All the legislation in the past few years has required employers to review their Employment Applications. Requested information, such as the items below, should no longer be included on an Employment Application.
The Presidential election, along with Federal, State, and Local elections, is on November 3rd and polls are open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. With expectations of a large turnout, employees may need to take time off from work to vote.
Is an employer required to provide time off to vote? The Texas Election Code (Section 276), states that employers must allow employees time to vote and the guidelines are:
· Allow employees at least two hours off to vote on an election day, unless they have voted under early voting procedures
· Time off needs to be paid to the extent that it cuts into the employee's normal working hours
· Time off does not need to be paid if the two hours are available outside of normal working hours
· If the time is taken off from mandatory overtime, the time off should be paid at the rate that would have applied to the time so missed
· If the time is taken off from optional overtime voluntarily requested by the employee, the time off does not need to be paid
For example, if an employee’s work hours are from 8:00 to 5:00, the employee has two consecutive hours after work to vote. However, if the employee’s work hours are from 8:00 to 6:00, two consecutive hours are not available, unless the employee leaves work early. Then, the time off to vote must be paid.
Our recommendation is to be flexible in allowing employees time off for voting. It is an important election and at some polls two hours may not be enough time for voting.
With so much disruption in the workforce due to COVID-19, employers are considering postponing major benefit changes until 2022. Reasons include:
With employees still working remotely, communicating to employees may be more difficult and employers should utilize technology available such as email, company internet sites or Zoom meetings to communicate 2021 benefits.
Are your Family Medical Leave and COBRA forms updated?
The Department of Labor has been busy revising forms with the goal to make them easier to complete. New Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (“COBRA”) forms were released over the Summer.
The updated FMLA forms allow data to be entered electronically, signed electronically, and defines the guidelines better.
Updated forms include:
· HealthCare Provider Certification for Employee
· HealthCare Provider Certification for Family Member
· Certification of Military Leave
· Certification of Military Leave for Family Member
· Certification of Military Leave for Veteran
Employers with at least 50 or more employees in a 75-mile radius of the employee’s worksite must comply with the FMLA guidelines. While employers can continue to use the current FMLA forms, employers should review the new forms to determine what works best for everyone.
The COBRA forms have been revised and must be used upon initial enrollment, changes or upon termination of benefits. COBRA generally applies to all private-sector group health plans that had at least 20 employees on more than 50 percent of its typical business days in the previous calendar year.
If you need the updated forms, contact us at email@example.com and we will be glad to send them to you.