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This Short List addresses the following topics:
  1. IRS Announces 2018 Health Savings Account Limits
  2. Colorado: Wage Violations are Now Public Record
  3. Missouri: Minimum Wage Preemption Bill Soon to be in Effect
  4. Oregon: Final Rules to Implement Retirement Savings Program Published
  5. Washington: Statewide “Blacklist” Statute Revives the Defunct Federal Rule
  6. Minnesota: Preliminary Rules, Other Resources for Minneapolis/St. Paul Paid Sick Leave Now Available
  7. Pittsburgh, PA: Paid Sick Leave Confirmed Off the Table; Appeal Expected


IRS Announces 2018 Health Savings Account Limits

The IRS announced the increased annual limits for Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions for 2018.  Annual limits are reviewed each year for inflation, and are announced by June 1 for the following plan year.  The 2018 annual maximum contributions to an HSA are $3,450 for individuals with self-only coverage (up $50 from 2017 rates) and $6,900 for family coverage (up $150 from 2017 rates).

Employers can review the IRS’s announcement here, or visit the IRS’s website for more information on HSAs.


Colorado: Wage Violations are Now Public Record

Effective April 13, 2017, wage theft violations in Colorado are considered public record and are subject to records requests under the Colorado Open Records Act.  Examples of wage theft violations include nonpayment of owed wages or failure to pay overtime compensation.

If records are requested, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (“CDLE”) will notify employers of the intent to release the information.  Employers will then have 20 days to provide evidence to the CDLE that the requested information contains trade secrets and is therefore not subject to a records request.


Missouri: Minimum Wage Preemption Bill Soon to be in Effect

On May 12, 2017, the Missouri legislature passed a minimum wage preemption bill, which forbids political subdivisions within Missouri from implementing or enforcing ordinances related to minimum wage.  This bill is expected to be signed by the Governor and, if signed, could go into effect August 28, 2017 at the earliest.

If effective, the bill would invalidate St. Louis’s minimum wage ordinance, which has been effective since May 5, 2017.  For the time being, employers must continue to comply with local ordinances until the preemption bill is signed into law.  ManagEase will continue to report on this issue.


Oregon: Final Rules to Implement Retirement Savings Program Published

On April 18, 2017, the Oregon Retirement Savings Board implemented its final rules regarding the Oregon Retirement Savings Program, a state-sponsored retirement plan somewhat similar to California’s state-run retirement fund.  The Oregon Retirement Savings Program—also known as “OregonSaves”—requires employers who do not offer their own retirement plans to make payroll deductions from employee wages and contribute these to the statewide fund.

It is unknown if OregonSaves and other state-funded automatic retirement programs will continue under the Trump Administration.  The President may sign senate bill H.J.Res.66, which would block state-level programs like OregonSaves.

If unchecked, OregonSaves will begin operating with a pilot group of employees on July 1, 2017, with staggered deadlines according to employer size tiers throughout the next three years.


California: Wage Orders Have Been Updated and Must be Posted by Employers

The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) recently updated Wage Orders 1-13, and 15-16, to reflect (1) the state minimum wage increases for 2017 and 2018, and (2) the updated meal and lodging credit amounts.  Currently, only the English versions of the Wage Orders have been updated.  Note that although the Wage Orders were just updated, the revision date on the documents is listed as “12/2016.”

All employers must post the current versions of the Wage Order(s) that are applicable to their industry, where employees can easily read them in the workplace. The updated Wage Orders can be obtained from the DIR’s website.


Washington: Statewide “Blacklist” Statute Revives the Defunct Federal Rule

In late 2016, an executive order that would have required federal contractors to publicly disclose their labor violation history under certain circumstances was blocked from going into effect by a court injunction. Although enforcement of this portion of the executive order is still on hold pending resolution of the lawsuit, Washington state has taken matters in its own hands by enacting its own statewide “blacklist” statute.

SB 5301 bans employers from making bids for state and local contracts if they have “willfully” violated specific statutes.  It differs from the federal executive order in two key ways:

  1. SB 5301 eliminates federal contractors from bid competition if they have violated one of three specific wage theft statutes. The federal executive order required contractors to report violations of over 14 different federal labor and safety laws, plus their state equivalents.
  2. SB 5301 requires employers to report on actual findings of willful violations within a three year period prior to the date of the bid solicitation. These findings must be made by either a court or the state Department of Labor and Industries. By contrast, the executive order required contractors to report both actual findings and allegations of misconduct.

Employers seeking contracts with the state of Washington should review payroll practices to ensure compliance with the state wage theft statutes.


Minnesota: Preliminary Rules, Other Resources for Minneapolis/St. Paul Paid Sick Leave Now Available

Effective July 1, 2017, employees working in the Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul must be provided paid sick leave in accordance with each locality’s ordinances.  In preparation for the upcoming effective dates, both cities have issued preliminary rules that provide guidance on how the regulations in each ordinance will be applied.

In addition to the preliminary rules, each city has also updated its website to provide online resources, such as FAQs, workplace posters, etc.  Visit the Minneapolis Sick & Safe Time Website or the St. Paul Earned Sick and Safe Time page to access the preliminary rules and other resources.

Of note is the fact that the Minnesota legislature passed a statewide “preemption bill,” in March and April this year, which is currently pending Governor Mark Dayton’s signature.  If enacted, the preemption bill would forbid local governments from implementing their own ordinances, and could potentially block Minneapolis and St. Paul’s paid sick leave ordinances.  However, until this preemption bill is signed, employers must comply with each city’s ordinance come July 1, 2017.


Pittsburgh, PA: Paid Sick Leave Confirmed Off the Table; Appeal Expected

On May 17, 2017, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court confirmed the 2015 court ruling invalidating the City of Pittsburgh’s Paid Sick Days Ordinance.  If implemented, the Paid Sick Days Ordinance would have required employers to provide employees working within the Pittsburgh city limits with one hour of paid sick leave for every 35 hours worked. A spokesperson for the Pittsburgh mayoral office confirmed that the City of Pittsburgh plans to appeal this decision.

 


Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2017 ManagEase, Incorporated.

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