EEO-1 2019 and 2020 Collection of Component 1 Data

After delaying the opening of the 2019 EEO-1 Component 1 Data Collection on May 8, 2020 in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that the 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 data collection will open on Monday, April 26, 2021. 

The deadline for submitting 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 data will be Monday, July 19, 2021.  Recognizing the continuing differential impacts of the pandemic on workplaces nationwide and the requirement to submit two years of EEO-1 data, the EEOC is extending the data collection period this year from 10 weeks to 12 weeks to provide employers additional time to file.

The EEO-1 Component 1 collects workforce data from employers with 100 or more employees (and federal contractors with 50 or more employees).  The EEOC will begin to formally notify EEO-1 filers via email beginning on March 29, 2021.  Filers should begin preparing to submit data in anticipation of the April 26 opening of the data collection period.  (EEOC)

WHO NEEDS TO FILE THE EEO-1

  1. A: All companies that meet the following criteria are required to file the EEO-1 report annually:
  2. A: No, your company must meet both requirements of 50 employees and the government contract worth $50,000 or more.
    1. https://www.eeoc.gov/employers/eeo1survey/faq.cfm

Legal Requirements

  • Recordkeeping Requirements
  • Download the “EEO is the Law” Poster in English (including a screen-readable electronic version), Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese
    Employers are required to post a notice describing the federal employment discrimination laws.
  • EEO Reports/Surveys
    Employers who have at least 100 employees and federal contractors who have at least 50 employees are required to complete and submit an EEO-1 Report (a government form that requests information about employees’ job categories, ethnicity, race, and gender) to EEOC and the U.S. Department of Labor every year.

6 Definitions for Fair Labor Standards Act Exemptions

Revised April 2021

Original Publication: April 16, 2018

Exempt and nonexempt, hourly, salaried, and salaried nonexempt are definitions that most of us know and currently use to classify the positions in our organizations.  We know that we must classify individuals in an exempt or nonexempt (overtime eligible) position for payroll, overtime and reporting purposes.  There are numerous definitions to define exempt level positions under the current FLSA (federal) regulations.  Remember that the salary threshold in New York State varies for executive and administrative professionals, when comparing with the federal law.  As leaders, we need to ensure our classifications for each position within our organizations are accurate and our workforce is paid correctly for work performed and hours worked.

Fact Sheet #17A: Exemption for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Computer & Outside Sales Employees Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The 6 exempt level definitions under the FLSA:

  1. The Executive Exemption: Primary duties include managing the enterprise, directing the work of at least two or more full-time employees and has the authority to hire and fire employees.  The link(s) goes into specific duties tests on the exemptions.  NY State Law
  2. The Administrative Exemption: Primary duties must be the performance of office or non-manual work related to the management of the business and exercising discretion and independent judgement with respect to matters of significance.  NY State Law
  3. The Learned Professional Exemption: Primary duties must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge, which is predominantly intellectual in character and requires discretion and judgement.
  4. Computer Employee Exemption: Primary duties consist of the application of systems analysis techniques, design development, documentation, analysis, creation, modification of computer systems and designing, testing or modifying computer programs.  This exemption is complex, ensure you read through the FLSA definition prior to deciding and thoroughly understand the duties test. 
  5. The Outside Sales Exemption:  Primary duties must include making sales, obtaining orders or contracts.  The employee must be regularly engaged away from the employer’s place of business. 
  6. The Highly Compensated Employees Exemption: Perform office or non-manual work and paid total annual compensation of $100,000 or more.  They regularly perform at least one of the duties of an exempt executive, administrative or learned professional identified in the standard tests of exemption.
  7. Other Definitions:                   Blue Collar Worker Police Officers, Fire Fighters and First Responders

FLSA Exempt Level at the Federal Level

“There are three main criteria that must be met for a position to qualify for a white-collar  exemption:

  • Payment on a salary basis, with some exceptions;
  • Payment of a minimum salary, currently $684 per week ($35,568 annually), also with some exceptions; and
  • primary duty test specific to each type of exemption listed above.

Additionally, a highly compensated employee making $107,432 or more annually who performs at least one of the duties of an exempt position described above may be classified as exempt from overtime. Some states also have their own criteria for exemptions that must be complied with.” (SHRM)

New York State Exempt Administrative and Executive Minimum Salaries
The minimum salary for exempt executive and administrative employees in New York will increase as follows:

  • Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties: $1,050 per week, which equals $54,600 per year.
  • The rest of the state outside New York City: $937.50 per week, which equals $48,750 per year.

(The minimum in New York City previously increased to $1,125 per week.)

Ensure all positions are classified correctly, exempt vs. non-exempt.  Just because someone has a manager or director title does not mean it is exempt level work.  Reviewing this information annually will ensure accurate and legal job classifications.  I am happy to work with any organization classifying positions.

ADA Training in 2021: Questions to Consider

The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA) took effect over a decade ago.  However, questions will arise during the hiring process, reasonable accommodations, websites and now with COVID-19.  Organizations should ensure adequate training is conducted to ensure we are compliant with all coverage at the local, state, and federal levels.  The ADAAA is federal legislation, New York State has its own legislation regarding disability protections under the Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR).

Training Considerations & Review:

  1. Who is covered. “Given the expansion of “major life activities” and the removal of mitigating measures from consideration in disability determinations, almost anyone who has, or is regarded as having, a serious impairment or disease that is not temporary will qualify as disabled. Ensure that training covers any applicable state laws prohibiting disability discrimination.” (SHRM)
  2. How hiring policies and practices are affected. Since applicants are covered, re-evaluate hiring processes. Case in point, reading is now a major life activity. Ensure all job descriptions, posting and application process are compliant with the ADAA.  The training should include examples and discussion of interview questions and if there is a reasonable accommodation request.  Define essential functions.
  3. The interactive process and its requirements. “When someone requests an accommodation, the ADA requires an employer to engage in the interactive process with the person to determine if a reasonable accommodation can be provided to enable that person to perform the requirements of the position. However, many courts have held that an individual does not need to use the magic words, “I’m requesting an accommodation for my disability.” Rather, if someone simply states, “I need help or assistance because of my impairment,” that triggers the process.” (SHRM)
  4. What accommodations are reasonable. This will vary by organization and specifics of the position.  Ensure that leadership is fully aware of the definition of reasonable accommodation, prior to making any decisions based on the request.
  5. What is prohibited.
    • Discrimination
    • Retaliation
    • Illegal Interview Questions

These are just a few thoughts on ADAA training for leadership.  This is a very complicated area of the law and I encourage any organization to seek guidance prior to making any decisions regarding accommodation.  The reasonableness of the accommodation will vary from organization to organization.  Develop a policy, process and communicate expectations to leadership.  Ensure that discrimination and retaliation are covered during the process.  Remember; Auditory, Visual and Kinesthetic for any trainings we do in the workplace.  Use scenarios and leave it open for conversation.  HIPPA will also be a crucial part of this training.  I am happy to work with any organization regarding supervisor and leadership training in HR law.

America Rescue Plan, FFCRA Paid Leave in 2021 & New York Paid COVID Sick Leave

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act expired on December 31, 2020, with tax credits extended through March 31, 2021 for any employer opting to continue providing the paid leave.  Under the current administration, there has been an optional reinstatement through September 30, 2021. 

Below is additional information on the new legislation:

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which is the latest bill to address the ongoing economic impacts of COVID-19, has been signed into law. Most aspects of the law do not directly affect the HR function, but those that do—optional extension of sick and family leave and establishment of COBRA subsidies—are outlined below.

OPTIONAL EXTENSION OF SICK AND FAMILY LEAVES
Part of ARPA is an extension of the current tax credit scheme for Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFMLA) under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The FFCRA required many employers to provide EPSL and EFMLA in 2020, but became optional when it was previously extended to cover January 1 through March 31, 2021.

The new extension under ARPA takes effect April 1, 2021, and lasts through September 30, 2021. Like the current version, it remains optional. In addition, tax credits are available but only to employers with fewer than 500 employees and up to certain caps. To receive the tax credit, employers are required to follow the original provisions of the FFCRA. For example, they can’t deny EPSL or EFMLA to an employee if they’re otherwise eligible, can’t terminate them for taking EPSL or EFMLA, and have to continue their health insurance during these leaves.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) Changes
Here are the key changes to EPSL, in effect from April 1 through September 30, 2021:

  • Employees can take EPSL to get the COVID vaccine and to recover from any related side effects.
  • Employees can take EPSL when seeking or waiting for a COVID-19 diagnosis or test result if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or if the employer has asked them to get a diagnosis or test. (Previously, time spent waiting on test results was not necessarily covered, which seemed like an oversight.)
  • Employees will be eligible for a new bank of leave on April 1. Full-time employees are entitled to 80 hours while part-time employees are entitled to a prorated amount.
  • Employers can’t provide EPSL in a manner that favors highly compensated employees or full-time employees or that discriminates based on how long employees have worked for the employer. (Be aware that any inconsistencies in the granting of leave could potentially lead to a discrimination claim.)

Emergency Family and Medical Leave (EFMLA) Changes
Here are the key changes to EFMLA, in effect from April 1 through September 30, 2021:

  • EFMLA can now be used for any EPSL reason, in addition to the original childcare reasons. This includes the two new EPSL reasons noted above.
  • The 10-day unpaid waiting period has been eliminated.
  • The cap on the reimbursable tax credit for EFMLA has been increased to $12,000 (from $10,000). This applies to all EFMLA taken by an employee, beginning April 1, 2020. This change accounts for the additional 10 days of paid time off—the daily cap of $200 remains the same.
  • The law isn’t clear as to whether employees are entitled to a new 12-week bank of EFMLA. We anticipate that the IRS, DOL, or both will provide guidance on this question soon. It is possible that an employee will be entitled to additional unpaid protected time off, even if they already received the maximum reimbursable amount during previous EFMLA leave(s). We will update our materials if and when new information is available.
  • Employers can’t provide EFMLA in a manner that favors highly compensated employees or full-time employees or that is based on how long employees have worked for the employer. (Again, be aware that any inconsistencies in the granting of leave could potentially lead to a discrimination claim.) 

Reasons for Using EPSL and EFMLA
Starting on April 1, employees can take EPSL or EFMLA for the same set of reasons, which is a useful simplification. The following are acceptable reasons for taking these leaves:

  1. When quarantined or isolated subject to federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order
  2. When advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine because of COVID-19
  3. When the employee is:
    a.  Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis
    b.  Seeking or awaiting the results of a diagnostic test for, or a medical diagnosis of, COVID-19 because they have been exposed or because their employer has requested the test or diagnosis
    c.  Obtaining a COVID-19 vaccination or recovering from any injury, disability, illness, or condition related to the vaccination
  4. When caring for another person who is isolating or quarantining on government or doctor’s orders
  5. When caring for a child whose school or place of care is closed due to COVID-19

Employees and employers will—in most cases—want to exhaust EPSL first, since it has a higher tax credit, except when used to care for others.

Tax Credit Review
The tax credits available between April 1 and September 30 are the same as under the original FFCRA, except for the increased aggregate cap for EFMLA. Tax credits are available as described below, regardless of how much EPSL or EFMLA an employee used prior to April 1.

  • The credit available for EPSL when used for reasons 1, 2, or 3 (self-care) is up to 100% of an employee’s regular pay, with a limit of $511 per day.
  • The credit available for EPSL when used for reasons 4 or 5 (care for another) is up to 2/3 of an employee’s regular rate of pay, with a limit of $200 per day.
  • The credit available for EFMLA for any reason is up to 2/3 of an employee’s regular pay, with a limit of $200 per day and a cap of $12,000 per employee.
  • Employers can also claim a credit for their share of Medicare tax on the employee’s wages and the cost of maintaining the employee’s health insurance (qualified health plan expenses) during their absence.

COBRA SUBSIDIES
Another important aspect of the law employers should understand is the creation of COBRA subsidies.

Employees and families enrolled in the employer’s group health plans may lose coverage if the employee’s work hours are reduced or employment is terminated. They can elect to continue coverage under COBRA, but the high premium cost can make it difficult to afford this coverage.

ARPA provides a 100% COBRA subsidy if the employee’s work reduction or termination was involuntary. The subsidy applies for up to six months of coverage from April 2021 through September 2021 (unless the individual’s maximum COBRA period expires earlier).

For group plans subject to the federal COBRA rules, the employer will be required to pay the COBRA premium but then will be reimbursed through a refundable payroll tax credit.

Employers with fewer than 20 workers usually are exempt from the federal COBRA rules, but their group medical insurance plans may be subject to a state’s mini-COBRA law. In that case, it appears the subsidy will be administered by the carrier. The carrier will pay the premium and then be reimbursed by the government.

Employers will need to work with their group health plan carriers and vendors on how to administer the new subsidy provision. Although it takes effect April 1, 2021, employees who were terminated earlier but are still in their COBRA election window also are included. Federal guidance is expected to be released by April 10, including model notices that plans can tailor for their use.

Note that the COBRA subsidy doesn’t apply during FFCRA leaves because employees are entitled to maintain their health insurance during those leaves on the same terms as though they had continued to work. (HR On the Move)

New York COVID Sick Leave Update:

Public employers must also provide 14 days of sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay when an employee is covered by the NY COVID-19 sick leave law. 

The Jan. 20, 2021 guidance states that employees are entitled to COVID-19 sick leave under the following circumstances:

  • If an employee tests positive for COVID-19 following a period of mandatory quarantine or isolation, the employee cannot report to work, is automatically deemed subject to a subsequent mandatory order of isolation from the Department of Health and is entitled to paid sick leave under the NY COVID-19 sick leave law (even if the employee already received NY COVID-19 sick leave for the first period of mandatory quarantine or isolation). In order to receive NY COVID-19 sick leave for the second time, the employee is required to submit documentation of the positive COVID-19 test result from a licensed medical provider or testing facility to the employer or to the employer’s insurance carrier, if applicable (unless the employer gave the employee the COVID-19 test).
  • If an employee is subject to an order of quarantine or isolation and continues to test positive for COVID-19 at the end of the quarantine or isolation period, the employee may not return to work, is automatically deemed subject to an additional mandatory order of isolation and is entitled to COVID-19 sick leave for the second period of isolation. The employee is required to submit documentation of the subsequent positive COVID-19 test result from a licensed medical provider or testing facility to the employer or to the employer’s insurance carrier, if applicable (unless the employer gave the employee the COVID-19 test that showed the positive result). (BSK)

Other Considerations:

  • Frequently asked questions on the DOL
  • Current employer policy and procedures
  • Labor and Employment Law Posters (mandatory or recommended)
  • Time off for vaccination in New York State

Continue to monitor for updates by the local, state, and federal government.  These changes do impact organizations both large and small. Review call-in procedures and create a form that is easy for tracking leave usage as well.  I am happy to work with any organization that has questions or concerns regarding current leave.

EMPLOYEE REQUEST FOR EMERGENCY FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE

Employees requesting Emergency FMLA (EFMLA) pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) must complete this form. You must provide as much advance notice as is reasonably practicable. Upon completion of this form, submit it to Human Resources for processing.

Analysis on Citations and Penalties for Federal Labor Posting (or Failure to Post)

The new maximum fine amounts are:

  •     Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): $178
  •     Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law (OSHA): $13,653
  •     Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA): $21,663

Federal Penalties and Citations:

  • Fair Labor Standards Act: No citations or penalties for failure to post.
  • OSHA: Subject to citation and penalty
  • FMLA: As noted above.
  • Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law (EEO): Appropriate contract sanctions may be imposed for uncorrected violations.
  • Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision: Appropriate contract sanctions may be imposed for uncorrected violations.
  • Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act Notice: A civil penalty may e assessed.
  • Employee Rights for Workers with Disabilities Paid at Special Minimum Wage: No citations or penalties for failure to post.
  • Polygraph Protection Act Notice: Secretary of Labor can bring court actions and assess civil penalties for failing to post.
  • USERRA: No citations or penalties for failure to notify. An individual could ask DOL to investigate and seek compliance or file a private enforcement action to require the employer to provide the notice to employees.
  • Employee Rights Under H-2 Program: The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor has a primary role in investigating and enforcing the terms and conditions of employment. WHD is responsible for enforcing the contractual obligations employers have toward employees, and may assess civil money penalties and recover unpaid wages. Administrative proceedings and/or injunctive actions through federal courts may be instituted to compel compliance with an employer’s contractual obligations to employees. The Employment Training Administration (ETA) enforces other aspects of the laws and regulations. ETA is responsible for administering sanctions relating to substantial violations of the regulations and less than substantial violations of the regulations.

Federal Contractor Requirements:

  • Davis-Bacon Act: No citations or penalties for failure to post.
  • EEO: Appropriate contract sanctions may be imposed for uncorrected violations.
  • Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision: Appropriate contract sanctions may be imposed for uncorrected violations.
  • Employee Rights on Government Contracts: No citations or penalties for failure to post.
  • Notification of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws: The sanctions, penalties, and remedies for noncompliance with the notice requirements include the suspension or cancellation of the contract and the debarring of Federal contractors from future Federal contracts.

Additional Information

The language in many of the citations and penalties section can vary, as written into the law.  This is a low-hanging fruit opportunity for any organization covered by applicable laws and regulations.  Ensure all posters both in the place of work and virtually are communicated and clear to the organization.  It is guaranteed in every audit I find mistakes on posters.  I am happy to work with any organization on labor and employment law poster questions and compliance. 

2021 New York State Sexual Harassment Training Annual Reminder

Revised: March 2021

Updated: October 2020

Updated Publication Date: September 9, 2019

Original Publication Date: April 29, 2019

2021 New York State Sexual Harassment Training Annual Reminder (Yes, It’s Annually Required, this is Your Early in the Year Reminder)

As a reminder on, October 9, 2019 is the date set by New York State for all employers to have the mandatory sexual harassment training completed for all employees (including governmental employees), interns, etc.  This is an annual training requirement.  The annual refresher training will soon be upon us. The state has broadened the laws regarding filing a claim of sexual harassment, making it easier for claims to be filed against an employer.

Sexual Harassment Policy Updates with recent legislation changes:

  • Eliminate the language “severe and pervasive”
  • Modify Division of Human Rights claim from 1-year to 3-years
  • Policy, handbook, PPT slides and any training material should be updated to reflect these changes
  • Communicate these changes as part of the annual training, with examples

Training Considerations:

  • Update slides with new legislative changes
  • Train new hires as soon as possible (as outlined by the state, watch NYC requirements)
  • I recommend training Board of Directors (even if its policy related) and volunteer groups

New York State Recommended Posting:

  • This is not mandated but recommended.  I recommend utilizing the posting and posting a copy of the sexual harassment policy near labor and employment law posters.
  • New York City has posting requirements

New York State Sexual Harassment Website:

  • No updates have been made to the state website, I will update in upcoming articles with any policy or training slides that the state updates.

I am happy to work with any organization to establish the Sexual Harassment policy, update a policy, train the workforce (managers and supervisors should be trained separately), design training material and/or work on the posting material. 

Additional Considerations:

  • Posting & Communication Material
  • Sexual Harassment Quiz (I utilize one with 10-questions, requiring the trainer and employee to signoff)
  • Annual Notice (Available through state website or me)
  • Supervisor & Managers should be in a separate training
  • Monitor for changes in NYC & any specific state requirements (California, Illinois, etc. have differing requirements than New York State.)

Original Publication 4/29/2019:

As all of us are aware, on October 1, 2018, New York State released final guidance on the state’s new sexual harassment prevention laws and regulations. The new legislation requires all employers in New York State to publish policies concerning sexual harassment, adopt a sexual harassment complaint form, and conduct sexual harassment training.  The state also recommends a posting as part of the policy and complaint procedure.  The advice I provide to all of my clients is, to utilize the state recommended posting and post the policy and complaint form near the labor posters as well.  New York City requires employers to have a posting in the workplace, with differing requirements then the state regarding training, policy, etc.     

Legal Requirements in New York State:

  1. New York State Claim Filing (1-year to file with the NYS Department of Human Rights & 3-years to file in NYS Supreme Court)
  2. Damages & Remedies (Back Pay, Front Page, Compensatory Damages, Interest on Back Pay & Attorney’s Fees)
  3. Not Training Employees (Civil Fine up to $100,000.00, Litigation Penalty, Order to Comply, Contempt of Court & Stop Work Order)
  4. First Round of Training done by 10/9/2019
  5. New Hires after 10/9/2019 (as quickly as possible)
  6. Examples and explanations are imperative in the training, remember to engage the workforce
  7. Training Recommendations (Board of Directors & Volunteers)
  8. Training Considerations (Sign-in/Sign-Out Sheet, Training Materials, Video of Training, Certificate of Completion)
  9. Interactive (Web-based questions at the end of section, answers to questions, option to submit a question online and receive an answer, questions throughout a live training, feedback survey for employees to turn in after they have completed the training, roleplaying, open discussion, scenarios, open activities, small group activities, etc.)

These are just a few of the legal requirements as outlined by New York State and the Department of Human Rights.  All employers should be committed to training employees, managers, board of directors and volunteers annually.  There is no justification not to train, as it is required under the new law.  A quick policy review training, will not suffice the requirements as outlined by New York State and the Department of Human Rights.  This is not a complex training and can be completed in 2-hours, or less.  The majority of my trainings last between 2 and 2.5 hours.  Great discussions in a small group setting, with interactive case discussions.

Below are Training Reminders:

  • An explanation of sexual harassment and specific examples of inappropriate conduct that would constitute unlawful sexual harassment.
  • Detailed information concerning federal, state and local laws and the remedies available to victims of harassment. 
  • A review of any additional local policies, employer’s standards and organizational practices.
  • Detail regarding any internal process that employees are encouraged to use to complain, and the contact information with specific names and offices with which employees should file their complaints.
  • A review of supervisor and managers responsibilities in addressing this form of employee misconduct. (as needed in supervisor/management sessions)
  • An explanation of employees’ external rights of redress and the available administrative and judicial forums for bringing complaints.
  • A review of the employer complaint form.
  • Employer procedure for the timely and confidential investigation of complaints that ensures due process for all parties.
  • Retaliation against individuals who complain of sexual harassment or who testify or assist in any investigation or proceeding involving sexual harassment is unlawful.
  • Quiz design and use to end the session. (discussion cases throughout)
  • Question and answer session with feedback
  • All other requirements as outlined under federal and state law
  • Any and all over legally required information by New York State, NYC or local legislation

The tools and resources that were released on October 1 include:

  • Updated website with resources for employers, employees, state contractors and targets of sexual harassment
  • Updated model sexual harassment prevention policy
  • Updated model sexual harassment complaint form
  • Updated model training (script book and PowerPoint presentation)
  • Updated minimum standards for sexual harassment prevention policies and trainings
  • Updated FAQs
  • Toolkits for employers and employees and a sexual harassment prevention policy poster are also being made available.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Employer Resource Link

Frequently Asked Questions Link

New York: NYC Mandates Annual Anti-Harassment Training (4/1/19)[i]

“The Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act requires New York City employers with 15 or more employees to provide annual interactive training to prevent sexual harassment for all employees, including interns and supervisory and managerial employees.

Such training is also required for new employees within 90 days of hire (however, an employee who has received sexual-harassment training at one employer within the required training cycle does not need to receive additional training at another employer until the next cycle).

The act defines “interactive training” as “participatory teaching whereby the trainee is engaged in a trainer-trainee interaction, use of audio-visuals, computer or online training program or other participatory forms of training as determined by the commission.””[ii]


[i] Burr Consulting Article 4/1/2019

[ii] SHRM Update

5 Considerations on Job Postings & Recruiting Top Talent

Job postings and recruiting are critical components to the long-term success and growth of organizations both large and small.  One area every organization should focus on is creating a job posting that attracts top talent.  Remember, the first look at the organization is through the job posting.

My 5 Considerations on Job Postings & Recruiting:

  1. Answer the “so what”:  Your organization currently has a job opening, so what?  Many organizations have job openings.  What will make your job posting standout from the thousands listed on job search sites all over the world?  Why should applicants apply for this position?  Ensure that the posting tells a story about the organization and position.  What knowledge, skills and abilities are needed for the current opening?
  • Job Posting vs. Job Description:  Be brief, stay concise, be structured in your job descriptions and job postings, be direct, look for inclusive verbiage, specificity, focus on local (unless it is a national or regional search) and stay current.  Using a job description that is 10-15 years old, probably is not a great approach to job postings.  Utilize social media and the tools available in any job posting website.  Remember, review metrics and follow-up with all applicants.  Using a job description as the basis for a job posting is not effective, taking parts of the job description to help tell the story is part of an effective posting strategy.
  • Honesty is the Best Policy: This might be the most important suggestion on my list of recommendations.  I cannot stress enough honesty during the recruiting process.  Be open and honest regarding any challenges and opportunities associated with the job.  If the organization is looking for an applicant to drive change, talk about the changes and expectations.  If the job requires 60% travel, be honest about it.  Most applicants are making long-term decisions within the first 90-days of employment, turnover is costly if we are not having honest conversations about the job itself.  This will impact future recruiting and retention opportunities.  Be positive and direct throughout the recruiting process.
  • Effective, Efficient and Professional Processes: Taking 2-months to follow-up after an initial resume or application is submitted is not the direction we need to go for effective recruiting.  Develop a process to follow-up with every applicant that applies.  If you interview 3 applicants for the position and offer the job to the top applicant and that person accepts the offer, ensure that you follow-up with the other two people that were interviewed.  I cannot stress the importance of follow-up during the recruiting process, treat applicants the way you want to be treated during the recruiting process, it really is that simple.
  • Partner with Search Firms: I have to plug my new business, with a go live date scheduled (delayed from January, but Quarter 1 2021.)  Look for opportunities to partner with executive search firms to fill leadership positions.  Evolution is necessary in the recruiting industry and my goal is to change the way we approach recruiting and retention.  Collaboration and communication are critical to ensure success with any search firms.  More to come on the new organization in 2021. 

Continuous evolution of any processes throughout any organization are necessary for evolution and change.  Recruiting is no different.  Benchmarking and utilizing 3rd party partnerships will drive the changes I suggested above.  Ask for feedback and never be afraid of change.  Talent always has opportunity, answering the why will help in recruiting this talent.

Proposed FFCRA Paid Leave in 2021 & New York Paid COVID Sick Leave

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act expired on December 31, 2020, with tax credits extended through March 31, 2021 for any employer opting to continue providing the paid leave.  Under the current administration, there has been a proposed reinstatement option for the FFCRA, which would reinstate paid leave through September 30, 2021. 

Below is additional information on the Biden proposal:

  • All employers, including businesses with fewer than 50 or more than 500 employees, along with the federal government will be required to provide FFCRA leave.
  • Healthcare workers and first responders will be entitled to FFCRA leave under the new proposal.
  • Other considerations- the amount and the potential duration of FFCRA benefits might increase under the new plan.
  • End date of September 30, 2021.

New York COVID Sick Leave Update:

Number of Employees 
(As of Jan. 1, 2020)
Amount of Sick Leave Supplemental Benefits
0-10 employees; net income of $1 million or less in the prior tax yearUnpaid leave for duration of the orderCombined COVID-19 Paid Family Leave (PFL) and Disability Leave Benefits (DBL) for the duration of the order
0-10 employees; net income of more than $1 million in the prior tax year5 days of paid sick leaveCombined PFL and DBL for the duration of the order
11-99 employees5 days of paid sick leaveCombined PFL and DBL for the duration of the order
100+ employees14 days of paid sick leave 

Public employers must also provide 14 days of sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay when an employee is covered by the NY COVID-19 sick leave law.

The Jan. 20, 2021 guidance states that employees are entitled to COVID-19 sick leave under the following circumstances:

  • If an employee tests positive for COVID-19 following a period of mandatory quarantine or isolation, the employee cannot report to work, is automatically deemed subject to a subsequent mandatory order of isolation from the Department of Health and is entitled to paid sick leave under the NY COVID-19 sick leave law (even if the employee already received NY COVID-19 sick leave for the first period of mandatory quarantine or isolation). In order to receive NY COVID-19 sick leave for the second time, the employee is required to submit documentation of the positive COVID-19 test result from a licensed medical provider or testing facility to the employer or to the employer’s insurance carrier, if applicable (unless the employer gave the employee the COVID-19 test).
  • If an employee is subject to an order of quarantine or isolation and continues to test positive for COVID-19 at the end of the quarantine or isolation period, the employee may not return to work, is automatically deemed subject to an additional mandatory order of isolation and is entitled to COVID-19 sick leave for the second period of isolation. The employee is required to submit documentation of the subsequent positive COVID-19 test result from a licensed medical provider or testing facility to the employer or to the employer’s insurance carrier, if applicable (unless the employer gave the employee the COVID-19 test that showed the positive result). (BSK)

Current FFCRA Considerations in 2021:

  • Offering EPSL and EFMLA after December 31 will become optional for employers.  
  • An employee will no longer be entitled by law to take EPSL or EFMLA, even if they have a qualifying reason.
  • Employers who choose to offer these paid leaves can still receive a tax credit if they follow the current EPSL and EFMLA rules, including job protection.
  • The extension of the tax credit will be available for leaves taken through March 31, 2021.
  • Employees will not get new hours to use—the unused portion of their original allotment that remains on January 1 is how much they will be able to use through March 31. For instance, if an employee who was entitled to 80 hours of EPSL between April 1 and December 31 used 40 of those hours in 2020, they would have 40 hours left to use between January 1 and March 31, 2021.
  • There is a possible exception when an employee’s EFMLA bank could reset if employers use the calendar year or another fixed FMLA tracking period that starts before March 31 and the DOL fails to readopt the regulations they wrote related to EFMLA. We expect the IRS, DOL, or both, to provide guidance soon that will clear up whether certain employers will need to offer additional hours. We will update the HR Support Center as information becomes available. (HR On the Move)

Other Considerations:

  • Frequently asked questions on the DOL
  • Current employer policy and procedures
  • Labor and Employment Law Posters (mandatory or recommended)

Continue to monitor for updates by the local, state, and federal government.  These changes do impact organizations both large and small. Review call-in procedures and create a form that is easy for tracking leave usage as well.  I am happy to work with any organization that has questions or concerns regarding current leave.

EMPLOYEE REQUEST FOR EMERGENCY FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE

Employees requesting Emergency FMLA (EFMLA) pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) must complete this form. You must provide as much advance notice as is reasonably practicable. Upon completion of this form, submit it to Human Resources for processing.

2021 New York State Minimum Wage, Tip Credit and Exempt Salary Changes

Employers in New York are subject to different minimum wages, allowable tip credits, and minimum exempt employee salaries based on where employees work and what kind of work they do. The wage increases listed below took effect on December 31, 2020.

Minimum Wage in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties
The minimum wage in these counties will increase to $14 per hour.

Minimum Wage in the Rest of the State
The statewide minimum wage will increase to $12.50 per hour. This applies to employees outside of New York City and Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, except for fast food employees.

(New York City’s minimum wage previously increased to $15 and applies to all workers in NYC.)

Minimum Wage for Fast Food Employees
The minimum wage for fast food employees working outside of New York City will increase to $14.50 per hour. The final scheduled increase to $15.00 per hour will take effect on July 1, 2021

Tipped Employee Minimum Cash Wage
The minimum cash wage for tipped employees will increase as follows:

Service employees (other than at resort hotels) covered by the Hospitality Wage Order:

  • Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties: $11.65
  • The rest of the state: $10.40
  • (New York City’s minimum previously increased to $12.50)

Food service employees:

  • Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties: $9.35
  • The rest of the state: $8.35
  • (New York City’s minimum previously increased to $10.00)

Tip Credit Eliminated in Miscellaneous Industries
Employers of employees covered by the Minimum Wage Order for Miscellaneous Industries won’t be able to take a tip credit as of December 31, 2020.  

Tips and Gratuities Frequently Asked Questions


Exempt Administrative and Executive Minimum Salaries
The minimum salary for exempt executive and administrative employees in New York will increase as follows:

  • Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties: $1,050 per week, which equals $54,600 per year.
  • The rest of the state outside New York City: $937.50 per week, which equals $48,750 per year.
  • (The minimum in New York City previously increased to $1,125 per week.)

(HR On the Move Article)

Now is the opportunity to review payrates and job descriptions.  Is the position truly an exempt executive or administrative position?  Ensure that job duties align with requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  I am happy to work with any organization to determine exempt vs. non-exempt duties and responsibilities.  Continue to monitor for any significant changes at the federal level in 2021 as well, minimum wage has not been increased federally since July 2009.

Creating a Student Loan Assistance Policy in Any Organization

“Employers are aware of the effects of student loan debt, according to HR consultancy Buck’s annual Financial Wellbeing and Voluntary Benefits Survey Report, based on input from 164 employers with 500 or more employees, polled from late 2019 through February 2020. Some key findings:

  • 41 percent of employers—compared to 23 percent in 2017—said that student loan debt was a top motivator for their financial wellness offerings.
  • Student loan repayment contributions were viewed as one of the best solutions for addressing financial stress, ranking just behind financial coaching and supplemental medical plans.” (SHRM)

Additional Information on Current Legislation:

Employer-provided student loan repayment. The CARES Act temporarily allowed employers to provide student loan repayment as a benefit to employees through Dec. 31, 2020. Under the provision, an employer may contribute up to $5,250 annually toward an employee’s student loans, and such payment would be excluded from the employee’s income. The $5,250 cap applies to both the new student loan repayment benefit as well as other educational assistance (e.g., tuition, fees, and books) provided by the employer under current law. The provision is extended through Dec. 31, 2025.

Developing the Policy:

Objective

The objective of this policy is to assist in repaying student loan debt to further the financial well-being of employees.

Policy

The student loan assistance program provides eligible employees up to [$] per month paid directly to the employee’s student loan servicer. Employees are expected to continue to make minimum monthly payments to the loan servicer in addition to the assistance provided under this policy. Student loan assistance is limited to [$] per year with a [$] cap and is reported as taxable income on the employee’s W-2.

Eligibility (Ensure this is Consistent)

Eligible employees include full-time employees who have received a graduate or undergraduate degree within [amount of time] of the date the employee first applies for assistance under this policy. New employees are eligible after [amount of time] of continuous employment with [Company Name].

Student loan assistance payments will continue for employees on an unpaid leave of absence for up to [amount of time].

Loans eligible for repayment assistance include U.S.-based education loans borrowed by the employee for the employee’s own education.

Procedures

Eligible employees must complete a student loan assistance application and provide proof of graduation documentation and loan documentation. Loan documentation must include:

  • Employee’s name.
  • Loan servicer’s name.
  • Loan account number.
  • Current balance.
  • Required monthly payment amount.
  • Monthly payment due date.

The amount of student loan assistance paid to the loan servicer each month will be the employee’s minimum monthly payment or [$], whichever is less.

Student loan assistance payments will begin on the [date] of the month following receipt and approval of a completed application. Employees will receive written notice of approval or denial of the loan assistance application.

Termination

Loan assistance payments will cease immediately upon an employee’s voluntary or involuntary termination from employment with [Company Name] or change in eligibility status, such as a reduction to part-time hours.  Does the employee have to repay any amount paid by the organization if they do not fulfill a certain time with the organization?  Similar to relocation or bonuses.

Create a policy and program that fits the organization and the culture of the organization.  Very few organizations are taking advantage of student loan assistance for employees.  This is a great opportunity to create a unique perk, while recruiting and retaining top talent.  Survey the workforce to understand the financial wellness needs of employees.  Communicate the results and develop programs that will make a positive impact on employees.   

Originally published in 2018

11 Student Loan Repayment Perks Offered by Organizations

Below are 11 of the perks now being offered by organizations throughout the country:

  • “Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) launched its Student Loan Paydown program in 2016. Forty-five percent of the firm’s 46,000 junior employees (with six years’ experience or less) signed up to receive up to $1,200 annually for six years. The firm has found that this program has become a contributing factor in the job acceptance rate among applicants.
    • Starting this summer, PWC will give employees $100 a month (amounting to $1,200 each year) to help pay down student loans.  The company’s offer is good for up to six years.  That is a big draw for the company, which recruits 11,000 new employees from college on campuses each year.
  • Fidelity’s holistic approach to addressing employee student loan debt includes a Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) (that pays $2,000 per year with a $10,000 cap), and financial counseling and education for employees at all career and life stages. In the development of the program, Fidelity leaders often heard employees express regret that they wish they had known more when they were in high school and making decisions about how to finance their college education.  In response, Fidelity Labs, an in-house product incubator, created an online education platform called the Student Debt Tool to help employees better understand their situation and their options. The tool includes a student loan refinancing platform to help consolidate loans to achieve lower lending rates. It also offers tools and advice to help employees save for future college costs for themselves and their children.”[i]
  • “Freedom 2 Save program works at Abbott, a research and development company headquartered in Lake Bluff, Ill. Full- and part-time employees who qualify for the company’s 401(k) and are also contributing 2 percent of their eligible pay toward their student loans through payroll deductions receive an amount equivalent to the company’s traditional 5 percent 401(k) match, deposited to their 401(k) accounts. The twist is that program recipients will receive the match without being required to make any 401(k) contributions of their own, allowing them to use more of their earnings to pay off student debt.  Abbott’s approach avoids the taxes triggered when an employer directly gives employees funds to help pay off their student loans.”[ii]
  • “New York Life recently launched a student-loan repayment program offering up to $10,200 over five years for eligible employees—which tops out at $170 a month.
  • Rise Interactive launched its program by offering a loan-repayment contribution of $50 per month.”[iii]
  • “Startup lenders CommonBond and LendEDU both pledges to pay off your entire student loan balance, regardless of how much debt you have, if you’re an employee. Common Bond will provide $100 a month and LendEDU $200 a month until your debt is settled. Unfortunately, the odds of being an employee at either company are slim: Common Bond has less than 100 employees and LendEDU has just six.
  • Natixis Global Asset Management, the Boston-based division of French investment bank Natixis, rewards loyalty with $5,000 put toward employees’ student loan balance after their five-year work anniversary. They also receive $1,000 a year for the next five years.
  • Online homework helper Chegg offers employees a $1,000 annual contribution, after taxes, toward their student loan balance. It also provides an online student loan management tool to help workers maximize their payments.
  • Nevada’s Moonlite Bunny Ranch will match their employees’ student loan payments 100% for two months.  When you consider that employees reportedly make about $3,000 a week at the brothel, the program could work out to be a lucrative offer.”[iv]
  • “The American Bankers Association said that next month it would begin helping employees with their college-related debts.  The ABA will pay up to $1,200 per year per eligible employee toward student loans, above and beyond salary and any other benefits. The organization, which represents banks that employ more than 2 million people, said it is encouraging each member bank to take a similar step.”[v]

Below are relocation options, currently being offered or being developed: 

Currently, only 4% of employers are now offering perks outlined above.  As the war for talent continues to increase and turnover continues to be a driving concern in organizations, these perks will grow in popularity.  Will these perks work for your organization?  Maybe or maybe not.  However, 44+ million people with student loan debt is a tremendous labor pool.  Before implementing a program such as this, benchmark options, know the tax advantages and disadvantages and ask your current workforce.  I personally believe there is value in programs such as this and would be happy to work with any organization in implementing a student loan repayment option for the workforce.  It will separate you from your competitors.

“On Aug. 17, the IRS made public its Private Letter Ruling (PLR) 201833012, which was issued to the requesting company on May 22. The letter responds to an unnamed employer that proposed amending its 401(k) plan to offer a student-loan benefit program under which it would make special 401(k) contributions into the accounts of employees who are making student loan repayments.”[i]

IRS Letter Amending 401(k)

20 Companies that Help Employees Pay Off Their Student Loans (Student Loan Hero)

Labor Poster Updates:

Nevada OSHA poster has been updated to reflect new mandatory penalty amounts for each serious violation, non-serious violation, and daily penalty for failing to correct a violation. This posting appears on the Nevada Combination Poster. This is a mandatory change.

Virginia Pregnancy Accommodation poster has been updated to reflect a new agency name for employees to file discrimination complaints within the Office of the Attorney General. The Virginia Division of Human Rights has been changed to the Virginia Office of Civil Rights. This posting appears on the Virginia Combination Poster. This is a mandatory change.

District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act During COVID-19 poster has been updated to reflect that the temporary amendments to the District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act to create new job-protected leave for employees for various COVID-19 reasons has been extended through May 22, 2021. This is a mandatory change.

Utah Unemployment Insurance poster has been updated to clarify how employees can file unemployment insurance claims. The poster was also updated to reflect a change to the website address and to the phone numbers and addresses for several state employment centers. This posting appears on the Utah Combination Poster. This is a mandatory change.

California Fair Employment poster has been updated to reflect recent amendments to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.  A new leave law amendment expands the definition of family member to include grandparent, grandchild, or sibling, and permits leave for certain military exigencies and also expands the law to now apply to employers with five or more employees.  This posting appears on the California Combination Poster, Part 1. This is a mandatory change.

Michigan Paid Medical Leave poster has been updated to reflect a correction when filing a complaint. An employee may file a complaint with the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) within 6 months of the violation. This posting appears on the Michigan Combination Poster. This is a mandatory change.


[i] https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/benefits/Pages/IRS-allows-401k-match-for-student-loan-payments.aspx


[i] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/employers-explore-repaying-student-loan-debt.aspx

[ii] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/401k-twist-on-student-loan-aid.aspx

[iii] https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/benefits/Pages/launching-student-loan-repayment-benefit.aspx

[iv] http://time.com/money/4261054/employee-student-loan-repayment-programs/

[v] http://time.com/money/4555841/student-loans-employer-benefit/

[vi] “Student Loan Repayment Assistance.”  Burr Consulting, LLC Article. March 2016

[vii] http://time.com/money/4810605/memphis-employee-benefit-student-loans/

[viii] “Student Loan Repayment Assistance.”  Burr Consulting, LLC Article. March 2016