Veteran’s Day a Required Day Off in Some States

Veteran’s Day, a day to commemorate and honor those who have served in our nation’s military in the past and present, is November 11. It dates back to 1918 when the fighting ceased on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month during World War I. For this reason, November 11, 1918 is largely considered the end of the war “to end all wars.” It was in November 1919 that President Wilson declared November 11 as the first Armistice Day. In a speech he stated, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” It was generally celebrated with parades and cessation in business beginning at 11:00 am.

However, much has changed since November 1919. Through the hustle and bustle of modern-day business, it has caused much confusion about how employers should observe Veteran’s Day and what legal obligations they have. In Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Oregon employers may be required to provide veterans a day off if they are normally scheduled. Continue reading

IRS Announces Increased 401k Contribution Limits for 2019

The IRS has announced today that the individual contribution limit for 401(k) plans in 2019 will increase from $18,500 to $19,000.  Individuals age 50 or over will be able to contribute an additional $6,000 per year as a catch up contribution.

There were also changes announced to other types of retirement plans, you can read more details regarding these changes here: Notice 2018-83.

Michigan Employers: New Paid Sick Leave Law

Michigan has recently joined other states in passing legislature that would require employers to provide paid sick leave to all employees beginning in March 2019.

The paid sick leave law and the new minimum wage law (read more about that here!) were passed with the intention of amending them after the general election in November 2018.  Both were to appear on the ballot this November but now will not as they have already been signed into law. By passing them as laws prior to the hammer-485712_1920election, Congress is now only required a majority vote to amend the laws rather than a vote of three fourths if the initiatives had been passed on the ballots in November.

As the law stands in September 2018 (subject to any future amendments), all employers in Michigan would be required to provide paid sick leave to all employees (full time, part time, temporary, etc). Employees must accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work performed. Continue reading

Minimum Wage to Increase for Michigan Employees

The state of Michigan has recently passed a law that will gradually increase the minimum wage for non-exempt employees to $12.00 per hour by January 1, 2022.  The state minimum wage applies to all Michigan employers with two or more employees who are 16 years of age or older.

In the past, Michigan has allowed employers to pay tipped employees 38% of the minimum wage, but that percentage will gradually increase to 80% of the minimum wage by January 1, 2022.  Continue reading

Semi-Monthly Payrolls: Calculating Overtime Owed

Federal law requires that all non-exempt employees are paid at a rate of one and one half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. This is pretty straightforward to figure out when a payroll is processed on a weekly or biweekly schedule because the number of days in the pay period remain the same. But for employers who pay their employees semi-monthly (i.e., the 1st and the 15th of the month) the number of work days fluctuate from one pay period to the next depending on the way the calendar falls.  Continue reading

Employee Paid Time Off Donation Program

Let’s discuss a situation that’s somewhat common among employers.  You have an employee, Sharon, who has used all of her allowed paid time off (vacation, personal, sick, etc.) for the year. Sharon’s mother falls ill with a serious medical condition and Sharon needs to take additional time off work to help care for her mother, but she doesn’t have any paid time off available. Sharon’s coworker, Kim, has a lot of accrued paid time off with no vacation plans so she asks you if she can donate some of her available paid time off balance to Sharon to be able to use during her absence so that Sharon doesn’t have to take unpaid time off work to care for her mother. Can you allow Kim to donate her paid time off to Sharon?

You can. But it’s not that simple.

Continue reading

Encourage Your Employees to Take Breaks

Many states require that employees are allowed breaks for rest and/or meal periods (see our previous blog post here for information on your state’s requirements, if any).  But even for employers in states with no requirements, there are many reasons you should encourage your employees to take regular breaks.

While taking breaks may seem counterproductive when you want your employees to be as productive as possible during their work time, there are actually several benefits, both for the employee and the employer, when employees take breaks.

Continue reading