FELS.net - Labor & Safety
         

Agriculture Targeted by DOL Wage and Hour Division

From the US DOL Blog: US DOL Wage and Hour Division clearly announces that Agriculture is, and will likely remain, a targeted business for audits and compliance actions.  Full compliance is the beginning of the job of protecting yourself and your business but perfect (yes perfect, or as close to perfect as any human system can get) is the too often neglected 'rest of the story.' your business depends on both components, full compliance with the spirit of the laws and regulations will not fully protect you if you cannot show proper and complete documentation.

Read more: DOL Inspections and Audit Guidances

Time to Prepare: Pre-Season Compliance Checklist

by: Chris Schulte of CJ-Lake, LLC

Spring is right around the corner, but before your seasonal workers arrive and planting kicks into high gear, now is the perfect time to do a self-check of your HR procedures and records. While there is still snow on the ground for most of the country, take the opportunity to improve your practices and avoid costly audit findings down the road. Know the law, follow the rules, and be able to prove it.

Read more: Pre-Season Compliance Checklist

CA Controller Jumps on "Wage Theft" Bandwagon

State Controller John Chiang, who is seeking election on November 4 as California State Treasurer, announced a new pilot program on October 23 -- called "Operation Pay-Up" -- to aid victims of putative "wage theft" committed by employers. Working in conjunction with the state Labor Commissioner's Office and non-profit The Wage Justice Center, the Controller's pilot project addresses the growing number of low-income workers who are owed millions of dollars in back wages unlawfully withheld by exploitive businesses. Between 2008 and 2011 alone, the magnitude of the problem was an estimated $390 million.

Read more: CA Controller Jumps on Wage Theft Bandwagon

IRS Bars Employers From Dumping Workers on Exchanges

From the New York Times, May 26, 2014:

WASHINGTON — Many employers had thought they could shift health costs to the government by sending their employees to a health insurance exchange with a tax-free contribution of cash to help pay premiums, but the Obama administration has squelched the idea in a new ruling. Such arrangements do not satisfy the health care law, the administration said, and employers may be subject to a tax penalty of $100 a day — or $36,500 a year — for each employee who goes into the individual marketplace.

Read more: IRS Bars Employers From Dumping Workers on Exchanges

New COBRA Notice & Guidance Published

The Department of Labor has published a new model general COBRA notice and a new model election COBRA notice. The new model notices reflect that coverage is available in the public health insurance exchanges, i.e., the “Marketplace,” and include information on special enrollment rights in the Marketplace. Use of these model notices, properly completed, will be considered good faith compliance with the notice content requirements of COBRA. The new notices may be obtained on the Department of Labor website. (For additional information, please see ourBenefits Law Advisor blog.)

Read more: New COBRA Notice & Guidance Published

Department of Rehabilitation Releases DVDs to Train Employers Regarding Employees with Disabilities

The California Department of Rehabilitation, in partnership with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and others, recently released two new DVDs designed to (1) assist employers recruit, hire, and retain employees with disabilities and (2) provide small business owners with helpful tips on welcoming customers with disabilities.

Read more: EDD DVDs for Training Disabilities