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December 2014

NY Reminder ...as soon as they are available you need to post the new minimum wage posters. The minimum wage rate changes Dec 31. They are free on the NYS DOL webpage.

December 2014

If you hire people as Independent Contractors ...DONT! The Federal Government is spending $10 million to make sure you pay people properly and collect back taxes if you dont. Unless they have their own workers comp policy, establish themselves as a business and have their name on their company car, the Federal and State Government is looking for these folks. It is discovered when the independent contractor files for Unemploymemt Insurance and this tips the investigators off.

So the next time you think about hiring someone to type a paper, run errands or shovel snow ... Dont... unless you put them on the payroll.

October 2014

Effective Oct 6 the maximum weekly Unemployment benefit rate in NY increased from $405 per week to $420. Also the minimum rate increased from $64 to $100 per week. For a schedule of the upcoming years increases call our office for details.

September 2014

DMS offers educational seminars on such topics as "Corrective Discipline" and "Sexual Harassment." Call our office for details.

August 2014

Reminder to NY clients to pay the Interest Assessment Surcharge. The monies borrowed from the Federal Gov during the period of high unemployment is still outstanding and the NYS DOL is billing Experience Rated employers for the interest on the 3.5 billion dollar loan. Some states have already repaid their debt to the Federal Gov.    

July 2014

Be aware that NLRB has new rules about what is acceptable wording in Private employer handbooks. Call DMS for details.

June 2014

Repeal of the "Wage Theft Prevention Act" passed both houses of the NYS Legislature. It is now waiting for Gov Cuomo's Signature before it becomes law. 

May 2014

FLORIDA... The Department of Labor has finally issued charge statements for the 4th quarter of 2013 and the 1st quarter of 2014. Since the Florida DOL sends them in batches, DMS will be running reports and protesting charges as soon as the statements are received.

March 2014

New York... make sure your responding to the requests for unemployment insurance claim information timely. Failure to response will prevent employers from avoiding the cost of some benefit payments.  

January 2014

Reminder to have employees sign the NY Wage Notice forms. Hopefully this wasteful law will be repealed.


December 2013

Many changes to NYS Unemployment Insurance. Call our office for a summary of all the changes. The Taxable Wages will be going up each year until it maxs out at $13,000 per employee Jan 2026 . The Maximum Weekly NY Benefit Rate will increase in Oct 2014 from $405 to $420.


November 2013
REMINDER NY Minimum Wage increases from $7.25 per hour to $8 per hour as of Dec. 31, 2013.

The new minimum wage posters are availalbe on the NYS website.

October 2013
The new deadlines for submitting claim information begins this month. Be sure to submit claim information to your customer service rep by the deadline on the request or you could lose your appeal rights.

July 2013

Reminder as of October 2013 employers must provide information in response to an Unemployment Insurance Claim within the deadline (for New York that means 10 days) and provide adequate information or lose the right of relief of charges.


May 2013

Reminder employers must begin to use the NEW I-9s by May 7, 2013. 


April 2013

Governor signs Unemployment Insurance Reforms which means increases for employers.

Taxable wages increase effective 2014 from $8,500 (current) to $10,300 and in steps to $13,000 in 2026 and to 16% of the average annual wage in subsequent years.

The Minimum Total Tax Rate increases from 1.5% to 2.1% (eliminating the 6 lowest tax brackets).

Scheduled increases in the maximum weekly benefit rate from $405 to $450 from Oct 2014 to Oct 2018, and increases from Oct 2019 to Oct 2026 based on 36 % of the average weekly wage to 50%. (The Average Weekly Wage is determined by a survey of all New York workers. For example the last increase in the weekly UI benefit rate was based on the average weekly wage of all NY employees at a rate of $810 per week and at 50% was translated to a Max UI Rate of $405.) 

Changes to the calculation of the claimants weekly benefit based on the average wage of two calendar quarters. (With exceptions)

More information will be posted as it is received and clarified. 

March 2013

NEW FMLA POSTERS are available for our full-service clients. Call our office and we will provide a copy.

NEWS FLASH !!! NEW I-9 forms have been issued. For our full-service clients call our office for further details...

January 2013

Under Healthcare Reform aka Obamacare, nuring care facilities must implement compliance and ethics programs no later than March 23, 2013. 
DMS full service accounts call Mary Fields for details.

January 2013 

"Wage Theft Prevention Act" REMINDER, IT'S STILL HERE!!! ALthough the New York State Legislature promised last year to repeal this rediculous law, it didn't happen... so between Jan 1 and Feb 1 NYS employers need to distribute pay notices to all employees and have them acknowledge receipt of the notice. After signatures are acquired, place the notice in the already crowded personnel folders. I guess NYS doesn't care how many trees will be sacrificed for this dumb law.

We encourage all NY employers to write to their representatives to repeal this wasteful law.

November 2012

Although it is impossible to list all “firing offenses” in an employee handbook, it is imperative that employers include in their policy a statement that failure to pass a drug or alcohol test will result in termination. A recent Appeal Board decision sited that the fact that an employer’s policy did not state specifically that a positive test would result in termination of employment and the claimant was granted Unemployment Insurance benefits. The decision states, “there is no evidence that the claimant knew or should have known that he would be discharged for a positive drug test.” It is important that you review your handbook periodically for updates.

October 2012

Claimants who are victims of domestic violence are not necessarily barred from receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits. Circumstances related to domestic violence may be “good cause” for voluntarily quitting a job.Also be aware that a victim of domestic violence may file a complaint of discrimination if the employer did not accommodate an employees needs, such as time off for medical or mental health services or time off to go to court.  

September 2012

The Government issued this notice concerning the I-9 form:
"Until further notice, employers should continue using the Form I-9 currently available on the forms section of http://www.uscis.gov. This form should continue to be used even after the OMB control number expiration date of August 31, 2012 has passed."

August 2012

Friendly Reminder about the I-9s
The current I-9 forms are due to expire August 31, 2012. At this time the new I-9 forms are not available on the Government Website. As soon as they are available I will post an up date.

August 2012

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals has temporaily enjoined the NLRB’s rule requiring the posting of employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The rule, which had been scheduled to take effect on April 30, 2012, will not take effect until the legal issues are resolved. There is no new deadline for the posting requirement at this time (as of Aug. 21, 2012).

August 2012

Repeal of NYS DOL Section 193 allowing certain deductions from pay 
We are still awaiting the governors signing of the changes to the NYS Labor Law Section 193, allowing deductions from pay for things such as, parking fees, fitness center dues, vending machine purchases, overpayment of wages, etc.  

July 2012

New York Wage Theft Repeal Dies in Legislature
New York employers will again in Jan, 2013 be required to notify all employees of their rate of pay with signatures or face a $50 fine per employee.

April 2012

DELAYED AGAIN, the New NLRB Poster HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL SEPT.

April 2012

Friendly reminder. The NEW NLRB poster needs to be posted by April 30,2012.

March 2012

Changes for NYS Unemployment InsuranceThe Federal Government has announced $192 million in grant funds to implement waste cutting initiatives and improve the UI system. The programs goal is to reduce the $13.7 billion in improperly paid UI benefits last year that represent a 12% error rate. 

In order to comply with the goals set by the Federal Government, New York State has made changes to claim information due dates and in depth separation information.  The response times have been shortened. Unemployment benefit charges already paid will be non-recoverable. Therefore, responses back to DMS as soon as possible, means greater potential savings to our clients.  Contact DeGroot Management for more information about these changes. 
 
March 2012

Unemployment Insurance Update for Connecticut As is the case with most states, Connecticut borrowed funds from the Federal Government in order to pay for its Unemployment Insurance costs. As of August 31, 2011 the state had been presented with a tax bill from the Federal government of $30 million dollars just in interest alone. As a result Connecticut employers were assessed an additional tax to pay the interest. To date the state of Connecticut has borrowed $810 million from the Federal Government and another interest payment will be due in August of 2012. It is anticipated that Connecticut employers will pay an additional tax of approximately $25.50 per full-time employee. Currently the new employer rate for Connecticut is 4.2 %. The range of tax rates for 2012 is 1.9% to 6.8%. The 2012 Taxable Wage base is $15,000 per employee. Effective Oct. 3, 2011 the Maximum weekly Unemployment Insurance rate for all new claimants is $573.

February 2012
Employers covered by Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s recordkeeping rule must prepare and post OSHA Form 300A, “Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses,” by February 1 and keep the form posted until April 30.  The form must be posted at each establishment covered, in a conspicuous place where notices to employees are customarily posted.

February 1, 2012
Today is the deadline for completing the NEW YORK STATE Wage Forms.
If an employee is on a temporary layoff or leave of absence, have the forms ready for completion when or if they return. If you miss the deadline complete the forms as soon as possible. Since this is the first year of the annual notice requirement a good faith effort may be considered.

Note: Public Employers are exempt from this rule.


January 2012
The NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) has again delayed the posting of the "Employee Rights under the National Labor Relations Act" until April 30, 2012.  The delays are a result of court challenges by employers.

November 2011
Now is the time to begin preparing the annual "Notice and Acknowledgement of Wages" forms for all employees. During the month of January employers must use the various forms provided by the NYS DOL (see link below) and all employees must sign, date and return these forms to the employer.
http://www.labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/wp/ellsformsandpublications.shtm
Failure to complete these forms could result in penalties to the employer.

For our full-service clients... if you are having difficulties obtaining these forms from employees, call our office for guidance.

October 2011
The NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) has postponed the deadline of the "Employee Rights under the National Labor Relations Act" poster until January 31, 2012. The original posting date was Nov. 14, 2011.

September 2011
Social Networking
Several of our Full Service clients (who are eligible for consultations on various HR issues such as Labor Standards, Human Rights etc) have inquired about off the job comments made by employees on Social Networking sites (Facebook, Twitter for example). Employers need to be aware that company policies prohibiting comments could be a violation of Section 7 activity according to the NLRA.   If you would like more information about our full service program please contact us.

September 2011
New posting The National Labor Relations Board is requiring that most private-sector employers  notify employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act by posting a new notice.  (The new poster addresses the employees rights to form a union) Employers should begin posting the notice on November 14, 2011. Copies of the notice will be available on the NLRB website and from NLRB regional offices by November 1. NOTE: Public Employers (including public schools) are exempt from this new rule.

August 2011

The Interest Payment on the Federal UI Loan is Due AUG 15 (NY).

New York along with 30 other states borrowed $41 Billion from the Federal Unemployment Account. In July NY mailed bills to Employers assessing an additional tax (surcharge) to pay the $95 Million interest on the $3 Billion borrowed  from the Federal Gov. If the Federal Gov should decide to waive the interest payment, employers will receive a credit or refund. 

IF NYS failed to make the interest payment employers could lose the 5.4% federal tax credit. NY employers will be charged interest each year until the loan is repaid. 

Non-profit and government employers who pay under the "direct reimbursement" method are not subject to the additional tax. 

April 2011


The Wage Theft Prevention Act went into effect April 9, 2011. The NYS Dept. of Labor has posted various forms on their Website which should be used immediately for all newly hired employees and beginning Jan 1, 2012 for all employees on an annual basis. If you have any questions concerning this new law call Mary Fields ext. 19.

January 2011

New NYS Wage Orders for the Restaurant and Hotel Industries.
As of January 1, 2011 NYS DOL has issued a new wage order combining the Restaurant and Hotel Wage Orders into  one, called the "Hospitality Industry" Wage Order.

There are substantial changes to the definitions, pay, allowances and other factors which affect these industries. Call Mary at DMS for details.

January 2011
On 12-13-10 Gov. Patterson signed into law the "Wage Theft Prevention Act"

This new law takes effect April 2011 and requires employer obtain a signed acknowledgement from all employees on or before each February 1, stating the employees rate and method of payment. This form must be retained by the employer for six years.  It also requires specific items be added to employee pay stubs.

There are substantial new penalties for failing to comply.

More information about this new NYS Law will be available as we approach the effective date in April.

December 2010
President Obama has signed the bill extending Unemployment Insurance Benefits for an additional 13 months. This bill does not include any additional weeks of benefits for those who have completely exhausted their benefits.  In NYS the maximum number of weekly benefits remains at 93 (at one point it was at a high of 99 weeks). 
Unemployment Insurance Benefits were originally intended as a temporary payment for workers.  

November 2010
It's a matter of Semantics!
When writing a final warning be sure to state that any further violations of company policy will (NOT May) lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination. The Unemployment Insurance Judges have started to zero in on the word "may" and are allowing benefits to claimants, as they feel that a claimant's job was not in absolute jeopardy, because they "may" be terminated.

August 2010 
Reminder  to our School Clients. During the summer, if you should reinstate a formerly laid-off employee, be sure to send the employee a "letter of reasonable assurance" as soon as possible. The benefits will cease upon sending the "letter of reasonable assurance."  (A verbal notice will not be sufficient to stop the payments.) Otherwise the employee could collect Unemployment Insurance Benefits for the entire summer costing the school district thousands of dollars in unnecessary charges.

July 2010 
Lessons Learned From the Department of Agriculture Firing;

Investigate, Investigate, Investigate...Get the Facts before terminating.

Get the whole story and all of the details. Ask questions and find out what happened. Interview witnesses. Gather and Save all Evidence. Do not take action until all parties are interviewed and all sources are verified.  

Call DMS for advice on Human Rights Complaints, Labor Standards Issues and Employee Handbooks.

July 2010 
Florida Unemployment Insurance Claims - New Deadline

Effective July 1, 2010 the "Notice of Unemployment Compensation Claim Filed" form UCB-412 must be returned to the Florida Dept of Labor within 20 Calendar Days of the date mailed as printed on the claim.

Employers must quickly respond to DMS requests for claim information,  to avoid overcharges.

April 2010  Attention: DMS School Clients "Letters of Reasonable Assurance"

Our School District Clients are in the process of preparing their "Letters of Reasonable Assurance" for the 2010-2011 School Year.  Modifying the letters with qualifying sentences or phrases could result in school districts paying thousands of dollars in unnecessary additional Unemployment Insurance costs.
Statements such as  "Unknown Economic Conditions" or "Employment subject to approval" could qualify claimants  who file during the summer recess.

In New York "Reasonable Assurance" is defined as possible earnings in the ensuing school year of no less than 90% of the previous years earnings. 

An employer should never advise or express an opinion about whether an employee will qualify for Unemployment Insurance Benefits.  Employees should be referred to the Department of Labor for answers to their questions concerning Unemployment Insurance. If you are a Full Service DMS client call Mary Fields for more details.

April 2010
FEDERAL DOL to issue "Administrator Interpretations" instead of Opinion Letters.

In the past employers would write inquiries to the Federal Wage and Hour Division explaining their circumstances and request a specific answers to their individual situations. The Federal DOL has taken a new position on such inquiries and will now issue"Administrative Interpretations" which are general interpretations of the law and regulations, applicable across-the-board to all those affected by the provision in issue.

How will this change affect employers?
In its first Administrative Interpretation, the Wage and Hour Division has changed its position on the exempt status (overtime provisions under the Fair Labor Standards Act) of Mortgage Loan Officers. Now depending on the specific job duties, Mortgage Loan Officers are considered non-exempt. If you are a Full Service DMS client call Mary Fields for more details.

March 17, 2010
Effective February 4, 2010 New Mandatory Notice Requirements under
CHIPRA (Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009)
All employers who offer group health insurance must provide a notice free of charge, to each employee, regardless of enrollment status on an annual basis. This notice contains information about premium assistance for employer provided group health plan coverage. For DMS Clients under full-service agreements call Mary Fields for further details. UI-only clients call Mary Fields for information about our full-service program.

 



December 2009

Cobra Eligibility has been extended.
The Cobra eligibility period for theARRA premium reduction for individuals who are involuntarily terminated on or before February 28, 2010 has been extended. Also the maxmium period for receiving the Cobra subsidy has been expanded by 6 months (from 9 months to 15 months) Click on the link for more information:
http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq-cobra-premiumreductionER.html

December 2009 UPDATED! NYS New Hire Notice Wage Rate Regulation
No particular form is required. Employers may create their own forms, or use and/or adapt a sample form available at the link below. In the near future, sample forms for a variety of pay agreements (salaried, prevailing rate, exempt, and others) will be provided by the NYS DOL. Click on link for form : http://www.labor.state.ny.us/workerprotection/laborstandards/PDFs/LS_52_Hourly_Rate_Plus_Overtime.pdf
Note: Temporary Agencies are required to usetheform and follow the instructions on the NYS DOL Webpage.
UPDATE: The NYS DOL has issued various forms for different job classifications for additional information or the link to this webpage call Mary Fields.

November 2009
Beware! New York State Targets Employers: An articleposted on the NYS DOL webpagediscussed theDept of Labor's investigation of under paid employees. "This investigation exemplifies theproactiveapproach taken by the Labor Department in recent years. Instead of handling complaints only, the Department engages in targeted neighborhood or industry sweeps."

It is important that employers comply with ALL NYS Dept of Labor regulations. 

November 2009
NYS UPDATE: The new hire form described below will be adapted by the NYS Dept of Labor to include various employees such as exempt employees, commission employees, employees who are paid various rates, employees who receive bonuses or shift differentials and employees paid overtime under the fluctuating workweek method. The Dept of Labor is in the process of adapting the form and it will be available in the near future. Note: Governmental agencies (including government schools) are not subject to this requirement.

November 2009
NYS NEW LABOR LAW - Notice of Pay Rate and Payday for New Hires
Effective October 26, 2009 employersmust givenewly-hired workers written noticeof the rate at which they will be paid and their regular payday, under Section 195.1 of New York’s Labor Law. Thenotice must be provided on a form available from the New York State Department of Labor, and must be given to new employees before they do any work.
The written notice must also include the employee’s overtime rate of pay, if they qualify for overtime. Most employees must receive overtime pay at one-and-a-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours they work over 40 in a given week. A very few occupations are not covered by the overtime provisions of labor law, such as farm workers and professionals.
Fact Sheet - Notice of Pay Rate and Payday for New Hires - P705E
Form - Notice & Acknowledgement of Wage Rate and Designated Payday - LS 52Note: the fact sheet is not a required posting.

November 2009
NEW FEDERAL POSTER
The EEOC has issued a NEW poster. (A New FMLA Poster should be issued soon) You can post the new poster below or keep the old poster and print the supplement.
This is the supplement: 
http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/regs/compliance/posters/pdf/Supplement_English.pdf

August 2009
New York State Human Rights Law is Amended to Provide for the Assessment of Civil Fines and Penalties of $50,000 to $100,000
As of July 6, 2009 any discriminatory conduct which is found to be willful, wanton, or malicious will be separately stated, and will be in addition to and not reduce or offset, any compensatory damages awarded to a prevailing complainant. These fines are payable directly to New York State. 

August 2009
New NYS Required Document for your Personnel Files
Effective October 26, 2009New York Stateis requiring that employersnotify new employees in writing, at thetimeof hire, the rate of pay and rateof overtime pay. Theemployer must obtain a written acknowledgement from theemployee. TheCommissioner of Labor will establish requirements as to content and form beforetheOct. 26, effectivedate.

July 2009
As of July 24, 2009, not only did the Federal Government raise the minimum Wage to $7.25/hr, but NYS increased the Minimum Wage and Wage Order Allowances. For example the Minimum Weekly Salary Exempt rate went from $536.10/wk to $543.75/wk.    For DMS Clientscall Mary Fields at ext 19 for information on the NEW NYS Minimum Wage Poster and more information on the changes to the Wage Orders. For Non-DMS Clients  use the "contact us" section of the Website for information and questions about these changes.


July 2009
Continue to Use Expired I-9 forms
The current I-9 has an expiration date of June 30,2009. The February 2, 2009 revision will continue to be valid for use beyond its current expiration date of June 30, 2009. For more information go to www.uscis/gov/i-9


July 2009
Increased Minimum Wage
As of July 24, 2009minimum wagewill increase to $7.25 per hour. Besureto post both the Federal and State Minimum Wageposters in theworkplace.


June 2009
Employment of Minors in New York
As a reminder for summer employment, all minors (under age 18) are required to have working papers. The working schedules for minors are to be posted in the workplace and there are restrictions on hours which minors are allowed to work. 


February 2009
Update: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) revises Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9

Purpose of the I-9 Form
All employers are required to complete a Form I-9 for each employee hired in the United States.  The purpose of the form is to document that each new employee (both citizen and non-citizen) hired after November 6, 1986 is authorized to work in the United States.

Key Highlights of the Revisions
According to theUSCIS, therevised Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 is a step to reducethenumber of documents used to confirm identity and work eligibility.  Key to therevisions is theremoval of 5 documents for proof of both identity and employment eligibility, which include:

  • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-570)

  • Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)

  • Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-151)

  • Unexpired Reentry Permit (Form I-327)

  • Unexpired Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571)

  • In addition, the most recent version of the Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) was added to List A of the List of Acceptable Documents on the revised I-9 form.

Record Keeping Requirement
Employers must retain the completed Form I-9 for three (3) years after the date of hire or one (1) year after the date employment ends, whichever is later.

Employersareencouraged to start using therevised Form I-9 immediately.  A copy of therevised form and the "Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing theForm I-9" areavailablefor our full-serviceclients upon request.  Thosewho utilizeour unemployment insuranceservices only, and all others, may obtain thesematerials from theUSCIS website.

Feel free to contact us with any questions.  
 

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