Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Glassdoor's 25 Best Jobs in America for 2016

Recently, Glassdoor presented a list of the 25 "Best Jobs" in America for this year.

Criteria for this list included:
  • Number of Job Openings
  • Salary
  • Career Opportunity

I personally thought I would see more tech-sector positions, yet surprisingly the top 5 job positions are:
  • Data Scientist
  • Tax Manager
  • Solutions Architect
  • Engagement Manager
  • Mobile Developer

Did you find anything surprising in Glassdoor's findings?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The NLRB's New Joint Employer Standard

Back in August of 2015, The National Labor Relations Board made a refinement in determining joint-employer status. In a 3-2 decision involving Browning-Ferris Industries of California, the NLRB’s revised standard on joint-employer status is designed “to better effectuate the purposes of the Act in the current economic landscape.” In this issue of Astronology, we discuss this new standard and how it impacts Human Resources. 

The Browning-Ferris decision broadens the understanding of what establishes two or more organizations as joint employers. A major component of this broadening is that if an associated organization has common-law employment relationship and could possibly have the ability to exercise control over employees’ terms and conditions of employment, then the NLRB views them as a joint employer. In the case of Browning – Ferris Industries, the company contracted Leadpoint Business Services to provide workers for handling the sorting of recycled materials. In the process of unionizing a number of Leadpoint workers employed at the Browning-Ferris facility, the union Teamsters Local 350 sought ruling on whether both companies (as joint employers) would be required to bargain with the union if they became the employees’ representative. 

The NLRB’s newly expanded ruling suggests that the previous understanding that identified an organization as an employer “if it has to exercise direct and immediate control” was outdated and needed to be revised. The broadened definition meant that Browning-Ferris would be considered a joint employer with Leadpoint, as it can exercise some influence over the Leadpoint-hired employees.

              Some believe that this change may signal the end of subcontracting or franchising. Although it may not mean the absolute end to either of these methods of doing business, it does heighten the possibility for the parent company to be found liable for labor violations; specifically, labor violations incurred by decisions made by its partner company. Those violations can span from retaliation accusations to interference with union elections. Union organizers may have stronger grounds to establish unions and would have the ability to bargain with the larger parent company.

How Human Resources will respond to this ruling has yet to be seen. Some feel like that ruling may be appealed, or even possibly revised again, depending on the change in presidential administration in early 2017. Does your organization subcontract certain responsibilities?  Have you considered the impact of Browning-Ferris on your organization?  Would you like to share your insights on the new NLRB ruling with Astronology? Contact us with your thoughts and we’ll share them in a future Astronology article!

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

As we roll into 2016, a concern from 2015 has followed us into the New Year. During 2015, much had been said, speculated, and decided in regards to minimum wage increases. A good amount of the fruition of those discussions and decisions begins in 2016. In our first Astronology of 2016, we will explore the changes in minimum wages in 2016.

Currently, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has set the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. According to the United States Department of Labor’s website, “Many states also have minimum wage laws. Where an employee is subject to both the state and Federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages.” Although the federal minimum wage is $7.25, your state may have a higher rate.  In that case, the state minimum wage prevails, as it is more generous to the employee.

Because your state may have a higher minimum wage rate than the federal level, and possibly scheduled annual increases, it’s important to stay informed on any state labor changes. As of now, scheduled increases for 2016 include the following:

Minimum Wage
State Date New Rate Notes
Alaska January 1, 2016 $9.75 Future Increases 1-1-2017
Arkansas January 1, 2016 $8.00 $8.50          1-1-2017
California January 1, 2016 $10.00
Colorado January 1, 2016 $8.31
Connecticut January 1, 2016 $9.60 $10.10        1-1-2017
Hawaii January 1,2016 $8.50 $9.25          1-1-2017

$10.10        1-1-2018
Maryland July 1, 2016 $8.75 $9.25          7-1-2017

$10.10        7-1-2018
Massachusetts January 1, 2016 $10.00 $11.00        1-1-2017
Michigan January 1, 2016 $8.50 $8.90          1-1-2017

$9.25          1-1-2018
Minnesota August 1, 2016 $9.50 Large Employers
$7.75 Small Employers
Future Increases
Annually 1-1-2018
Nebraska January 1, 2016 $9.00
New York December 31, 2015 $9.00 All
$9.75 Fast Food
Future Increases
To $15.00 fast food by 2018,
all other industries by 2021
Rhode Island January 1, 2016 $9.60
South Dakota January 1, 2016 $8.55

January 1, 2016 $9.60 $10.00          1-1-2017

$10.50          1-1-2018
Washington D.C. July 1, 2016 $11.50 Future Increases
Annually 7-1-2017
West Virginia January 1, 2016 $8.75
According to www.blr.com
The National Conference of State Legislatures highlighted the following on the 2016 minimum wage updates:
  • Of the 14 states that begin the New Year with higher minimum wages, 12 of them increased their rates through legislation passed in 2014 and 2015.  Two states automatically increased rates based on cost of living.
  • There are 11 states that currently tie minimum wage increases to the cost of living.  Eight of those did not increase their minimum wage rates for 2016. The three states from the 11 that will be making increases in 2016 are 
    •  Colorado ($0.08 per hour increase)
    • South Dakota ($0.05 per hour increase)
    • Nevada (to be announced later this year, and taking effect in July 2016)
    • Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington D.C. have increases scheduled later in the year.
Perhaps your state may not have any scheduled increases this year. Are you aware of the current minimum wage for all locations where your organization has employees?  The National Conference of State Legislatures website has a helpful, more inclusive list of the established minimum wages for all 50 states for 2016. You can also check your State Department of Labor (DOL) websites from the United States DOL site.   In addition, cities or other local jurisdictions may have minimum wage rates.  It is critical to ensure compliance with all applicable minimum wage legislation for all employees for their applicable work locations.

While increases to the minimum wage may present financial challenges to employers who have a substantial number of employees paid at that level, all employers need to be aware of and responsive to minimum wage changes. “Pay compression is a consideration for many of our clients,” explains National Director Jennifer Loftus. “Pay compression occurs when the pay rates for new employees are at the same or higher levels than those for current employees. Pay compression can also occur between pay rates of employees at the minimum wage, and rates for positions one to two pay grades above.” Loftus explains that employers should conduct compression analyses to determine additional employees impacted by the minimum wage changes, and determine the cost to adjust pay rates accordingly, to ensure internal equity is maintained between employees and various grade levels, and compression is avoided. “Pay compression is sometimes a costly matter to address,” states Loftus, “but the costs of employee turnover may be far greater.”

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