July 2017 Focus

New Changes Made with the EEO-1 Reporting Survey

The EEOC has announced changes to the EEO-1 Reporting Survey. The EEO-1 filing period will open January 2018. However, beginning this year, employers with 100 or more employees will no longer be required to report each September. Instead, the EEO-1 report will be due March 31, 2018. The new “Workforce Snapshot” period (the EEOC’s definition for pay period) is October 1st – Dec 31st. The new version of the EEO-1 requires salary and hours worked information. Salary information will be reported in pay bands (the EEOC’s definition for pay ranges), which you gather from Box 1 of the W-2. Employers will report hours worked during the calendar year for each employee. Government employers will not complete the EEO-1. You will complete an EEO-4 with different reporting requirements and deadlines.

No New Exempt Salary Thresholds in the Near Future

On June 30th the Department of Justice stated in a brief to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the Department of Labor was dropping its pursuit to raise the salary thresholds for exempt employees to over $47,000 per year. But, this is only half of this case. The Executive Branch cannot afford to abandon the most critical argument in this appeal that was started by the Obama Administration. The district court decision which led to this appeal ruled that the DOL overstepped its authority by even setting a new salary threshold. So, the Trump Administration must defend part of the Obama Administration’s policy in order to even have the option of setting a much needed, but lower threshold. If they fail, then it will literally take an act of Congress to raise these thresholds in the future.

DOL Rolls Back Obama Interpretations of “Joint Employer”

In 2015, and again in 2016, the Obama Administration issued Administrator’s Interpretations (AI) expanding the standards by which the United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division could use as justification for taking certain enforcement actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA). These AI’s took a new position on the concept of joint employment and who would be considered the primary employer. The AI’s also provided new terms such as “horizontal’ and “vertical” joint employers, and redefined many contractors as employees under the FLSA. In early June, new Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta withdrew these two AI’s, to the applause of employers. But the Secretary also warned employers by emphasizing “the removal of the administrator interpretations does not change the legal responsibilities of employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, as reflected in the department’s long-standing regulations and case law.” The bottom line is, before entering into an agreement with an employment contractor, ensure the contract is reviewed carefully by legal counsel and aligns with your business needs. Also, maintain a continuous awareness of the size of your business based on the number of employees which is used to determine an employer’s susceptibility to certain rules and regulations.

Expansion and Reform of Apprenticeship Programs and Workforce Development in the U.S.

An executive order was issued in June by President Donald Trump designed to expand apprenticeships and vocational training in order to promote affordable education and rewarding jobs for American workers. Citing the need for reform in education systems and workforce development programs in the U.S., President Trump said, “Despite the billions of taxpayer dollars invested in these programs each year, many Americans are struggling to find full-time work.”

He explained how apprenticeships provide paid, relevant workplace experiences and opportunities to develop skills and employer values. The President also stated he wants all high schools in the U.S. to offer apprenticeship programs which provide opportunities to students whether they want to attend a four-year college, technical college, trade school, or simply work and learn as a skilled apprentice.

The executive order also calls for a task force, which will be funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. In addition, the Secretary of Labor, in consultation with the Secretaries of Education and Commerce, shall consider proposing regulations which promote the development of apprenticeship programs by third parties. Finally, President Trump proposed the improvement or elimination of ineffective federally funded education and workforce development programs.

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 July

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.

Form I-9 Compliance for Employers

Tuesday, July 18th

Register Online

Non-Discrimination Testing (Section 105 and 125 Plans)

Wednesday, July 19th

Register Online

The Simple Truth

Ever since “Hillary Care”, there has been talk of a single-payer system of healthcare in the U.S. I’ve continually heard all of the arguments in favor of a single-payer system such as; “The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t have a single-payer system.” and “The U.S. outcomes are no better than some of these other industrialized countries.” But you never really hear the other side of the argument. I really believe it’s because those closest to making a single-payer system happen, haven’t figured out how to overcome a couple of major hurdles.

Currently there are 5 states working on legislation for a single-payer system in their state. California has actually passed legislation, but has come up against a brick wall when it comes to paying for the system. California has a general state budget of $180 billion dollars. The cost of the single-payer system is estimated to be an additional $400 billion, thereby tripling their annual budget. The other states considering similar legislation are facing similar pricing woes. I’m sure there are people trying to come up with creative ways for the federal government and the rich to pay for the program. But at the end of the day, we all know everyone will foot that bill.

With such a high price tag, the next big issue is how to control costs. If there is only a single-payer system in any state, would not all of the medical providers then be paid by the state? At which point, wouldn’t the state ultimately have to make the determinations of what is covered and when? Any attempt to control cost or coverage is a form of rationing health care. By the way, who would be eligible for the coverage? According to the legislation in California, even illegal immigrants would receive medical care. What would prevent me from crossing the state line to receive my medical care in California and then going back to my home state at no cost to me or my state?

Do people really believe that if there is a single-payer system, they will have the same freedoms to choose any doctor, receive any desired medical care, at no cost, and with no questions asked? Recent evidence proves the Veteran’s Administration can’t provide adequate health care for our veterans. What makes people believe the Federal Government can do it for all citizens? Medicare and Medicaid are going broke and fewer providers will even accept their patients. The simple truth is that Americans are being led to believe they can have the best healthcare money can buy, the freedom to choose how they receive that healthcare, and at no cost if they will just allow the government to run the entire system. Please name one service any government entity has provided to its citizens at this expected level.