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hand with pen over form Contributed by Beverly Alfon, April 16, 2021 The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) EEO-1 Component 1 Online Filing System is set to open on Monday, April 26, 2021. Private employers with at least 100 employees, and federal contractors with at least 50 employees and a contract worth $50,000 or more, must file their EEO-1 data for years 2019 (previously postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and 2020, by Monday, July 19, 2021. Employers will be required to first file for 2019, then file for 2020 – after the 2019 report is submitted and certified.…
Contributed By Rebecca Dobbs Bush, April 8, 2021 close up of the hands of a businessman in a suit signing or writing a document The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021, included a COBRA Subsidy covering 100% of COBRA premiums for “Assistance Eligible Individuals” during the period of April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021.  The 100% premium subsidy will be reimbursed to employers through their quarterly payroll tax returns.  Pursuant to ARPA, employers are required to notify certain individuals about potential eligibility and details of the subsidy by May 31,…
Male doctor hand wears medical glove holding syringe and vial bottle with COVID-19 vaccine Contributed by Heather A. Bailey, April 6, 2021 The short answer is: Be careful what you wish for!  During this COVID-19 pandemic, vaccinations have been at the front of everyone’s mind. Now, with the mass rollout of vaccinations across the country, employers’ main questions have been: i) Can we mandate vaccinations for our workforce or, alternatively, ii) can we ask employees whether they have been vaccinated or not (and to show proof of vaccination)? Our Labor & Employment blog has been at the forefront for…
Construction hat and gavel. Contributed by Jeff Risch, April 2, 2021, www.illinoisprevailingwage.com Big Labor continues to use local, state and federal prevailing wage laws to target contractors they have a “beef” with.  Since most prevailing wage audits are triggered by a complaint (including 3rd party complaints), trade unions and certain union-friendly organizations can easily turn in a contractor with the general assertion that the contractor is not complying with applicable prevailing wage law. While contractors and merit shop trade associations could do likewise, they typically don’t for obvious business reasons.  Having concentrated my practice on assisting contractors with prevailing wage…
Contributed by Jeff A. Risch and Allison P. Sues, March 24, 2021 As we previously blogged about, the Illinois legislature passed Senate Bill 1480, which, in relevant part, provides that unless otherwise authorized by law, an employer may only consider an individual’s criminal conviction history if there is a substantial relationship between the criminal history and the position sought or held, or if the employer can show that the individual’s employment raises an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public. Governor Pritzker has now signed the bill into…
Contributed by Jeff Risch, March 23, 2021 Private employers in Illinois now have more landmines to navigate as the state’s legislature pushed through SB1480 during its most recent “lame duck” session.  Gov. Pritzker just signed the legislation into law today!  While there are many substantive provisions and amendments to various laws contained in SB1480 (including new restrictions on the use of criminal convictions as we blogged about previously), the law also amends the Illinois Business Corporation Act (IBCA) and the Illinois Equal Pay Act (IEPA); resulting in unprecedented compulsory reporting of race, gender and ethnicity statistics and related…
Contributed by Michael Hughes, March 16, 2021 As the 2021 construction season gets underway, and with an increasing number of construction projects being completed with a mix of union and non-union subcontractors, many workers have legitimate questions about their rights and responsibilities on such mixed-staffed projects. These questions especially can arise when a “dual-gate” system has been established (creating a “neutral” gate for union contractors and a separate, “reserved” gate for non-union contractors), or when a union is involved in different types of activities at the jobsite, such as picketing, bannering (erecting stationary signage or using the inflatable rat),…
Contributed by Carlos Arévalo and guest author Molly Arranz, March 11, 2021 Commercial air pilot and Air Force reservist Eric White filed a class action against United Airlines under the United Services Employee and Reemployment Right Act (USERRA) claiming United violated USERRA by not providing paid military leave to the same extent as other paid leave. The district court dismissed White’s lawsuit, but last month the 7th Circuit ruled that paid leave falls within the definition of “rights and benefits” employees are entitled to pursuant to USERRA. The case has been sent back to district court. Generally, USERRA provides…
*Save the Date! Complimentary webcast on March 23rd at noon CST: American Rescue Plan: What Employers Must Know Now Contributed by Rebecca Bush and Kelly Haab-Tallitsch, March 11, 2021 Almost one year after the enactment of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), and with the second extension of pandemic unemployment assistance about to expire for millions of workers on March 14, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the “Act”) was signed into law by President Biden on Thursday afternoon, March 11, 2021. The estimated cost of the Act is $1.9 Trillion, with $1,400…
Contributed by Rebecca Dobbs Bush, March 9, 2021 hand holding megaphone – benefits In a previous blog article, we alerted readers to the extension of deadlines related to COBRA, Special Enrollment, Plan Disclosures and more. The prior Joint Notice from the DOL and IRS provided suspension of all deadlines until 60 days after the expiration of the National Emergency, referred to as the “Outbreak Period.” The issue requiring clarification arose due to the unanticipated length of the Outbreak Period.  Much like all of us, the IRS and DOL did not foresee an Outbreak Period continuing well over a…
Contributed by John R. Hayes, March 8, 2021 Work Remotely memo stick. Laptop for remote job. Given the “new normal” of remote work for many employees throughout the country, the question as to whether to allow an employee to work in another state – either permanently or temporarily – has become something employers are now scrambling to answer.  However, it is not as simple as determining whether the employee can do the work remotely, there are numerous considerations and implications employers should be aware of if they have employees working in a different state than the location of their…
Contributed by Peter Hansen, March 3, 2021 Now that COVID-19 vaccines are starting to roll out, employees who have been vaccinated are beginning to question whether they are still required to wear face masks, practice social distancing, etc.  In short, yes they are – according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, along with numerous state agencies, “it is important to wear a face covering and remain physically distant from co-workers and customers even if you have been vaccinated because it is not known at this time how vaccination affects transmissibility.” So, the same workplace protocols apply to…
Contributed by Kelly Haab-Tallitsch, March 2, 2021 Cut tax with scissor isolated on white, 3D rendering The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently published final regulations implementing changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) to Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code (Section 162(m)) expanding the scope of Section 162(m)’s compensation tax deduction limitation. Publicly held companies that already exceed or that may soon exceed the Section 162(m) $1 million deduction limit will need to carefully consider the impact of amended Section 162(m). Section 162(m) generally disallows a tax deduction for compensation paid in excess of…
Contributed by Jacqueline Lentini McCullough, March 1, 2021 USA visa in a passport – travel background With H-1B season upon us, it is time to review the visa status expirations for foreign national employees. There may be some who will need to change visa status to H-1B for continued employment with your company. For example, an F-1 international student who is employed based on his/her optional practical training may need H-1B sponsorship. Now is the time to see if anyone will need assistance with an H-1B petition.  As you know, last year USCIS implemented a new electronic registration system for employers seeking…
Contributed by Steven Jados, February 26, 2021 unemployment claim form on desk On February 25, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced three new categories of individuals eligible to collect federally-funded unemployment benefits as the COVID-19 Pandemic continues.  They are: Individuals who refuse to return to work that is unsafe or to accept an offer of new work that is unsafe; Certain individuals providing services to educational institutions or educational services agencies; and Individuals experiencing a reduction of hours or a temporary or permanent lay-off. These changes are expected to take effect in late March, but could take…
Contributed by Jeffrey A. Risch, February 25, 2021 – www.illinoisprevailingwage.com Contractors, developers, architects, owners, project managers and even public bodies often ask the same obvious question when dealing with any type of prevailing wage ordinance or law, “what are my obligations?”  While everyone involved in public construction projects want to comply with prevailing wage mandates, more often than not those involved in such projects are either oblivious to their responsibilities or are mistaken in their belief as to such responsibilities. This is not surprising in light of the great variance in prevailing wage laws, related rules and interpretations of such rules…