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One of the most important tasks that HR professionals have is to keep up-to-date with changes in rules and regulations affecting employment obligations. 2015 is expected to be a year of significant changes and decisions on many different legal issues that govern the employer/employee relationship. HR pros need to be aware of these four decisions that are expected to be coming down the pipeline in 2015.

1. Possible updates to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

For the first time since 2004, the Department of Labor is expected to update regulations on who is covered by the executive, administrative, professional, computer, and outside sales exemptions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  When the definition of an exempt employee changes, companies could find themselves paying much more overtime to many more workers.  The current salary threshold for an employee to be considered exempt is just $25,000, and there is pressure on the FLSA to significantly raise this threshold. HR managers need to watch to see when the new rule change is issued, so overtime rules can be adjusted accordingly.

2. New Affordable Care Act Regulations.

The Affordable Care Act survived the most recent litigation, King v. Burwell, with subsidies intact. This case was one of the few remaining legal avenues for undermining the functioning of the law, and with the court deciding in the administration’s favor, it is more likely than ever that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. Employers need to move forward with adjustments to health coverage to ensure they will be in compliance when the employer mandate goes fully into effect.

3. Increased NLRB efforts to target social media policies.

The National Labor Relations Board has increased its focus on protecting employee’s rights to communicate over social media. The NLRB is going after companies with social media policies that use overly broad or vague terms that could prohibit protected activities like discussing (or complaining about) hours, work conditions, and wages.

4. Greater focus on preventing “pay secrecy.

Pay secrecy policies prohibit employees from discussing their salaries, effectively making it more difficult for employees to spot discrimination in wages.  Pay secrecy is illegal, and has been since 1935 when the National Labor Relations Act held that employees can engage in concerted activities. There has been a renewed focus on pay secrecy issues through, especially as President Obama signed executive orders prohibiting federal contractors from retaliation against employees who discuss salaries.

The political and social environment is favorable to an expansion of employee rights in the current economic climate, and HR professionals need to be aware of legal shifts that could affect the benefits and protections their business offers to workers.  HR Alliance helps to ensure that HR management professionals are ready to take on the future. Contact the experts at HR Alliance to learn how we can provide assistance in ensuring HR staff is up-to-date on new developments that affect your organization.

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