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EEOC Cancels Requirement to Collect Pay Data (at least for now)

Does this impact my business?

The Equal Employment Economic Commission (EEOC) collects workforce data from employers with more than 100 employees (lower thresholds apply to federal contractors). Employers are legally required to provide the data in an EEO-1 Report.

What is the EEO-1?

The EEO-1 Report is a compliance survey mandated by federal statute and regulations. The survey requires company employment data to be categorized by race/ethnicity, gender and job category.  Last year the EEOC passed a new rule mandating that employers also provide information on pay data by job category and sex, ethnicity and race using twelve different “pay bands” or salary ranges identified on the EEO-1. Employers were given until March 31, 2018 to comply.

The stated purpose of the pay data collection was to assist the EEOC in identifying pay disparities that warrant investigation into potential discriminatory pay practices.

On August 29, 2017, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stayed the requirement to report pay data so that employers are no longer required to report pay data as part of their EEO-1 reporting in 2018.

What do employers need to do?

Employers should continue complying with the earlier version of the EEO-1 form that collects data on race, ethnicity and gender by occupational category.  Employers will not, however, be required to provide pay data.

The 2017 EEO-1 report is still due on March 31, 2018. The 2017 EEO-1 reporting instructions found on the EEOC’s website are currently being updated.

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Another New I-9 – Updated July 17, 2017

On July 17, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new Form I-9.  This new form must be used beginning September 18, 2017.  Employers can begin using the new form immediately or continue to use the existing form, which has a revision date of 11/14/16, until the September deadline.

What has changed?

Here is what has changed:

  • The “Consular Report of Birth Abroad” has been added as an acceptable document to List C of the I-9
  • Certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State have been combined and are listed as #2 on List C
  • Documents listed in “List C” have been renumbered

What do I need to do?

We recommend that you begin using the new form effective immediately.  Why? Simply, if you begin using it now you are less likely to forget come September 18, 2017.

 

 

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Employers Must Provide This Notice to New Hires Starting July 1st

Do you have 25 or more employees?

Employers with 25 or more employees must inform each new employee upon hire (and other employees upon request), in writing, that California offers certain rights and protections to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Employers may not discriminate against such employees, for example, and must provide them with reasonable accommodations, including leave for specified purposes.

Here are the notices both in English and Spanish.

What does this mean to my business?

Simply, you will need to add this notice to the already hefty stack of notices, pamphlets and forms that you provide to new hires.

CoreHR Team’s clients will receive updated new hire checklists and acknowledgement forms to use.  Not a client?  Give us a call or send us an email. 

 

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Effective July 1st – 2 New CA Employment Laws

On July 1, 2017, employers will face new limitations on the use of criminal background checks and new requirements as to the treatment of transgender employees in the workplace.  What specifically do the new regulations change and how will your business be affected?

Limitations on Use of Criminal Background Checks

The July 1st regulations require employers to demonstrate that any criminal history information sought is job-related and consistent with a business necessity.  California’s new regulations follow the EEOC’s 2012 guidance on criminal background checks.

According to the regulations, an employer must justify this policy or practice by demonstrating that its policy or practice bears “a demonstrable relationship to successful performance on the job and in the workplace and measure[s] the person’s fitness for the specific position(s), not merely to evaluate the person in the abstract,” and that the policy or practice is “appropriately tailored” to the job. The regulations provide two ways for an employer to meet these requirements: (1) conduct an individualized assessment of the applicant or employee; or (2) demonstrate that any “bright-line” disqualification policy properly distinguishes those who do and do not pose an unacceptable level of risk. Either method requires the employer to provide the impacted applicant/employee with notice and a reasonable opportunity to present evidence that the information is factually inaccurate prior to moving forward with the employment decision.

Employers should be aware of the following two changes:

1. Notice of Disqualifying Conviction

Before an employer can take an adverse action against an applicant based on conviction history (e.g., not hiring the applicant), an employer must give the applicant notice of the disqualifying conviction and provide a reasonable opportunity to present evidence that the conviction information is factually inaccurate. Unfortunately, the new regulation does not define “reasonable opportunity”.  Make sure that the applicant has enough time to respond and collect any information needed.

This notice is only required when the criminal information is obtained by a source other than the applicant (e.g. through a credit report or internally generated search).

2. Adverse Impact

An employer cannot consider criminal history in employment decisions if doing so will result in an adverse impact on individuals within a protected class (based upon race, national origin, religion, etc.).  An adverse impact occurs when a seemingly neutral policy or procedure disproportionately affects a certain group of individuals. The applicant bears the initial burden of proving that an employer’s criminal background screening policy has an adverse impact on a protected class.

What does this mean for my business?

If you do criminal background checks simply because you’ve always done it – think again and be prepared to show that there is a job-related reason for the background check. Employers that use criminal background checks in the hiring process should consult with an HR or legal expert before using the information to disqualify an applicant.

Transgender Discrimination

The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) has long prohibited discrimination in employment on the basis of gender identity.  The new regulations simply describe additional policies that employers must implement in order to prevent such discrimination.

These new policies include the following:

Restroom Facilities

Employers must provide equal access to facilities regardless of the sex of the employee. Employees must be permitted to use facilities that correspond to the employee’s gender identity or gender expression. Employers must use gender-neutral signage for single-occupancy facilities under their control. They cannot require any proof of sex or gender for an employee to use a particular facility.

Transitioning

The definition of  “transitioning” has been added to the FEHA and the new regulations specifically state that it is an unlawful employment practice to discriminate against an individual who is transitioning, has transitioned, or is perceived to be gender transitioning. Transitioning is defined as a process in which an individual begins living as the gender with which they identify and can include changes in name usage, participation in employer-sponsored activities, undergoing hormone therapy, etc.

Dress Standard

An employer cannot impose a dress standard that is inconsistent with an employee’s gender identity or expression in the absence of a business necessity.

Preferred Name and Identity

The new regulations require employers to abide by an employee’s request to be identified by a certain name or a certain gender identity. Employers can only insist on using an employee’s legal name or gender if it is otherwise required to meet a legally-mandated obligation.

Documentation

An employer cannot inquire or require documentation on sex, gender, gender identity, or gender expression as a condition of employment.

What does this mean for my business?

Make sure that your managers are aware of the new regulations and continue to ensure that your workplace is free of harassment and discrimination.  Encourage employees to talk to HR or their supervisor if they feel that they have been harassed or discriminated against based on their sexual identity or expression.  Lastly, review your handbook to determine whether you need to modify or revise any current language, policies, or practices based on the new regulations.

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ALERT! OSHA Delays Enforcement of Electronic Filing of Form 300A

In January 2017, OSHA adopted its final rule requiring certain employers to electronically file OSHA 300A forms as of July 1, 2017.  As of now, enforcement of that requirement has been delayed and employers do not have to report injuries electronically.

OSHA issued the following statement: “OSHA is not accepting electronic submissions of injury and illness logs at this time, and intends to propose extending the July 1, 2017 date by which certain employers are required to submit the information from their completed 2016 Form 300A electronically. Updates will be posted to this webpage when they are available.”

CoreHR Team will continue to monitor OSHA’s website and we will post any updates.

 

 

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What’s On Your Pay-Stub?

In California, the information on an employee’s pay-stub is no joke and failing to include the correct information puts your company at risk.

What do I have to put on the pay-stub?

California Labor Code section 226(a), lists nine specific categories of information that need to be listed on each wage statement: (1) gross wages earned; (2) total hours worked by the employee (with exceptions for certain exempt employees); (3) the number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable rates if the employee is paid on a piece-rate basis; (4) all deductions, provided that deductions made on written orders of the employee may be aggregated and shown as one item; (5) net wages earned; (6) the inclusive dates of the period for which the employee is paid; (7) the name of the employee and only the last four digits of his or her social security number or an employee identification number; (8) the name and address of the legal entity that is the employer; and (9) all applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period and the corresponding number of hours worked by the employee at each hourly rate. Certain additional requirements apply for temporary services employers and farm labor contractors.  In addition, California requires that the pay-stub reflect the hours of paid sick leave available to that employee.

What happens if I don’t include the required information?

Failure to comply could result in statutory penalties of up to $100 per pay period, per employee, up to a maximum of $4,000 per worker, plus additional civil penalties and other damages.  Depending on the number of employees – this could be very expensive!  Include in the cost of litigation and seemingly mundane clerical mistake can cost you thousands of dollars.

What should I do?

Grab a pay-stub and make sure that you have all the correct information listed.  If you use a payroll company, don’t assume that they have included the correct information.  The payroll company may not be based in California or they may not be familiar with the requirements.

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ALERT! Widespread W-2 Scam Hits Valley

This is no joke. The IRS has issued a statement warning businesses of a widespread W-2 email phishing scam.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen stated, “This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time. It can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns. We need everyone’s help to turn the tide against this scheme.’’

We have confirmed that this scam has reached the Central Valley.

What is the scam?

The criminals send an e-mail to payroll or human resources asking for copies of the Forms W-2 for all employees.  The emails are crafted so it appears to be from a CEO or other executive within the company. The emails use signature lines that are identical to those in legitimate e-mails.

The point of the scam is for the criminals to get the Forms W-2 before employees have a chance to file their returns. This allows the criminal to file the return first and obtain the refund that should have gone to the employee.

Of course, even if the criminals fail to file the return first, they have employee personal information that will likely be used for other scams or sold.

What should businesses do?

  1. Notify employees responsible for payroll or other HR related tasks about the scam.
  2. Instruct employees to NEVER respond to a blanket request for sensitive information without first verifying the authentication of the sender.
  3. Never call the telephone number provided in the email as a method of verification.
  4. If you think your company has been a target, forward the email to phishing@irs.gov and place “W2 Scam” in the subject line.

 

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Stopped in its Tracks! New Overtime Rule Unexpectedly Delayed

With just days left until the effective date, a federal judge has stopped the implementation of the new overtime rule.  The new rule setting the minimum salary requirement for exempt employees at $47,476 was to take effect on December 1, 2016.  Not anymore!

On Tuesday November 22nd, a Texas federal judge granted an emergency preliminary injunction stopping the new law in its tracks.  The injunction was a result of two separate lawsuits, one filed by 21 states and the other filed by Chambers of Commerce from throughout the United States.

What happens now?

For now, employers do not have to comply with the new overtime regulations on December 1, 2016. Employers should be aware that this is only a preliminary injunction, and not a permanent injunction. This preliminary injunction only delays the effective date of the new regulations until the Court makes a final determination on the merits

California employers must continue to follow state law which requires that exempt employees receive a guaranteed salary of at least twice the minimum wage or $41,600/year.  For employers with 26 or more employees, California’s minimum wage increases to $10.50 on January 1st , increasing the minimum salary for exempt employees to $43,680/year.

Questions?  Call or email CoreHR Team at info@corehrteam.com or 559-825-6629.

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BREAKING NEWS! U.S. Publishes New I-9 Form

Good News!

There is a new I-9 Form and it is easier to use than the old one!

On November 14, 2016 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a new Employment Eligibility Verification form, commonly know as the I-9.

The I-9 form is the form employers are required to use to establish that an employee is eligible to work in the United States.

The new form features a number of upgrades intended to help reduce errors and help employers more efficiently complete the form.

What do I need to do?

All employers must begin using the new form by January 22, 2017, but you can begin using it immediately. CoreHR Team’s recommendation? Why wait? The new form is easier to understand and easier to complete.