HRS eNews, Fall 2016


The information specialists at HRS dedicate to delivering exactly what you need to know... and nothing you don't need. HRS eNews is released 4-6 times annually, delivering mandatory legal compliance and top informational updates; a concise "must know" compilation for busy C-suite and HR/OD leaders.

We Thought Your Inbox Could Use a Break

Did you notice that we haven’t sent out a newsletter recently? Multiple discussions have arisen on HR items in 2016, however a multitude of them are still in a place of argument. Arguments can be of interest and help complete the picture, but sometimes you just need a drilldown of action items. That’s what we do. When we first started our mailer newsletters back in 1986, newsletters were designed to be either employee or management bulletins and a service. This isn’t to say that we decry e-mail marketing at all, but rather that we continue to hold ourselves to our initial pledge. Call us traditional.

HRS promises to only deliver to you the topics which need to be on your plate. Our e-mail newsletters pledge to only contain the news items which translate into action items and highlight for you those findings, articles and services which we believe, in our professional opinion, are what you should consider as your next step. If at any time you feel that we’re not living up to our pledge, we invite you to contact our newsletter editor and Chief Relationship Officer, Matthew Bare.

We won’t let that happen, though. So sit back and enjoy this newsletter packed full of the hottest HR/OD items you need to know right now.

Should You or Shouldn’t You Prepare for the New OT Rule?

The new DOL Overtime Regulations have certainly become the most discussed HR topic of this year’s second half, and that doesn’t look to be wrapping up anytime soon. On September 28th, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6094, the Regulatory Relief for Small Business, Schools and Nonprofits Act, which would delay the effective date of the OT rule from December 1st, 2016 until June 1st, 2017. This bill immediately followed the lawsuit filed on September 20th whereby 21 states and 50 business organization raised claims against the DOL under the notion that this issue ought to be left to state jurisdiction. H.R. 6094 still would have to clear the Senate and Executive levels before it can take effect, which means that the upcoming November elections might have as large of a role in determining the rule’s outcome as some initially thought (so long as the bill doesn’t get vetoed prior to a new inauguration).

Employers should expect some form of the rule to go through for 2017. Numerous proposals for modification, ranging from graduated salary threshold increases to specific industry exemptions, have already been proposed and a potential 6-month delay in the effective date would allow for some, if not all, of these proposals to be heard. A final rule has been issued, however, so it’s important to remember that the rule can go through as is. It’s important to look at your preparation options for 2017. HRS can help, and we’re available with workshops and discussions on the topic. For a recap of the rule as it currently stands, please find this from the DOL.

New I-9 Form Coming This November

You can look for the new I-9 form beginning on November 22nd, 2016, and you’ll have between then and January 21st, 2017 to adopt the new form and begin using it in your hiring process. The new I-9 form promises to be more in line with “smart” forms of today’s technology; offering easier electronic completion and more in depth electronic guides. You should note, however, that the standard .PDF for the new I-9, despite its smart capabilities, will not be considered an electronic form by default. Therefore, handwritten signatures will still be required unless a proper electronic version has been established. For more information on how to meet the USCIS’ electronic form guidelines, you may read more here (please read Section 2 - Verification Form) or contact us for an I-9 compliance review. You may also find the most recent, comprehensive listing of all the changes to the I-9 form in this SHRM article. New I-9 Form Will Be Released in November; Current Form Is OK Until Jan. 21.

What’s New with OSHA?

2017 will bring about an increase in reporting for the OSHA 300a log. Effective with the new year, the OSHA 300a will be a required electronic submission for all employers with 250 or more employees and for those with 20 to 249 employees within high risk industries. Examples of these industries, some of which have been scrutinized as being labeled as high risk, include manufacturing, construction, grocery stores, department stores and numerous public entertainment industries. For a full list of the high risk industries, you can read here. With the new requirement, however, does come a shift from quarterly to annual reporting to lessen the new burden that may be placed on employers. Read the statement from OSHA.

OSHA also issued a statement in its final rule stating that it is looking to protect accurate reporting and offer protections to ensure that employees are not discouraged or deterred from filing reports. While the specific resulting actions on this point were not addressed in the rule, speculation has led some to believe that there will be added penalties against employers who are found to take any form of retaliatory action against an employee who reports an accident and also that post-accident drug tests may face tougher scrutiny. These new provisions are in addition to 2015’s new rule about reporting all employee deaths, amputations, losses of an eye, or immediate overnight hospital admissions by phone. All deaths must be reported within eight hours and the others within 24 hours.

What You Don’t Need to Worry About During Q4

While many like to anticipate possible changes and be prepared for a variety of scenarios, the following rules have not been finalized and likely won’t be finalized before the end of the year. Let’s take a look at a number of these issues and analyze how close they truly are to becoming a final ruling:

New EEO-1 Report Requires Compensation Data Reporting:

Despite the statements made by the EEOC this year, you should know that the updated report is still a proposed form and no final ruling has been issued on the EEO-1 report. Without a final ruling, there is still a lot of change that can happen before the next reporting deadline is due. We would not expect the November elections to have a substantial impact on this rule, however we can project that the EEOC will likely field comments from numerous advocacy groups. Stay tuned for updates.

House of Representatives Passes Bill Updating Perkins Act:

The Perkins Career and Technical Education Act was originally passed in 1984 as a measure to help high school and college students obtain the skills they need to compete in the workforce. The measure has been reauthorized twice since then. With the recent debates on millennial values, skills gap and educational reform (to name a few), some feel that an update and renewed focus on this act is a welcomed sign. The reformed law provides added resources and power to state and local leaders to address their local workforce needs. It’s important to note, however, that the bill has only cleared the house level. What’s important to consider here is this is just one of many active measures looking to place an emphasis back on technical and job-skills training in our society. The movement appears to be gaining some real momentum thanks to several trends, one of which was previously addressed by our CRO. Article: House Passes Bill Strengthening Technical Education.

Salary History Bill:

This bill is in such infant stages that it doesn’t even have an official name yet, so you can put this one far on the back burner. Congressional Democrats introduced this bill thinking that it would help the “equal pay for equal work” debate. The theory is that individuals in historically disadvantaged groups would have been previously paid at lower wages than their counterparts, and thus an employer becoming aware of previously “unfair” wages creates a bias, either consciously or unconsciously, to perpetuate and maintain that employee at a below-average wage. It’s the same theory behind allowing employees to openly discuss their own pay with their colleagues. There is some precedent here going into the congressional process as Massachusetts has already passed a state-wide initiative and California and New York have both introduced their own language, as well. What’s on your plate? It might be worth it to think about whether this bias has crept into your own hiring process, and what you think about the theory behind it.

The Giving Workers A Fair Shot Act (H.R. 5939):

Again, another bill that is still in infant stages, only this one likely has no shot at being passed because of the highly partisan measures presented. In short, if the Republicans win control of either the House or the Senate come November, then this bill is going to be stopped dead in its tracks. Even if the Democrats have a majority somewhere, however, the bill is going to require some major adjustments and bipartisan discussion. This bill is definitely being viewed as more of a “conversation starter” to cue things up for the next administration. If you’re interested, you can read about it here.

Be Ready for Normal ACA Reporting Deadlines in 2017

2016 was the first year for full ACA reporting, and a number of extensions were granted to allow employers, and their vendors, added time to meet the new requirements. Don’t expect those deadline extensions to be afforded again in 2017, however. There has been no talk of offering these extensions again come the turn of the new year, meaning that you need to be ready with the first sets of information come January 1st. Be prepared! If you have a vendor and they haven’t contacted you for 2016 reporting yet, we suggest reaching out to them and being proactive. While numerous vendors struggled with reporting requirements during year one of the ACA, we expect improved service from a number of vendors during year two.

Bonus ACA Reading for our Wisconsin audience:


In Case You Missed It (ICYMI)... 

DOL Persuader Rule Put On Indefinite Hold


Individual State Minimum Wage Laws Pose Immediate and/or Gradual Increases over the next 4-7 years for:

DC, MN (along with paid sick leave), MA, CA, NY (along with paid FMLA), and OR; November Scheduled Votes for AZ, CO, ME and WA.

Federal Contractor Updates

Federal Contractors receive nationwide minimum wage increase and paid FMLA leave.


2017 HSA Contribution Limits Set
Treasury Supports Pension Plan Split Payout Option
California Governor Approves State-Run IRA

Labor Law Postings

Effective August 1, 2016, employers must post new FLSA and Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) postings. Article.

Five States Enact Laws: Franchisors Are Not ‘Joint Employers’


Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order (The Blacklisting Rule)


...And Summer Legal Highlights From our Contributor MWH Group

Seeking a Past Year Recap?

Visit our eNews archive for past issues, linked by subject title.


And... News About HRS...

Join Our CRO at an MMSHRM Special Interest Group Presentation

Metro Milwaukee SHRM members are encouraged to attend the Total Rewards SIG meeting this month as our CRO, Matthew Bare, takes part in a presentation on Healthy Employee Engagement through System Integration and Service Providers. Matthew will be joining speakers from Merrill Lynch and Paylocity in discussing the following thesis: "We will discuss how employers and HR Departments can use efficient integration with the vendors who service your employees to reduce time, improve employee engagement and better connect employee skills and labor." The panel will share their real world Case-Studies and how many companies are adapting to the exponential change in technology to achieve a greater level of efficiency. We look forward to seeing you there! Please contact Matt if you are not already on the mailing list for the SIG and are interested in attending.

New Answer Desk Packages for 2016!

Answer Desk packages are new, improved and better than ever for 2016! Starting this year, your Answer Desk subscription package includes unlimited access to HRSIQ eTools and Express Inquiries! What does this mean? If you can find the answer yourself in our self-help eTools, or if it takes us less than 20 Answer Desk minutes* to provide you an's free! We're offering the same standard of excellent research and customized answers, only with new affordable options. Learn more here!

HRS Payroll Administration Operations Soar in Popularity!

Delivering extraordinary knowledge in legal compliance, HRIS and holistic payroll solutions, HRS payroll administration services are getting rave reviews! While certain competition is dropping the ball with incessant errors, delays and inconvenience, our programs shine with accuracy, compliance risk management, reliability, consistency of assigned contacts and so much more!

HRS Continues Our Six Hats of Thinking Presentation Tour

This Spring, HRS CEO Jessica Ollenburg was invited by FUEL Milwaukee to present DeBono's Six Hats of Thinking as part of the 2016 Professional Development Bootcamp. Our CEO was honored as being the only presenter with multiple topics throughout the course of the week. The presentation took place at Johnson Controls downtown Milwaukee offices, where JCI employees were able to contribute to discussion based upon their own embrace of the Six Hats philosophy and even created a color coded presentation atmosphere based upon the different hat colors. Since March, employer clients have begun incorporating the Six Hats philosophy into their own workshop and Leader Learning agendas. Learn more about our workshop services!

Developing Exceptional Leaders, from the Newly Promoted to the C-Suite 

Today's best assessments profile individual leadership styles, while stretching beyond to measure implementation effectiveness through in-basket technique and role play. Leaders enjoy lifelong learning through our client site workshops, deploying kinesthetic hands-on learning and precision custom curriculum. Assessment is ongoing through training exercises to benchmark progress and to pinpoint learning needs. Veracity by HRS programs are so widely applauded by employers and learning participants alike, even our Anti-Harassment workshops are consistently reinforced as meaningful and engaging. 


Compliance Audits and Policy Communications... Time for Another Review

Employers are relying upon external experts more than ever before. Reasonable care requires annual review, and the courts are looking for it! Changes to federal and state employment laws make updating more critical, yet legal advice from attorneys is not enough to craft effective holistic solutions. More employers are recognizing the problems with appropriating another company's handbook and the pitfalls of boilerplate compliance solutions. Today's best policies and practices deliver not only up-to-the-minute legal compliance, but also employer reasonable care in education, pro-active communication, culture shaping, performance management, employee engagement and cost cutting through operations efficiency. 

Veracity Corporate Education Programs Deliver Extraordinary Outcomes

Adding to a recent tour of CEO groups, HR professional organizations, media briefs, radio talk shows, employers of choice and top ranked universities, today's most popular programs include Anti-Harassment, Six Hats of Thinking, Legal Compliance Balancing Talent Engagement, Performance Management, Getting More Out of Meetings, Organizational Change Management, Organizational Communications and More. Our flagship programs remain private employer-site workshops including group roundtables or Individual Learning Sessions (ILS).  

Angel Wings Enjoys New Publicity 

Fueled by HRS, HRS Gives Back and community support, extraordinary solutions are delivered via "Angel Wings" subsidy to employers who deliver extraordinary impact. Such employers include start-up and non-profit organizations whose missions and methodology promise positive economic, community and/or charitable impact. 

Subscription Bundles!

Subscription bundles for turnkey solution delivery are enjoying immense popularity! In response to evolving legal, talent management and reasonable care demands, these bundles mix and match education, compliance, assessment and/or third-party operations in cost-cutting packages. Check out the eStore

Thought Leadership Blog Enjoys Wildly Popular Syndication

Highlights of recent and popular articles...

  • The 7+ Disciplines of HR and How to Address Them All at Once
  • What Doesn't HR Need to be in 2016?
  • Workforce Preparedness: 5 Key Skills That Can & Should Be Developed by Employers
  • Gen Z Isn't Planning on Going to College...Can You Support It?
  • How to Handle March Madness: It's a Big Deal
  • The Secrets of Payroll/HRIS Systems
  • CEO Must-Knows About Employing People in 2016
  • The Annual Performance Review: Post Mortem?
  • What I've Learned through Successful Nonprofit Leadership: A “Distinguished Service Award” Winner’s Perspective
  • Unlimited PTO: Friend or Foe?
  • Savvy Employers in Action: Neroli Postures on Education and Employee Trust
  • 5 Key Rules to Crafting Leader Learning
  • Do Happy Workers Have a Reason to Excel?
  • The Skills Gap, Pt. II: Addressing Education
  • Building a Rock-Star Employer Brand with Glimmering Engagement Tactics
  • Can Employee Engagement Techniques Conceal Intrinsic Demotivation?
  • A "No References" Policy is a "Welcome" Sign for Employee Bad Behavior
  • Is Balance Between Gen Y and Baby Boomers Key to Skills Gap Solution?
  • Catch Someone Doing Something Right
  • “If I’m a Self-Starter, Why Aren’t You?”... Team Members High in Initiative are Challenged as Coaches

  • The information and operation specialists at HRS are available to assist with each and every topic mentioned herein. Please consider us for your HR/OD and legal compliance needs.  Time, human capital planning, cost containment, risk management and talent engagement are more important than ever before. Please keep us on your radar for any Requests for Proposal!


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