South Carolina News & Analysis

  • 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.

  • No protection for drinking on the job

    Q One of the facilities we operate has a formal dining room and bar. One of our directors found a bartender drinking wine while on duty. We have a rule that drinking by employees isn't allowed on the premises at all. We would like to fire her. If she tells us she has a drinking problem, would the termination violate her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

  • Workplace Trends

    Salary increases expected to remain flat. Research from workforce consulting firm Mercer shows salary increase budgets for U.S. employees are at 2.8% in 2018—no change from 2017. Salary increase budgets for 2019 are projected to be just 2.9%, despite factors like the tightening labor market and a high rate of workers voluntarily quitting their jobs. The information comes from Mercer's "2018/2019 US Compensation Planning Survey." Mercer's research shows that even newly available investment dollars from the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act aren't enhancing the compensation budgets for most companies. Mercer says just 4% of organizations have redirected some of their anticipated tax savings to their salary increase budgets.

  • New technologies create new employee privacy issues

    Unless you work for a company that's very small or very low-tech by nature, chances are, one of your biggest challenges is keeping up with technology. If your competitors are taking advantage of the many new technological advances that promote efficiency and productivity while you're stuck in 1999, your business will struggle to compete.

  • DOL loosens rules for association health plans

    Employers may soon have new options to obtain group health insurance through association health plans (AHPs) under new regulations recently issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). A brief primer on the mechanics of insurance may be helpful before we dive into the new rules and what they could mean for you.

  • Agency Action

    EEOC reports on age discrimination 50 years after ADEA. Age discrimination remains too common and too accepted 50 years after the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) took effect, according to a report from Victoria A. Lipnic, acting chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The report, released June 26, 2018, says only about three percent of those who have experienced age discrimination complained to their employer or a government agency. Studies find that more than three-fourths of older workers surveyed report their age is an obstacle to getting a job. The report includes recommendations on strategies to prevent age discrimination, such as including age in diversity and inclusion programs and having age-diverse hiring panels. The report says research shows that age diversity can improve organizational performance and lower employee turnover and that mixed-age work teams result in higher productivity for both older and younger workers.

  • Workplace Trends

    Research finds people of color less likely to get requested pay raises. Research from compensation data and software provider PayScale, Inc., shows that people of color were less likely than white men to have received a raise when they asked for one. The research, announced in June, found women of color were 19% less likely to have received a raise and men of color were 25% less likely. The research also notes that no single gender or racial/ethnic group was more likely to have asked for a raise than any other group. The most common justification for denying a raise was budgetary constraints (49%). Just 22% of employees who heard that rationale actually believed it. Of those who said they didnt ask for a raise, 30% reported their reason for not asking was that they received a raise before they felt the need to ask for one.

  • High court upholds arbitration agreements that bar class actions

    In recent years, one of the most highly disputed issues in employment law circles was whether an employer could require employees to waive their right to participate in a class action lawsuit and instead submit employment-related disputes to binding arbitration. Such a requirement has become a common condition of employment contracts, typically entered into at the beginning of an employment relationship, and/or as a condition of continuing employment.

  • Planning and education are key to successful HSA

    Over the past decade, the percentage of employers offering a health savings account (HSA) to their employees has grown dramatically. HSAs are a form of "consumer-driven health plan," a category of employee benefit that strives to place more responsibility on employees to be better consumers of health care. In short, employees pay 100 percent of the deductible under a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). In return, they are given the opportunity to contribute to an HSA, which offers substantial tax benefits.

  • Workplace Trends

    Women more likely to see pay disparity, survey finds. Nearly a third of women (32%) participating in CareerBuilders Equal Pay Day survey in April said they dont think they are making the same pay as men in their organization who have similar experience and qualifications. That compares to 12% of men who think that way. The survey also found that men are more likely to expect higher job levels during their career, with 29% of men saying they think they will reach a director level or higher, compared to 22% of women. The survey also found that 25% of women never expect to reach above an entry-level role, compared to 9% of men. Almost a third of the women in the survey (31%) said they think theyve hit a glass ceiling within their organizations, and 35% dont expect to reach a salary over $50,000 during their career, compared to 17% of men who expect that salary.