Affinity HR Questions & Answers


With the data breach at Equifax, and the fact that, as employers, we maintain a lot of confidential employee information, what is our obligation to keeping that information safe?

Customer

Q

With the data breach at Equifax, and the fact that, as employers, we maintain a lot of confidential employee information – such as social security numbers, addresses, age, date of birth and dependent information – what is our obligation to keeping that information safe?

 

A

Whether your company owns, licenses or merely maintains personal information about your employee (such as name, address, date of birth, SSN, driver’s license number, bank account information, etc.), nearly every state has requirements on when and how affected individuals must be notified of a breach, and many states also require notification be made to state attorneys general, consumer protection agencies, national credit bureaus, and perhaps even the media. Employers who suspect personal information about employees may have been compromised should immediately contact legal counsel.

It’s also important to note that if you outsource payroll and benefits to a third party such as a PEO or a company like Paychex, their obligation is to notify you, not necessarily your employees, in the event of a data breach. In such cases, you should also contact legal counsel to assess your obligations.

As a company, we are collecting relief packages for the victims of the recent hurricanes. Some employees do not wish to participate and it is creating a bit of strife among employees. Is doing relief/volunteer work in the workplace discouraged?

Customer

Q

As a company, we are collecting relief packages for the victims of the recent hurricanes. Some employees do not wish to participate for various reasons. It is creating a bit of strife among employees. Is doing relief/volunteer work in the workplace discouraged?

 

A

No, it is not discouraged. In fact, it can be an important part of your corporate culture and lead to strong employee engagement. That said, these activities should always be considered voluntary and you should be sure to emphasize the fact that there are many ways for people to give and that there is no litmus test for giving back to communities in need.

With Labor Day right around the corner, we have decided to keep the business open on the holiday. Do I have to pay a premium for employees who are scheduled to work?

Customer

Q

With Labor Day right around the corner, we have decided to keep the business open on the holiday. Do I have to pay a premium for employees who are scheduled to work?

 

A

There is no obligation under federal or state law to pay premium pay for holidays. Of course, you are obligated to pay overtime for any hours in excess of 40 hours in the workweek but premium pay is not statutorily required. Therefore, your decision should largely be guided by your existing holiday pay policy, if one exists. If one doesn’t exist, realize that how you handle this situation may set precedence for future working holidays, so make your decision with that in mind.

What ever happened with the proposed increase in the minimum salary threshold to be exempt from overtime?

Customer

Q

What ever happened with the proposed increase in the minimum salary threshold to be exempt from overtime?

 

A

The increase that was put in place by the Obama Administration -- from $23,660 to $47,476 – in order to be exempt from overtime has been held up in court since December 2016. The Trump Administration just filed a brief with the court saying it does not intend to defend the new, higher level. This means it may go back to the former level or a new level could be established. Our recommendation is to continue and wait and see what the Administration and courts decide.