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  • 11 Jul 2018 8:58 AM | Rebecca Kellner (Administrator)

    A good summary of the important employment news you might have missed this month:

    ·         If you’re a recruiter, you probably already knew this: for the first time ever, there are more open positions than there are job seekers.  See the most recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey conducted by DOL and released in June.

    ·         DOL issued new regulations regarding association health plans, allowing smaller groups to band together to buy insurance.  See a good summary (and the yet unknowns) from ABRC.

    ·         DOL launched Apprenticeship.gov to compile apprenticeship information in a centralized location both for job creators and job seekers.

    ·         Although the Supreme Court found in favor of the Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, the Court did confirm employers must comply with all discrimination laws.

    ·         Hopefully you already knew about these deadlines:

    • Electronic reporting OSHA summary (300A) was due July 1, 2018
    • PCORI fees for self-insured health plans due July 31, 2018

    ·         FMLA forms that originally expired in May, 2018, have been extended to July 31, 2018. 

    ·         Immigration was a hot topic, but after a change in President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy at the border, Congress wasn’t able to get to consensus on other immigration matters.  See SHRM’s summary leading up to the vote here.

    ·         EEOC reconvened its Task Force on Harassment to hear from various individuals about how to promote a harassment-free workplace.  Check out Eric Meyer’s summary.

    ·         EEOC also released a report entitled “A State of Age Discrimination and Older Workers in the US 50 Years after the ADEA.”  Eric Meyer has a good summary of that too.

    ·         NLRB took issue with an employer’s handbook policy that prohibited someone from working a second job; better practice is to restrict, not ban.

    ·         But… NLRB said it wasn’t going to look at handbooks every time there is an alleged NLRA violation and seems to be giving more leeway to handbook policies that it once took issue with.

    ·         OSHA’s silica rules went into effect June 23, but OSHA will give you 30 days before they start enforcing them. 

    ·         President Trump proposed a merger between the DOL and Department of Education; to understand the impact, check out SHRM’s article.

    ·         The Supreme Court decided that public sector employees could not be required to pay union dues. But given that Wisconsin public sector unions is limited to police and fire, this is probably less impactful here than in other states.

    ·         SHRM has a summary of some important employment-law proposals pending before Congress:

    o    Amendments to the NLRA

    o    Expand use of HSAs

    o    Shifting Medicare payments to the employer plan for end-stage renal disease (tucked into the opioid bill that passed the House)

    Don’t forget to check out the most recent case law update from WISHRM’s partner, BoardmanClark.

     

  • 25 Jun 2018 9:31 AM | Rebecca Kellner (Administrator)

    Anyone else read the news about immigration right now and think “maybe I don’t want to know what’s going on?”  Great – let’s go hide under a rock together!  Seriously though, there’s a lot of stuff happening and it’s important to be informed.  I want to focus on an immigration bill that is likely going to be up for a vote this week and how that might impact our employers. 

    Let’s start with some history.  DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was a result of executive action taken by President Obama when Congress did not pass the Dreamers Act.  In short, it provided for those individuals who arrived in the country illegally as children before the 2012 executive order to obtain work authorization for 2 years and then required re-application every 2 years thereafter.  Last year, the Attorney General determined that President Obama lacked the authority to create that executive order and required the government to stop processing new applications in September, 2017, and renewals as of March, 2018.  However, a court postponed the end of the renewals, which continues presently.  SHRM has a great graphic that walks through the history for those of you who are visual learners.

    While there have been many proposed solutions in Congress, few bills have gained momentum.  Earlier this month, the House agreed to take up four different bills on immigration (each addressing DACA) – HR4760, HR3440, HR4796, and HR6136.  On Thursday, June 21, 2018, HR4760 was voted upon in the House and defeated.  Another measure, HR6136, which has been dubbed the compromise GOP immigration bill, was supposed to be voted on Thursday as well.  However, that was postponed until Friday and now until this week. 

    HR6136 has multiple components regarding immigration, including border security, emergency funding, visa security, help separated children be reunited with family members, allow family members to be detained together, and also address DACA recipients.

    More specifically, those who were under 16 and came to the US unlawfully before June 15, 2007, and maintained a continued presence since 2012 in the US would be eligible for employment for a period of 6 years (and that can be renewed if the person remains qualified).  The individual would have to show proof of graduation from a US high school or college and could not have any disqualifying convictions.  

    While the headlines suggest the bill does not have a great chance of moving forward (and even if it makes it out of the House, there are no guarantees there would be enough votes in the Senate to advance the measure).  However, this is when it’s incredibly important for our voices to be heard.  What is the impact to your organization if DACA recipients cannot continue to work?  Do you support those who have been living in the US since before 6/15/2007 to have the ability to work lawfully?  If so, let your Representative know immediately!

    SHRM does support legal immigration.  It cites ultra-low unemployment, increasing job openings, and severe skills gap and calls upon Congress to find a solution for DACA-eligible individuals who are working or serving in the military to continue to do so.  See SHRM’s statement here.

     

  • 12 Jun 2018 4:06 PM | Rebecca Kellner (Administrator)

    A good summary of the important employment news you might have missed this month:

    • In immigration news:
    • ICE is stepping up enforcement of I-9s this summer according to SHRM.
    • DOL is working with the Departments of State, Agriculture, and Homeland Security to begin to modernize the H-2A visa programs for agriculture positions.
    • IRS released HSA contribution maximums for 2019.
    • SHRM says don’t hold your breath waiting for those updated overtime regulations – probably not coming until January, 2019, and then it’ll only be in proposed format.
    • If your organization contracts with TRICARE – good news!  OFCCP is extending its enforcement moratorium (meaning you don’t have to comply as a federal contractor… yet).
    • And if there was any doubt that EEOC is focused on harassment prevention, check out an article included with its latest digest, comparing crime prevention strategies to ways employers can prevent harassment.

    Don’t forget to check out the most recent case law update from WISHRM’s partner, BoardmanClark.

     

  • 31 May 2018 9:13 AM | Rebecca Kellner (Administrator)

    Last week, the Supreme Court… (yawn)…No, really, you should read this!

    Seriously, the Supreme Court issued a major win for employers last week, but before we get to the really exciting part, let’s break it down.

    What’s an employment arbitration agreement anyway?

    Great question.  It is a contract that requires employees to arbitrate, rather than litigate, any employment claims.  Arbitration is an alternative to litigation, which can be costly and is public information (at least anything filed with a court).  There is no jury; just an arbitrator (or panel of arbitrators, depending on what your agreement indicates) that makes the determination.  Oftentimes the arbitration is binding, which means an employer doesn’t have costly, drawn-out appeals (though conversely it means the employer is stuck with decisions it doesn’t like as well).

    So what does the Supreme Court have to say about this?

    The Court decided that employment arbitration agreements can specifically require workers to arbitrate their claims alone – not as a class.  The plaintiff in the case was arguing that the National Labor Relations Act, which allows individuals to come together to complain about terms and conditions of employment, allowed class action lawsuits – even where an individual signed an arbitration agreement.  The Court determined if the contract says all claims go to arbitration – that’s what it means. No separate class action lawsuits. 

    What’s class action?  Why should I care?

    Class action = big $$$.  In more words, class actions are more expensive.  It’s when a class of similar individuals come together to sue the employer.  Instead of itty bitty damages for each individual, the collective case is worth more (and much more attractive to an attorney). 

    So should I have an employment arbitration agreement with a class action waiver? 

    In typical lawyer fashion  - it depends. 

    Pros:

    • Arbitration is less public (not open records like anything filed in court). 
    • If you had a large class action, you’d be more likely to try to settle it quickly because of the sheer volume and cost (so the arbitration agreement/class action waiver would allow you more time to actually go through discovery and decide the value of the case).
    • Arbitration means no jury (i.e. 12 people who really don’t have any legal education and may vote with their heart more than the facts).

    Cons:

    • You may be forced to arbitrate lots of little claims (which can be costly too in attorney fees) that may be more efficiently dealt with in a class action.
    • Arbitration is usually binding, meaning you cannot appeal the decision.
    • Likely to be seen as less employee-friendly company (or for the real cynics – that you are intending on doing something bad and are using this to hide behind significant damages).

    Your choice.  But now you know.   And if you’re looking for a sample arbitration agreement, head over to SHRM’s website.  Or talk to your attorney. 

     

  • 29 May 2018 4:00 PM | Elaine Ruh (Administrator)

    A message from Kurt Johnson:  

    As you may recall, New North and Right Management co-sponsor an annual award called The New North Workplace Excellence Award, which recognizes organizations that are improving their competitive advantage through people practices that lead to successful business outcomes.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of the award.  We are about to begin our application process, and would sincerely appreciate your help in sharing information about the award with your local SHRM chapter.

     This year we are pleased to again start the application process with a shorter version for organizations to complete.  Attached is the application with the timeline with key dates.  New North has also has information on their web-site at http://thenewnorth.com/talent/northeast-wisconsin-workplace-excellence-award/ .   

     Please let us know if you have any questions.  We sincerely appreciate your support in helping us get the word out to your Chapter members and your networks regarding the award.  Take care.

    Important Dates and Information:

     June 29th             Phase I responses due by 5:00PM CST. Responses should be emailed to jennifer.doering@right.com

     July 20th              Organizations moving onto Phase II will be notified.

     August 17th         Phase II applications due by 5:00PM CST.

     August 31st          Phase III finalists notified.


    Kurt

     Phone 920 738 6207

    kurt.johnson@right.com

    www.right.com


  • 21 May 2018 8:40 AM | Rebecca Kellner (Administrator)

    Last June, national SHRM organization hired a new CEO to replace the retiring Hank Jackson.  A SHRM article interviewing Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. shortly after joining the organization outlined two main priorities: engage HR executives and work with policymakers to enact effective workplace policies.  In February’s HR Magazine, Mr. Taylor wrote an article entitled “Why HR Needs to Lead with Advocacy.”  Then during the March Legislative Conference, Mr. Taylor talked to reporters making it clear that SHRM would be more involved in advocacy moving forward.  It’s clear he has a strong focus on making our HR voices heard!

    As HR professionals, we are at a unique intersection often of taking care of the employee (our number 1 asset at any company), but balancing what’s in the best interest of the organization.  So who better to advocate for laws impacting our workplaces and our employees than us?  The HR profession “can be a social force, capable of sparking monumental impact,” says Mr. Taylor. 

    Already SHRM was at the table to draft the Workflex in the 21st Century Act.  But more needs to be done to show both sides of the aisle that this is something that works for employees AND employers.  In addition, we have a plenty to say on the matters of immigration, employer health plans, and equal pay, to name a few. 

    Now, we don’t expect to make monumental strides overnight (especially during an election year when not much happens legislatively).  But, there are actions you can be taking now to build relationships with our local legislatures so you can be seen as the expert on the subject of workplace policies so when there is an opportunity, there is someone to help educate them on the subject.  Remember our legislators very often do not have a HR background, but are expected to become educated on every subject matter for which they are voting on.  So having others to lean on becomes important to help inform their decisions. 

    Another key point is that timing is everything.  So even if nothing happens this year, the work you put in now is still making progress.  No one has a crystal ball (well except fortune tellers?) and so we don’t know when something might become a hot topic and give SHRM an opportunity to make a difference.  So having those relationships now can help us mobilize and reach our legislatures so much more effectively when the “iron is hot.” 

    So how do you develop those relationships with our legislators?

    ·         Follow your members of Congress or state on social media

    ·         Attend telephone or in person town halls

    ·         Invite legislator to your workplace

    ·         Schedule a meeting with your legislator’s local office (or when your legislator is in District) to introduce yourself and touch on issues that are important to our profession

    ·         Write a note to introduce yourself and offer your expertise

     

  • 07 May 2018 7:03 AM | Rebecca Kellner (Administrator)

    Is your organization hiring temporary employees for the summer?  With the last day of school just around the corner, plenty of employers consider hiring minors for those temporary jobs.  And in Wisconsin, it just got easier to do so.

    Wisconsin is one of the majority of states requiring a work permit for minors to work.  Last year, Governor Walker signed into law an Act that no longer required those 16 and older to obtain the work permit.  This year, Governor Walker signed additional bills into law that allow 15-year-olds to work as lifeguards and do not require minors working in family-owned businesses to obtain work permits.  With these changes to minor employment laws, and summer fast approaching, let's take a look at some other important reminders for employment minors:

    Work permits.  These are still required for those under 16 years old.  While minors as young as 12 may be able to work, this is typically limited to agriculture or work in a business owned by parents.  Usually minors must be 14 to work.

    • Prohibited work.  Even with a work permit, minors under the age of 18 are prohibited from certain hazardous activities.  Both federal and state law dictate what is "hazardous" and this is also determined by age.  So if you plan to have a minor do any work that could be hazardous, check both laws.
    • Hours of work.  Wisconsin follows federal law for hours that a minor may work.  For 16 & 17 year olds, the only limitation is that they cannot be required to work during school hours.  For those under 16, they can work up to 8 hours per day (during the hours of 7 am - 9 pm), up to 40 hours per week.
    • Meal periods. Although those over 18 are not required to be provided a break in Wisconsin, minors must be provided 30 minutes if they work 6 consecutive hours. 
    • Minimum wage.  Minimum wage is $7.25, but employers can pay an "opportunity wage" of $5.90 to those between ages 16-20 for the first 90 days of employment. 
    • Poster.  If you hire minors in your workplace, don't forget to post the required Wisconsin poster.

    You can find more information here:

    * Wisconsin DWD: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/er/labor_standards/work_permit/employment_of_minors_guide.htm

    * Federal DOL: https://www.youthrules

     

  • 02 May 2018 3:13 PM | Kevin Virobik

    The Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce and Oshkosh SHRM have partnered to produce the Future HR Technology Conference which will be held on Tuesday, June 5th at the UW-O Alumni Center.

    The Conference is laser-focused on how technology and Artificial Intelligence are disrupting the HR landscape.

    Experts from Van Briesen, Cielo, Harqen, IBM and Advancing AI Wisconsin will share their vision of the future. Alonzo Kelly will provide the keynote.

    More info here: https://www.oshkoshchamber.com/event-calendar/event-registration/?cal_id=1195




  • 02 May 2018 12:58 PM | Elaine Ruh (Administrator)

    If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that in March the IRS recalculated the family maximum contribution for HSAs as a result of the tax reform bill.  Although the limit had been communicated prior to January 1st to be $6,900, as a result of the calculation, the limit was dropped $50 to $6,850 for 2018 tax year.  See SHRM’s article from March 6, 2018: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/irs-lowers-2018-family-hsa-contribution-limit.aspx

    However, on April 26, the IRS changed its mind.  See Rev. Proc. 2018-27.  Essentially IRS said it didn’t realize what a nightmare changing the limit $50 would cause and decided to avoid administrative hassle, it would allow the maximum family contribution to remain at $6,900 for the 2018 tax year.  Happy contributing! 


  • 30 Apr 2018 9:03 AM | Elaine Ruh (Administrator)

    UWO SHRM Chapter has published their spring newsletter! Follow the link below to our new webpage, Collegiate Connections and scroll to the newsletter! Enjoy!

    Collegiate Connections

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