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By: Matt Ingold

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June 8th, 2016

15 Soundbites From the 2016 North Country HRA Conference

Workforce Management | Strategic HR | HR Best Practices

image2-1.jpgHad the pleasure of attending the North Country Human Resource Association (NCHRA) 2016 One-Day Conference. Hats off to President Cherie Moore and her team for another job well-done. Let's check out some quick notes from the legal updates.

The conference itself was legal-heavy (it’s been a big year already for regulatory updates), with the Barclay Damon legal team covering down on topics ranging from Transgender Regulations to New York States Paid Leave Act to updated Overtime Exemption rules.

NCHRA_2016_McCabe.jpgThough in the final month of IRS 1095-C filing, members were still hungry for Affordable Care Act updates. There were a lot of questions regarding how to complete forms for non-standard situations, and concerns on how lenient the IRS will be for administrative errors in year-1. ACA Legal Advisor, Raymond McCabe, Esq. assured that the IRS has built in language of leniency for year 1, but we can’t assume that same leniency will extend to subsequent years.

Related Blog: Everything You Need to Know About 1095-C Reporting

One thing is for sure—it’s getting more difficult every day to navigate the HR world by yourself.

15 Takeaways from the 2016 NCHRA Conference

For those who missed out, here are some of the college Cliff Notes and soundbites from NCHRA’s 2016 Conference:

  1. Paid Family Leave will go into effect on 1/1/18, with initial employee contributions amounting to $.45 per week
  2. OSHA language is pushing for employers to institute unisex bathrooms
  3. Employers are historically remiss in enforcing annual sexual harassment training, and need to make immediate improvements
  4. CHECK YOUR HANDBOOKS! There must be a reasonable accommodation policy therein.
  5. Love this one: “Don’t educate your employees on how to sue you!”
  6. BIG NOTE on Overtime Exemption Rule: Employers must have a policy in place governing an employee’s ability to work from home, specifically for those employees that have moved from an exempt to non-exempt status. “If working remotely is an informal thing amongst non-exempt employees, you need to formalize it.”
  7. “Document, document, document!”
  8. “You always want to write for publication. [when counseling or recording incidents]"
  9. “We will see court cases increase on transgender disputes.”
  10. “Always have two people present for a disciplinary counseling.”
  11. "Whether an employee thinks they need a reasonable accommodation or not, the employer needs to be sophisticated enough to start the dialogue."
  12. GOOD NEWS! For Paid Family Leave, intermittent leave cannot be taken in increments smaller than one day.
  13. As in the case of the Culinary Institute of America, Human Resources professionals can be individually liable for mishandling FMLA cases
  14. Paid Family Leave Benefits begin in 2018 at 8 weeks of paid leave at 50% of the employee’s average weekly wage, not to exceed 50% of New York’s average weekly wage, and will increase to 12 weeks and 67% over the next 4 years.
  15. Non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments can now satisfy up to 10% of the standard salary level for the white-collar exemption test.

Related Blog: How to Curb FMLA Abuses

Hats off to the NCHRA team! 

About Matt Ingold

Matt serves as Benetech's Director of Business Development. He helps employers reduce the cost of personnel management, and discover where improved talent management can give their business a competitive advantage.

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