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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.

What Substance Abuse in the Workplace Costs Employers

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Of the estimated 14.8 million Americans who use illegal drugs, 70% of them are employed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Therefore, odds are your company employs workers who fall into this group. The use of drugs or alcohol by employees inside or outside the office can be costly for a business, leading to:

  • increased turnover rate
  • workplace incidents
  • poor workplace morale

From a financial perspective, the National Institute on Drug Abuse found substance abusers cost employers twice as much in workers’ compensation and medical expenses. Additionally, substance abusers are five times more likely to file workers’ compensation claims.

Furthermore, employees with alcohol dependencies are nearly three times more likely to have injury-related absences, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. In 2015, that council reported that federal surveys indicate 24% of workers reported drinking on the job at least once in the past year.

Recognizing the signs

Knowing how to handle substance abuse in the workplace starts with recognizing the existence of a problem. Whether it is abuse of alcohol, prescription drugs or illegal substances, a number of visible signs can indicate an employee needs help:

  • change in appearance
  • frequent tardiness
  • decline in job performance
  • slurred speech and drowsiness
  • mood swings and irritability
  • scent of alcohol

None of these signs alone indicates a substance abuse issue, but intervening early with employees displaying a combination of these signs may be valuable to your business. Implementing a companywide policy, training managers to recognize signs of substance abuse, and setting expectations with employees through training can help safeguard your business and your workforce.

 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 problems.

 

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Posted in Blog, Compliance, Featured

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.

Podcasts

5 Podcasts That Every HR Professional Should Download

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Podcasts provide the opportunity to sit like a fly on the wall and listen to some of the most brilliant minds in the world converse about today’s biggest trends and challenges.

According to a study by Triton Digital, nearly one quarter of Americans listen to a podcast at least once a month. Education is a popular subject, with 40% of podcast listeners tuning in to that type. If you’re an HR professional or business leader looking to broaden your knowledge of HR and HR technology this year, I highly recommend filling your ears and brains with these five podcasts throughout ’18.

1. HBR IdeaCast

From Harvard Business Review, the weekly HBR IdeaCast features leading thinkers in business and management discussing a variety of key topics in the work world.

It is an excellent resource for insights on a wide array of subjects including, but not limited to, HR. The discussions apply directly to organizations nationwide. The podcast reminds me of NPR’s Fresh Air, but with an emphasis on business leaders.

Recommended episodes:

2. HR Happy Hour

Since 2009, HR Happy Hour has featured thought leaders, workplace and technology experts, academics and more to take on important aspects impacting HR, technology and the workplace.

The podcast is so long-running that it has episodes dedicated to just about every HR topic under the sun. The charming hosts Steve Boese and Trish McFarlane make trending topics fun and informative.

Recommended episodes:

3. CIPD

From the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the monthly CIPD podcast covers everything from talent acquisition to workplace training and cybersecurity.

CIPD’s international perspective brings fresh eyes to subjects that resonate with many American HR professionals. With a backlog of more than seven years’ worth of episodes available, it’s easy to recommend.

Recommended episodes:

4. Workology Podcast

Covering the science and art of the workplace, Jessica Miller-Merrell’s Workology Podcast offers insights and actionable tips on HR and recruiting. Each 45-minute episode promises an in-depth look at every company’s most valuable asset: the employee.

In asking sharp, pointed questions about the latest HR trends, Miller-Merrell does an excellent job as host, bringing a unique and often unexpected take on familiar subject matter.

Recommended episodes:

5. HR Break Room

The official podcast of Paycom, HR Break Room brings you quick conversations on hot topics in HR and HR technology. Co-host Chelsea Justice and I talk with guest experts about the challenges faced by the everyday workplace, as well as their solutions.

To be a bit self-indulgent, I love doing this podcast because it gives me the opportunity to talk with some of the most brilliant minds in the industry. In our first year, our esteemed guests have included New York Times best-selling author Cy Wakeman, millennial expert Adam Smiley Poswolsky, HR Bartender’s Sharlyn Lauby, futurist Jacob Morgan, author and Harvard professor Mihir Desai and of course, motivational speaker and leadership expert, Mark Sanborn.

Recommended episodes:

You can learn more about goings-on within the HR sphere by subscribing to HR Break Room podcast. Here’s to a year full of professional growth through podcasts!

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Posted in Blog, Featured, HR Management, Leadership

caleb.masters

by Caleb Masters


Author Bio:

Caleb is the host of The HR Break Room and a Webinar and Podcast Producer at Paycom. With more than 5 years of experience as a published online writer and content producer, Caleb has produced dozens of podcasts and videos for multiple industries both local and online. Caleb continues to assist organizations creatively communicate their ideas and messages through researched talks, blog posts and new media. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys running, discussing movies and trying new local restaurants.

Deadline Extended

Employer Deadline Extended for Furnishing 2017 ACA Forms

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Distribution of 2017 Affordable Care Act (ACA) Forms 1095-B or -C to your employees has been extended.

As issued in Notice 2018-06, the IRS has extended the deadline from Jan. 31 to March 2. (However, the deadline to provide Forms W-2 and 1099 to employees and contract workers remains as Jan. 31.)

Filing deadlines unchanged

While the deadline to furnish forms was extended, the filing deadlines remain the same: Feb. 28 for paper forms, and April 2 for electronic forms.

IRS Notice 2018-06 emphasizes that employers who do not comply with the due dates for furnishing or filing are subject to penalties under sections 6722 or 6721.

Good-faith transition relief extended

The IRS also announced the extension of good-faith transition relief. This may allow an employer to avoid some penalties if it can show that it made good-faith efforts to comply with the information reporting requirements for 2017.

This relief applies only to incorrect and incomplete information reported on the ACA forms, and not to a failure to file or furnish the forms in a timely manner. Additionally, the IRS stated it does not anticipate extending either the good-faith transition relief or the furnishing deadline in future years.

Contact a trusted tax professional if you have questions on how this may affect your business specifically.

Click here to read more about how the ACA is affect by the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

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 problems.

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Posted in ACA, Blog, Compliance, Featured

Erin Maxwell

by Erin Maxwell


Author Bio:

As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Erin Maxwell monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal level, focusing on health and employee benefits laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. She previously served as assistant general counsel at Asset Servicing Group in Oklahoma City. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Outside of work, Maxwell enjoys politics, historical mysteries and spending time with her family.

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