Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Showing all recent posts

Photo of Matt Norris
Jan 14 2020
 

SECURE Act changes rules for retirement savings accounts

On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed the SECURE Act into law, changing some rules for certain types of retirement savings accounts, including 401(k) plans that many companies offer their employees. Before the SECURE Act (which stands for “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement”), employers offering 401(k) plans could require their…

Read More…
Photo of Matt Norris
Jan 02 2020
Safety and Health  

State OSHA agency fines employers $825,000 on tip from fire marshal

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Oregon OSHA) fined five employers in southern Oregon a total of $825,000 after a state fire marshal tipped off the agency about structural defects and other unsafe conditions in a building on the employers’ property. Several hemp producers in Josephine County, Oregon, used a…

Read More…
Photo of Jackie Marks
Jan 02 2020
Q&ADisabilityTermination & Resignation  

Q&A: Mandatory EAP referral doesn’t mean you perceived disability

Question: We have an employee who is acting strangely, including making paranoid comments about coworkers sabotaging her work. I investigated, but found no evidence to support her allegations. The employee continues to complain. Can we require her to contact our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and attend any counseling sessions recommended…

Read More…
Photo of Sean Brown
Dec 23 2019
Employee BenefitsLeave Laws  

Washington Paid Family & Medical Leave rules finalized; access our resources

January 1, 2020, the date your employees will be able to apply for Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave (WPFML) benefits, is right around the corner. Here’s an update on where things stand and a reminder about our resources: Rulemaking: The Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) has completed its rulemaking (click the…

Read More…
Photo of Lorraine Hoffman
Dec 23 2019
Q&ALeave LawsWage and Hour  

Q&A: Keep sick leave laws in mind before denying holiday pay

Question: Our policy requires employees to work their last scheduled day before a holiday and first scheduled day after a holiday in order to be eligible for holiday pay. In the past, some employees have called in sick when they were scheduled to work the day before or after a…

Read More…
Photo of Matt Norris
Dec 23 2019
Wage and Hour  

Department of Labor updates “regular rate” rules

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has updated its guidance on the “regular rate” requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA, employers must pay workers overtime of at least one-and-a-half times the “regular rate” for hours worked beyond 40 hours per workweek. The regular rate could just be a worker’s normal…

Read More…
Photo of Matt Norris
Dec 13 2019
Wage and Hour  

ALERT: Washington changes salary and duties tests for exempt employees

On December 11, 2019, Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) announced major changes to Washington’s minimum salary requirements for exempt workers and to the “duties test” for executive, administrative, and professional workers, which will be effective July 1, 2020. As Vigilant previously reported, when L&I first proposed these rules, Vigilant submitted comments suggesting…

Read More…
Photo of Kara Craig
Dec 10 2019
Harassment & Discrimination  

Q&A: Approach retirement discussions with caution

Question: We are downsizing our accounting department. Two long-term employees over the age of 60 have repeatedly mentioned their intention to retire soon. They also have the highest salaries in the department. Can we eliminate their positions in the reduction in force?   Answer: Not for the reasons you suggest! Proximity to retirement is…

Read More…
Photo of Jodi Slavik
Dec 10 2019
Leave Laws  

Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave resources released

The Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) just released new resources to help your employees apply for Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) benefits starting on January 1, 2020. The downloadable tools are available here, and include a Parent’s Guide (how to apply for bonding leave), a Patient and Family Guide (how to…

Read More…
Photo of Jon Benson
Dec 10 2019
Q&A  

Q&A: Winter is coming! Review your inclement weather policy

Question: During bad weather there are times when some employees can’t make it in to work or when we close the business entirely for the day. Under what circumstances are we required to pay employees?   Answer: It depends on the circumstances. The rules are different for salaried exempt employees compared to non-exempt…

Read More…