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Employers all across America took a collective sigh of relief last week when the Obama administration announced that the employer mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be postponed until 2015.  But the decision could leave some recruiters wondering how this will affect their firms, many of which stood to benefit from the mandate.

Recruiting Legal IssuesThe employer mandate was to require employers with 50 or more employees to provide healthcare insurance to those employees by January 1, 2014, and it also came with a number of reporting requirements.  This mandate was a mixed blessing for recruiters.

For larger recruiting firms, it presented a challenge, as they were at risk of rising above the 50-employee threshold and having to provide insurance to their contractors.  But for most recruiters, it provided an opportunity to get more contract staffing business, as more companies turned to contractors to stay below the 50-employee threshold.

But now, according to a blog on the U.S. Department of Treasury website by Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur, the reporting requirements under the employer mandate have been postponed until 2015.  That means the government will not be able to determine which employers are not providing the required coverage and cannot assess penalties, so the requirement to provide insurance is effectively also postponed until 2015.

So where does this leave recruiters?  Well, if you are a large firm that would fall under the employer mandate, you technically don’t have to provide insurance until 2015.  However, Mazur urged employers to voluntarily implement the reporting requirements in 2014 to prepare themselves for 2015.  Also, the delay does not relieve you of the obligation to notify employees about the existence of healthcare exchanges, or “The Marketplace.”  You must still provide the required notice by October 1, 2013.

For recruiters who are not subject to the employer mandate, but were hoping to benefit from it, stay the course.  You should still discuss the healthcare reform law with clients and the eventual impact it will have on their costs and administrative burden.

There is no indication at this time that the employer mandate will be repealed, so they can’t lose anything by preparing now.  In fact, they can immediately start reaping the other benefits of contract staffing: workforce flexibility, reduced legal liability, the ability to “try-before-they-buy” through contract-to-direct arrangements, etc.

The bottom line is that ALL recruiters should stay on top of this law and the impact it could have on their clients.  Companies often look to recruiters as employment experts and may turn to you for advice on how to best navigate the law.

(Editor’s note: This article is for informational purposes only and should NOT be considered legal advice.)

Recruitment Legal IssuesAs the number of wage-and-hour lawsuits under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) hits an all-time high, recruiters can help clients avoid what one attorney calls “one of the top threats to U.S. employers.”

Human Resource Executive Online recently reported that 7,764 FLSA lawsuits were filed between April 2012 and March 2013, which is the reporting year that is used by the Federal Judicial Center.

“With no clear catalyst during the past 12 months, this strong spike and new high for FLSA claims makes them one of the top threats to U.S. employers,” Richard Alfred, chair of Seyfarth Shaw’s wage-and-hour litigation practice, told Human Resource Executive Online.

While there is no obvious reason for the spike, Alfred largely blames the economy.  As the economy improves, he believes attorneys are targeting new companies with growing workforces.

On the flip side, the long, stretched out recovery has put increased pressure on existing employees who might be looking more closely at their employer’s pay practices as a result.  Social media has also made employees more aware of the FLSA and the rights that they have under it.

As a recruiter, clients often look to YOU as an employment expert, so it’s important that you are familiar with the FLSA and counsel your clients on the proper application of the law to help them avoid this fate.  Below are six key points to remember:

  1. Overtime (1.5 times the regular pay rate) must be paid to most employees for any hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
  2. Your clients also need to be aware of state laws that may be more generous to employees.  For example, in California, employees must be paid overtime (OT) for any hours worked over eight in a work day.
  3. Your clients MUST prohibit off-the-clock work.  They should require that employees get pre-authorization before working overtime and that they keep accurate records, Alfred told HRE Online.
  4. Some employees may be considered exempt from OT, but they must fall into the Executive, Administrative, Learned Professional, Computer-Related, or Outside Sales classifications.  They must meet speific requirements to fall under these categories. Please see the exempt requirements provided on the Department of Labor website.
  5. Exempt individuals must also be paid on a basis of at least $455 a week on a salary, not hourly basis.  There are a couple of exceptions to this rule.  Computer-Related professionals may be paid at an hourly rate of at least $27.63 per hour ($39.90 per hour in California). Additionally, the salary requirements do not apply to those under the Outside Sales exemption.
  6. DO NOT let your clients misclassify W-2 employees as Independent Contractors to avoid the overtime rules.  Doing so is just asking for Internal Revenue Service audits and FLSA lawsuits for back OT wages.

(Editor’s note: This article is intended for informational purposes ONLY and should not be considered legal advice.)