A new Senate bill proposes removing the restriction on married co-workers’ ability to take time off to care for newborn or adopted children, parents, or military family members under the FMLA. The FMLA provides job protected, unpaid leave for employees for certain purposes, such as the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for a sick family member. Employees may take up to 12 weeks of leave during a one-year period. Currently however, there is statutory language that only allows spouses to take a total of 12 combined weeks of leave.
The fluctuating workweek half-time overtime option has been available for many years under federal law as a way for employers to reduce their overtime costs for employees who work different hours each week. The option requires that the employee be paid a fixed minimum amount weekly regardless of the number of hours worked. Then, if that number of worked exceeds 40, the employer may pay overtime on a half-time of the regular rate of pay basis (determined each week overtime is worked).
NY passed a new law this year that applies to employees that are victims of domestic violence. This law requires employers to provide victims reasonable time off from work to seek medical attention for himself or herself for the injuries caused by domestic violence, to receive services from a domestic violence shelter or program or a rape crisis center, to obtain psychological counseling, to participate in safety planning or other activities to increase the victim’s safety in the future, to receive legal services, assist in the prosecution of the perpetrator, or to appear in court in rela
Observers noted a sharp divide among the United States Supreme Court Justices during oral argument of three cases before them on October 8, 2019. At issue before the Court was whether the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of “sex” in federal Title VII includes protection from discrimination for the LGBTQ community.
The federal government has announced the new salary requirements for employees to be exempt from overtime pay under federal law. The new salary threshold is $35,568 annually or $684 weekly.
Historically, gig workers (think Uber drivers, InstaCart, Doordash) have been classified as independent contractors, allowing companies to avoid having to pay benefits or minimum wage and overtime. This may change sooner than you think. Just last week, California got one step closer to making it harder for companies to classify these individuals as independent contractors. While the bill still must be signed into law, experts believe that this is inevitable. New York Gov.
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, employers who agree with employees who work a fluctuating number of hours each week to pay them a base salary regardless of the number of hours worked, are then able to pay those employees half-time for their overtime hours. This somewhat unknown, and not often used, structure generally saves employers money and gives employees the certainty of the salary during weeks working less than 40 hours.
The New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) Superintendent revealed the new Paid Family Leave (“PFL”) benefit and employee contribution rates on Friday August 30. By law, those on PFL will receive up to 60% of the New York State average weekly wage (which the DFS set at $1,401.17 for 2020), for the up-to-10 weeks of PFL taken during the year. Accordingly, most employees who take PFL in 2020 will receive $840.70 per week, up about $100 from 2019, and it will be interesting to see if more employees seek to take it.
On June 25, we wrote about new anti-harassment legislation that we expected Governor Cuomo to sign into law. On August 12, he did, in fact, sign that legislation and expanded the definition of what is considered legally actionable harassment in the workplace. The traditional standard that harassment must be “severe and pervasive” will no longer apply. Now, a complainant must show that the conduct in question rises above the level of “petty slights and trivial inconveniences.”
Additional changes are:
Continuing with its’ busy employment legislation season, New York has amended the Human Rights Law to prohibit discrimination based on religious attire, clothing and facial hair. The law becomes effective on October 8, 2019. The law already prohibited employers from treating applicants or employees differently because of their religion, but the amendment makes clear that the definition of religion includes bias against any employee’s religious clothing, facial hair or attire.
YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED! Please e-mail your senators to OPPOSE S. 3220 <http://msg.shrm.org/site/R?i=MTjvtqw_LsVHXyHx4E3oZw> because it would significantly restrict the way employers of all sizes compensate their employees.
The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on S. 3220 <http://msg.shrm.org/site/R?i=RtT7Sk0m8Jd81Vmze41gYQ> , the so-called "Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA)," during the week of June 4-8. If enacted, the bill would:
* significantly restrict the factors HR professionals use to compensate their employees,
* authorize the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor to collect wage information from employers, and
* encourage employees to publicly disclose their colleagues' wages.
Please Take This Action:
Write your U.S. Senators using SHRM's HRVoice program by following these steps:
1. Log onto the SHRM HRVoice Advocacy Action Center by clicking HERE <http://msg.shrm.org/site/R?i=QDYTTmdd8f2fWjP-HZhnFg>
2. Personalize your message with your own story
3. Include your home mailing address.
HR professionals who manage compensation use their professional judgment to consider a number of legitimate factors in creating fair and equitable compensation systems. These include experience, profitability, merit, productivity, prior salary history and location. But the PFA would allow the Federal government to second-guess employer pay practices in three primary ways. The PFA would:
1. Restrict employer flexibility in pay decisions – The PFA would effectively prohibit employers from using many legitimate factors to compensate their employees, including professional experience, education, training, employer need, local labor market rates, hazard pay, shift differentials and the profitability of the organization. The PFA would permit employers to base pay decisions only on production, merit and seniority.
2. Require collection of employer wage data – The PFA would authorize the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor to collect compensation data from compensation managers.
3. Reduce employee privacy – The PFA would effectively encourage employees to discuss or publicize their co-workers' wages by preventing employer retaliation against an individual who publicly discloses the wages of other employees.
Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) introduced S. 3220, the Paycheck Fairness Act, on May 22, 2012. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, but it has not been the subject of a hearing or markup during the current Congress. The Senate plans to vote on S. 3220 during the week of June 4-8.
SHRM and its membership are committed to preventing and resolving any form of workplace discrimination, including pay disparities between women and men. SHRM strongly supports the two federal laws that already protect employees from gender-based pay inequity: (1) Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964 and (2) the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA). The proposed Paycheck Fairness Act would amend the Equal Pay Act, which is part of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
SHRM believes that compensation programs should be designed to ensure fair treatment of employees, but should be determined by the market and employer needs, not by the government. Instead, SHRM encourages organizations of all sizes to regularly perform compensation or job evaluation audits to ensure such systems do not discriminate based on gender in order to comply with current federal law.
SHRM believes the Paycheck Fairness Act, however well-intentioned, would be an unnecessary expansion of the Equal Pay Act. By significantly restricting the factors used in setting compensation, the Paycheck Fairness Act would threaten the tools that HR professionals use to reward and retain their employees. The bill could lead to employers cutting back on incentive pay programs, because of the pay disparities between employees that would naturally result. The bill would also have a negative impact on employee privacy by encouraging employees to publicize their colleagues' wages.
Should you have any questions regarding the Paycheck Fairness Act, please contact Michael Layman, SHRM's Government Relations Senior Associate, at email@example.com.
If you encounter any problems with the advocacy site, please contact David Lusk, SHRM's Senior Associate, Member Advocacy, at 703-535-6158.