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This HR Alert addresses the following topics:
  1. USCIS Says to Keep Using Expired I-9 Form
  2. Phishing Scam Targets HR/Payroll Processes
  3. Austin, Texas Passes “Ban the Box” Ordinance
  4. California Paid Family Leave Benefit Amount Increases
  5. Philadelphia “Ban-the-Box” Poster Published
  6. Seattle, Washington Guidance on Amendments to Labor Standards Ordinances and Compliance Date

USCIS Says to Keep Using Expired I-9 Form

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that employers should continue to the use the I-9 Form dated 03/31/16, despite the fact that the expiration date has passed already.  Regulations to update the form are still pending; the new form, once approved, will be posted to I-9 Central.


Phishing Scam Targets HR/Payroll Processes

Maintaining the security of confidential information is always a concern for all employers, but a recent phishing scam aimed at HR and payroll departments warrants extra caution.  This scam revolves around fake e-mails sent to payroll and HR personnel, which can take the appearance and signatures of authentic company e-mails from high-level management, requesting copies of employee W-2 forms.  If W-2s are transmitted to these fake accounts, the scam artists may obtain access to employee’s personal information, such as social security numbers.

All employers should take the time to refresh themselves and their personnel on internal control policies.  In this case, if there are requests for any type of highly confidential or protected information, personnel should first make sure to contact the apparent requester by phone, text or other form of communication in order to validate its authenticity, particularly if the information is not usually requested or if the request comes from an individual who does not normally make such requests.


Austin, Texas Passes “Ban the Box” Ordinance

The “Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance,” which went into effect April 3, 2016, applies to private employers in Austin, Texas who employ 15 or more workers that work 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year.

The Ordinance prohibits employers from: (1) stating in a job posting that criminal history automatically disqualifies an applicant; (2) running background checks, or inquiring into an applicant’s criminal history, prior to extending a conditional offer of employment; and (3) refusing to hire or promote an employee, or revoking a job offer, based upon criminal history, unless the employer has performed an individualized assessment that demonstrates the employer’s good faith belief that the individual is unsuitable for the job.

Lastly, employers are required to inform applicants in writing if adverse action is taken as a result of the criminal history found.


California Paid Family Leave Benefit Amount Increases

Effective January 1, 2018, AB 908 increases the maximum amount of the worker-funded wage replacement benefit employees receive under the Paid Family Leave program.  Currently, workers receive up to 55% of their wages for up to 6 weeks. The new bill increases that maximum to 70%; for workers who earn up to $108,000 annually, the maximum is 60%.  Employers should note that the wage replacement is drawn from a worker fund and does not require financial input for employers, with the exception of San Francisco’s new fully paid parental leave.


Philadelphia “Ban-the-Box” Poster Published

The “Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards Act,” which went into effect March 14, 2016, was amended to include a posting notice.  Covered employers must display a poster regarding the Ordinance in a conspicuous place on the employer’s website and premises.  This poster was recently published by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Rights Relations and is available on their website.

Further, the amended Ordinance requires employers to inform applicants in writing if adverse action is taken as a result of the criminal history found.  The applicant must be given the specific basis for the adverse action and a copy of the background check.  The applicant will then have 10 business days to respond to the employer with an explanation or evidence of inaccuracy.


Seattle, Washington Guidance on Amendments to Labor Standards Ordinances and Compliance Date

On April 1, 2016, the Seattle Office of Labor Standards (OLS) released guidance for the enforcement of new amendments to the Seattle Labor Standards Ordinances, which includes the Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST), minimum wage, wage theft prevention, and fair chance employment regulations.

The guidance also specified that the compliance date for the certain violations under the new amendments would be September 30, 2016.  This delayed compliance date is designed to allow employers sufficient time to comply with the amendments.  The OLS will not assess fines or penalties until September 30, 2016 for the following amendments:

  • Display of the OLS-created poster containing employees’ notice of rights under the four City of Seattle ordinances;
  • Worldwide count of employees to determine schedule size for minimum wage;
  • Distribution of the written wage theft “notice of employee information” to all employees existing, newly hired or who have changed employment;
  • Distribution of a written copy of the PSST policy to all employees; permitting use of 15-minute increments of paid sick time; complying with the new requirements for “occasional employees” in Seattle; retaining previously accrued, unused PSST when employees move to a different benefit year or a different employer; and retaining records regarding PSST for 3 years.

Employers may review the chart of amendments published by the OLS for more information.


REMINDER:

California employers should have now posted the revised Pregnancy Disability Leave poster over the former “Notice A” and “Notice B” sections. To review this requirement and obtain a copy of the revised Notice, click here.


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.

© 2016 ManagEase, Incorporated.

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