Connecticut Law Allows Employers to Pay Wages Using Payroll Cards

Law Effective October 1, 2016

A new law in Connecticut, effective October 1, 2016, allows employers to pay wages using payroll cards, if certain conditions are met. Highlights of the law include the following:

  • An employer may offer the use of payroll cards to deliver wages, salary, or other compensation (“wages”) to employees, provided:
    • Each employee has the option of receiving wages by direct deposit and by negotiable check; and
    • The employee voluntarily and expressly authorizes—in writing or electronically—the payment of wages by means of a payroll card account without any intimidation, coercion, or fear of discharge or reprisal. An employer may not make the payment of wages by means of a payroll card account a condition of employment or a condition for the receipt of any benefit or other form of remuneration.
  • Prior to an employee electing to receive wages by means of a payroll card account, each employer using payroll card accounts must provide such employee with clear and conspicuous notice, in writing, and in the language the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related policies to its employees, of certain information (§ 1(c)).
  • Each pay period (but not more frequently than each week) an employee with a payroll card must be allowed to make at least 3 withdrawals from the payroll card account at no cost to the employee—one of which permits withdrawal of the full amount of his or her net wages (for the pay period) at a depository financial institution or other convenient location.
  • None of the employer’s costs associated with paying wages using a payroll card or establishing the payroll card account may be deducted from or charged against the employee’s wages.
  • Each employer must provide the employee a means of checking his or her payroll card account balance through an automated telephone system, automated teller machine, or electronicallywithout cost to the employee 24 hours per day and 7 days per week.

Note: Employers utilizing payroll cards are subject to additional requirements under state law, and must also comply with certain federal laws and regulations, including guidance from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360

Connecticut: New Laws Address Wage Payment Timing and Electronic Pay Notices

Wage Changes Affect Many Employers

New laws in Connecticut make certain changes regarding wage payment timing and electronic pay notices. Key provisions and effective dates of these laws are presented below.

Wage Payment Timing
Employers in Connecticut are generally required to pay wages weekly—or, under a new law effective as of June 6, 2016, once every two weeks—on a regular pay day which is designated in advance by the employer and not more than 8 days after the end of the pay period.

Note: The labor commissioner may, upon application, waive this requirement with respect to any particular week or weeks, and may also, upon application, permit an employer to establish regular pay periods less frequently than once every two weeks, provided each affected employee is paid in full at least once in each calendar month on a regularly established schedule.

Electronic Wage Statements

Existing law provides that with each wage payment, employers must furnish to each employee a written record of hours worked, the gross earnings showing straight time and overtime as separate entries,itemized deductions, and net earnings—except that the furnishing of arecord of hours worked and the separation of straight time and overtime do not apply in the case of any employee with respect to whom the employer is specifically exempt from the keeping of time records and the payment of overtime under state or federal law.

Under a new law effective October 1, 2016, such records may be furnished electronically—with the employee’s explicit consent. If the record of hours is furnished electronically, the employer must provide a means for each employee to securely, privately, and conveniently access and print such record. The employer must also incorporate reasonable safeguards regarding any information contained in the record furnished electronically to protect the confidentiality of an employee’s personal information.

Click here to read the text of the new law (§ 3).

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360

Vermont Prohibits Use of Electronic Cigarettes in the Workplace

Workplace Prohibition Effective July 1, 2016novaping

A new law in Vermont prohibits using electronic cigarettes in any workplace.

Prohibitions

  • Under the new law, the possession of lighted tobacco products or use of tobacco substitutes is prohibited in any workplace.
    • “Tobacco substitutes” are products—including electronic cigarettes or other electronic or battery-powered devices—that contain and are designed to deliver nicotine or other substances into the body through inhaling vapor and that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for tobacco cessation or other medical purposes. Products that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for tobacco cessation or other medical purposes are not considered to be tobacco substitutes.
    • “Workplace” means an enclosed structure where employees perform services for an employer, including restaurants, bars, and other establishments in which food or drinks, or both, are served.
      • In the case of an employer who assigns employees to departments, divisions, or similar organizational units, “workplace” means the enclosed portion of a structure to which the employee is assigned.

Exception for Vaping Lounges
The prohibition on using tobacco substitutes in a workplace does not apply to a business that does not sell food or beverages but is established for the sole purpose of providing a setting for patrons to purchase and use tobacco substitutes and related paraphernalia (i.e., vaping lounges).

These provisions take effect July 1, 2016. Click here to read the text of the law.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360

Iowa OSHA Poster Changes April 2016

iowa-federal-combo-labor-law-poster-english
The Iowa OSHA poster has been revised to reflect the new OSHA
employer reporting requirements for accidents and fatalities. An employer must report any work-related fatality within eight hours and any work-related in-patient hospitalizations, work-related amputations and any work-related loss of an eye within 24 hours. This is a mandatory update.

This change is included on all of our Iowa & Federal Combination Posters ordered on or after April 22, 2016.

EEOC Releases Sample Notice for Employers to Comply With New ADA Wellness Program Requirements

Q&As Provide Additional Guidance

A sample notice is now available to help employers comply with new wellness program rules under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA). Among other things, the new rules require employers offering wellness programs that collect employee health information to provide a notice to employees informing them what information will be collected, how it will be used, who will receive it, and what will be done to keep it confidential.

The requirement to provide the notice takes effect as of the first day of the plan year that begins on or after January 1, 2017 for the health plan an employer uses to calculate any incentives it offers as part of the wellness program. Once the notice requirement becomes effective, employees must receive it before providing any health information, and with enough time to decide whether to participate in the program.

New Q&As Also Released
To help employers comply with the new notice requirement, the EEOC has also released a set of Q&As, which clarify, among other items:

  • Who must provide the notice;
  • The format in which the notice should be provided;
  • Whether an employee’s signed authorization is required as part of the notice requirement; and
  • Whether the current notice required under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) satisfies the new notice requirement under the ADA.

The ADA applies generally to employers with 15 or more employees. For more information on the new ADA rules, you may review the previously released Q&As and fact sheet.

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Federal Contractors and Subcontractors: 2016 VETS-4212 Reporting Season Runs from August 1 to September 30

Reports May Be Submitted Online

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is reminding federal contractors and subcontractors that the 2016 VETS-4212 reporting season starts onAugust 1, 2016 and ends on September 30, 2016.

Background
The DOL’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) is responsible for administering the requirement under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act that federal contractors and subcontractors track and report annually the number of employees in their workforces who belong to the categories of veterans covered under the affirmative action provisions of the law.

Filing Threshold
Federal contractors and subcontractors with certain contracts or subcontracts of $150,000 or more are required to file a VETS-4212 Report.

Note: Effective as of October 1, 2015, the previous $100,000 threshold for VETS-4212 reporting is increased to $150,000. Accordingly, for the2016 filing year beginning on August 1, 2016, the filing threshold for contracts entered into prior to October 1, 2015, is still $100,000; for contracts entered into on or after October 1, 2015, the filing threshold is$150,000. The filing threshold for contractors continuing to file their VETS-4212 Reports for 2015 is still $100,000.

Reporting Requirements
Federal contractors and subcontractors completing the VETS-4212 Report are to provide information on the number of employees and new hires during the reporting period who are protected veterans.

The 2016 filing season for the VETS-4212 Report starts on August 1, 2016 and ends on September 30, 2016. Any reports entered prior toAugust 1, 2016 are considered part of the 2015 filing cycle.

VETS encourages online website submission of reports. Additional information, including instructions and FAQs, is available on the VETS-4212 website.

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Arizona Law Amends Definitions Regarding Employee Compensation and Benefits

Law Effective August 6, 2016

A new law in Arizona amends the state wage and hour law with respect to the definitions of “minimum wage” and “wages.”

Minimum Wage
The new law defines “minimum wage” as the nondiscretionary minimum compensation due to an employee by reason of employment, including the employee’s commissions—but excluding tips or gratuities.

Note: In cases where an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages. Be sure to also 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.

Wages
The law removes the following items from the definition of “wages“:

  • Sick pay;
  • Vacation pay;
  • Severance pay;
  • Commissions;
  • Bonuses; and
  • Other amounts promised when the employer has a policy or a practice of making such payments.

The law is effective August 6, 2016. Click here to read the text of the law.

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Louisiana: Employers Must Report Certain Pending Payments When Employees Owe Support

Law Effective August 1, 2016

A new law in Louisiana requires employers to report certain pending payments when employees owe support. Highlights of the law include the following:

  • When an employer intends to issue a lump-sum payment in the amount of $300 or more to an employee ordered to pay support, the employer must notify the state Department of Children and Family Services (“Department”) at least 15 days prior to its issuance of the lump-sum payment.
    • The law does not prevent an employer from reporting a lower lump-sum payment at its discretion.
  • Notice of the lump-sum payment must be provided in a method approved by the Department. The Department is expected to provide information regarding all approved methods on its website.
  • If—after 15 days from the date the employer notifies the Department—the employer has not received any verification from the Department as to any withholdings of the lump-sum payment, then the employermay dispense the lump-sum payment in full to the employee ordered to pay support.

Note: The rules above apply only when the Department is providingsupport enforcement services.

The law is effective August 1, 2016. Click here to read the text of the law.

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Oregon BOLI Announces Minimum Wage Rules

Oregon July 1 2016 mapNew rules will help employers calculate wages when an employee works in multiple areas

PORTLAND, OR—The Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) has published new minimum wage rules in preparation for the July 2016 minimum wage increase, the agency announced today.

The rules will help employers calculate wages in circumstances such as a worker performing duties at a location other than the employer’s permanent location or working in multiple areas in the course of a work period.

The rules can be found here.

The rules reflect comments from a diverse group of Oregonians and an advisory group that included the

NW Grocery Associations, Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, Oregon Farm Bureau, Oregon

Association of Nurseries, Association of Oregon Industries, Oregon Business Association, UFCW, PCUN,

AFL-CIO, Family Forward, SEIU, CAUSA and Oregon Center for Public Policy. In addition to holding a public hearing and convening multiple advisory meetings, the agency received more than 300 written comments about the proposed rules.

“I appreciate that both industry associations and minimum wage advocates stepped up to advise our agency’s rulemaking process,” said Labor Commissioner Avakian. “As Oregon raises its minimum wage for more than a hundred thousand workers next month, we hope that the rules will provide fairness to workers and employers alike.”

Passed by the 2016 Oregon Legislature, SB 1532 creates a series of annual minimum wage increases starting in July. After 2023, Oregon’s minimum wage rate will be indexed to inflation based on the

Consumer Price Index (CPI), a figure published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics to track prices for a fixed “market basket” of goods.

The law creates a tiered wage floor based on three zones around the state: 1) inside the urban growth boundary of the Portland metro region, including Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties 2) certain “nonurban” counties listed here and 3) the rest of the state.

BOLI’s Technical Assistance for Employers Program will hold a series of seminars around the state to help employers navigate new sick time requirements, minimum wage rules and other new workplace laws.

NOTE: The agency has also developed one poster for the state that will satisfy employers’ posting requirements. As of June 16, 2016, All In One Poster Company will have this newly released notice included in our Labor Law Posters for Oregon.

Here is the actual table, with some explanation and footnotes showing the rundown of the plan:

Effective Date of Rate Increase Base Rate Exception:  Rate within Portland’s Urban Growth Boundary2 Exception:  Rate within Nonurban Counties3
July 1, 2016 $9.75 $9.75 $9.50
July 1, 2017 $10.25 $11.25 $10.00
July 1, 2018 $10.75 $12.00 $10.50
July 1, 2019 $11.25 $12.50 $11.00
July 1, 2020 $12.00 $13.25 $11.50
July 1, 2021 $12.75 $14.00 $12.00
July 1, 2022 $13.50 $14.75 $12.50

After June 30, 2023, the base rate will be adjusted for inflation, with the Portland rate set $1.25 above the base and the nonurban county rate set $1.00 below the base.

Employers should review their payroll practices and, as with any minimum wage increase, implement any required changes to comply with each of the upcoming rate adjustments starting later this year.

1 Some cities have recently raised the minimum wage higher than the projected rates established by Oregon’s new law.

2 An area encompassing the City of Portland and much of the greater tri-county area (Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties) that is managed and periodically expanded by Metro, the Portland area regional government.

3 Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, and Wheeler counties.

Connecticut Enacts ‘Ban the Box’ Law

Originally Published by HR360

Law Effective January 1, 2017

Under a new law in Connecticut, employers are prohibited from inquiring about a prospective employee’s prior arrests, criminal charges, orconvictions on an initial employment application, unless:

  • The employer is required to do so by an applicable state or federal law; or
  • A security or fidelity bond or an equivalent bond is required for the position for which the prospective employee is seeking employment.

An employee or prospective employee may file a complaint with the state Labor Commissioner alleging an employer’s violation of the “Ban the Box” law.

The law is effective January 1, 2017. Click here to read the text of the law.