General Updates 6/30/2022

I would first like to apologize for such an extended period of time in between blog posts. It has been a very hectic few months and culminated by our son getting married last weekend. We are very proud of the new Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence.

There is a great deal happening in the HR world, and we would like to share a few important items.

Most noteworthy, we wanted to share a few sources discussing how the recent Supreme Court decision on Roe vs. Wade will affect businesses. We are not commenting on our support for either side of this decision, rather our priority is to share information on how you may want to react to this decision within your workplace and as a business. The main takeaway from this decision is that abortion legality is now determined by the states, rather than at the federal level. The articles we are sharing discuss how your current health policy may cover abortion in its current form, but will have to be updated based on where your employee resides. It is incredibly important to read these articles to make sure you are not swayed by any disinformation circulating. If you have any questions regarding how this decision may impact your workplace, how to guide conversations about it, or updating your health plans, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Overturning Roe v. Wade and the Constitutional Right to an Abortion will Impact Employee Benefits Plans
An Employer’s Guide to Workplace Protections for Abortion-Related Decisions
Roe v. Wade Overturned

For those with remote workers, lawsuits have recently put the spotlight on paying for virtual employees’ expenses. Prominent U.S. companies like Wells Fargo and Amazon are being sued, and these cases raise questions of employers’ obligation to pay for things like cellphone and internet connections. We encourage you to read this article to stay informed on these lawsuits and understand the implications they may have for your remote workers.

Concerns have also risen regarding remote workers’ wages and hours. Remote and hybrid workers present wage and hour compliance challenges for employers managing hourly workers not exempt from the Fair Labor Standard Act’s (FSLA’s) overtime rules. We encourage you to also read this article to be aware of the latest wage and hour policies for these kinds of workers.

With temperatures at points worthy of heat warnings, our team has come up with a great brochure about heat stress. Check out this document for a breakdown and ways to prevent dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

In the tax realm, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced plans to issue a proposed rule this month allowing virtual document examination options for I-9 forms “in certain circumstances or with respect to certain employers.” Read the full article here to see how this may affect your business as the proposal makes its way through.

As we end pride month for the LGBTQ+ community, we also encourage you to read this article on how employers can avoid “rainbow washing,” ensuring pride month and every month is truly inclusive and serving LGBTQ+ individuals within your workplace. The contents of this article are important not only during pride month, but through the entirety of the year to ensure all employees feel welcome, seen, and heard.

Other significant updates we felt necessary to share regarding the Department of Labor (DOL):

DOL Plans To Unveil Overtime Rule In October
The U.S. DOL plans to propose a rule in October that would overhaul certain workers’ entitlement to overtime pay, the agency said, pushing back the expected date for the rulemaking (a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) on “Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees.”) It is expected that the US DOL will propose a change to the rule on the minimum salary for exempt status (currently $684 per week or $35,568 per year).

Is the Federal Contractor Vaccination Mandate Suspended?
Twenty states have asked the Fifth Circuit to uphold a lower court decision to block the Biden administration’s widely challenged COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors, saying the mandate exceeded the White House’s authority under a federal procurement act. So, the game remains afoot!

DOL might rule on use of crypto in 401(k)s
Labor Secretary Marty Walsh has told Congress the US DOL might move toward a ruling on use of cryptocurrencies in 401(k) plans. The department had advised that “extreme care” be taken in crypto adoption, while Ali Khawar, acting assistant secretary of employee benefits, had expressed “grave concerns,” after Fidelity Investments had said employers using its platform could include bitcoin in 401(k)s, with an allocation of as much as 20%.

5th Circuit: No WARN Act exemption for pandemic
The US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit has overturned a lower court ruling that the coronavirus pandemic amounted to a natural disaster under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act (WARN Act). The 5th Circuit held that a hydraulic fracturing company’s layoffs in March 2020 were not exempt from the WARN Act, which mandates that companies provide 60 days’ notice to workers being laid off.

Once again, our sincere apologies for the length of time between this update and our last. We will get things back on track to ensure everyone is kept in the loop.

Dave and Teresa

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