Between January and March of last year, more than 55 businesses had reportedly been tricked into e-mailing criminals sensitive payroll data, according to the security blog Cloudmark. HR professionals-some of whom were fired for exposing private information-were duped when they received spoofed or fake e-mail messages from thieves posing as senior company officials.
This year, experts are warning HR professionals to be sure to create and follow policies prohibiting the divulging of employee data when handling payroll data. Awareness and education about e-mail scams, too, can prevent fraud.
- If you receive an e-mail from upper management, verify the request.
- Use common sense and avoid making electronic requests for sensitive data. It’s not just an e-mail threat; phishing by text is also on the rise.
- Don’t click on links embedded in e-mails. Hover your mouse over all links and if a link web address looks odd, don’t click on it.
If you do not have anyone on your staff who is an expert in government compliance for small business or worry about the security of sensitive employee records, you are probably exposing your company to unnecessary risk.
We at EMT can provide you with expert advice pertaining to employee rights and laws. With the assistance of a PEO, you can avoid many legal hassles outright. Give us a call, we’re here to ‘make your workplace work better!”
Employers can expect some relief from federal requirements under the Trump administration, especially those put in place under President Obama. New pay reporting requirements and the overtime rules almost certainly are doomed, as are new requirements for contractors. The ‘persuader rule’, which would have created new requirements for employers looking to keep unions out of their workplaces, is dead thanks to a court’s permanent injunction, and Trump’s administration is likely to take formal steps to ensure that it remains so. The repeal and replacement of the ACA is almost certain under Trump. The question is how it will be replaced and what happens next. The only thing that’s clear is the belief that it should receive very early attention.
We should expect that much of the next administration’s focus will be on getting rid of regulations and policies that are perceived to be what Trump has referred to as ‘job killers’. New regulations also will be assessed based on their impact on job creation, and for every regulation his administration issues, Trump has promised to rescind at least two.
Employers can expect the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to revert back to its more traditional role. The agency last year, for example, issued a guidance directing employers to allow workers to use the restrooms that correspond to their gender identity. It’s unlikely that OSHA will continue to pursue that issue, and it’s safe to assume that OSHA will let that be sorted out elsewhere.
Immigration was a big issue during Trump’s campaign, and we expect that to continue. For employment, visas are the most relevant issue.
Some have predicted a complete overhaul of the H-1B, highly-skilled visa program. With H-1B we are going to see changes, we don’t know if we’re going to see the wholesale changes some folks were expecting. From an enforcement perspective, Trump could direct the DOL to pay special attention to abuses of visa programs that undercut American workers. And Andrew Puzder, Trump’s pick for Secretary of Labor, has said that he will follow through on this priority.
The fate of the H-2B visa program for guest workers is less clear. These visas are important to the restaurant industry, for example, and Puzder has made clear that the program is important to him.
We will keep you informed as these changes role out in 2017.
Despite Repeal Efforts, ACA Compliance Moves Forward
It didn’t take long after Donald Trump was elected president for Republican legislators to reignite efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but that’s not stopping employers from moving full steam ahead to comply with its provisions.
“Whatever changes to the ACA or other legislation affecting health benefits pass, they are likely to be done step-by-step with long lead times before major changes take effect,” said Steve Wojcik, vice president of public policy for the National Business Group on Health. “For now, the ACA is still the law of the land and nothing has changed.”
The ACA’s employer mandate requiring businesses with 50 or more full-time employees to offer health care coverage went into effect in 2015, so last year was the first time employers were required to meet its various reporting and filing deadlines. To help ease the pain, the government extended employee notification and Internal Revenue Services filing deadlines, but not so for 2017, said Tracy Watts, a senior partner at consulting firm Mercer.
In 2016, we got a delay in reporting deadlines but that goes away this year. The deadlines for 2017 are really deadlines. The first deadline is Jan. 31, the last day for distributing 1095 forms to employees, which includes information about their health insurance coverage. The deadline for electronically filing forms to the IRS showing that affordable health coverage is being offered to employees is March 31, 2017.