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California and New York Set $15 Minimum Wage Precedent

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In 2014 SeaTac, Washington became the first city to enact the nation’s highest minimum wage of $15 per hour. Since then, other cities including Los Angeles have set courses to achieve the $15-per-hour standard. On the state front, however, things remained stagnant until California and New York both hiked their minimum wage to match SeaTac’s.

California’s law at a glance

On April 4th, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that will increase the state’s minimum wage requirement for employers of 26 or more employees to $15 per hour by Jan. 1, 2022. Employers with 25 or fewer employees will have to comply a year later, by Jan. 1, 2023.

Currently, California’s minimum wage is $10 per hour regardless of the size of a company’s workforce. For employers with 26 or more employees, for the next two years, a 50-cent increase will occur annually with $10.50 and $11.00 being the standard in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Each January 1 thereafter the increase will happen in $1 increments until 2022 when the $15.00 benchmark will be achieved.

For companies employing 25 or fewer employees, the requirement will occur in the same increments but with a one-year delay. The first increase to $10.50 will not occur until January 1, 2018, with $11.00 becoming the standard on January 1, 2019. From there, each January 1 will bring a $1.00 per hour increase until January 1, 2023 when the $15.00 benchmark will be met.

Under the legislation, the governor has the discretion to pause the increases, depending on economic or budgetary conditions.

New York’s law at a glance

Also on April 4th, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a statewide bill, gradually raising the minimum wage from $9 to $15 over the course of a couple years and endorsing a 12-week paid family leave program. New York’s new minimum wage law sets varying minimum wage standards according to geographical location within the state.

Minimum wage increase:

  • For large businesses in New York City employing 11 or more employees, the minimum wage requirement will increase to $11.00 beginning December 31, 2016, with subsequent $2.00 increases occurring each year until the $15 standard is met on December 31, 2018.
  • For small businesses in New York City employing 10 or fewer employees, the minimum wage will rise to $10.50 on December 31, 2016, with subsequent $1.50 increases annually until the $15.00 level is achieved on December 31, 2019.
  • For businesses located in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties, the minimum wage requirement will increase to $10 on December 31, 2016 with annual $1 increases until the $15 level is achieved on December 31, 2021.
  • For businesses in other areas of the state, the minimum wage requirement will be set at $9.70 on December 31, 2016, and $0.70 annual increases will occur until a level of $12.50 is reached on December 31, 2020. After 2020 the minimum wage will be increased to a level of $15 per hour according to a schedule set at that time by the Division of Budget and the state Department of Labor.

12-week paid family leave

Once fully enacted, New York’s 12-week paid family leave policy will be the most comprehensive program on a state level in the nation. Essentially, employees will qualify for 12 weeks of paid family leave when:

    • caring for an infant,
    • looking after a family member who has a serious health condition, or
    • taking care of family matters because someone was called to active military service.

The benefit schedule will occur incrementally, with employees becoming eligible for up to eight weeks of benefits of 50% of the employee’s average weekly wage in 2018. Benefits will increase according to a set schedule to a level of 12 weeks of paid family leave at 67% of their average weekly wage in 2021.

To pay for this, New York will begin withholding a tax from employee wages to fund this increase on January 1, 2018, so there will be no cost to the employer.

Response from other states

With major states on both coasts now setting the state minimum wage bar at $15 per hour, the obvious question is: Will other states follow?

The gradual increase toward $15 thus far has eluded other states, but this week’s news creates a tremendous momentum for other states to follow. It bears noting that some states have increased their minimum wage, although not on a scale quite as aggressive.

What the increase means for employers

Employers in states or cities with minimum wage surges must pay employees according to the new laws. Increases happening on a gradual basis will need special attention, so remain diligent in keeping aware of these ever-changing requirements.



Author Bio: Barclay has over 20 years of experience working as a consultant. He has worked in the consulting practices of accounting firms Ernst & Young and Causey Demgen & Moore. Barclay joined Paycom in 2011 and is currently a Tax Research Analyst. Robbie is a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn.

reverification

Best Practices for Utilizing Section 3 of the Form I-9

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Best Practices for Utilizing Section 3 of the Form I-9

Employers are used to filling out Section 1 and Section 2 of Form I-9 because it’s required for every employee. However, Section 3 – otherwise known as the reverification process– can be a bit mystifying.

Who should be reverified?

Employees with expiring employment authorization or documentation should be reverified to ensure continued authorization to work in the United States. The need for reverification is determined by looking at the List A and List C documents that were presented when the I-9 was initially completed. The work authorization expiration date entered by the employee in Section 1, if any, also should be taken into consideration.

When should the reverification process be completed?

The reverification process should be completed prior to the expiration date of the employee’s authorization or documentation. The expiration date is found in two places: the date provided by the employee in Section 1, and the date recorded under List A or List C in Section 2. If these dates conflict, employers should use the earlier date to determine when reverification is necessary.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends reminding employees that their documentation will expire at least 90 days ahead of the expiration date. This gives them time to present a List A or List C document or receipt showing continued work authorization. Paycom’s Document and Task Management system helps to ease the burden on employers by providing reminders 90 days prior to an employee’s reverification date.

When should the reverification process NOT be used?

Knowing when you cannot reverify an employee is important, too. U.S. citizens and noncitizen nationals should not be reverified. Additionally, lawful permanent residents should not be reverified if they provide a Form I-551, Permanent Resident or Alien Registration Receipt card for Section 2. An employee’s citizenship status is found in Section 1, as well as at the top of Section 2. Also, List B documents – even if they expire – should not be reverified.

How do you complete Section 3?

To complete Section 3, simply examine the unexpired documents presented by your employee to determine if they appear to be authentic and relate to your employee. Then, record the document title, document number and expiration date, if there is one. Lastly, sign and date this section. You must use Section 3 from the most recent Form I-9, even if the employee’s original form is an older version.  Likewise, if you previously have completed Section 3 for the employee, you should use Section 3 on a new version of the form and attach it to the employee’s original I-9.

 Other instances in which you can use Section 3

Employers also may complete Section 3 when an employee is rehired within three years of the date that the Form I-9 was originally completed. To complete Section 3 for rehires:

  • Confirm that the original I-9 relates to the employee.
  • Determine if the employee is still authorized to work or if reverification is required by reviewing Section.
  • Enter the date of rehire in Section 3 if the employee’s work authorization is still valid.
  • If expired, request the employee’s valid List A or List C document and complete a Section 3 reverification.
  • Sign and date Section 3.

 

Name Changes

You also can use Section 3 to record when your employee has a legal name change. You are not required to update Form I-9 for name changes. However, the USCIS recommends maintaining correct information on an employee’s Form I-9. Similarly, you are not required to request documentation of a name change from an employee, but it is recommended in order to be reasonably assured of your employee’s identity if the government ever asks to audit the Form I-9.

Paycom’s Document and Task Management solution automates employment verification from within the Paycom system to help ensure compliance and reduce your exposure to audits and penalties from Form I-9 violations. Employees and employers can complete the Form I-9 online, including Section 3, utilize electronic signature verification, and securely store completed Form I-9s and supporting documentation within the Paycom system.

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Document Management, Featured

Alyssa Looney

by Alyssa Looney


Author Bio: As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Alyssa Looney monitors laws, rules and regulations to ensure that the Paycom software is up to date, specifically regarding immigration law and state law developments in the Western United States. She holds a JD and an MBA from Pennsylvania State University, as well as a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University. Outside of work, Alyssa enjoys cooking, being active, playing with her puppy and exploring Oklahoma City.

May the 4th

Disturbance in Your Workforce? May the 4th Be With You

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A short time ago in an employee suggestion box not far, far away, this note from a disengaged employee was discovered.

Dear Management,

Being a real trooper, I’ve faithfully served this empire for many parsecs. But lately, morale here is in the trash compactor. I’m close to “storming” out of here! Here’s why:

  • We don’t feel valued. It’s challenging to work for someone who acts like a dictator. (The black cape? A bit much.)
  • We want a comfortable working environment. These uniforms don’t exactly help. (I have to plan bathroom breaks 30 minutes in advance.)
  • We want to contribute, but we’re afraid the boss will choke us from across the room if he doesn’t like what we say. A little two-way constructive feedback could make a death star-sized difference. 
  • I find our lack of training disturbing. With the literal universe at our fingertips, why do we not have an online learning management system?

A disengaged staff is a real phantom menace. Don’t let this happen; awaken your workforce today with our “What Employees Want” toolkit to help you keep the force in your workforce as strong as possible.

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Posted in Blog, Employee Engagement, Featured, HR Management, Learning Management, What Employees Want

Rod Lott

by Rod Lott


Author Bio: As Paycom’s Creative Services Manager, Rod Lott brings more than two decades of experience in marketing, advertising, branding and journalism. A published author and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, he has worked with such brands as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Sonic Drive-In and OU.

Paid Family Leave Program

New York to Implement Nation’s Most Comprehensive Paid Family Leave Program

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New York to Implement Nation’s Most Comprehensive Paid Family Leave Program

Private employers in the state of New York will soon be required to provide up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. The new law will apply to all employees of employers covered by the state’s worker’s compensation law and will be completely employee-funded via payroll deductions. Public employers are permitted to participate by opting-in to the program.

Growing Trend

These types of “paid family leave” laws continue to gain momentum. Three other states (California, New Jersey and Rhode Island) provide workers with partial pay during parental leave. Some cities have even joined in on the trend. San Francisco passed a paid family leave program in 2016, and Washington, D.C. also recently approved one that will take effect in 2020.

New York lawmakers championed this law as a pivotal step in the pursuit of equality and dignity in both the workplace and home. “New York enacted the strongest paid family leave plan in the nation to ensure that no one has to choose between losing a job and missing the birth of a child, or being able to spend time with a loved one in their final days,” said New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, upon passage of the law.

Employee Eligibility

The New York legislation originally passed in April of 2016, but the obligations for employers and employees were announced just recently.

Beginning January 1, 2018, the state’s paid family leave program will provide employees with employment protection and partial wage replacement if they spend time away from work to:

  1. bond with a child (including fostering or adopting)
  2. help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service
  3. care for a close relative with a serious health condition

A “close relative” as defined under the law includes a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent (including in-law), grandparent and grandchild. An employee must be employed full-time for 26 weeks, or part-time for 175 days to be eligible for a paid family leave benefit. An employer may permit an employee to use vacation or sick leave while on leave, but may not require its use.

 Employer Impact

The complete 12-week benefit will not be implemented fully until 2021. The amount of paid family leave and the percentage of the employee’s salary paid will be realized over four years:

 

Year Weeks
Available
Max % of
Employee Salary
Cap % of State
Average Weekly Wage
1/1/2018 8 50% 50%
1/1/2019 10 55% 55%
1/1/2020 10 60% 60%
1/1/2021 12 67% 67%

 

Employers will be required to purchase a paid family leave insurance policy or self-insure. The employee will pay the premiums of the policy via payroll deductions, beginning July 1, 2017.

For more information about the phase-in process, calculation of the Average Weekly Wage, or general information on the program, visit the New York paid family leave website.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal issues problems.

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Posted in Blog, Employment Law, Featured, Pre-Employment, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management

Jason Hines

by Jason Hines


Author Bio: Jason Hines is a Paycom compliance attorney. With more than five years’ experience in the legal field, he monitors developments in human resource laws, rules and regulations to ensure any changes are promptly updated in Paycom’s system for our clients. Previously, he was an attorney at the Oklahoma City law firm Elias, Books, Brown & Nelson. Hines earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and his juris doctor degree from the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he graduated cum laude. A fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Hines also enjoys exploring the great outdoors with his wife and daughter.

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