CEOs consistently tell me that the challenges of the business fill their plate and the ongoing people issues just make it worse. The last few weeks the Courts and government agencies have simply overwhelmed them. Let’s take a look at what has happened:
- DOMA: The Supreme Courts overturning the Defense of Marriage Act now extends to same sex couples, who were married and reside in the 12 states and the District of Columbia that recognize same sex marriage, all the federal benefits offered to heterosexual couples. That means employers must now make the changes to policies, benefits, and payroll taxes to comply with the changes. While this brings a consistency to the compliance between state and federal law, it leaves the question of what happens in the other 38 states.
- Independent Contractors: Both the federal and state government agencies (IRS and Labor) have both redefined their definition of an Independent Contractor and begin strict enforcement of the new standards forcing employers to change how they manage their workforce and quickly bring their company into compliance or face huge fines. For many companies, this will be s tremendous burden.
- Interns: Two high profile class-action lawsuits against NBC Universal and Fox Searchlight point to the perils of not paying summer interns. In both cases, the Court determined these companies violated the Fair Labor Standards Act for not paying their “workers” forcing employers nationally to rethink how they employ and compensate interns. These rulings will hurt valuable college internship programs.
- Affordable Care Act: The Obama administration gave small employers a welcome reprieve by extending the compliance deadline to 2014 for implementing the mandate for employers with 50 or more employees to provide insurance coverage. While on the surface this is good news, it brings further confusion to an already difficult implementation schedule.
- Immigration: As Congress wrestles with immigration reform, CEOs suffer with the inability to recruit badly needed skilled and unskilled foreign workers. With a growing skills gap and an aging workforce, foreign workers could fill the void. Without Congressional relief, CEOs must operate without essential workers.
- New Definition of Supervisor: The Supreme Court has clarified its definition of a “supervisor” and in doing so, provided employers with a bit of clarity in defending itself against claims of harassment. While this is a helpful decision, it still requires policy changes and education of managers to ensure compliance.
Running a business is always a challenge. The Courts and government made it a whole lot more complicated. Regardless, CEOs must begin to address the changes, make the adjustments to their policies and practices, and quickly get into full compliance, while continuing to lead their business.
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Other posts you may want to read:
- DOMA Overturned Means Changes for Business
- Independent Contractors in Labor’s Cross Hairs
- Interns: Employers Obligation to Pay or Not?
- Affordable Care Act: What Employers Need To Know
- Immigration: Tear Down Those Walls
- Harassment Claims: Courts New Definition of Supervisor