New Hampshire News & Analysis

  • DOL loosens rules for association health plans

    Employers may soon have new options to obtain group health insurance through association health plans (AHPs) under new regulations recently issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). A brief primer on the mechanics of insurance may be helpful before we dive into the new rules and what they could mean for you.

  • Agency Action

    EEOC reports on age discrimination 50 years after ADEA. Age discrimination remains too common and too accepted 50 years after the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) took effect, according to a report from Victoria A. Lipnic, acting chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The report, released June 26, 2018, says only about three percent of those who have experienced age discrimination complained to their employer or a government agency. Studies find that more than three-fourths of older workers surveyed report their age is an obstacle to getting a job. The report includes recommendations on strategies to prevent age discrimination, such as including age in diversity and inclusion programs and having age-diverse hiring panels. The report says research shows that age diversity can improve organizational performance and lower employee turnover and that mixed-age work teams result in higher productivity for both older and younger workers.

     

  • Workplace Trends

    Research finds people of color less likely to get requested pay raises. Research from compensation data and software provider PayScale, Inc., shows that people of color were less likely than white men to have received a raise when they asked for one. The research, announced in June, found women of color were 19% less likely to have received a raise and men of color were 25% less likely. The research also notes that no single gender or racial/ethnic group was more likely to have asked for a raise than any other group. The most common justification for denying a raise was budgetary constraints (49%). Just 22% of employees who heard that rationale actually believed it. Of those who said they didnt ask for a raise, 30% reported their reason for not asking was that they received a raise before they felt the need to ask for one.

  • High court upholds arbitration agreements that bar class actions

    In recent years, one of the most highly disputed issues in employment law circles was whether an employer could require employees to waive their right to participate in a class action lawsuit and instead submit employment-related disputes to binding arbitration. Such a requirement has become a common condition of employment contracts, typically entered into at the beginning of an employment relationship, and/or as a condition of continuing employment.

  • Planning and education are key to successful HSA

    Over the past decade, the percentage of employers offering a health savings account (HSA) to their employees has grown dramatically. HSAs are a form of "consumer-driven health plan," a category of employee benefit that strives to place more responsibility on employees to be better consumers of health care. In short, employees pay 100 percent of the deductible under a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). In return, they are given the opportunity to contribute to an HSA, which offers substantial tax benefits.

  • Who, what, wear: You can enforce a dress code!

    Employers have the legal right to establish dress and grooming policies for their employees as long as the policy is not discriminatory. A dress code can be considered discriminatory if it treats employees in a protected class (based on gender, race, disability, or religion) differently or if it has a disproportionate impact on a protected class. But even if your dress code isn't discriminatory, you may still be required to make exceptions to accommodate an employee's disability or religious beliefs.

  • Upholding the psychological employment contract

    Do you realize that every one of us has a psychological contract with our organization? The psychological contract is a concept that describes the understandings, beliefs, and commitments that exist between an employee and an employer. Although it is unwritten and intangible, it represents the mutual expectations that are felt between the two. The psychological contract is strengthened (or weakened) by each party's perception of the employment relationship. It is formed through daily interactions between colleagues, managers, and the organization.

  • Agency Action

    USCIS and DOJ announce partnership. Two federal agencies have announced an agreement that expands their collaboration in an effort to better detect and eliminate fraud, abuse, and discrimination by employers bringing foreign visa workers to the United States. In May, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the memorandum of understanding, explaining that it is aimed at increasing their ability to share information and help identify, investigate, and prosecute employers that may be violating the law. The new agreement expands on a 2010 agreement that enabled the agencies to share information about E-Verify misuse and employment discrimination.

  • Workplace Trends

    Study finds link between workers' clothing and chances for promotion. Research from staffing firm Office Team finds that 86% of professionals and 80% of managers believe that clothing choices affect someone's chances of being promoted. The research shows that HR managers say that jeans, tennis shoes, and leggings are more acceptable to wear to work now than five years ago. In the same time frame, employers have become less tolerant of tank tops, tops that expose one or both shoulders, and shorts. The study found that 44% of senior managers have talked to an employee about inappropriate attire, and 32% have sent staff home based on what they were wearing.

  • New tax credit rewards companies that offer paid FMLA leave

    Employers that offer paid family and medical leave may get an unexpected tax benefit next year at tax time. The tax reform law that passed earlier this year contains a little-noticed tax credit for employers that provide qualifying types of paid leave to their fulland part-time employees. The credit is available to any employer, regardless of size, if: