Employers & Business Owners: Are You Ready for 2012?

There are still two weeks left in 2011, but for business owners and managers there’s no time like the present to get your legal ducks in a row. For your reference, a roundup of employment law updates to help make that happen:

National Labor Relations Board-mandated Union Rights posters: January 31

“On January 31, 2012, private employers – with or without unions – must post a notice advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. This poster was drafted by the National Labor Relations Board and informs employees, for example, of their right to form, join or assist a union, take action with co-workers to improve working conditions and discuss wages and working conditions with coworkers.” (New Required Poster Informs Employees of Union Rights and Forbidden Employer Practices and Gives Employers Right to Post Information on Pitfalls of Unionization by Ober|Kaler)

“If you’re subject to the jurisdiction of the NLRB in general, you’re covered. The NLRB describes it as follows: ‘As a practical matter, the Board’s jurisdiction is very broad and covers the great majority of non-government employers with a workplace in the United States, including non-profits, employee-owned businesses, labor organizations, non-union businesses, and businesses in states with “Right to Work” laws.’ If you’re not sure, be sure to check out the specific rules.” (And Yet Another Requirement for Employers: New Labor Law Posters on January 31, 2012 by Pullman & Comley, LLC)

Incentive Stock Options / Employee Stock Purchase Plan Statements: January 31

“… the IRS issued final regulations in 2009 under Section 6039 of the Internal Revenue Code that require Employers to annually furnish each employee who exercised incentive stock options or sold or otherwise transferred shares acquired under an employee stock purchase plan during a year with a detailed information statement by January 31 of the following year. In addition, Employers must file an information return with the IRS by February 28 of the following year, or by March 15 for Employers filing electronically.” (Reminder to Prepare for Annual ISO/ESPP Reporting in January 2012 by Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP)

Annual Wage Theft Prevention Act Pay Notices to Employees in New York: January 1

“The dubiously-named ‘Wage Theft Prevention Act’ … requires all private sector employers with New York employees (regardless of how many) to provide those employees with a ‘pay notice’ at the time of hire and, subsequently, on a yearly basis. The first ‘yearly’ notice period begins January 1, 2012. Thus, employers have from January 1, 2012 through February 1, 2012 to provide a ‘pay notice’ to employees…” (Don’t Forget to Ring in the New Year with New York State’s Newest Employee “Notification” Requirement by Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP)

“… the notices must be provided to employees in English, as well as in their primary language. Currently, the New York State Department of Labor has published model pay notices in English, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Korean, Polish, Russian, and Spanish. Employers who fail to provide the required pay notices to employees may be liable for damages of up to $50 per week, per employee.” (Reminder: The First Wage Theft Prevention Act Annual Notices Are Due By February 1, 2012 by Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP)

California Laws on Employee Misclassification, Wage Theft Prevention, Credit Checks and More: January 1

“In addition to the California Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, which prohibits genetic discrimination in employment, six new laws are particularly significant. These laws govern employee credit reports, pay notices, employee gender identity, pregnancy leave, independent contractors and commissioned employees. Failure to adhere to these statutes could expose California employers to significant penalties. Companies that are not already prepared have just a few weeks to understand the new laws, train managers and update policies and procedures.” (Compliance Countdown to 2012 for California Employers: New Laws for the New Year by Duane Morris LLP)

“The so-called ‘Job Killer Act’ will prohibit the ‘willful misclassification’ of an individual as an independent contractor and will impose steep penalties on California employers that do so. This new law will also prohibit employers from charging fees to misclassified individuals for items that an employee is not normally required to purchase (such as equipment, space rental, services, or licenses).” (Act Now Advisory: California Employment Laws: What’s on the Horizon by Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.)

“AB 22 restricts use of consumer credit reports in employment decisions. The law bans employers and prospective employers, except certain financial institutions, from obtaining or using a consumer credit report for employment purposes unless the employee or applicant holds or is seeking certain positions.” (Employment Alert — A Wave of New Changes to California Employment Laws for 2012 by Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP)

Florida Minimum Wage Increase: January 1

“Effective January 1, 2012, the Florida minimum wage will be increased to $7.67 per hour and will continue to surpass the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour. Pursuant to the Minimum Wage Amendment to the Florida Constitution, which took effect in 2005, every September the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is required to calculate and adjust the minimum wage rate by increasing the current minimum wage by the rate of inflation during the preceding twelve month period…” (Florida Minimum Wage Increase to Take Effect on January 1, 2012 by Akerman Senterfitt)

And Don’t Forget the California ‘Transparency in Supply Chains Act’…

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