New Expiration Date for Several Model FMLA Notices is June 30, 2018

Model Notices Previously Expired on May 31, 2018

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has extended the effective date of the following model FMLA notices through June 30, 2018:

Previously, these model notices expired on May 31, 2018. No other changes have been made to these notices besides their effective date.

For further guidance regarding these notices, please contact the WHD directly at 1-866-487-2365.

Posted by HR360

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Final Rule Issued to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses

Why is OSHA issuing this rule?

This simple change in OSHA’s rulemaking requirements will improve safety for workers across the country. One important reason stems from our understanding of human behavior and motivation. Behavioral economics tells us that making injury information publicly available will “nudge” employers to focus on safety. And, as we have seen in many examples, more attention to safety will save the lives and limbs of many workers, and will ultimately help the employer’s bottom line as well. Finally, this regulation will improve the accuracy of this data by ensuring that workers will not fear retaliation for reporting injuries or illnesses.

What does the rule require?

The new rule, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2017, requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their onsite OSHA Injury and Illness forms. Analysis of this data will enable OSHA to use its enforcement and compliance assistance resources more efficiently. Some of the data will also be posted to the OSHA website. OSHA believes that public disclosure will encourage employers to improve workplace safety and provide valuable information to workers, job seekers, customers, researchers and the general public. The amount of data submitted will vary depending on the size of company and type of industry.

UPDATED: How will electronic submission work?

OSHA has provided a secure website that offers three options for data submission. First, users are able to manually enter data into a webform. Second, users are able to upload a CSV file to process single or multiple establishments at the same time. Last, users of automated recordkeeping systems will have the ability to transmit data electronically via an API (application programming interface). The Injury Tracking Application (ITA) is accessible from the ITA launch page, where you are able to provide the Agency your 2017 OSHA Form 300A information. The date by which certain employers are required to submit to OSHA the information from their completed 2017 Form 300A is July 1, 2018.

Anti-retaliation protections

The rule also prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness. The final rule requires employers to inform employees of their right to report work-related injuries and illnesses free from retaliation, which can be satisfied by posting the already-required OSHA workplace poster. It also clarifies the existing implicit requirement that an employer’s procedure for reporting work-related injuries and illnesses must be reasonable and not deter or discourage employees from reporting; and incorporates the existing statutory prohibition on retaliating against employees for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses. These provisions become effective August 10, 2016, but OSHA has delayed their enforcement until Dec. 1, 2016.

Compliance schedule

The new reporting requirements will be phased in over two years:

The anti-retaliation provisions become effective August 10, 2016, but OSHA delayed their enforcement until Dec. 1, 2016.

Covered establishments with 250 or more employees are only required to provide their 2017 Form 300A summary data. OSHA is not accepting Form 300 and 301 information at this time. OSHA announced that it will issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to reconsider, revise, or remove provisions of the “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” final rule, including the collection of the Forms 300/301 data. The Agency is currently drafting that NPRM and will seek comment on those provisions.

Establishments with 20-249 employees in certain high-risk industries must submit information from their 2017 Form 300A by July 1, 2018. Beginning in 2019 and every year thereafter, the information must be submitted by March 2.

See answers to more frequently asked questions on the rule.

Source: http://www.osha.gov (recordkeeping)

Reporting fatalities, hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye as a result of work-related incidents to OSHA

Under the OSHA Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness: Reporting Fatality, Injury and Illness Information to the Government – the following is the requirement for injury and illness reporting.

Scope and application.

Basic requirement.

Within eight (8) hours after the death of any employee as a result of a work-related incident, you must report the fatality to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Department of Labor.

Within twenty-four (24) hours after the in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees or an employee’s amputation or an employee’s loss of an eye, as a result of a work-related incident, you must report the in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye to OSHA.

You must report the fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye using one of the following methods:

  • By telephone or in person to the OSHA Area Office that is nearest to the site of the incident.
  • By telephone to the OSHA toll-free central telephone number, 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742).
  • By electronic submission using the reporting application located on OSHA’s public Web site at osha.gov.

Implementation

If the Area Office is closed, may I report the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye by leaving a message on OSHA’s answering machine, faxing the Area Office, or sending an email? No, if the Area Office is closed, you must report the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye using either the 800 number or the reporting application located on OSHA’s public Web site at www.osha.gov.

What information do I need to give to OSHA about the in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye? You must give OSHA the following information for each fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye:

  • The establishment name;
  • The location of the work-related incident;
  • The time of the work-related incident;
  • The type of reportable event (i.e., fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye);
  • The number of employees who suffered a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye;
  • The names of the employees who suffered a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye;
  • Your contact person and his or her phone number; and
  • A brief description of the work-related incident.

Do I have to report the fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye if it resulted from a motor vehicle accident on a public street or highway? If the motor vehicle accident occurred in a construction work zone, you must report the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye. If the motor vehicle accident occurred on a public street or highway, but not in a construction work zone, you do not have to report the fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye to OSHA. However, the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye must be recorded on your OSHA injury and illness records, if you are required to keep such records.

Do I have to report the fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye if it occurred on a commercial or public transportation system? No, you do not have to report the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye to OSHA if it occurred on a commercial or public transportation system (e.g., airplane, train, subway, or bus). However, the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye must be recorded on your OSHA injury and illness records, if you are required to keep such records.

Do I have to report a work-related fatality or in-patient hospitalization caused by a heart attack? Yes, your local OSHA Area Office director will decide whether to investigate the event, depending on the circumstances of the heart attack.

What if the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye does not occur during or right after the work-related incident? You must only report a fatality to OSHA if the fatality occurs within thirty (30) days of the work-related incident. For an in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye, you must only report the event to OSHA if it occurs within twenty-four (24) hours of the work-related incident. However, the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye must be recorded on your OSHA injury and illness records, if you are required to keep such records.

What if I don’t learn about a reportable fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye right away? If you do not learn about a reportable fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye at the time it takes place, you must make the report to OSHA within the following time period after the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye is reported to you or to any of your agent(s): Eight (8) hours for a fatality, and twenty-four (24) hours for an in-patient hospitalization, an amputation, or a loss of an eye.

What if I don’t learn right away that the reportable fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye was the result of a work-related incident? If you do not learn right away that the reportable fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye was the result of a work-related incident, you must make the report to OSHA within the following time period after you or any of your agent(s) learn that the reportable fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye was the result of a work-related incident: Eight (8) hours for a fatality, and twenty-four (24) hours for an inpatient hospitalization, an amputation, or a loss of an eye.

How does OSHA define “in-patient hospitalization”? OSHA defines inpatient hospitalization as a formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment.

Do I have to report an in-patient hospitalization that involves only observation or diagnostic testing? No, you do not have to report an in-patient hospitalization that involves only observation or diagnostic testing. You must only report to OSHA each inpatient hospitalization that involves care or treatment.

How does OSHA define “amputation”? An amputation is the traumatic loss of a limb or other external body part. Amputations include a part, such as a limb or appendage, that has been severed, cut off, amputated (either completely or partially); fingertip amputations with or without bone loss; medical amputations resulting from irreparable damage; amputations of body parts that have since been reattached. Amputations do not include avulsions, enucleations, deglovings, scalpings, severed ears, or broken or chipped teeth.

Source: www.OSHA.gov. [66 FR 6133, Jan. 19, 2001; 79 FR 56187-56188, September 18, 2014]

 

DOL Replaces Guidance on Employee Classification

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has withdrawn its 2014 guidance regarding the meaning and scope of the term “employment relationship” under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and replaced it with its guidance from 2008. As a result of this move, the DOL no longer advises that “most workers are employees.”

Withdrawn 2014 Guidance
In 2014, the DOL issued guidance on how to determine whether an employment or independent contractor relationship exists for purposes of the federal FLSA. The guidance stated, among other things, “Applying the FLSA’s definition [of “employ”], workers who are economically dependent on the business of the employer, regardless of skill level, are considered to be employees, and most workers are employees.” Effective immediately, this guidance has been withdrawn.

2008 Guidance Once Again Effective
The 2014 guidance has been replaced by guidance from 2008. The 2008 guidance does not contain the guidance that “most workers are employees.” However, this guidance does include the same “economic realities” test present in the 2014 guidance, under which determination of employee status is made by considering the following factors:

  • Whether the work performed is an integral part of the employer’s business.
  • Whether the worker’s managerial skill affects the worker’s opportunities for profit or loss.
  • The worker’s relative investment compared to the employer’s investment.
  • Whether work performed requires special business skills, judgment, and initiative.
  • Whether the worker-employer relationship is permanent or indefinite.
  • The nature and degree of the employer’s control of the work.
Originally posted by HR360

Beware of Scam Targeting Small Businesses through Mailers and “Inspectors”

All In One Poster Company

Inspector and Mailer Heading PhotoAll in One Poster Company, Inc would like to warn its customers as well as other small business owners to avoid mass mailer scams informing them that their labor law posters are outdated while pressuring them to purchase an overpriced product for their employee and business.

These mailers are false, misleading, deceptive and even threatening. As a part of this scam, business owners are demanded to pay varying amounts that range from $65 to $285 or face fines up to $17,000.

One mailer is marked with the company name “Corporate Compliance Services” and labeled “Labor Law Compliance Request Form.” Several businesses who receive these notices are just starting up and have yet to have any employees, and therefore are not required to post such information. Even when posting is required, the individual notices are provided at no charge by the U.S. Department of Labor as well as various agencies within…

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Reminder: New Federal Overtime Rule Effective December 1

Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay Exemption Salary Thresholds Raised for Many Employees

Effective December 1, a new rule updates the regulations governing which executive, administrative, professional, and highly compensated employees are entitled to the minimum wage and overtime pay protections of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Current Rules
The current federal rules provide an exemption from both the minimum wage and overtime pay requirements of the FLSA for bona fide executive, administrative, and professional employees who meet certain tests regarding their job duties and who are paid on a salary basis at not less than $455 per week ($23,660 per year). “Highly compensated employees” (HCEs) who are paid total annual compensation of $100,000 or more and meet certain other conditions are also deemed exempt.

New Rule
The new rule updates the salary and compensation levels needed for executive, administrative, professional, and highly compensated employees to be exempt. In particular, the final rule:

  • Raises the salary threshold from $455 a week to $913 per week (or $47,476 annually) for a full-year worker;
  • Increases the HCE total annual compensation level to $134,004 annually;
  • Amends the regulations to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses, incentives, and commissions to satisfy up to 10% of the new standard salary level, so long as employers pay those amounts on a quarterly or more frequent basis; and
  • Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every 3 years, beginning on January 1, 2020.

Note: When both the FLSA and a state law apply, the employee is entitled to the most favorable provisions of each law.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360.COM

Reminder: Guidance Available on Avoiding Employee Misclassification Under the FLSA

DOL Guidance Outlines ‘Economic Realities’ Test

As a reminder to employers, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division previously issued guidance on how to avoid misclassifying employees as independent contractors for purposes of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Economic Realities Test
In order to make the determination of whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the FLSA, courts and the DOL use the multi-factorial “economic realities” test, which focuses on whether the worker is economically dependent on the employer or in business for him or herself. Each factor of the “economic realities” test is outlined below.

  • Is the Work an Integral Part of the Employer’s Business? If the work performed by a worker is integral to the employer’s business, it is more likely that the worker is economically dependent on the employer. A true independent contractor’s work, on the other hand, is unlikely to be integral to the employer’s business.
  • Does the Worker’s Managerial Skill Affect the Worker’s Opportunity for Profit or Loss? This factor should not focus on the worker’s ability to work more hours, but rather on whether the worker exercises managerial skills and whether those skills affect the worker’s opportunity for both profit and loss.
  • How Does the Worker’s Relative Investment Compare to the Employer’s Investment? The worker should make some investment (and therefore undertake at least some risk for a loss) in order for there to be an indication that he or she is involved in an independent business. The worker’s investment should not be relatively minor compared with that of the employer. If the worker’s investment is relatively minor, that suggests that the worker and the employer are not on similar footings and that the worker may be economically dependent on the employer.
  • Does the Work Performed Require Special Skill and Initiative? A worker’s business skills, judgment, and initiative, not his or her technical skills, will aid in determining whether the worker is economically independent.
  • Is the Relationship Between the Worker and the Employer Permanent or Indefinite? Permanency or indefiniteness in the worker’s relationship with the employer suggests that the worker is an employee. However, a lack of permanence or indefiniteness does not automatically suggest an independent contractor relationship. The key is whether the lack of permanence or indefiniteness is due to operational characteristics intrinsic to the industry or the worker’s own business initiative.
  • What is the Nature and Degree of the Employer’s Control? The employer’s control should be analyzed in light of the ultimate determination of whether the worker is economically dependent on the employer or truly an independent businessperson. The worker must control meaningful aspects of the work performed such that it is possible to view the worker as a person conducting his or her own business.

Most workers are employees under the FLSA, according to the guidance. The text of the guidance is available by clicking here. Additional information and resources on employee misclassification, including fact sheets and press releases, are available from the DOL’sWage and Hour Division.

Note: Additional guidance on distinguishing employees from independent contractors for federal tax withholding purposes is available from the Internal Revenue Service.

ORIGINALLY POSTED BY HR360

DOL Revises Federal Minimum Wage and Employee Polygraph Workplace Posters

2016 Federal Banner for Blog
Revised Posters Must Be Posted as of August 1, 2016

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has recently updated its Fair Labor Standards Act and Employee Polygraph Protection Act posters. The new versions are now included in our State & Federal Combination Posters, as well as various versions of our Federal All-In-One Posters.

Background
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards. Covered nonexempt workers are entitled to at least the federal minimum wage, and overtime pay at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay is required after 40 hours of work in a workweek.

Note: Employers may also have certain obligations under state and/or local laws, including minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. When both the FLSA and a state law apply, the employee is entitled to the most favorable provisions of each law.

The federal Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) prohibits most private employers from using lie detector tests, either for pre-employment screening or during the course of employment. Employers generally may not require or request any employee or job applicant to take a lie detector test, or discharge, discipline, or discriminate against an employee or job applicant for refusing to take a test.

Revised Posters
Every employer of employees subject to the FLSA’s minimum wage provisions must post (and keep posted) a notice explaining the law in a conspicuous place in all of their establishments so as to permit employees to readily read it.

Additionally, every employer subject to the EPPA must post (and keep posted) on its premises a notice explaining the law. The notice must be posted in a prominent and conspicuous place in every establishment of the employer where it can readily be observed by employees and applicants for employment.

As of August 1, 2016, employers must post these revised versions. All In One Poster Company has revised all posters containing these notices as of July 29, 2016.

DOL Issues Guidance for Private Employers on Final Overtime Rule

Guidance Provides Options for Compliance

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has released guidance on its final overtime rule to help private sector employers evaluate current practices and transition to the rule’s requirements.

Background
The DOL’s final rule, effective December 1, 2016, updates the regulations governing which executive, administrative, and professional employees (“white collar” workers) are entitled to the minimum wage and overtime pay protections of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levelsneeded for such workers to be exempt. In particular, the final rule:

  • Raises the salary threshold from $455 a week to $913 per week (or$47,476 annually) for a full-year worker;
  • Sets the highly-compensated employee (HCE) total annual compensation level equal to $134,004 annually;
  • Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every 3 years, beginning on January 1, 2020; and
  • Amends the regulations to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses, incentives, and commissions to satisfy up to 10% of the new standard salary level, so long asemployers pay those amounts on a quarterly or more frequent basis.

Note: When both the FLSA and a state law apply, the employee is entitled to the most favorable provisions of each law.

New Guidance
Among other things, the DOL’s guidance details some of the options employers may exercise in determining how to comply with the final rule. Employers have certain options for responding to the changes to the salary level, and the DOL does not dictate or recommend any method. Such options include:

  • Providing pay raises that increase workers’ salaries to the new threshold;
  • Spreading employment by reducing or eliminating work hours of individual employees working over 40 hours per week for which no overtime is being paid; or
  • Paying overtime.

Note: The rule does not require employers to convert a salaried worker making less than the new salary threshold to hourly status; employers can pay non-exempt employees on a salary basis and pay overtime for hours worked beyond 40 in a week.

Click here to read the guidance. Additional information on the final rule, including fact sheets and Q&As, is available on the DOL’s final rule webpage.

Originally Published by HR 360, Inc.

Penalties Increase for Employers Violating Certain Federal Labor Laws

pay_or_play_penalty_and_ppacaEmployers that do not comply with certain requirements under a number of federal labor laws will face increased fines beginning with civil penalties assessed after August 1, 2016 (whose associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015).

Key Penalty Increases
Penalty increases announced by the U.S. Department of Labor that may be of particular interest include:

  • Repeated or willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage or overtime pay requirements will be subject to a penalty of up to $1,894 per violation (formerly $1,100);
  • Willful violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) posting requirement will be subject to a penalty not to exceed $163 for each separate offense (formerly $110) (note: covered employers must post this general notice even if no employees are eligible for FMLA leave);
  • Failure to provide employees with a Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) notice will be subject to a penalty of up to $110 per day per violation (formerly $100);
  • Failure to provide a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) will be subject to a penalty of up to $1,087 per failure (formerly $1,000);
  • Failure or refusal to file a Form 5500 will be subject to a penalty of up to $2,063 per day (formerly $1,100); and
  • Violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s posting requirement will be subject to a maximum penalty of $12,471 for each violation (formerly $7,000).

Originally Published by HR 360, Inc.