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The Contractors Plan

WHD To Host 2020 Prevailing Wage Seminars

January 22, 2020 Written by: Brittney Greer

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) released the dates of their upcoming prevailing wage seminars for 2020. These three-day compliance training workshops are designed for regional stakeholders such as private contractors, unions, state agencies, federal agencies, and workers.

WHD 2020 seminars will be held in the following locations:

  • Guam, March, 2020
  • Hawaii, March, 2020
  • Salt Lake City, UT, May, 2020
  • Detroit, MI, June, 2020
  • Charleston, SC, July, 2020
  • Philadelphia, PA, August, 2020

During the seminars conference participants, will cover the following topics: The Davis-Bacon Act and McNamara O’Hara Service Contract Act; Executive Order 13658 “Establishing a Minimum Wage for Contractors”; the process of obtaining wage determinations and adding classifications; the process for appealing wage rates, coverage, and compliance determinations; and compliance assistance and enforcement processes.

For more information go to: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/government-contracts/construction/seminars

Framework

Wage and Hour Division Issue Final Rule for Regular Rate Under FLSA

December 18, 2019 Written by: Brittney Greer

Last week the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced a final rule that helps to clarify the role perks and benefits play when calculating the regular rate of pay, making it easier for employers to compensate employees. The Rule promotes compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and encourages employers to provide additional benefits to employees that reflect today’s workplace.

This Rule is the first significant update to the regulations governing the regular rate requirements under the FLSA in more than 50 years. Until now, employers were often uncertain about the rules and what forms of payment should be included and excluded in the FLSA “time and one-half” calculation when determining overtime rates.

This update focuses on explaining which perks, benefits, and other miscellaneous payments must be included in the regular rate of pay. Also, the Rule offers employers guidance, which encourages employers to provide contemporary benefits to their employees without fear of costly litigation.

The Final Rule will become effective on January 15, 2020.

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Data Privacy And Security Must Be Key Components In Selecting A Business Partner That Will Handle Your Most Sensitive Information.

December 13, 2019 Written by: Brittney Greer

Why You Need A Partner Who Is Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 Certified.

The Digital and Information Age requires your Benefit Administrator have the proper security resources and technologies to protect your data and keep your personal information secure. The Contractors Plan, provided by Fringe Benefit Group, is one of the few Third Party Administrators in our industry who has made the significant investments necessary to earn the esteemed Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 security certification. 

Plain And Simple, SOC 2 Credentials Matter.

The SOC 2 standard is a measure of trust and accountability in a business’s data handling practices. You, no doubt, have seen news articles about businesses who failed to properly manage and protect their customers’ data.  Data privacy and security must be key components in selecting a business partner that will handle your most sensitive information.

These are the four main areas that the SOC 2 certification covers:

  1. Monitoring – A SOC 2-certified business is be able to fully monitor system access and usage, along with associated network matters such as user access privileges and has the best possible systems in place to monitor and guard against unauthorized access. This includes unauthorized access from human hackers or by software attacks.
  2. Alerting – Businesses are constantly under attack from global threats. The SOC 2 requires robust alert systems to notify organizations when possible threats or attacks might be occurring.  Just a few areas that The Contractors Plan monitors 24 x 7 include unauthorized file transfers, account access, or changes to data.
  3. Auditing – To be SOC 2-certified, organizations must have auditing systems capable of producing detailed logs of system access, changes, and alerts. The Contractors Plan maintains audit trails covering modification of system components, data changes, and the source of incoming connections.
  4. Forensics – Quickly responding to threats, identifying their source, and understanding the scope of the attack are all critical in stopping attacks. Having best of class forensics systems in place enables the Contractors Plan to offer assurance that any attacks will be dealt with via best security practices, with an eye towards minimizing any harm done.
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NY City Council Passes Prevailing Wage Bill For Building Service Workers

December 02, 2019 Written by: Brittney Greer

Recently the NY City Council passed a bill to extend the existing building service prevailing wage law to include new affordable housing. The bill requires that future affordable-housing developments and preservation projects with 120 units or more pay building-services workers a living wage. 

Based on the principle that if developers receive financial assistance to build affordable housing units, building service workers should also receive a prevailing wage that includes affordable housing benefits. The law would require future developments that get more than $1 million in aid from the city for construction or preserving rent-stabilized low-income units to pay the prevailing wage to building-service workers.

Building-service workers will now be guaranteed that as the city builds and preserves 300,000 affordable housing units in low-income communities, that the workers in those buildings would be able to afford similar housing. 

Opponents of the bill believe it will add billions to the cost of developing affordable housing, money that the City Council does not include.

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NPRM for Fluctuating Workweek Method of Computing Overtime

November 26, 2019 Written by: Brittney Greer

Recently, U.S. the Department of Labor (DOL) announced a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), which would allow employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime requirement to offer incentive-based pay and other bonuses to employees whose hours vary from week-to-week. The NPRM seeks to provide clarity to ensure the salary and payments are compatible with the use of the fluctuating workweek method under the FLSA.

The FLSA requires time-and-one-half the regular rate of pay for any hours above 40 that an employee works in a week unless the employee is “exempt.” For some employees, however, there is the alternative “fluctuating workweek method” under the FLSA,  in which employers have another method of calculating overtime when employee work hours fluctuate.

The NPRM lays out the plan to revise the existing regulations implementing the FLSA fluctuating workweek regulation (29 CFR 778.114) to explain the circumstances under which employers may use an alternate method. Changes will include explicitly stating requirements, adding examples, improving readability, and changing the title of the regulation to reflect the purpose of the subsection better.

The public has 30 days to review the NPRM (RIN Number: 1235-AA31) and is encouraged to submit comments on the proposed rule.

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OFCCP To Begin VEVRAA-Focused Reviews

November 18, 2019 Written by: Brittney Greer

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) released its initial scheduling list for reviews focused solely on compliance with the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA). The VEVRAA-focused reviews are meant to ensure that federal contractors and subcontractors comply with their affirmative action and nondiscrimination obligations, assuring equal employment opportunities for veterans.

Under VEVRAA, employers doing business with the federal government are required to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, and promote categories of veterans covered by the law, including disabled veterans and recently separated veterans. Additionally, it is unlawful for federal contractors and subcontractors to discriminate against protected veterans when making employment decisions about hiring or firing, pay, benefits, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, and other employment-related activities.

The OFCCP is expected to conduct 500 reviews that will include a comprehensive review of employment practices and a contractor’s policies as they relate specifically to VEVRAA. Contractors can check-out the Corporate Scheduling Announcement List in the OFCCP’s FOIA Library, https://www.dol.gov/ofccp/foia/foialibrary/index.html, to find out if OFCCP has scheduled them for a VEVRAA-focused review.

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Understanding The Service Contract Act of 1965

November 11, 2019 Written by: Brittney Greer

The Service Contract Act of 1965 (SCA) requires that government contractors pay most non-professional service employees designated minimum wage rates and fringe benefits. These regulations are complex and often poorly understood by federal contractors, government contracting officers and auditors, particularly with respect to the SCA’s fringe benefits requirements. This is especially challenging for smaller contractors who may not have the resources to address such complexities. As a result, federal service contractors often face government allegations of SCA non-compliance.

Potential penalties for SCA errors are severe, including default termination and debarment. Extensive fines are on record and the potential loss of contracting access are common. In addition, a contractor’s failure to correctly understand the Service Contract Act when preparing bid pricing may result in a reduction to anticipated profits on the resulting government contract.

The Contractors Plan has created administrative processes and compliance solutions to address these risks for over 30 years. In addition to our expertise, The Contractors Plan has been committed to helping employers identify and implement solutions that are Affordable Care Act compliant, eliminating additional compliance risks as result of federal health regulations.

We encourage you to review our solutions and utilize our Savings Calculator so you can thoroughly understand the options available to you. We are here to be an expert resource and partner with you in minimizing your administration efforts and compliance risks.

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President Trump Revokes Executive Order 13495

November 05, 2019 Written by: Brittney Greer

Last week, President Trump revoked Executive Order (Order) 13495, the Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers, which applied to contracts under the Service Contract Act.

Previously Order 13495, had required that successor federal contractors, in certain circumstances, offer a right of first refusal of employment to employees working under the predecessor contract.

Agencies were instructed to implement the revocation immediately. It included instructions for all agencies and executive departments to rescind any orders, guidelines, rules, programs, or policies implementing or enforcing the previous Order. The Secretary of Labor, who was formerly responsible for ensuring compliance, was also instructed to terminate any investigations or compliance actions related to the last Order 13495.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-improving-federal-contractor-operations-revoking-executive-order-13495/

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Erica Wolff Joins Fringe Benefit Group as Vice President of Human Resources

November 04, 2019 Written by: Brittney Greer

Fringe Benefit Group, an industry leader in the design, implementation and administration of benefit plans for hourly workers, today announced that Erica A. Wolff has joined the company as vice president of human resources (HR).

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191104005756/en/

Wolff brings extensive experience in team leadership and benefits administration to Fringe Benefit Group, where she will oversee employee relations and work alongside the company’s executive management committee to ensure adherence to business strategies and regulatory measures.

“Erica is a fantastic addition to our growing team,” said Brian Robertson, executive vice president of Fringe Benefit Group. “In addition to implementing and managing our HR initiatives, she’s also highly experienced at working with part-time and hourly workers, which is the market segment we serve. She brings a wealth of experience and industry knowledge to the table and we are already benefitting from her insight and contributions.”

Fringe Benefit Group offers plan design, compliance, claims and benefits administration for insured and self-insured major medical, retirement, Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC), fixed indemnity and specialty benefits plans (e.g., dental, vision, life and disability coverage) to companies with hourly employees via its two national brands, The Contractors Plan and The American Worker. Fringe Benefit Group works closely with more than 600 brokers across the U.S. to provide working Americans with quality benefits.

Earlier this year, Fringe Benefit Group acquired Century Healthcare (CHC), a north Texas-based company specializing in customized benefit plans for employers of all sizes with hourly employees – creating one of the nation’s largest providers of limited benefit medical plans. The combination brought together two highly regarded Texas companies specializing in ACA-compliant, turnkey solutions for employers with hourly employees.

Wolff joined Fringe Benefit Group from Pitney Bowes in Austin. She spent 16 years at the Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin hotel, most recently as Director – Human Resources & Training, where she oversaw HR operations and collaborated with executive teams to outline business strategies. She also previously held director level HR and/or accounting positions at Easter Seals-Central Texas, The Driskill Hotel, The Mansion on Turtle Creek, and ZuZu Incorporated. She is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Austin Human Resource Management Association (AHRMA) and past president and treasurer of the Capitol Hotel Human Resources Management Association.

About Fringe Benefit Group

Fringe Benefit Group and its affiliate companies have designed and administered programs that simplify the benefits process for employers with hourly workers since 1983. Through its nationwide network of independent brokers and agents, Fringe Benefit Group offers products from the industry’s leading carriers and is recognized for its full-service suite of tools and services designed specifically for employers with hourly and part-time workers. For more information, visit www.fbg.comwww.thecontractorsplan.com or www.theamericanworker.com.

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August 2019 Public Construction Spending Increased

October 09, 2019 Written by: Brittney Greer

The U.S. Census Bureau announced total construction spending for August 2019 was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,287.3 billion, a 1.2 percent increase over July. However, compared to the same period last year, there was a 1.8 percent decrease.

While private construction spending in August was $955 billion, it was nearly the same as the July estimate. But when compared to the previous year, private spending decreased 4 percent. However, public construction spending was $332.3 billion, which was relatively consistent compared to July, but 4.6 percent more than one year ago.

There were several contributors to the growth in public construction spending over the past year; these include highway and street construction, sewage and waste disposal, transportation, and public safety. More information may be found at:

https://www.census.gov/construction/c30/pdf/release.pdf