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5 months ago · by · 0 comments

OSHA Signals Intention to Delay Electronic Reporting

OVERVIEW

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) electronic reporting rule requires certain establishments to report information electronically from their OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301. The rule also requires OSHA to create a website that can be used to submit the required information. Under the rule, the first reports are due by July 1, 2017.
However, on a recent update to its recordkeeping webpage, OSHA indicated it will not be ready to receive electronic workplace injury and illness reports by the established deadline. No new reporting deadline has been adopted yet.

ACTION STEPS

OSHA has not officially delayed the July 1, 2017, deadline, but its website will not be ready to receive electronic reports from employers by this time.

Affected establishments should continue to record and report workplace injuries as required by law and should monitor these developments to learn whether a new reporting deadline will be adopted.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The rule requires OSHA to create and provide a secure website to transmit electronic information.
  • Under the rule, OSHA will publicize the information received from the electronic reports.
  • The final rule has met significant opposition and its validity is currently being challenged in federal court.

IMPORTANT DATES

May 12, 2016
OSHA issues its final electronic reporting rule. The first reporting deadline is set for July 1, 2017.

May 16, 2017
OSHA indicates its reporting website will not be ready to receive the first reports by the July 1 deadline.

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5 months ago · by · 0 comments

House Passes Changes to Overtime Rules

On May 2, 2017, the House of Representatives passed the Working Families Flexibility Act (also known as H.R. 1180). If approved, H.R. 1180 would authorize private employers to offer compensatory time instead of overtime pay for nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours per week. H.R. 1180 still needs approval from the Senate and the executive branch before it becomes law.

Compensatory time off is already a common practice for many federal and state employers, but it is not currently allowed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for private employers. H.R. 1180 would amend the FLSA to allow this practice, if certain conditions are met.

ACTION STEPS

Because H.R. 1180 is not yet law, no action steps are currently required of any employers.

This Compliance Bulletin is provided for informational purposes only, to assist employers in understanding the changes H.R. 1180 would bring to current overtime compensation practices in the private sector.

Compensatory Time Off

Currently, the FLSA requires employers in the private sector to pay overtime wages to nonexempt employees for all hours of overtime worked. If approved, H.R. 1180 would amend the FLSA to allow private sector employers to provide either overtime pay or compensatory time off to nonexempt employees who work overtime hours.

H.R. 1180 is proposing that compensatory time off be calculated at the rate of 1.5 hours of compensatory time off for every hour of overtime work. As it stands, H.R. 1180 would expire within five years of its enactment. In addition, the bill would limit the amount of compensatory time off eligible employees may receive to 160 hours.

H.R. 1180 would only apply to private sector employers, meaning that if it were to be adopted, it would not affect current compensatory time off requirements for public sector employees.

Voluntary Agreement and Usage

Under H.R. 1180, both employers and employees would have to agree to compensatory time off instead of overtime wages. In unionized environments, compensatory time off would have to be allowed by any applicable collective bargaining agreement. The agreement would need to be preserved in writing and take place before any compensatory time off begins to accrue.

Finally, the language of H.R. 1180 would prohibit employers from coercing or forcing employees to agree to receive or use compensatory time off instead of overtime wages. This means that employers would not be allowed to directly or indirectly intimidate, threaten or coerce (or attempt to intimidate, threaten or coerce) employees to agree to receive or use any accrued compensatory time off.

Eligibility

Under H.R. 1180, employees would be eligible to receive compensatory time off after 1,000 hours of continuous employment during the previous 12 months.

Payment for Unused Compensatory Time

H.R. 1180 would require employers to allow employees to use any earned compensatory time off within a reasonable period, as long as this does not unduly disrupt the employer’s operations.

However, employers would be required to provide monetary compensation to their employees for any compensatory time off that is not used by the end of the calendar year, although employers would be able to determine a different 12-month period as long as it remains consistent.

Unused compensatory time would need to be paid at a rate that would at least be equal to the employee’s regular wage rate. The employee’s regular rate would be the higher of:

  • The regular wage rate at the time the overtime work was performed; or
  • The regular wage rate at the time the unused compensatory time off must be paid.

Payment for unused compensatory time off would be required within a month of the end of the 12-month period.

More Information

We will continue to monitor the progress of this bill through the legislative process and update you as more information becomes available. In the meantime, contact Scurich Insurance for more information regarding the FLSA and overtime wage payment requirements.

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5 months ago · by · 0 comments

Core Elements for Safety and Health Programs in Construction

Responsible employers in the construction industry know the importance of implementing a safety and health program to prevent workplace injuries. Effective safety programs have seven core elements.

  1. Management leadership—provides the resources needed to implement an effective safety and health program.
  2. Worker participation—allows a program to benefit from the workers’ knowledge base and empowers workers to provide feedback.
  3. Hazard identification and assessment—identifies the root cause of construction injuries.
  4. Hazard prevention and control—helps employers provide workers with safe and healthy working conditions.
  5. Education and training—provides workers and managers with a greater understanding of the safety and health program.
  6. Program evaluation and improvement—verifies that the program is being implemented as intended.
  7. Communication and coordination for employers on multiemployer work sites—encourages employers and contractors to consider how the work they do can affect the safety of other workers at the job site.

The seven core elements are interrelated and are best viewed as an integrated system. Actions taken under one core element can, and likely will, affect other core elements. For example, the education and training core element supports the worker participation core element.

It is important to achieve progress in each core element in order to benefit from a safety and health program. Contact Scurich Insurance for more information regarding recommended practices for safety and health programs in construction.

OSHA Rescinds Walkaround Memo

OSHA has withdrawn its 2013 “Walkaround Letter of Interpretation” that allowed union officials to participate in inspections at nonunionized workplaces.

The letter was viewed by employers as an attempt by the Obama administration to support and expand union representation to nonunion workplaces. However, OSHA has now withdrawn the union policy language featured in the letter, calling it unnecessary.

OSHA compliance officers may still attempt to include outsiders to participate in a walkaround if there is good cause. One example of good cause would be due to the compliance officer lacking technical or language expertise that is necessary to the inspection. Such cases are rare, however, as OSHA usually provides the needed expertise from within the agency.

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Scurich Insurance Services
Phone: (831) 661-5697
Fax: (831) 661-5741

Physical:
783 Rio Del Mar Blvd., Suite7,
Aptos, Ca 95003-4700

Mailing:
PO Box 1170
Watsonville, CA 95077-1170

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