A new presidential administration almost certainly will mean a new direction for OSHA, legal experts agree. Regulations could be undone. Funding could decrease. Strategies for worker safety could shift 180 degrees.
Workplace safety did not take center stage as a campaign issue for Trump or any other presidential candidate. But Trump’s limited-regulation stance, coupled with his experience in construction and other industries, suggest to some that he will steer OSHA more toward compliance assistance and away from enforcement.
The injury and illness electronic recordkeeping rule could be among the first items that Trump targets. The rule requires many employers to electronically submit injury and illness data, which may then be published on OSHA’s website. Anti-retaliation protections also are included in the rule, which prohibits employers from discouraging workers from reporting an injury or illness. The rule has drawn sharp criticism from some employers, who claim it is burdensome and unnecessary.
Also in jeopardy is the so-called “blacklisting rule” published in August, which requires firms seeking to do business with the federal government to report previous labor-law violations. Meanwhile, ongoing but incomplete efforts such as the combustible dust rule and process safety management reform are unlikely to advance during the Trump administration.
We will keep you posted as more information becomes available.
A group of Republican senators has proposed a replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that would allow states to choose whether to keep Obamacare’s provisions in place. Because employers’ requirements would depend on where employees work, compliance could be a real challenge for companies with operations in multiple states, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Under the bill, employers’ responsibilities would be contingent on where employees work. If an employer has workers only in option 2 states, it will no longer have to offer health insurance to at least 95 percent of its full-time workforce or face a fine or comply with the ACA’s reporting requirements. However, if it has employees in option 1 states, the ACA’s requirements would remain. That arrangement could be problematic for multistate employers, especially those with self-insured plans.
If passed, the bill would take effect January 1, 2018.
IRS Warns On Payroll Scam as Tax Season Begins
Be on the lookout for an email scam focusing on payroll records. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been made aware that another email scam is making its way to taxpayers as tax season begins.
In the most common iteration of the scheme, scammers send a fake email pretending to be from a high-level corporate employee requesting information about employee forms W-2 from company payroll or human resources departments. The emails typically include language such as:
- Kindly send me the individual 2016 W-2 (PDF) and earnings summary of all W-2 of our company staff for a quick review.
- Can you send me the updated list of employees with full details (Name, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Home Address, Salary).
- I want you to send me the list of W-2 copy of employees wage and tax statement for 2016, I need them in PDF file type, you can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me asap.
Once the scammers have tricked company payroll or human resources departments into releasing the information, they can use the information to file fraudulent tax returns to obtain bogus tax refunds.
The scam is similar to one which made the rounds last year. This year, the IRS urges company payroll officials to double check any allegedly executive-level or unusual requests for lists of forms W-2 or Social Security number.