What's New on HR.BLR.com
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HR Regulatory Analysis
We are continually updating our state and national regulatory analysis to help you keep up with the changing regulations. See the updated section on the What's New page, below, to find all of the updated topics.
New Documents
  • HR Calculators:
    A valuable metric for human resources and management alike, turnover provides information that can be used to identify retention issues before key employees seek other employment.
  • Tracking turnover provides HR with valuable information that can be used to address issues such as compensation, management practices, and workload before key employees seek other employment. Use this worksheet to calculate your monthly, quarterly, and annual turnover rates and compare them to national data.
  • HR Checklists:
    This sample HR Privacy checklist, “Electronic Monitoring Checklist,” can be used to create an electronic monitoring policy. Download this Privacy sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Privacy checklist, “Personal Information Security Checklist,” can be used to ensure employee information stays private. Download this Privacy sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR OSHA checklist, “Occupational Safety and Health Act Checklist,” can be used to ensure you are compliant under the OSH Act. Download this OSHA sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Drug and Alcohol checklist, “Developing a Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy Checklist,” can be used to help you develop a testing policy or evaluate your existing one. Download this Drug and Alcohol sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Violence in the Workplace checklist, “Preventing Workplace Violence Checklist,” can be used to help you develop a workplace violence policy. Download this Violence in the Workplace sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Unions checklist, “Union Avoidance Checklist,” can be used to help you achieve union avoidance in your workplace. Download this Union sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Hours of Work checklist, “Flexible Work Hours Checklist,” can be used to help you design a flexible work hours program. Download this Hours of Work sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Telecommuting checklist, “Telecommuting Checklist,” can be used to help you design a work-at-home program. Download this Telecommuting sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Telecommuting checklist, “Work-at-Home Checklist,” can be used to help you design a work-at-home program. Download this Telecommuting sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Privacy checklist, “Social Media Policy Checklist,” can be used to help you create a social media policy. Download this Privacy sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Wellness checklist, “Alcohol Abuse Employee Self-Assessment Checklist,” can be used to help employees. Download this Wellness sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Wellness checklist, “Stress Reduction Checklist,” can be used to help create a stress reduction program. Download this Wellness sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Wellness checklist, “Wellness Program Compliance Checklist,” can be used to help ensure your wellness program is compliant. Download this Wellness sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Wellness checklist, “Smoking Checklist,” can be used to help your employees stay healthy. Download this Wellness sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Healthcare Benefits checklist, “COBRA Continuation Coverage Checklist,” can be used to help you create healthcare benefits for your employees. Download this Healthcare Benefits sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Healthcare Benefits checklist, “COBRA Recordkeeping Compliance Checklist,” can be used to help you create healthcare benefits for your employees. Download this Healthcare Benefits sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Healthcare Benefits checklist, “COBRA Gross Misconduct Policy Checklist,” can be used to help you create healthcare benefits for your employees. Download this Healthcare Benefits sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Healthcare Benefits checklist, “Information Needed to Comply with COBRA Checklist,” can be used to help you create healthcare benefits for your employees. Download this Healthcare Benefits sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Healthcare Benefits checklist, “Contents of Notice to Qualified Beneficiaries Checklist,” can be used to help you create healthcare benefits for your employees. Download this Healthcare Benefits sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Workers' Compensation checklist, “Workers’ Compensation Insurance Checklist,” can be used to help control your workers’ compensation costs. Download this Workers' Compensation sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Disability Insurance checklist, “Workers’ Disability Insurance Checklist,” can be used to help control your workers’ compensation costs. Download this Disability Insurance sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Retirement Benefits checklist, “ERISA Compliance Checklist,” can be used to help you stay compliant under ERISA. Download this Retirement Benefits sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Employee Benefits checklist, “Flexible Benefits Checklist,” can be used to help design your flexible benefits plan. Download this Employee Benefits sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Employee Benefits checklist, “Employee Assistance Programs Checklist,” can be used to help design your benefits plan. Download this Employee Benefits sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Employee Benefits checklist, “Facilitating Child Care Checklist,” can be used to help design your benefits plan. Download this Employee Benefits sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Employee Benefits checklist, “Outsourcing Benefits Checklist,” can be used to help design your benefits plan. Download this Employee Benefits sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Employee Benefits checklist, “Reviewing Your Benefits Communications Checklist,” can be used to help design your benefits plan. Download this Employee Benefits sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) checklist, “Family and Medical Leave Checklist,” can be used to ensure your leave policy is comprehensive and compliant. Download this FMLA sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) checklist, “Pregnancy Leave and Benefits Checklist,” can be used to ensure your leave policy is comprehensive and compliant. Download this FMLA sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) checklist, “Parental Leave Checklist,” can be used to ensure your leave policy is comprehensive and compliant. Download this FMLA sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Sick Leave checklist, “Sick Leave Checklist,” can be used to ensure your leave policy is comprehensive and compliant. Download this Sick Leave sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Leave of Absence checklist, “Personal Days Checklist,” can be used to ensure your leave policy is comprehensive and compliant. Download this Leave of Absence sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Leave of Absence checklist, “Educational Leave Checklist,” can be used to ensure your leave policy is comprehensive and compliant. Download this Leave of Absence sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Leave of Absence checklist, “Funeral Leave Checklist,” can be used to ensure your leave policy is comprehensive and compliant. Download this Leave of Absence sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Vacations checklist, “Funeral Leave Checklist,” can be used to ensure your vacation policy is comprehensive and compliant. Download this Vacations sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR USERRA checklist, “Military/Uniformed Service Leave Checklist,” can be used to ensure your leave policy is comprehensive and compliant. Download this USERRA sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Jury Duty checklist, “Military/Uniformed Service Leave Checklist,” can be used to ensure your jury duty policy is comprehensive and compliant. Download this Jury Duty sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Leave of Absence checklist, “Time Off to Vote Checklist,” can be used to ensure your leave policy is comprehensive and compliant. Download this Leave of Absence sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Leave of Absence checklist, “Leave Bank Policy Checklist,” can be used to ensure your leave policy is comprehensive and compliant. Download this Leave of Absence sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Performance Appraisal checklist, “Performance Appraisal System Checklist,” can be used to help create a performance appraisal system. Download this Performance Appraisal sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Performance Appraisal checklist, “Performance Appraisal Process Checklist,” can be used to help create a performance appraisal process. Download this Performance Appraisal sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Performance Appraisal checklist, “Performance Appraisal Interview Checklist,” can be used to help conduct a performance appraisal interview. Download this Performance Appraisal sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Performance Appraisal checklist, “Performance Appraisal Evaluation Checklist,” can be used to help conduct a performance appraisal. Download this Performance Appraisal sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Performance Appraisal checklist, “Performance Appraisals—Responding to Employee Reactions Checklist,” can be used to help conduct a performance appraisal. Download this Performance Appraisal sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Training checklist, “Training for Salaried Employees Checklist,” can be used to help create a training program. Download this Training sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Training checklist, “Training for Hourly Employees Checklist,” can be used to help create a training program. Download this Training sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Discrimination and Harassment checklist, “Preventing Discrimination Against Individuals with Disabilities Checklist,” can be used to prevent discrimination against employees with disabilities in your workplace. Download this Discrimination and Harassment sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Discrimination and Harassment checklist, “Discrimination Prevention Checklist,” can be used to prevent discrimination against employees in your workplace. Download this Discrimination and Harassment sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Discrimination and Harassment checklist, “Discrimination Prevention Checklist,” can be used to create a policy on affirmative action for disabled individuals. Download this Discrimination and Harassment sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Discrimination and Harassment checklist, “Affirmative Action for Disabled Veterans and Other Protected Veterans Checklist,” can be used to create a policy on disabled veterans and other protected veterans. Download this Discrimination and Harassment sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Discrimination and Harassment checklist, “Sexual and Other Forms of Harassment Audit Checklist,” can be used to create a sexual harassment prevention policy. Download this Discrimination and Harassment sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Discrimination and Harassment checklist, “Handling Sexual and Other Forms of Harassment Complaints Checklist,” can be used to create a sexual harassment complaint process. Download this Discrimination and Harassment sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Discipline checklist, “General Discipline and Work Rules Checklist,” can be used to create a discipline and work rules policy. Download this Discipline sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Discipline checklist, “Progressive Discipline Checklist,” can be used to create a progressive discipline policy. Download this Discipline sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Discipline checklist, “Supervisor’s Discipline Checklist,” can be used to help supervisors consider disciplinary action. Download this Discipline sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Discipline checklist, “Disciplinary Deductions Checklist,” can be used to help determine if an exempt employee's pay should be docked for disciplinary reasons. Download this Discipline sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Discipline checklist, “Evaluating the Discipline Interview Checklist,” can be used to help evaluate a disciplinary interview. Download this Discipline sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Termination and Discharge checklist, “Termination Checklist,” can be used to aid in the termination process. Download this Termination and Discharge sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Termination and Discharge checklist, “Pretermination Review Checklist,” can be used to aid in the termination process. Download this Termination and Discharge sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Termination and Discharge checklist, “Termination Procedures Checklist,” can be used to aid in the termination process. Download this Termination and Discharge sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Termination and Discharge checklist, “Return of Company Property Checklist,” can be used to aid in the termination process. Download this Termination and Discharge sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Termination and Discharge checklist, “Severance Agreements/Packages Checklist,” can be used to create a severance pay policy. Download this Termination and Discharge sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Termination and Discharge checklist, “Layoffs Checklist,” can be used to keep the layoff process as honest and fair as possible. Download this Termination and Discharge sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Termination and Discharge checklist, “Exit Interviews Checklist,” can be used to create a system for conducting exit interviews. Download this Termination and Discharge sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • This sample HR Termination and Discharge checklist, “Sample Questions for the Exit Interviews Checklist,” can be used to create a system for conducting exit interviews. Download this Termination and Discharge sample checklist to your computer or print it out.
  • HR Guidance:

    What records retention requirements are mandated by state law or regulation? find out using this state-by-state comparison chart.

    This chart covers state specific laws. For local ordinances, please visit the topic analysis page on Records.

  • What posters or notices are employers required to display/provide under state law? Find out using this state-by-state comparison chart.

    This chart covers state specific laws. For local ordinances, please visit the topic analysis page on Notices (Posting).

  • HR News:
    The Texas Supreme Court recently issued a decision that may put some employers at ease.
  • Nebraska law permits the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court to approve vocational rehabilitation plans to facilitate certain injured workers' return to gainful employment. Read on to learn about the Nebraska Supreme Court's recent decision on what the law means to "restore" an employee to work in "suitable employment."
  • The announcement of President Donald Trump’s nominee for the vacant seat on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is another sign that some controversial prolabor decisions of the Obama-era Board will be revised.
  • A federal court in Kentucky recently ruled that a Kentucky employer must go to trial in a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) case in part because there were disputes over whether an employee was absent and whether he had been given FMLA paperwork at the time of the absences.
  • On October 25, 2017, the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) issued a press release acknowledging the efforts of a task force that combats the misclassification of employees as independent contractors.
  • In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit—which covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee—held that an employer's week-to-week, commission-only pay system was generally valid. However, it was illegal for the company's policy to state that employees had to repay immediately upon termination draws that had been given during employment.
  • On October 11, 2017, a divided Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that a restaurant worker who was fired for refusing to share tips with his coworkers can sue for wrongful discharge even though the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MFLSA) doesn't expressly authorize such claims.
  • This year’s influenza outbreak has sickened millions of people across the country, leaving employers struggling to cover for employees who are out sick and searching for ways to prevent others from coming down with the flu. But dealing with germ control and sick days is only the beginning. Legal issues also can come into play.
  • While the Trump administration’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act makes no direct changes to employer-sponsored defined benefit (DB) retirement plans’ minimum funding or maximum deductibility laws, it could create an additional incentive for DB sponsors to accelerate contributions attributable to the 2017 plan year, according to one DB plan strategist.
  • As 2018 is shaping up to become one of the worst flu seasons on record, we want to remind HR professionals how they can combat the flu in their workplace.
  • Almost every leader I have interviewed and or worked with, tells me they want a high-performance team. In fact, the number of teambuilding training sessions, workshops, books, and ropes courses equate to more than 10,000. Clearly, when it comes to constructing a team of people who work well together to create winning outcomes, knowing how to and understanding how to are two very different phenomena.
  • Prior to 2014, there were only 4 paid sick leave laws in effect nationwide. That number has grown in the past 2 years to about two dozen laws, covering several states, cities, and counties.  The infographic below provides a broader picture of which states, cities, and counties offer paid sick leave laws.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit—which covers Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania—recently broadened the definition of "supervisor" for purposes of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), in an expression of the court's opinion that went beyond the facts before it. The court also rejected the application of the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework to hostile work environment claims.
  • By definition, cafeteria plans allow employees to choose between cash and a variety of employer-provided benefits without having to include the value of their chosen benefits as taxable income. Cafeteria plans are popular because they allow employees to design individualized benefits programs that suit their own special needs.
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released Notice 1036, updating the income-tax withholding tables for 2018. The new tables reflect changes made by the tax reform legislation enacted last month. The updated withholding information shows the new rates for employers to use during 2018.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced recently that it was expanding the circumstances in which an employer can offer a group health plan that doesn't cover contraception. The action was taken in response to an Executive Order from President Donald Trump asking the agency to amend the contraception coverage regulations to promote religious liberty.
  • Many parents—including this one—will admit that one of the first things they did after learning they were expecting was purchase the latest “fad” book or read the newest blog on pregnancy and parenting. Just as parenting guidance continues to evolve, so too does guidance from the court on issues relating to pregnancy and breastfeeding in the workplace.
  • The Arkansas Court of Appeals recently heard a claim that an employee injured her knee after falling in her employer's parking. Was the employee entitled to workers’ compensation benefits?
  • Defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors should be aware of a change under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that extends the period during which a participant may pay the amount of an “offset” of an outstanding 401(k) plan loan to another qualifying plan or individual retirement account (IRA) to accomplish a tax-free rollover of the amount.
  • Two executives of a television production company claimed they were entitled to lifetime employment based on their employment agreement. When the company fired them for financial irregularities, the executives sued.
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gave some larger-asset employer-sponsored retirement plans an unexpected break on Voluntary Correction Program (VCP) user fees in its first Internal Revenue Bulletin (IRB) of 2018, issued January 2.
  • Late Tuesday and early Wednesday, 7-Eleven franchises from Staten Island, NY, to Los Angeles, CA, were sent a “strong message” of accountability from ICE as notices of document inspection were served and arrests were made. And according to Derek Banner, a top ICE official, this is only the beginning, as he described the 7-Eleven operation as “the first of many” and “a harbinger of what’s to come.”
  • The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) decision to reissue 17 opinion letters first issued during the George W. Bush administration is a welcome move and “a step in the right direction,” according to an attorney who represents employers.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) announcement that it is nixing its 2010 guidance on unpaid internships in favor of a less-rigid test puts the agency in line with recent appellate court rulings on the issue, according to an attorney following the matter.
  • Employee Engagement … it’s all the rage. Why? Well, let’s start with the cold hard fact that per Gallup, 87% of global workers are disengaged. Basically, this means that the vast majority of people in the world are going to work, sleepwalking though their day, giving companies little to no discretionary effort, and doing what they have to do to get by. Doesn’t sound very productive, does it?
  • Strong market returns and larger-than-expected employer contributions shored up the funded status of the United States’ largest corporate pension plans modestly at the end of 2017, compared with the end of 2016, according to an analysis released January 2 by consulting firm Willis Towers Watson.
  • Not everyone who performs services for an employer is an employee. For example, many employers use the services of independent contractors, students, trainees, and volunteers. Therefore, an important question to consider is whether those types of workers are actually considered “employees.” If they are, they will be covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping requirements.
  • 21st Century Oncology, Inc. (21CO) has agreed to pay $2.3 million in lieu of potential civil money penalties to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and adopt a comprehensive corrective action plan to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rules, according to a press release.
  • Yesterday, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen announced that temporary protected status (TPS) for El Salvador will cease. The termination date will be delayed for 18 months, until September 9, 2019. Approximately 260,000 individuals are currently registered with the program.
  • The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) will pay retirement benefits for nearly 8,000 current and future retirees who participated in the Avaya, Inc. Pension Plan for Salaried Employees, according to a PBGC press release.
  • On October 3, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Notice 2017-60, finally acknowledging that new mortality assumptions would be required for 2018 in the determination of minimum contributions and, by association, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) premiums.
  • I do a lot of antiharassment training. In the past, much of my training has followed a relatively standard format explaining that Massachusetts employers can be liable for harassment by supervisors even if employees don’t complain and that supervisors can “aid and abet” a hostile work environment by turning a blind eye to problematic situations. I also point out that the fact that no one has protested a sexually charged atmosphere doesn’t mean it’s not a problem for the employer. But the recent flood of news about offensive sexual behavior has caused me to rethink my approach to training.
  • U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ action rescinding an Obama administration policy on marijuana enforcement may signal a tougher stance against the substance, but it isn’t expected to have a major impact on employers.
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