates

Colorado: Tip Sharing Rules Revised

Who: Businesses requiring employee tip-sharing

When: August 2, 2019

What:

Businesses must inform each customer, in writing, about employees’ required tip-sharing. The menu, table, or receipt are options for displaying the written notice.

Before this new law, the previous requirement allowed employers to post a sign or display a printed card.

How:

  • Review your current practice and decide how best to inform your customers of your tip-sharing practice.
  • Redesign materials and display them accordingly.

Additional Resource:

HB 19-1254

Colorado: Sealed Criminal Records Inquiries Limited

Who: Employers requesting criminal justice records

When: August 2, 2019

What:

Colorado is expanding individuals’ rights to seal certain criminal justice records, making it easier for individuals to restrict employer’s access to certain types of sealed and expunged criminal history. The law bars employers from asking or requiring disclosure of sealed or expunged criminal history on applications and in interviews.

Records that can’t be sealed include class 1, 2, or 3 felonies, level 1 drug felony, sexual offenses, driving under the influence convictions, class 1 or 2 misdemeanor traffic offenses, class A or B traffic infractions, and deferred judgments/sentences for commercial driver’s license holders and commercial motor vehicles.

How:

  • Review your hiring practices and adjust your criminal background check procedures accordingly.
  • Review your job applications for criminal history requests, edit the forms accordingly.
  • Inform the hiring staff about the changes and request they adjust their interview questions, if necessary.

Additional Resources:

HB 19-1275

Illinois: Glenview Opts Back into Cook County Earned Sick Leave

Who: Glenview employers with 5+ employees

When: Effective Immediately, but there is a chance for appeal from the state

What:

Glenview employers will now follow Cook County paid sick leave requirements. All employees who work more than 5 hours per week will be eligible for paid sick leave. For every 40 hours of work, employees will earn 1 hour of paid sick leave, accruing up to 40 hours of paid sick leave. Employees may carry over up to 50% of their unused paid sick leave, up to a maximum of 20 hours, to the next 12-months period.

Employers must post a notice of employee rights to earned sick leave. At the start of employment, employers must provide new employees with a written notice informing them of their rights. The Cook County Commission on Human Rights provides the written notices.

How:

Additional Resource:

Cook County Earned Sick Leave Ordinance and Regulations

Massachusetts: PFML Contribution Start Date Delayed but Amounts Increased

Who: All Massachusetts employers

When: October 1, 2019

What:

Now with additional time to prepare and better implement the state’s PFML program, employers will be required to contribute beginning October 1, 2019. The three-month delay means the contribution rate will increase from 0.63% to 0.75%.

The delay also affects the notice and poster requirements, with a new deadline of September 30, 2019. Private plan exemptions have also moved back three months to December 20, 2019.

Employers who provided employee notices before the June 14, 2019 delay announcement, must send all of these individuals an updated rate sheet that includes the new dates and contribution rates.

How:

  • Distribute notices to employees, obtain written acknowledgment of the notice (or refusal to acknowledge), and keep an internal record of its distribution
  • If you already notified employees, distribute updated rate sheets. You don’t need another written acknowledgment (or refusal), but you do need to keep an internal distribution record.
  • Employers with a paid leave benefit can apply for an annual exemption on the MassTaxConnect If you do not plan on applying for an exemption or your exemption application is denied then you must begin contributing on October 1, 2019.
  • Employers must display the Massachusetts PFML poster before September 30, 2019.

Additional Resources:

Massachusetts PFML Timeline

Rate Update Sheets

Paid Family and Medical Leave Workplace Posters and Written Notices

Massachusetts Employers with 50%+ Contractors Required to Notify 1099 Contractors of PFML Benefits

Who: Massachusetts employers

When: September 30, 2019

What:

By September 30, 2019, employers with a workforce comprised of more than 50% of contractors are required to notify individuals of PFML benefits; the requirement does not affect employers with less than 50% contractors.

How:

  • Determine whether you are still required to notify your contractors.
  • Distribute the updated notice.
  • Retain a written statement from each contractor stating their knowledge or receipt of the notice. These statements are for your internal records.

Additional Resource:

Information and Guidelines for Notifying 1099-MISC Contractors

Minnesota: Wage Theft Required by Employers

Who: All Employers

When: Effective Immediately

What:

Creating their own or downloading the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s form, employers must issue the required wage notice form to all new employees hired after July 1, 2019.

The notices must include the rate and base pay, paid time-off accrual and terms of use, the employee’s employment status, and any wage or overtime exemptions. Employees must sign and date the copy at the start of their employment, and employers must retain that copy for their records. With any information to the employee’s status (e.g., PTO, salary, etc.) a new notice must be signed and retained. The law doesn’t clarify notification requirements for current employees; this may be forthcoming.

Employers must include the basis of pay, expense allowances, and contact information on earnings statements. Additionally, all non-commissioned earnings should be paid every 31 days and earned commissions every 3 months at a minimum.

Although new employee notices are required starting July 1, 2019, employers will be held liable for any wage violations beginning August 1, 2019. Wage violations can include failing to comply with the new payment schedule requirements; (in)directly causing an employee to believe they were paid more than they actually were paid; (in)directly requiring or receiving refunds or rebates from wages owed to the employee; or misrepresenting that the paid wages were greater than they actually were; or failing to maintain records.

The new law includes new penalties for anyone committing wage theft. A maximum penalty for any theft of more than $35,000 can be up to 20 years imprisonment and up to $100,000 in fines.

How:

  • Unless you are using the provided employee notice template, develop wage notice forms that include the required information and space for date and signature.
  • Implement a notice tracking and retention system.
  • Create a policy for when and how to notify employees. Although not mandated, it’s a good practice to inform your current employees.
  • If necessary, contact payroll regarding earnings statement information.
  • Review commission and non-commission payment cycles.

Additional Resources:

Employer Guidance of the Wage Theft Law

Wage Theft Legislation 2019 and Summaries

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Law

Who: All Employers

When: August 28, 2019

What:

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Use and Patient Protection Act, or “Unity Bill,” amended the current state law with a dispensary license system and to clarify employer accommodations. When hiring for safety-sensitive positions, employers are permitted to take medical marijuana use into account and may decline to employ the individual.

A safety-sensitive job isn’t limited to but may include: hazardous materials work; operating a motor vehicle, equipment, machinery, or power tools; repairing or monitoring any equipment, machinery, or manufacturing process; operating or maintaining any infrastructure including electric, gas, water utilities, power, or distribution; working with volatile, flammable, combustible materials, dispensing pharmaceuticals; preparing/handling food; carrying a firearm; direct patient/child care.

How:

  • Review your current drug policy and edit it to align with the “Unity Bill” language.
  • If necessary, contact your drug testing vendor to confirm its knowledge of and implementation of the new law requirements.
  • Align your job positions with the safety-sensitive list and update the appropriate job descriptions. Ensure the description makes the safety-sensitive nature of the job clear.
  • Inform leadership and managers of the changes and how this will impact their employee training, hiring, and supervision.
  • Inform employees about the legislation, the subsequent changes to your business’s policies, and how this affects them. State what the expectations are for employees based on the new rules.

Additional Resource:

HB 2612

Dallas and San Antonio Now Require Paid Sick Leave

Who: Private Employers with 5+ employees, including temporary employees or employment agencies

When: August 1, 2019

What:

Eligible employees must work in the city of Dallas or San Antonio and work at least 80 hours per year. The law doesn’t cover independent contractors and unpaid interns.

The accrual rate is 1 hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, although the cap depends on the employer’s size. For employers with 16+ employees, the cap is 64 hours per year. For employers with 15 or fewer employees, the cap is 48 hours per year.

Paid sick leave is defined as when an employee suffers a mental or physical illness, injury or health conditions, or needs preventive care; the employee must care for a family member (including a child, parent, spouse, other blood relative or individual who is the equivalent of a family member); the employee or family member is a victim of stalking, sexual assault, abuse or domestic violence, needs medical attention, relocation, is seeking victim services organization, or needs to participate in legal proceedings.

Employee notice requirements:

  • A monthly statement outlining the employee’s available paid sick time.
  • Employee handbooks (if the employer already has one) that outline the law and the employee’s rights, employers may use a copy of the city ordinance.
  • If the employer uses a business calendar other than the calendar year to calculate an employee’s earned sick paid leave eligibility and accrual, employers must give employees a written notice of that business calendar policy.
  • Employers must post a poster from the city, outlining the law’s requirements.

Please note, this law may be repealed.

How:

  • Keep an eye out for a possible appeal from the federal or state governments.
  • If you do not already offer paid sick leave, consult with your legal counsel, and begin to work towards the August 1, 2019 deadline.
  • Contact your payroll systems and make additional preparations to accommodate for the paid sick leave accrual and tracking requirements.
  • Update any relative policies or employee handbook with the new requirements.
  • Inform and educate eligible employees about the changes.

Additional Resources:

Dallas Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

San Antonio Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Virginia Passes Employment Records Disclosure

Who: All Private Employers

When: Effective Immediately

What:

Upon written request, employers must provide employment records within 30 days. The records must include dates of employment, wages or salary, job description, job title, and any work-related injuries that the employee experience. Current or former employees or the employee’s attorney may make requests. If the employer can’t provide the record within 30 days, then a notice must be sent to the employee indicating the delay. The employer then has an additional 30 days to fulfill the request.

There is one exception to this rule: If the employee record includes a treating physician or clinical psychologist’s note that providing the record to the employee could endanger the life or safety of the employee or another person. This exception does not include a health care provider.

How:

  • Review your employee handbook and update any policies related to employee files and records.
  • Incorporate language about requests into your policy.

Additional Resource:

Virginia Legislation Language

 

 

Emily Hartman

Emily Hartman

Emily is the Client Content Specialist. She’s using the skills she learned in Washington, D.C. to breakdown technical information into news you can use.

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Emily HartmanJuly 2019 HR Updates

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