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Webinar Recap | 2024 Outlook

For our first webinar of 2024, Adams Keegan’s Charles Rodriguez, Kristin Lockhart, Justin Brown, and Brandon Roland discussed important topics and trends we expect to see this year such as inclement weather policies, leave management and more. We also addressed submitted questions and revisited common issues such as wage and hour changes, hiring practices, compliance pitfalls and more.

Missed the conversation on January 31? Click here to view the recording.

Inclement Weather Policies
For employers, crafting a robust inclement weather policy is crucial, yet it's often an area where many stumble. The crux lies in balancing safety, operational needs, and fair treatment of employees. Key considerations include clear decision-making criteria, timely communication, liability, employee classification, reporting pay, and handling unforeseen situations for effective policy implementation.

While crafting a one-page memo outlining expectations may seem simple, it goes a long way in alleviating anxiety and ensuring everyone is on the same page when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Department of Labor's Final Independent Contractor Classification Rule
The Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued a final rule on independent contractor classifications, effective March 11, 2024. This reverts to a six-factor totality of circumstances approach, eliminating changes made in 2021 that favored easier contractor classifications and aiming to enforce stricter laws.

The key takeaway is to be cautious, as misclassifying independent contractors can lead to legal consequences. Despite the changes, the factors for analysis remain consistent, emphasizing the need for businesses to align with DOL regulations and avoid misclassification pitfalls.

The Department of Labor Overtime Rule & National Labor Relations Board Joint Employer Rule
In the realm of employment regulations, two significant developments are on the horizon. The DOL’s proposed Overtime Rule is anticipating a final rule, effective in 2024. This proposal seeks to raise the exempt salary threshold from $35,000 to $55,000. Employers must strategize whether to raise salaries or transition affected employees to hourly status.

Additionally, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has introduced a Joint Employer Rule, scheduled for enforcement on February 26. This rule alters the criteria for joint employer status under the National Labor Relations Act. The new rule expands joint employer classification to entities merely reserving the right to control, even if unexercised. Employers should navigate these changes diligently, reevaluating classifications and contractual relationships to align with evolving regulatory landscapes.

Leave Management in 2024
Navigating the evolving landscape of leave management poses challenges for expanding businesses. Understanding three common types of Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) programs is crucial. States implement mandated programs funded through payroll taxes, voluntary programs where employers and employees opt in, and leave insurance acts managed by private insurers.

However, employers must cautiously navigate overlapping benefits, ensuring compliance with state regulations and preventing misuse. The growing focus on diverse life events, such as adoption, menopause, infertility, and elder care, necessitates adaptable leave policies. The rising minimum wages across jurisdictions require meticulous compliance tracking by the end of 2024. Employers must proactively adapt to these changes for fair, transparent, and compliant leave management practices.

Drug Policies
California and Washington have introduced laws effective January 1, 2024 to prevent certain employers from discriminating against or penalizing employees and applicants based on off-duty cannabis use. This applies to applicants and current employees in California and applicants only in Washington. Traditional urine or hair-based drug tests with longer detection windows are discouraged. Instead, using mouth swab tests with shorter detection windows is advised to avoid detecting off-duty cannabis use.

Employers should assess the need for drug testing, especially for marijuana, and consider removing THC from the testing panel if not essential. Crafting state-specific drug testing policies, addressing safety-sensitive positions, and understanding state nuances is crucial for compliance. Thus, employers should revisit their drug testing policies in 2024, considering industry-specific needs and evolving state regulations.

The webinar also featured discussions around the talent outlook in 2024, micromanagement trends, PTO donations, politics in the workplace, and more.

View the entire webinar and give yourself around 50 minutes to take a deep dive into the conversation.



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