When weather emergencies, like hurricanes or snow storms, occur and your business is affected, are you required to pay your employees? It’s not a simple yes or no answer — rather, the situation and the employees’ exempt or nonexempt status determine who should be paid and for what. Continue reading
Employers with 50 or more employees must offer eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). But what about employers with less than 50 employees? Are they required to provide a leave of absence to an employee with an illness or injury or to an employee who has a family member with a serious illness or injury? Quite possibly. There are a number of federal and state laws which may require an employer to provide a leave of absence, even when the employer is not covered by FMLA. Continue reading
Federal Law stipulates that employers only hire individuals who can legally work in the United States, either U.S. citizens or foreign citizens who have the required authorization. To act in accordance with the law, all employers must complete and preserve Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) to document verification of the identity and employment authorization of all new employees, citizens and noncitizens, to work in the United States.
Employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. The employee must complete Section 1, which they must confirm to their employment authorization. The employee must also present their employer with suitable documents providing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) the employee presents to determine if the document(s) appear to be authentic and relate to the employee and record the document information in Section 2.
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12 month period where their job is guaranteed upon their return. The law also requires that any group health insurance benefits the employee participates in are continued for the duration of the FMLA leave as if the employee was still working full time.
FMLA only applies to companies with 50 or more employees during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the previous or current calendar year. This may include members of controlled groups and joint employers if the total employee count is 50 or more. In addition, all public agencies (including local, state and federal government agencies) as well as public and private elementary or secondary schools are covered employers regardless of the number of employees.
There has been a recent increase in the number of fraudulent unemployment claims filed in Michigan and many other states throughout the US. One form of fraudulent claim filed is a type of identity theft – where someone creates an unemployment claim using the name and personal information of a second individual without the second individual knowing. These types of claims can create major headaches for the identity theft victims as well as for any employer or former employer that may be subject to charges for the unemployment claim.
Many times an employee is not made aware that a fraudulent claim has been filed in their name (and using their Social Security number) until they try to file a legitimate unemployment claim for themselves only to find out they already have an existing claim.
Other times, an employee may find out about the fraudulent claim when an expected federal or state tax refund is intercepted because the unemployment agency has received wages reported for the employee and has determined that the claim filed was fraudulent in that wages earned were not accurately reported to the unemployment agency.
A third way of finding out about a fraudulent claim is the employee or employer receiving a notice that a claim was filed from the state unemployment agency. If the employee receives notice of a claim that they did not file they should call the fraud reporting department of their state’s unemployment agency right away. Likewise, if an employer receives a notice that a claim has been filed for an active employee they should speak to the employee right away to find out whether the claim is legitimate. If not, the fraudulent claim should be reported to the state right away.
Employers should also monitor charge statements sent by the state unemployment agency to make sure there are no charges incurring for current employees. If charges do occur, the employer should promptly notify the state that the charges are for a fraudulent claim. The employer may need to provide proof that the employee is still working, such as copies of pay stubs.
The Department of Labor has provided a list by state of websites and phone numbers to report suspected fraud. To view the list, click here.
Hiring a new employee comes with the potential of making a myriad of mistakes. Aside from mistakes with potential legal ramifications such as discriminatory hiring practices, there are a number of other mistakes commonly made by employers which can easily be avoided. Quite possibly the biggest hiring mistake that can be made is hiring the wrong person. There are tremendous costs associated with hiring the wrong candidate: for example, advertising costs, interview costs, background and drug screening costs, training costs, and probably a negative affect on morale for your other employees. Generally it’s less expensive to continue your search for the ideal candidate rather than settling on the wrong one and terminating the bad hire. Continue reading
With more and more states legalizing marijuana for medical purposes and/or for recreational purposes, many employers are unsure what they can and cannot do in regards to drug and alcohol testing and substance abuse policies.
There is no federal law that prohibits drug and alcohol testing, nor are there any federal regulations providing specific requirements for drug and alcohol testing for private employers. Some states do have specific requirements, so it’s important for employers to be aware of the rules in place in each state for which they have employees to remain in compliance. Listed below are brief summaries by state of rules relating to drug and alcohol testing and medical or recreational marijuana in the workplace where either have been legalized. Continue reading