Newly Adopted Wage Equity Laws

Newly Adopted Wage Equity Laws

By GBS Team

In an effort to close the wage gap that exists between male and female employees, a number of states and major cities have recently adopted wage equity and salary history laws. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, the average female employee earned 80 cents for every dollar a man received during the same period. Statistics suggest the gap may be even greater for ethnic or racial minority employees.

When applicable, employers must comply with their state and local laws in addition to the Federal Equal Pay Act. When both federal and local laws differ, the law that provides the greater protection or benefit to the employee applies.

Action Steps for Employers

Affected employers should:

  • Eliminate prohibited salary history inquiries.
  • Update job applications and other employment forms to comply with pay equity laws.
  • Train recruiters and hiring managers regarding applicable pay equity laws.

Applicable Federal Laws

In addition to the state and local laws mentioned above, employers should be aware of the following federal laws that regulate employment discrimination and other aspects of the hiring and employment processes.

The Equal Pay Act (EPA) requires that men and women receive equal pay for equal work.

Covered Employers and Employees: Virtually all employers and employees.

Requirements: Employers are required to pay equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender. Men and woman in substantially equal jobs, those requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility and performed under similar conditions at the same workplace, must be paid equally.

Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibit compensation discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability. There is no requirement that the jobs be substantially equal.

Covered Employers and Employees: Title VII and ADA, all employers with 15 or more employees. ADEA, all employers with 20 or more employees.

Executive Order 11246 prohibits discrimination in employment decisions based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.

Covered Employers and Employees: Federal contractors and federally assisted construction contractors and subcontractors, who do over $10,000 in government business in one year.

Hidden Dangers at Your Child’s Bedtime

Hidden Dangers at Your Child’s Bedtime

By GBS Team

Babies should always be put to sleep on their backs, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Yet, only 44 percent of U.S. mothers report they always use this method, according to a new study.

Sleeping on the back reduces a baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related dangers like suffocation. Because of this, the NIH has campaigned for over 20 years to promote this sleeping method. Mothers who do not always put their babies to sleep on their backs cited baby comfort and family members’ advice as reasons against the safer sleep method.

However, pediatricians stress that sleeping on the back is the safest position for babies, despite misinformation.

You can further protect against SIDS by sleeping in the same room (but not the same bed) as your baby. Ensure your baby sleeps on his or her back on a firm surface with a tight-fitted sheet. Do not give the baby pillows, blankets or anything that can cause suffocation.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. Readers should contact a health professional for appropriate advice.

10 Easy Halloween Tips

10 Easy Halloween Tips

Halloween should be an exciting time of year for children and their parents, but too often the celebration devolves into
a tragedy. This season, make safety the top priority for your family.

Best Practices for Parents

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled a list of Halloween best practices. Follow these tips to help keep your family safe.

1. Always accompany young children when trick-or-treating.
2. Watch for motorists and cross alleys carefully.
3. Only visit houses that are well-lit when trick-or-treating.
4. Use reflective tape or other light-up devices to increase your child’s nighttime visibility, especially when wearing dark costumes.
5. Do not let children eat strangers’ homemade treats.
6. Avoid candles and open flames, especially when in costume.
7. Keep costume accessories soft and flexible (for example, swords or knives).
8. Examine your children’s treats for choking hazards or tampering before they eat.
9. Remove any costume makeup before bed to avoid skin and eye irritation.
10. Make sure costumes and accessories do not impair visibility or inhibit movement.

Have a fun and safe Halloween!

New SBC Template Required for 2018 Open Enrollment

New SBC Template

By GBS Team

New SBC Template Required for 2018 Open Enrollment

The updated template and related materials for the summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) are required for annual open enrollment periods beginning on or after April 1, 2017. For calendar year plans, this means that the updated template must be used for the 2018 open enrollment period.

Employers should do the following to prepare for the new SBC template and related materials for the 2018 open enrollment period.

•  Self-funded plan sponsors should ensure that they are using the new template.

  Employers with insured plans should make sure the carrier is providing the correct version of the template.

Contact Group Benefits Strategies with any questions about preparing for your 2018 open enrollment period.

Court Orders EEOC to Reconsider Wellness Rules

Court Orders EEOC
to Reconsider Wellness Rules

By GBS Team

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has directed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to reconsider its final wellness rules under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has directed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to reconsider its final wellness rules under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). The final rules allow employers to offer wellness incentives of up to 30 percent of the cost of health plan coverage. The court held that the EEOC failed to provide a reasonable explanation for adopting the incentive limit. Rather than vacating the final rules, the court sent them back to the EEOC for reconsideration.

It is unclear how the EEOC will respond to the court’s decision. Due to this new legal uncertainty, employers should carefully consider the level of incentives they use with their wellness programs.
Employers should also monitor any developments related to the EEOC’s rules.

Final Wellness Rules

Federal laws affect the design of wellness programs, including two laws that are enforced by the EEOC—the ADA and GINA.

For many years, the EEOC did not definitively address whether incentives to participate in wellness programs are permissible under the ADA and, if so, in what amount. Earlier this year, the EEOC issued long-awaited final rules, but the court has now remanded the final wellness rules back to the agency for reconsideration.

Group Benefits Strategies will keep you updated with any developments on this matter. In the meantime, please contact your representative with any questions about how these rules may affect you.