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Compliance Update – CPI, Equal Pay, Interns, and Pregnancy

Consumer prices. The CPI-W increased 0.5 percent in May before seasonal adjustment. The index level of 245.770 was 3.0 percent higher than in May 2017. The CPI-U rose 0.4 percent in May before seasonal adjustment. The index level of 251.588 was 2.8 percent higher than in May 2017.

Compensation costs. Employer costs for employee compensation of civilian workers averaged $36.32 per hour worked in March 2018 (wages and salaries averaged $24.77 per hour, while benefits averaged $11.55 per hour).

Equal pay. Effective July 1, 2018, employers in Vermont may not inquire about a prospective employee’s current or past compensation from either the prospective employee or a current/former employer; require that a prospective employee’s current or past compensation satisfy minimum or maximum criteria; or determine whether to interview a prospective employee based on his or her current or past compensation. If salary information is voluntarily disclosed, however, an employer may seek to confirm that information after making a job offer.

Internship programs. For-profit employers utilizing interns this summer are reminded that, earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) adopted the Second Circuit’s “primary beneficiary test” to determine whether an intern or student is an “employee” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and thus entitled to a minimum wage and overtime pay. Among other factors, the test considers whether the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation as well as the extent to which the internship provides training similar to that given in an educational environment.

Information returns. The IRS has issued proposed regulations that would change the rules for determining whether information returns must be filed electronically. Under the proposal, all information returns, regardless of type, would need to be taken into account to determine whether the 250-return threshold for electronic filing is met. Also, electronic filing of corrected information returns would be required if the original information returns were filed electronically, regardless of the number of corrected returns being filed. The new regulations generally would be effective when the Treasury Decision adopting them as final is published in the Federal Register;however, to give filers sufficient time to comply, they would not apply to information returns required to be filed before January 1, 2019.

Pregnancy discrimination. South Carolina has enacted a new pregnancy accommodations law, which is effective immediately for new employees and by September 14, 2018, for current employees. The law provides that women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions must be treated the same for all employment-related purposes (including the receipt of fringe benefits); requires employers to post notice of the right to be free from discrimination for medical needs arising from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; and identifies reasonable accommodations such as more frequent break periods, job restructuring, and light duty.

About the author, Rhamy

Rhamy grew up watching and working with his mother and grandmother in the senior insurance market. This familiarity with the struggles faced by people trying to navigate the incredibly complicated and heavily regulated healthcare market led him to start Poplar Financial while working on his degree at the University of Memphis. After completing his MBA and Bachelors in Finance and Economics, Rhamy guided Poplar Financial through the disruptive opportunity that is the Affordable Care Act. Since then Poplar Financial has received numerous awards from major insurance carriers and has completed its fourth year in a row of doubling in size. Now his team focuses on the processes around human resources and specializes in providing companies with between 20 and 1000 employees with the payroll, benefits, and HR needs.

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