Category Archives for Posts

NSC Releases Position On Cannabis Impairment

NSC Releases Position On Cannabis Impairment

On October 22, 2019, the National Safety Council (NSC) released a position/policy statement addressing cannabis impairment in safety sensitive positions and the NSC position that it is unsafe to be under the influence of cannabis while working in a safety sensitive position due to the increased risk of injury or death to the operator and others. Moreover, the NSC believes there is no level of cannabis use that is safe or acceptable for employees who work in safety sensitive positions.

The NSC is “a nonprofit organization with the mission of eliminating preventable deaths at work . . . through leadership, research, education and advocacy.”

Does your company policy adequately address cannabis use in the workplace? Contact the Congruity team of professionals for more information at: 844.247.4100

NSC Releases Position On Cannabis Impairment
White Collars -1

White Collar Overtime Ruling

On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule regarding overtime pay. The ruling updates the earnings thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative, and professional employees from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime pay requirements, and also allows employers to count a portion of certain bonuses/commissions toward meeting the salary level.

In the final rule:

  • The “standard salary level” increases from $455 per week to $684 per week (equivalent to $35,568 per year for a full-year worker);
  • The total annual compensation requirement for “highly compensated employees” increases from $100,000 per year to $107,432 per year;
  • Employers may use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) paid at least annually to satisfy up to 10 percent of the standard salary level; and
  • The special salary levels for workers in U.S. territories and the motion picture industry was revised.

The final rule is effective on January 1, 2020. For more information, contact the Congruity team of professionals at: 844.247.4100.

FLSA -2

September Congruity Q&A: Overtime & FLSA

Question:

Should we include holidays, PTO, vacation, or other leave taken during the workweek in calculating overtime premium pay under FLSA rules?

Answer:

Because holiday, PTO, and vacation hours are not actually hours worked they do not count towards overtime pay.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer who requires or permits an employee to work overtime is generally required to pay the employee premium pay for such overtime work. Unless specifically exempted, employees covered by the FLSA must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess

of 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay. The key consideration for premium pay under the FLSA is whether or not the employee actually works more than 40 hours in the workweek, not just that he or she is paid for more than 40 hours in the workweek.

For example, an employee is off work for one day for a company-paid holiday and takes the next day as a paid vacation day. He then works 10 hours for the next three days of the workweek. Under the FLSA, he would be paid straight time at his regular rate for the 46 hours recorded for that week as follows: 8 hours of holiday pay + 8 hours of vacation pay + 30 hours of regular pay for time worked = 46 hours at his regular pay rate. Employers should also check state laws for overtime requirements regarding holiday and vacation time. Some states have more employee-generous overtime laws requiring premium pay for time worked; review overtime pay laws for your state; or contact the Congruity team of professionals at: 844.247.4100.

NHI -3

August Congruity Q&A: I-9 Forms

Question:

In the process of auditing I-9s, we found some I-9 forms containing incomplete or inaccurate information. What should we do?

Answer:

If information on an employee’s Form I-9 is incorrect or incomplete, employers can make corrections near the incorrect or incomplete space in the employee’s existing Form I-9. The employer and employee must draw a line through the inaccurate information, write the correct information on the form using a different color pen, and finally initial and date of the correction.

Missing information should be provided, initialed, and dated, and a written explanation as to the reason for the change attached. The employer should also make a note in the file that a self-audit was completed on that date.

Make sure that the signature relates to the attestation (“I attest, under penalty of perjury ...”). If your company is audited, the examiners will want to have proof that you exhibited a good faith effort to audit your records and correct deficiencies.

For more information, contact the Congruity team of professionals at: 844.247.4100.

NHI -3
INC. 5000 -4

Congruity HR Makes 2019 INC. 5000 List

North Carolina, August 14, 2019 – Inc. magazine today revealed that Congruity HR, a Professional Employer Organization (“PEO”

INC. 5000 -4

), is No. 3969 on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses. Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the Inc. 5000.

“We are truly honored to be included in this year’s Inc. 5000,” said Congruity HR President Darrin Hunter. “Congruity HR operates under the simple premise that the strength of our company is our people. They are our most powerful asset; and it is our people- not our products and services - that ultimately define who we are, and how successful we’ll be in today's marketplace. Congruity HR has experienced incredible growth over the last three years, and we proudly boast a client retention rate of just under 99%. Our people are doing something right; and it shows. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Not only have the companies on the 2019 Inc. 5000 (which are listed online at Inc.com, with the top 500 companies featured in the September issue of Inc., available on newsstands August 20) been very competitive within their markets, but the list as a whole shows staggering growth compared with prior lists. The 2019 Inc. 5000 achieved an astounding three-year average growth of 454 percent, and a median rate of 157 percent. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue was $237.7 billion in 2018, accounting for 1,216,308 jobs over the past three years.

Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

“The companies on this year’s Inc. 5000 have followed so many different paths to success,” says Inc. editor in chief James Ledbetter. “There’s no single course you can follow or investment you can take that will guarantee this kind of spectacular growth. But what they have in common is persistence and seizing opportunities.”

The annual Inc. 5000 event honoring the companies on the list will be held October 10 to 12, 2019, at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Arizona. As always, speakers include some of the greatest innovators and business leaders of our generation.

About Congruity HR

Founded in 2011 Congruity HR is an HR managed services company, providing comprehensive, industry-specific PEO and ASO solutions to small business owners across 38 states of operation. Unlike any provider in the marketplace, Congruity HR strives to create value for its customers by delivering a truly unique, client-centric experience that helps them accomplish their desired goals, inspires performance, engages their employees on a more personal level and fosters a positive culture. Services include: Human Resources & Compliance, Payroll & Tax Administration, Employee Benefits, Risk Management and Workers’ Compensation Insurance. For more information about Congruity HR, visit www.congruityhr.com or e-mail Chief Marketing Officer Jon Scoggins at: jscoggins@congruityhr.com.

About Inc. Media

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders. Inc. took home the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in both 2014 and 2012. The total monthly audience reach for the brand has been growing significantly, from 2,000,000 in 2010 to more than 20,000,000 today. For more information, visit www.inc.com.

The Inc. 5000 is a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation. Started in 1982, this prestigious list has become the hallmark of entrepreneurial success. The Inc. 5000 Conference & Awards Ceremony is an annual event that celebrates the remarkable achievements of these companies. The event also offers informative workshops, celebrated keynote speakers, and evening functions. For more information on Inc. and the Inc. 5000 Conference, visit http://conference.inc.com/.

April Congruity

April Congruity Q&A: FMLA

Question:

May an employer delay designating paid leave as FMLA leave or permit employees to expand their FMLA leave beyond the statutory 12-week entitlement?

Answer:

No. According to a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) opinion letter released March 14, 2019, an employer may not delay the designation of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)-qualifying leave nor designate more than 12 weeks of leave (or 26 weeks of military caregiver leave) as FMLA leave.

Once an eligible employee communicates a need to take leave for an FMLA-qualifying reason, neither the employee nor the employer may decline or delay FMLA protection for that leave. Employees cannot waive their rights under the FMLA and employers cannot induce them to do so. When an employer determines that the leave is for an FMLA-qualifying reason, the leave is FMLA-protected and counts toward the employee’s FMLA leave entitlement.

If an employee substitutes paid leave for unpaid FMLA leave, the employee’s paid leave counts toward and runs concurrently with their 12-week (or 26-week) FMLA entitlement and does not expand that entitlement. Specifically, the opinion letter states, “the employer may not delay designating leave as FMLA-qualifying, even if the employee would prefer that it delay the designation.”

An employer may require, or employee may elect, to substitute accrued paid leave to cover any part of the unpaid FMLA entitlement period. The opinion letter discusses the definition of “substitute” under the FMLA as meaning “that the paid leave provided by the employer runs concurrentlywith the unpaid FMLA-designated leave.” In other words, the paid leave does not take the place of FMLA-leave, rather it gives the employees an opportunity to receive payment for the leave period (because FMLA leave is unpaid).

Also, an employer is permitted to provide a leave policy that is more generous than the FMLA requires; however, it may not designate more than 12 weeks of leave (or more than 26 weeks of military caregiver leave) as FMLA-protected.

For more information about this topic, we encourage you to consult with Congruity's team of professionals at: 844.247.4100.

2020 IR-5

2020 Inflation-Adjusted Amounts for HSAs Announced

2020 IR-5

On May 28, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced (Rev. Proc. 2019-25) the 2020 inflation-adjusted amounts for health savings accounts (HSAs) as determined under I.R.C. § 223. For calendar year 2020, the annual limitation on deductions under § 223(b)(2)(A) for an individual with self-only coverage under a high deductible health plan is $3,550. For calendar year 2020, the annual limitation on deductions under § 223(b)(2)(B) for an individual with family coverage under a high deductible health plan is $7,100.

For calendar year 2020, a high deductible health plan is a health plan with an annual deductible that is not less than $1,400 for self-only coverage or $2,800 for family coverage, and the annual out-of-pocket expenses (deductibles, co-payments, and other amounts — but not premiums) do not exceed $6,900 for self-only coverage or $13,800 for family coverage.

The revenue procedure is effective for calendar year 2020. For more information about this topic, we encourage you to consult with Congruity's team of professionals at: 844.247.4100.

#congruityhr

May Congruity

May Congruity Q&A: White Collar Exemption

Question:

What determines if an employee falls within one of the white collar exemptions?

Answer:

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), to qualify for exemption, a white collar employee generally must:

  • Be salaried, meaning that he or she is paid a predetermined and fixed salary that is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed (the “salary basis test”); 
  • Be paid at least a specified weekly salary level, which is currently $455 per week and proposed at $679 per week effective January 1, 2020 (the equivalent of $35,308 annually for a full-year worker) (the “salary level test”); and
  • Primarily perform executive, administrative, or professional duties, as defined in the DOL’s regulations (the “duties test”).

Certain white collar employees are not subject to either the salary basis or salary level tests (for example, doctors, teachers, outside salespeople, and lawyers). For more information about this topic, we encourage you to consult with Congruity's team of professionals at: 844.247.4100.

March Congruity Biometric

March Congruity Q&A: Biometric Timekeeping Procedures

Question:

What procedures should we have in place for our biometric fingerprint scanning timekeeping device?

Answer:

Biometric systems for authentication, security purposes, and timekeeping are increasingly being used by employers. However, the use of biometric data in the workplace is still fairly new and the laws are still catching up. While there is no comprehensive federal statute in place that specifically addresses the use or disclosure of an employee’s biometric data, there are federal statutes in place that address related privacy and data security protections. For example:

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) addresses requirements for protecting individually identifiable health information (IIHI) and protected health information (PHI) (although PHI does not include employment records held by an employer). 
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prohibits employers from requesting, requiring, or buying an employee’s genetic information or that of an employee’s family member.
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) imposes certain requirements and restrictions on employers conducting background checks.

In the absence of federal laws directly addressing biometric data in the workplace, states are beginning to create statutory protections for employees with respect to its use. For example:

In the absence of federal laws directly addressing biometric data in the workplace, states are beginning to create statutory protections for employees with respect to its use. For example:

  • ​Illinois passed the Biometric Information Privacy Act, which applies to all private employers and sets forth how private entities may collect, store, and use biometric identifiers such as retina scans, fingerprints, or voiceprints.
  • New York expressly prohibits employers from requiring employees to be fingerprinted as a condition of employment.
  • Texas’ Business and Commerce Code, which applies to all private employers, includes a section regulating the capture and use of biometric identifiers.
  • ​Washington passed similar legislation to Illinois and Texas restricting the use of biometric information.

As the laws on this topic are relatively new and continually evolving, we encourage you to consult with Congruity's team of professionals at: 844.247.4100 prior to implementing biometric scanning as your only timekeeping method. At the very least, you will need written consent from your employees and must have secure methods in place for storage and disposal of the collected information. 

OSHA Reporting

OSHA Reporting Requirements: Overview

Reporting Requirements

All employers must report the following work-related incidents to the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA):

  • Fatalities​​​​​
  • Inpatient hospitalizations of one or more employees
  • Amputations
  • Loss of an eye

Employers must report work-related fatalities within eight hours of learning about the incident. For
any in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or eye loss employers must report the incident within 24
hours of learning about it.

Only fatalities occurring within 30 days of the work-related incident must be reported to OSHA.
Further, for an in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye, these incidents must be
reported to OSHA only if they occur within 24 hours of the work-related incident.

Employers do not have to report an in-patient hospitalization if it was for diagnostic testing or
observation only. An in-patient hospitalization is defined as a formal admission to the in-patient
service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment. Employers do have to report an in-patient
hospitalization due to a heart attack, if the heart attack resulted from a work-related incident.

Important: All employers under OSHA jurisdiction must report all work-related fatalities,
hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye to OSHA, even employers who are exempt from
routinely keeping OSHA injury and illness records due to company size or industry.

How to Report

​Employers may report to OSHA by one of the following methods:

  • Calling OSHA’s free and confidential number at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).
  • ​Calling the closest OSHA Area Office during normal business hours.
  • Using OSHA’s online form.

Electronic Reporting

On January 25, 2019, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) final rule
revising electronic recordkeeping regulations was published in the Federal Register. According to the
rule, OSHA amended the recordkeeping regulation by rescinding the requirement for establishments
with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Forms 300 and 301.
These establishments will continue to maintain those records on-site, and OSHA will continue to
obtain them as needed through inspections and enforcement actions. In addition to reporting required
after severe injuries, establishments will continue to submit information from their Form 300A.

The recordkeeping regulation amendments also require covered employers to submit their Employer
Identification Number (EIN) electronically along with their injury and illness data submission.
Employers must continue to maintain OSHA Forms 300 and 301 for OSHA inspection.

On January 25, 2019, the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) final rule
revising electronic recordkeeping regulations was published in the Federal Register. According to the
rule, OSHA amended the recordkeeping regulation by rescinding the requirement for establishments
with 250 or more employees to electronically submit information from OSHA Forms 300 and 301.
These establishments will continue to maintain those records on-site, and OSHA will continue to
obtain them as needed through inspections and enforcement actions. In addition to reporting required
after severe injuries, establishments will continue to submit information from their Form 300A.

The recordkeeping regulation amendments also require covered employers to submit their Employer
Identification Number (EIN) electronically along with their injury and illness data submission.
Employers must continue to maintain OSHA Forms 300 and 301 for OSHA inspection.

What to Report

Employers reporting a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye to OSHA must
report the following information:

  • Establishment name
  • Location of the work-related incident
  • Time of the work-related incident
  • Type of reportable event
  • Number of employees who suffered the event
  • Names of the employees who suffered the event
  • Contact person and his or her phone number
  • Brief description of the work-related incident.

Exceptions

Employers do not have to report an event if it:

  • Resulted from a motor vehicle accident on a public street or highway, except in a construction work
    zone (employers must report the event if it happened in a construction work zone)
  • Occurred on a commercial or public transportation system (airplane, subway, bus, ferry, street car,
    light rail, or train)
  • Occurred more than 30 days after the work-related incident in the case of a fatality or more than 24 hours after the work-related incident in the case of an in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss
    of an eye.

For more information contact Congruity's team of professionals at: 844.247.4100.