With fall in full-swing, our attorneys are busy working to provide more valuable resources for employers, HR professionals, in-house counsel and others interested in labor and employment issues through webinars and seminars. Please find more information regarding upcoming events below.
On Wednesday, October 5, 2016, a much-anticipated report generated by the NASI (National Academy of Social Insurance) was released. The report had been shrouded in secrecy, with even supposed “insiders” complaining of having been shut out of the process. Then, over the weekend, the Department of Labor held a “State of Workers’ Compensation Forum” to discuss the report findings with a wider audience. Early analysis of the NASI report indicates that the report bashes state workers’ compensation programs for shifting costs away from employers and onto injured workers, their families and other social insurance programs. This analysis was widely anticipated within both the regulatory stakeholder community and others who work with the laws day-to-day since Social Security Disability Insurance is rumored to be looking for other funding sources as funding for all of Social Security is going to run out very soon. A National Public Radio/Pro Publica joint investigative series published a year ago that was highly critical of the insurance and employer sector of the workers’ compensation industry, mostly based on anecdotal evidence of a shocking nature, gave someone in the government the idea of looking to state workers’ compensation programs as a possible new funding source. The Texas Opt Out program and Oklahoma’s recent attempt to institute an Opt-Out program also gave NASI fuel to claim that state-level workers’ compensation is broken.
Earlier this week, the Governor’s Panel to Review and Make Recommendations for Improvement of the Maine Human Rights Commission and Its Operations issued its report finding specifically that “there was no evidence that the MHRC or its staff ever intentionally meant to be unfair or biased toward any party.” The Report, however, did contain 13 recommendations. Specifically:
I am just back from an invigorating seminar put on by the national group to which we belong as the sole Maine member, the National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network and want to share some highlights. This year’s seminar, held in Chicago on September 22, included presentations on lots of relevant topics, but a few really inspired me.
The seminar kicked off with a panel including risk managers from retail, healthcare, trucking and manufacturing discussing various innovative ways to “Make our Work Comp Program Great Again!” The panel discussed claims costs management tactics including creative medical management systems, initiating early investigations and setting workable and real metrics to measure progress in claims management. Next, we learned all about traumatic brain injuries, including the medical science behind legitimate claims and signs of illegitimate claims. A session on reducing narcotic use featuring a risk representative from a large national retail chain was also very well-received and timely. But one of the most informative session, in my humble opinion, was presented as an “ad-on” by my colleague from Washington State, attorney George Goodman and it is this session that I’d like to bring to our reader’s attention.
On June 7, 2016, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law Public Act 16-125, which allows employers to pay employees using payroll cards and to deliver certain wage and hour information to employees by electronic means. The new law takes effect on October 1, 2016. For a recent article discussing the new law, click here.
If any Connecticut employer has any interest in exploring these new options, a member of Verrill Dana’s Labor & Employment Group would be happy to assist.
Despite Recent Challenges to Overtime Rule, Employers Should Continue Preparing for Implementation on December 1
On September 20, two lawsuits were filed in federal court seeking to stop the new overtime regulations from going into effect on December 1. One lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with a number of other business groups. The other lawsuit was filed by a coalition of 21 states (Nevada, Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Iowa, Maine, New Mexico, Mississippi, and Michigan). Both lawsuits were filed in the Eastern District of Texas and seek an injunction to block the overtime rule from going into effect.