Georgia News & Analysis

  • Wellness programs are about more than health insurance costs

    When attorneys talk or write about wellness programs, it's almost always from a highly legal perspective. We could talk all day about the convoluted and overlapping requirements of the various laws that apply to such programs. But this month, we want to take a different approach and look at wellness programs from more of a business perspective.

  • Wrap up 2018 with new or revised handbook

    This year has brought an unusual number of changes in employment law. Various federal agencies got into the groove of aggressively undoing a lot of requirements their predecessors in the Obama administration had put into place. In addition, there has been an increasing number of employment-related requirements from state and local governments.

  • Agency Action

    DOL announces record amount in recovered wages. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced in October that its Wage and Hour Division (WHD) had recovered a record $304 million in wages owed to workers in fiscal year (FY) 2018. The WHD also announced it set a new record for compliance assistance events in FY 2018, holding 3,643 educational outreach events to help employers understand their responsibilities under the law. The DOL also announced an extension of the voluntary Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, which is a compliance initiative aimed at helping workers receive more back wages due in an expedited manner.

  • Workplace Trends

    Research shows slow growth for middle-wage jobs. A study from CareerBuilder shows that highand low-wage job growth is overshadowing the increase in middle-wage jobs. According to the study, the United States is expected to add 8,310,003 jobs from 2018 to 2023, with just one-fourth of them in the middle-wage category. Factored into the total job growth is an expected loss of 369,879 jobs over the same period, with middle-wage occupations experiencing the majority of the decline. The research shows that a total of 121 occupations will experience a decline in jobs between 2018 and 2023, and 75 of them are middle-wage jobs. Highand low-wage occupations are expected to have the highest net job growth from 2018 to 2023 at 5.71% and 5.69%, respectively. Middle-wage employment will grow at 3.83%. STEM-related occupations will continue to dominate fast-growing occupations, according to the research.

  • Georgia HR pro caught in loyalty dilemma sues for retaliation

    Under normal circumstances, the HR department represents the interests of the company in dealing with employee complaints, including external inquiries such as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charges and lawsuits. HR investigates complaints, advises management, tries to resolve the complaints internally, and, if that isn't successful, responds to external governmental and legal inquiries.

  • How to claim paid family and medical leave tax credit

    The tax reform law passed late last year contained a little-noticed tax credit for employers that provide employees paid "family and medical" leave and meet certain other requirements. While the IRS hasn't finalized regulations pinning down the specifics of the new credit, it recently issued some helpful guidance. Let's take a look.

  • Can you keep a secret? How to handle 'confidential' employee complaints

    The #MeToo movement just turned one. And while its long-term effects on the workplace remain to be seen, it's commonly expected that increasing numbers of women (and some men) will be informing their employers about problems with sexual harassment.

  • Agency Action

    DOL launches initiative to strengthen H-2B compliance. The U.S. Department of Labors (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in September announced a nationwide initiative to strengthen compliance with the labor provisions of the H-2B temporary visa program in the landscaping industry. The initiative includes providing compliance assistance tools and information to employers and stakeholders as well as conducting investigations of employers using the program. The WHD announced that last year, its investigations led to more than $105 million in back wages for more than 97,000 workers in industries with a high prevalence of H-2B workers, including the landscaping industry. A key component of the investigations is ensuring that employers recruit U.S. workers before applying for permission to employ temporary nonimmigrant workers. The H-2B program permits employers to temporarily hire nonimmigrant workers from outside the United States to perform nonagricultural labor or services in the country. The landscaping industry employs more H-2B workers than any other industry.

  • Don't forget to properly classify independent contractors

    You likely recall a time not so long ago when the improper classification of employees as independent contractors was the hot topic for the IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In 2011, the agencies entered into a "Memorandum of Understanding" in which they agreed to share information about potential misclassifications in an effort to crack down on the common practice. The DOL also entered into similar agreements with roughly 30 state departments of labor.

  • DOL issues FMLA opinion letters after a long break

    For the first time in nearly a decade, the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has issued opinion letters interpreting the requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This may be a sign that the Trump administration intends to rely heavily on opinion letters as a form of guidance for employers, a practice that had been discarded by the Obama administration.