What You Should Know About the NLRB

April 22nd, 2012

Any government agency that uses a set of initials in place of its name makes most ordinary citizens a bit nervous. They can spell bad news for people who don’t tow the line and follow the rules they set forth. The same holds true with the National Labor Relations Board, otherwise known as the NLRB. This organization was created as part of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935.

The NLRB is supposed to be a completely independent agency of the government, and is in charge of overseeing labor union elections as well as investigating and eliminating unfair labor practices in union and non-union businesses. That’s the part that many business owners fail to realize.

With no union members on their payrolls, a lot of small business owners and managers are under the mistaken assumption that the rules set forth by the NLRB aren’t meant for them. That isn’t the case at all. In fact, most decisions made by the NLRB board impact all union, non-union, private-sector, and non-profit companies that employ one or more people. Very few of their decisions are limited to union employees alone.

The Impact of the NLRB on Your Business

Sadly, this is an instance where the things that you don’t know really can hurt you – a lot. First of all, congressional approval isn’t needed for the rulings of the NLRB board to become law. While the board itself is supposed to be apolitical, it tends to rule according to the political affiliations of the members. A Republican-leaning board tends to side with the companies more often than not, while a Democrat-learning majority often rules in a pro-union manner.

Here’s where things can get a little confusing. It’s common practice for the NLRB to reverse the decisions of previous boards. This means it’s up to the business owners to stay on top of what’s going on with the NLRB. Whether you’re privy to decisions or revisions, you’re ultimately still responsible for upholding the rulings sent down from the board.

How can you stay out of trouble with the NLRB?

  • Carefully monitor new rulings. How are they going to impact your workplace as they are being considered? (you can generally tell how a ruling is going to go by who is on the board at the moment).
  • Avoid any illegal activity, including discrimination against hiring union members.
  • Be aware of any previous NLRB rulings that are on the chopping block at any given moment and how those changes will impact your business as well.
  • Educate your employees and strictly enforce policies that are designed to promote the NLRB rulings in place.

 

Your best defense against serious legal troubles with the NLRB is to stay on top of things. Avoid even the slightest appearance of wrongdoing. Keep your business on the straight and narrow and the NLRB shouldn’t find any fault with you or how you operate your business.

Employment Laws That Will Affect Your Business in 2012

January 24th, 2012

The New Year brings a great many good things for millions of small businesses around the nation, as well as some challenges in terms of employment laws and reform taking place now. These HR and employment laws can and will affect your business in 2012 in both positive and negative way. The best course of action is to be prepared for these changes and keep informed through resources found here at the Davis Staffing blog. To help you stay on top of employment law trends, here is a short breakdown of the most important things you need to know going into Twenty-Twelve.

9 Employment Laws Impacting Business in 2012

Employment Wage Laws – Many US states are being backed by the US Department of Labor to create new employment laws that will clarify and set standards in the overtime and minimum wage requirements. These laws are to help employers better explain to workers what they are owed.  Now may be a good time to update your minimum wage and overtime posters company-wide.

Employee Classification – Now is the time to review your employee classification system, because several US states are enacting stricture guidelines and fines for companies that misclassify workers, or appear to use disparaging wage tactics to cut costs. Take the time to review job descriptions, salary vs. non-salaried workers, and employee vs. contractor, mandatory work hours, and overtime rules.

Health Insurance Reform – The Affordable Care Act of 2010 got things changing in terms of how health care insurance works, including how businesses provide access to group benefits. Be aware of these laws by visiting http://www.healthcare.gov/ for updates on these laws. This includes the new dependent care laws that require insurance coverage for young adults up to age 26. Additionally, employers filing 250 or more W-2 forms in the past year will need to include the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage on the 2012 W-2 form.

Hiring Incentives and Entrepreneurialism – As President Obama continues to focus on bringing tax credits to small businesses as well as tax cuts to ordinary working citizens, we will keep seeing legislation geared towards job creation in America. Consider making some of your temporary workers into permanent employees to see these benefits. Also, there will be more funds available for those who wish to start their own businesses in 2012.

Unemployment Insurance – Congress is working on reinstating the federal unemployment surtax, which could cause businesses to see increases in unemployment taxes going into 2012. This is to offset the burdens of a national average of just under 9 percent unemployment nation-wide, and to cut down on unemployment insurance fraud.

401(k) Retirement Savings – In 2012, employers will also have to provide additional fee disclosures to employees who participate. Reforms in 401(k) laws will also restrict how many loans employees can take from their funds for emergencies and hardships. Look for alternatives to 401(k) plans to give employees more options when it comes to saving for retirement.

Immigration Reform – This is a big one with many states and the federal government, that will be cracking down on the hiring of illegals and employers who don’t pay minimum wage or provide benefits to green-card carrying immigrants. More use of E-verify will become mandatory in the USA as a way to identify illegals.

Debt and Deficit Reduction – Going into 2012 be aware that Congress has a focus on reducing the national debt in big ways, starting with tax reform for businesses and individuals. While the recent extension of payroll-tax cuts for an additional two months  benefits many, expect that some of the tax credits you enjoy now may be gone by the end of this election year, and plan accordingly.

Business Security and Privacy – With  cybercrimes on the rise in recent years, many businesses are ramping up privacy and security in a big way going into the New Year. This means you may need to review your current safety and security policies to make sure they comply with state and federal laws, including the way you store data about your employees.

If you are looking for more ways to stay on top of HR and employment laws for your company, be sure to come back often to the Davis Staffing blog for up-to-the-minute advice and resources. We encourage you to reach out to us if you have questions about temporary staffing or employment updates.

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