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HR Hotline Alert

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News You Can Use From the ThinkHR Hotline!

September 24, 2012

This issue of the newsletter covers a range of HR-related topics. We continue to receive a large number of questions about complying with various aspects of the health care reform legislation, from Medical Loss Ratio compliance to preparing the Summary of Benefits and Coverage along with the Uniform Glossary for enrollment in group health coverage through an open enrollment period (including re-enrollees and late enrollees) beginning on the first day of the first open enrollment period that begins on or after September 23, 2012. With the IRS issuing guidance in late August, we are also fielding questions related to calculating full-time employees for the employer shared responsibility provisions that will be effective in 2014.

As usual, we also continue to receive a large number of questions about leaves of absence, especially as it relates to ADA compliance, so we have added some articles addressing ADA.

Don’t forget that the EEO-1 reports are due September 30,2012 for larger employers and/or those companies with federal contracts of $50,000 or more.

Enjoy this week’s edition of the newsletter and please call the Hotline or submit your questions online if you need more information about these topics or other human resources issues.

Labor: ADA mandates reassignment of disabled workers to vacant positions

According to a new decision issued by the 7th Circuit, EEOC v. United Airlines, Inc., employers are now required to reassign to vacant positions workers with disabilities who can no longer perform the essential functions of their jobs. In reaching this decision, the 7th Circuit overruled precedent allowing employers to implement transfer policies requiring disabled employees to compete with other candidates for reassignment positions. The shift in the court’s interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has great significance for employers working with employees with disabilities.

Wellness Program Passes ADA Fitness Test

A recent ruling by the 11th Circuit suggests that there are circumstances where an organization can offer a "non-voluntary" wellness program without running afoul of the ADA, according to legal experts.

Can Lack of Access to Sick Leave Be Dangerous to Your Health?

The benefits of offering paid sick leave can outweigh the costs, even for small companies and especially for employers whose workplaces have a high risk for employee injuries, experts say. Battling the abuse -- or supposed abuse -- of sick leave has been an HR challenge for decades, but now a report suggests that not having a sick leave policy can be damaging to both employee health and organizational productivity.

Branding on the Inside is Good for Outside Business

When employees understand their brand better, experts say, they're more likely to be engaged with their company and more productive at work. Your people are your brand. It's how they greet customers, answer their questions, prospect for business and deliver your goods and services. In fact, research reveals that 75 percent of customers' perceptions about a company are determined by their experience with its employees.

NLRB Weighs In On Social Media Policies

Over the past couple of years, the National Labor Relations Board’s Acting General Counsel has placed heightened emphasis on the application of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to social media. Most of this emphasis has been on employer policies that “chill” employee rights to engage in protected concerted activity under the NLRA, such as the right to discuss wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.

Ask the Experts

Question: Can an employee stop his/her FSA contributions for dependent care in mid-year?

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We’re Here To Help.

We provide practical human resources solutions to your employee issues. We do not provide legal advice, and you may wish to consult with your legal counsel as well as your benefits broker or payroll advisor before implementing any changes to your existing policies or benefits.

If you would like more or need HR assistance, please contact us. We’re here to help.

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