August 2017 Focus

Handbook Review

An employee handbook provides a general summary of personnel policies, programs, employee benefits and labor regulations. A handbook should contain your company’s goals, vision, mission and policies, as well as any other pertinent information. Your handbook must contain any Federal Department of Labor Regulations, state regulations or any other labor regulations.

A few examples of federal mandates that every company should include in their handbook are the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Workplace Discrimination Act. Though companies are not required by federal or state laws to provide employee handbooks, it’s an excellent way to ensure employees are aware of your company policies and any federal mandates.

Handbooks should be reviewed and updated annually. As we HR professionals are extremely busy during peak times of the year, a great time to review and update handbooks would be during the summer months.

New I-9 Compliance

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new revised version of the I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification Form on July 17th. Here’s what’s new:

A new form, FS-240, is a foreign birth document for U.S. Citizenship. It has been added to List C. Other foreign birth documents for U.S. Citizenship, FS-545 and DS-1350, had previously been listed separately in List C. All three forms, FS-240, FS-545 and DS-1350 are now listed in one section within List C.

Employers can continue to use the I-9 Form with a revision date of Nov 14, 2016 until September 17th. Beginning September 18th, employers must use the I-9 Form with a revision date of July 17, 2017.

The ACA Remains as is for Now

On July 28th, the last effort by the Republican led Congress to get some form of “repeal and replace” of the ACA fell short by one vote in the Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives had narrowly passed its reform bill on May 4th and had sent it to the Senate for approval.

As most predicted, the American Health Care Act was D.O.A. upon reaching the Senate. The Senate then struggled with no less than three more of their own versions of how to “repeal and replace” the ACA before breaking for the August recess. The argument continues to be over getting something passed that does not totally disrupt the market and backfire on the Republicans verses an all-out repeal of “Obamacare”.

The closest they came was a 49-51 vote against a “Skinny Bill” that would have only delayed the tax penalty for not having or offering coverage until 2025, a moratorium on the medical device tax until 2021, repeal of the max contributions to Health Savings Accounts and provided waivers to states for the Essential Health Benefit requirements. As it stands, nothing is going to change soon with the Affordable Care Act.

The DOL wants your Opinion as to the Minimum Salary Thresholds

With only eight days remaining before the new minimum salary thresholds were to take effect on December 1, 2016, a federal judge issued an injunction blocking the DOL from enforcing its new rules. Because the Obama Administration would be handing the reins over to a new party, they left the decision to appeal up to the new administration.

This left the Trump Administration and his new Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, in a tough spot. The judge had ruled in favor of Nevada, Texas and 19 other states’ argument that the increase was too great and that the Department of Labor (DOL) had overstepped congressional authority by changing the threshold. If the Trump Administration allows this ruling to stand, then the DOL would have to go to congress to get any changes made to the thresholds.

So, the DOL issued a brief agreeing with the court that the amount was too great, but the DOL did have authority and precedence in setting the thresholds. On July 26th, the DOL published a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register in an attempt to get the public’s input to increasing the thresholds and how they should be managed in the future. The comment period closes on September 25th.

Payroll and Human Resource Basic Training Class Dates

Do not wait, sign up today. Below is the current class schedule to be held at the Ridgeland Campus of Holmes Community College. The cost of each class is $300 and includes a desk reference for future use.

  • Payroll Basics will be held Sept. 13th.
  • HR Basics will be held Sept. 14th.

Classes are limited to the first 24 registrants. Click below to register for upcoming classes.

View upcoming payroll and H.R. basic training classes!

ProSential Group Webinars for August

As a client of MWG Employer Services, we are pleased to offer free, monthly educational webinars through ProSential Group. Previous webinars are available through the ProSential Group Client Portal. To register for this month’s webinars, click on the links below.

Cafeteria Plan Change in Status Rules

Tuesday, August 22nd

Register Online

EEO Principles and Compliance

Wednesday, August 23rd

Register Online